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 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 vaccinating healthy children for Covid-19 despite the CDC recommending that everyone age 5 and older get vaccinated. Florida “is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the Covid-19 vaccines for healthy children,” Joseph Ladapo said, without elaborating on the details or rationale. Ladapo, who leads Florida’s Department of Health, made the announcement at the end of a roundtable discussion that Gov. Ron DeSantis convened to discuss “ending Covid theater once and for all.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, said “It’s deeply disturbing that there are politicians peddling conspiracy theories out there and casting doubt on vaccination when it is our best tool against the virus and the best tool to prevent even teenagers from being hospitalized.” The CDC recommends that parents get their children vaccinated, saying: “Covid-19 can make children very sick and cause children to be hospitalized. In some situations, the complications from infection can lead to death.” (Bloomberg / Palm Beach Post / Tampa Bay Times / New York Times / Politico)

7/ The Amazon rainforest is nearing its “tipping point” and more than half of the rainforest could irreversibly turn into a savanna, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Satellite images taken over the past several decades show that more than 75% of the rainforest is getting drier and taking longer to regenerate after a disturbance, such as droughts and wildfires. Losing the rainforest could result in up to 90 billion tons of carbon dioxide getting put back into the atmosphere – the equivalent of several years of global emissions – and researchers fear that this carbon release would put the world’s goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius out of reach. (Washington Post / New York Times)

poll/ 71% of Americans said they’d support a ban on Russian oil even if it meant higher gasoline prices in the U.S., including 82% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 66% of Republicans. (Quinnipiac)

Day 408: "A criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States."

1/ The House select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection says Trump violated multiple laws in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election. In a major release of its findings filed in federal court late Wednesday, the committee alleges that Trump and his allies “engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States” and that Trump himself violated multiple laws by trying to block Congress from certifying the results of the election. In 16 accompanying exhibits, the panel showcased testimony it received from key figures in Trump-world. The release of the findings is part of a legal effort to force John Eastman, a Trump attorney who played a crucial role in crafting Trump’s strategy to subvert the 2020 election, to turn over thousands of emails that the committee believes connect various elements of the scheme. Eastman says turning over the emails would violate attorney-client privilege, but the panel says Eastman’s privilege claim was potentially voided by the “crime/fraud exception,” which says communications aren’t protected if an attorney is found to be assisting their client in the commission of a crime. The committee has no authority to initiate criminal proceedings. (Politico / CNN / Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News)

2/ Trump’s former Attorney General William Barr said Trump became enraged after he was told his claims of election fraud were nonsense. Barr says Trump asked him to attend a meeting in Trump’s private dining room in the White House on Dec. 1, after the Associated Pres published an interview in which Barr said there was no evidence of any widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. During the meeting, Trump “was asking about different theories, and I had the answers. I was able to tell him, ‘This was wrong because of this,’” Barr said. Barr says he offered to resign because Trump was “obviously getting very angry about this,” and Trump slammed his hand on the table and accepted Barr’s offer. Barr added: “And then — boom. He slapped it again. ‘Accepted. Go home. Don’t go back to your office. Go home. You’re done.’” Barr is publishing a forthcoming book about his tenure in the Trump administration. (NBC News)

3/ Biden accused Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of “government overreach at its worst” for investigating the parents of trans children going through the gender confirmation process. “Like so many anti-transgender attacks proliferating in states across the country,” Biden said, Abbott’s actions “callously threaten to harm children and their families just to score political points.” Biden also said his administration is taking steps to protect transgender children in Texas, including inviting families to contact the civil rights office at Health and Human Services if they’ve been “targeted by a child welfare investigation because of this discriminatory gubernatorial order.” (Washington Post)

4/ The White House imposed new sanctions against eight Russian oligarchs and members of their families. Biden said the new sanctions are in response to Russia’s escalation and indiscriminate bombing of Ukraine. Biden said the goal of the sanctions is to “maximize the impact on Putin and Russia” by maintaining “the strongest unified economic campaign on Putin in all history.” As a result of the sanctions, the individuals and their families will be cut off from the U.S. financial system and all of their assets and property in the U.S. will be frozen or blocked from use. (CNN)

poll/ 50% of American voters say they prefer Biden’s tax plan over two prominent alternative proposals from the GOP, while 19% are unsure which plan they prefer. (YouGov)

Day 407: "Badly miscalculated."

1/ During his first State of the Union speech, Biden condemned President Vladimir Putin, called on the world to support Ukraine, and made his case to Americans that his administration is working to overcome the coronavirus pandemic and return to a time of prosperity and normalcy. The first half of the hourlong speech focused on the war in Europe, while the second half was mostly about Biden’s domestic agenda. Biden said Putin “badly miscalculated” when he invaded Ukraine, and that he would make Putin “pay a price” for attacking Russia’s neighbor. “He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over,” Biden said. “Instead, he met with a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined. He met the Ukrainian people.” There were several instances of bipartisan applause throughout the speech, but also moments where members of the GOP — Reps. Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene — interrupted or heckled Biden, including while Biden was reflecting on the life of his late son, Beau. Biden also renewed his calls for Congress to pass pieces of the failed “Build Back Better” domestic policy agenda, including expanded child care, elder care, prekindergarten education, climate change initiatives and prescription-drug price cuts. (New York Times / Rolling Stone / Daily Beast / New York Times / NPR / The Independent / Washington Post)

2/ Biden announced a new task force to go after the U.S.-based assets of Russian oligarchs. The task force, dubbed Task Force KleptoCapture, will seize yachts, luxury apartments, and other vestiges of wealth parked in the U.S. by Russian billionaires. “We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” Biden said during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday. Biden also announced that the U.S. will close its skies to Russian aircraft in response to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, and the U.S. is expected to announce new sanctions against Putin’s financial allies in the coming days. (CNBC / Reuters / Washington Post / Business Insider / NBC News)

3/ Biden declared that his administration has a new plan for a pandemic reset, and that it’s time to stop letting COVID-19 “dictate how we live.” Biden pointed to the wide availability of vaccines, treatments and tests, and vowed that the country is moving toward “more normal routines.” He also touted a new “test to treat” plan that would see local pharmacies provide free antiviral pills to people who test positive for the virus. The 96-page plan is part of a broader White House strategy to move away from a state of crisis and convince Americans that they can return to normal, especially as Biden’s approval ratings remain dangerously low. (Washington Post Associated Press / NPR)

4/ Trump called the Russian invasion of Ukraine “a holocaust” and urged Russia to end its attacks. During an interview with Fox News, Trump said Russia has “stop killing these people” and suggested that some kind of deal should be worked out in order to bring the conflict to an end. “They don’t respect the United States and the United States is like, I don’t know, they’re not doing anything about it,” Trump said. “This is a — this is a holocaust.” (The Hill)

5/ Trump’s border wall has been breached more than 3,200 times by smugglers, according to Customs and Border Protection records. Mexican smuggling gangs have breached new segments of the wall 3,272 times over the last three years, which the government has spent $2.6 million to repair during that period. CPB maintenance records show the damage has been more widespread than previously known, pointing to the wall as an ineffective impediment to unauthorized border crossings. (Washington Post)

poll/ 68% of people who watched last night’s State of the Union said Biden’s speech made them feel optimistic, while 53% said it made them feel proud. More than half said the speech made them feel like the coronavirus pandemic is mostly behind us. 78% of Americans who watched said they approved of Biden’s remarks, while 22% said they disapproved. (CBS News-YouGov)

Day 406: "Let history so note."

1/ Russian forces bombed Ukraine’s second-largest city and closed in on the capital on Monday. A 40-mile convoy consisting of hundreds of tanks and other vehicles moved on the capital Kyiv and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, shelling a residential neighborhood and forcing Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to considering making some concessions. The Kremlin also threatened the prospect of using nuclear weapons for the second day in a row, announcing that its nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and long-range bombers had all been put on high alert. (Associated Press)

2/ U.S. intelligence agencies say they’re worried Putin may escalate the invasion of Ukraine as he becomes increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress by Russian forces. U.S. officials say they have solid intelligence that Putin is directing unusual bursts of anger at people in his inner circle over the state of the military campaign, adding that they “don’t believe he has a realistic understanding of what’s going on.” (NBC News)

3/ Trump claimed “there would be no NATO” without him, despite the fact that his “America First” foreign policies often involved pulling back from U.S. allies, undermining NATO, and threatening to withhold military aide from Ukraine. Nevertheless, Trump attempted to take credit for strengthening NATO and arming Ukraine’s military with advanced weaponry. “I hope everyone is able to remember that it was me, as President of the United States, that got delinquent NATO members to start paying their dues, which amounted to hundreds of billions of dollars,” Trump said in a statement. He added: “Also, it was me that got Ukraine the very effective anti-tank busters (Javelins) when the previous Administration was sending blankets. Let History so note!” (ABC News / The Independent)

4/ Biden declined to invoke executive privilege for former Trump officials Michael Flynn and Peter Navarro to shield them from testifying before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. The move will likely force Flynn and Navarro to choose between cooperating with the select committee or face a potential criminal referral from Congress. Navarro says he will take his case all the way to the Supreme Court, while Flynn’s attorney insisted that his client has not asserted executive privilege or refused to appear for a deposition in front of the committee. (Axios / Washington Post)

5/ Biden will give his first State of the Union speech tonight — and he plans to focus on Ukraine, the economy, COVID-19, and more. The speech comes just days after Russia invaded Ukraine and days after Biden nominated the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court. Ukrainian president Zelensky urged Biden to deliver a strong and “useful” message about the Russian invasion and to highlight the urgency and implications of the invasion for the Ukrainian people and the rest of the world. Editor’s note: Look for more details about Biden’s first SOTU speech in tomorrow’s update. (ABC News / CNN / CBS News / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 49% of Americans say the coronavirus pandemic is at least “somewhat under control,” while 15% say it’s “not under control at all.” 58% say they support restrictions aimed at trying to manage the pandemic, while 38% say it’s more important to get rid of the restrictions. (Washington Post-ABC News)

Day 405: "Not satisfactory."

1/ The Biden administration expanded sanctions against Russia, cutting off U.S. transactions with the country’s central bank. The new sanctions effectively prohibit Americans from doing any business with Russia’s central bank as well as freezes its assets within the United States. The new measures also target the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. (CNBC / CNN)

2/ Russia is facing a financial meltdown as U.S. sanctions eat away at its economy. Putin held crisis talks with his top economic advisers after the ruble crashed to a record low against the U.S. dollar, the Russian central bank more than doubled interest rates to 20%, and the Moscow stock exchange was shuttered for the day in response to crushing Western sanctions imposed over the weekend as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (CNN)

3/ The U.S. will expel 12 Russian U.N. diplomats, accusing them of “espionage activities,” as Russia continues its attack on Ukraine. The State Department announced the expulsion in the hours after Moscow began its bombardment and invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s Ambassador to the U.N. responded by saying that Mills’ explanation for the expulsions was “not satisfactory.” (CNN)

4/ The California “freedom convoy” that was headed to Washington, DC disbanded after just one day. The convoy was expecting up to 2,000 truckers prior to its departure from Los Angeles on Friday, but it ultimately disbanded and cancelled all associated rallies on Saturday after only five rigs arrived in Las Vegas. (The Independent)

5/ Two Republican members of Congress participated in a white nationalist’s conference — and Mitt Romney called them “morons.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul A. Gosar attended and spoke at the event. Marjorie Taylor Green later defended attending the conference, which was organized by white nationalist Nick Fuentes, saying she didn’t know he had promoted white-nationalist ideas. (Washington Post)

6/ Trump appealed a ruling that would force him to testify in the New York Attorney General’s probe into his business. Lawyers for Trump and his two oldest children — Ivanka and Don Jr. — filed papers on Monday with the appellate division of the state’s trial court, seeking to overturn Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron’s Feb. 17 ruling. They argued that ordering the Trumps to testify violates their constitutional rights because their answers could be used in a parallel criminal investigation. (Associated Press)

poll/ 83% of Americans said they favored increased economic sanctions against Russia in response to the invasion, while 17% were opposed. 62% want to see the U.S. do more to stop Russian military action in Ukraine, while 38% say the country has already done enough. (CNN)

Day 401: "Consequences you have never seen in history."

1/ Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine along three main fronts, marking the biggest land war in Europe since World War II. In televised remarks, Putin announced the start of a “special military operation” in Ukraine, adding that his goal was to “demilitarize” but not occupy the country. Putin blamed Ukraine for the crisis and reiterated its demands to NATO that Ukraine is never allowed to join the transatlantic defense alliance. Minutes later, Russia began bombing Ukraine by air, land, and sea using 75 heavy and medium bombers and more than 160 missiles of various types. Biden condemned the “premeditated war,” saying “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.” Putin, casting aside international condemnation and sanctions, warned other countries not to interfere, saying “whoever tries to impede us, let alone create threats for our country and its people, must know that the Russian response will be immediate and lead to the consequences you have never seen in history.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared a state of emergency and called on Ukrainians to take up arms in defense. Western intelligence officials, meanwhile, expect Kyiv may fall to Russian forces within hours. The Pentagon ordered approximately 7,000 additional U.S. soldiers to Germany. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Associated Press / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

2/ Biden condemned “Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine,” announcing a second, larger package of “severe sanctions” intended to cripple Russia’s economy, military, and elites. Biden said Putin’s aggression “cannot go unanswered” and in response his administration would cut off Russia’s largest banks and companies from the western financial markets, freeze trillions of dollars in Russian assets, and restrict exports of technology to Russia. “Putin’s aggression in Ukraine will end up costing Russia dearly, economically and strategically,” Biden said. “We will make sure that Putin will be a pariah on the international stage.” The Treasury Department said the sanctions target 80% of all banking assets in Russia. In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the British government would expand its sanctions, freezing the assets of all major Russian banks and locking them out of London’s financial markets. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg / CNN)

3/ The United Nations Security Council will vote on a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion and call for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of its troops. Russia, a permanent member of the council, is expected to veto the resolution. China, meanwhile, has refused to condemn Russia’s actions or characterize the attack as an “invasion,” but instead blamed the U.S. for “hyping” the prospect of war. China could also veto the resolution. (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNBC)

4/ The White House science office will hold a first-of-its-kind event aimed at countering climate change disinformation and climate action delay tactics. The Office of Science and Technology Policy roundtable will bring together a group of 17 climate scientists, social scientists, engineers, and economists to discuss “why there is hesitancy to move ahead with effective action to reduce carbon emissions, to reduce greenhouse gases.” The Biden administration, meanwhile, is delaying new oil and gas leases and permits after a federal judge blocked federal agencies from using higher cost estimates of climate change because it would hike energy costs and hurt state revenues. On his first day in office, Biden restored the climate cost estimate to roughly $51 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions. The Trump administration had cut the number to roughly $7 or less per ton and were limited to the impacts in the U.S., rather than the world. (Washington Post / CNBC)

5/ Three former Minneapolis police officers were found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights by failing to intervene while Derek Chauvin murdered Floyd by pressing his knee on his neck for more than nine minutes. A federal jury determined that Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane had willfully violated Floyd’s civil rights by not providing medical care. Kueng and Thao are also charged with failing to intervene to stop Chauvin. They each face up to life in prison. A separate state trial is scheduled for June against the men on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. (NBC News / CBS News / Washington Post / New York Times)

6/ The Florida House republicans approved legislation that bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools that are not considered “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” The measure, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, now moves to the Senate, where a similar piece of legislation is already being debated. Florida Gov. DeSantis has signaled support for the bill, but has stopped short of saying he would sign it if it reached his desk. Biden previously called the bill “hateful,” and vowed to “fight for the protections and safety” of LGBTQ youths. (The Hill / NBC News)

7/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state health agencies to conduct “prompt and thorough” investigations into the use of gender-affirming care for transgender children. Abbott said the standard medical treatments provided to transgender adolescents should be classified as “child abuse” under existing state law, and that Texas doctors, nurses, teachers, and members of the public have an obligation to report the parents of transgender minors to state authorities if it appears they are undergoing “elective procedures for gender transitioning.” Abbott’s orders stem from a Feb. 18 legal opinion authored by state Attorney General Ken Paxton, which concluded that providing medical treatments like puberty-suppressing drugs and hormones to transgender teenagers could constitute child abuse under several provisions of state law. (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

8/ Texas is holding its midterm primary using legally disputed congressional maps. The Justice Department and civil rights groups have sued the state, saying Texas’s new congressional maps discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities and doesn’t reflect the past decade’s Latino population growth. The consolidated cases from civil rights groups and the federal government is not scheduled to go to trial until September, meaning the disputed congressional districts will likely be used when Texans elect their representatives in November. (Washington Post)

9/ A North Carolina court rejected the Republican-drawn map of the state’s 14 congressional districts. Instead, the court substituted its own version, which appears to split the districts roughly equally between Republicans and Democrats, with two seats seen as tossups. The rejected Republican-drawn map would have awarded the G.O.P. six seats to the Democrats four, leaving the remaining four as tossups. It’s the second time in less than two weeks that the Republican House map was invalidated as unconstitutionally partisan. (New York Times)

poll/ 17% of Americans say they are QAnon believers – up from 14% in March. (Public Religion Research Institute)

Day 400: "Ready to go."

1/ The Pentagon said 80% of the 190,000 Russian troops near Ukraine are now in combat-ready positions, suggesting that an invasion is most likely imminent. “They are literally ready to go now,” a senior defense official said. “It is our assessment that [Putin] is fully prepared to conduct a large-scale invasion,” adding: “That is a likely option.” The Ukrainian government, meanwhile, said it received intelligence that a Russian military offensive, including an attack on the capital, Kyiv, could come as soon as Wednesday night. Ukraine’s parliament voted to declare a state of emergency, and government leaders urged Ukrainian citizens to leave Russia immediately. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Biden said he would issue economic sanctions on the company building the gas pipeline connecting Russia to Germany. The move comes a day after Germany froze certification of the Kremlin-backed Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “These steps are another piece of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate,” Biden said in a statement. The move also reverses Biden’s decision last year to waive sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG, the company that built the $11 billion natural gas pipeline. (CNN / Politico / Axios / Bloomberg / New York Times)

  • To no one’s surprise, Trump praised Putin’s “genius” decision to declare two regions in Ukraine as independent states and then move Russian armed forces to them. Trump told a conservative podcaster in an interview that Putin had made a “very savvy,” “smart move” Trump added: “We could use that on our southern border.” (The Guardian / NBC News / Washington Post)

3/ Two prosecutors leading the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal probe into Trump and his business resigned from their positions. The resignation of Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz came following a monthlong pause in the presentation of evidence to a grand jury. The Manhattan district attorney’s office also changed hands in January, after the previous DA, Cyrus Vance, opted to not seek re-election. Vance was succeeded by Alvin Bragg, who reportedly has expressed doubts about moving forward with a case against Trump. The grand jury’s term expires in April. Separately, Trump’s longtime finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, asked a judge to throw out tax fraud charges against him, arguing that New York prosecutors targeted him as punishment because he wouldn’t flip on Trump. (New York Times / NBC News / Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

4/ Ivanka Trump is negotiating with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack about voluntarily appearing for an interview. Ivanka’s lawyers have been in talks with the committee since January, when the panel sent her a letter requesting her voluntary testimony. In a Jan. 20 letter to Ivanka, the committee said it had heard from Pence’s national security adviser about Trump’s refusal to condemn the violence, despite White House officials — including Ivanka, at least twice — urging him to do so. Rudy Giuliani, meanwhile, is expected to cooperate with the committee, and potentially reveal his contacts with Republican members of Congress involved in Trump’s effort to prevent certification of Biden’s election victory. (New York Times / CNN / The Guardian / CNBC)

5/ The Justice Department said it’s ending the Trump-era “China Initiative,” a national security program intended to counter China’s intelligence activities in the U.S. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said the decision was spurred by a recognition that the initiative’s name and approach fueled a “harmful perception” that the program discriminated against Asian-Americans. While the Justice Department credited the initiative with some major prosecution victories, including against Chinese spies working to steal U.S. technology, the program also targeted professors and researchers – often of Chinese descent – who allegedly didn’t disclose ties to Chinese institutions while applying for federal grants. The department will now pursue a broader effort to counter threats from adversarial nations including China, Russia, and Iran. (Bloomberg / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 26% of Americans say the U.S. should have a major role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, while 52% say the U.S. should have a minor role. 20% say the U.S. should have no role at all. (Associated Press)

Day 399: "Share the pain."

1/ Biden announced “the first tranche” of new sanctions against Russia after Putin ordered troops into two Moscow-backed breakaway regions in Ukraine to carry out what Putin called “peacekeeping functions.” The sanctions, aimed at punishing Russia for “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” would effectively cut off Russia from Western financing, and target Russian elites and their family in an effort to make sure people close to Putin “share the pain.” Biden condemned Putin’s “bizarre” recognition of two separatist “republics” in eastern Ukraine, warning that Putin is “setting up a rationale to take more territory by force.” Biden also announced that he was moving additional troops and equipment to “strengthen” U.S. allies in the Baltics, but made clear they would not be there to “fight Russia.” (NBC News / Politico / CNN / Bloomberg / New York Times / Axios / Washington Post / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a planned meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, saying “it does not make sense” in light of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Blinken had agreed to meet with Lavrov only if Russia did not invade Ukraine. “Now that we see the invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy,” Blinken said, adding that the U.S. would continue to pursue diplomacy if Russia takes “demonstrable steps to provide the international community with any degree of confidence that it is serious about de-escalating and finding a diplomatic solution.” (CNN / Axios / New York Times / Yahoo News)

3/ The three white men convicted on state charges in Georgia for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery were also found guilty of federal hate crimes. A federal jury has found Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William Bryan guilty of hate crimes and attempted kidnapping when they chased and killed Arbery. The McMichaels were also guilty of one count each of the use of a firearm to commit a crime. All three men had been convicted of state murder charges earlier this year and sentenced to life in prison, with Bryan eligible for parole after 30 years. The three now face up to life in prison for the federal crimes, ensuring that the defendants will receive significant prison time even if their state convictions are overturned or sentences reduced on appeal. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNBC / NPR)

  • 📌 Day 100: The Justice Department charged three white men with hate crimes for shooting and killing Ahmaud Arbery. A father and son armed themselves, got into a truck and chased and fatally shot the 25-year-old Black man after spotting him running in their Georgia neighborhood. Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory, and William “Roddie” Bryan where each charged with one count of interference with civil rights and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were also charged with using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. The Justice Department charged three white men with hate crimes for shooting and killing Ahmaud Arbery.

4/ A federal judge rejected Trump’s claim of “absolute immunity” from lawsuits accusing him of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, finding that there was evidence to suggest that he engaged in a conspiracy with organized groups to intimidate Congress into overturning the results of the 2020 election. Trump’s statements to his supporters before the riot “is the essence of civil conspiracy,” Judge Amit Mehta wrote in a 112-page ruling. Quoting repeatedly and at length from the Trump’s own public statements, Mehta said Trump’s rally speech “can reasonably be viewed as a call for collective action,” adding that Trump’s Twitter attack on Pence during the violence suggests a “tacit agreement” with those who stormed the Capitol. The three lawsuits against Trump were brought by Democratic House members and police officers seeking damages for physical and emotional injuries they incurred during “the first-ever presidential transfer of power marred by violence.” (Politico / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / CBS News / CNBC / Bloomberg)

5/ The National Archives confirmed that it found classified information in the 15 boxes of White House records that Trump took to Mar-a-Lago. In a letter to Rep. Carolyn Maloney, U.S. Archivist David Ferriero wrote that officials had “identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes” at Mar-a-Lago and confirmed that the matter has been sent to the Justice Department. The letter also indicated that the Archives “learned that additional paper records had been torn up by Trump were included in the records transferred,” despite the White House Counsel’s Office saying in 2018 “they would address the matter.” Ferriero added: “Although White House staff during the Trump Administration recovered and taped together some of the torn-up records, a number of other torn-up records that were transferred had not been reconstructed by the White House.” During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly railed against Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, insisting that she should be in jail. The FBI, however, did not recommend charges following an investigation. [Editor’s note: #butheremails] (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press)

Day 394: "Hysteria."

1/ Biden warned that “every indication” is that Putin will carry out an invasion of Ukraine “in the next several days.” Biden, maintaining there was a “diplomatic path” that avoids conflict, said the threat of a Russian invasion was “very high” and that the U.S. and its allies “have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in.” Biden’s comments came after Ukraine said Russian-backed separatists were responsible for “a big provocation” after artillery shells hit a kindergarten in eastern Ukraine. The separatists accused the Ukrainians of staging the attack – the sort of incident the U.S. has warned Russia might try to use to create “an invented justification for war.” Despite earlier reports that Putin may be pulling some troops back, U.S. officials said they believe Moscow has instead increased its troop presence to some 150,000 along the Ukrainian border – with 7,000 new troops arriving in recent days. Russia, meanwhile, denied that it intends to invade Ukraine, dismissing the reports as “hysteria.” (NBC News / New York Times / Politico / ABC News / Associated Press / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Trump, Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump must testify in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s civil probe of the Trump Organization, a state judge ruled. New York judge Arthur Engoron rejected their request to block James’s subpoenas for testimony and related documents, ordering the three to appear for depositions within 21 days. Trump was also ordered to comply with a subpoena for documents and other information within 14 days. James is investigating whether the Trump Organization inflated the valuations of real estate assets to obtain loans and tax benefits. In court filings, James has said her office has “uncovered substantial evidence establishing numerous misrepresentations in Trump’s financial statements provided to banks, insurers, and the Internal Revenue Service.” In February, Trump’s longtime accounting firm ended its relationship with the company and warned that financial statements from 2011 to 2020 “should no longer be relied upon.” Trump’s lawyers indicated that they would appeal the decision. (NBC News / NPR / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC)

  • NOTABLE: For Trump, a Perilous Exclamation Point to Years of Wealth Inflation. The former president has spent decades inventing facts and figures to suit his needs. Now, dropped by his accountants, he is making new claims. (New York Times)

3/ A House committee urged the General Services Administration to consider terminating the lease of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., citing Trump’s former accounting firm stating that a decade of the company’s financial statements cannot be relied on as accurate. In their letter to the GSA, the two top Democrats on the House Oversight Committee said the disclosures from Mazars warrant a closer look, pointing to a clause in the lease requiring that any information provided by the leaseholder to a bank “[…] shall be true and correct in all material respects.” Trump’s company, meanwhile, is preparing to sell the hotel lease soon, which is expected to net the Trump Organization a profit of more than $100 million. The House committee last year disclosed that the hotel lost more than $70 million from 2016 to 2020. (CNBC / Washington Post / The Hill)

4/ The Jan. 6 committee reportedly discussed issuing a subpoena for Ivanka Trump. Investigators last month requested Ivanka’s voluntary cooperation, saying she was “in direct contact” with Trump on the day of the riot and that she may have “direct knowledge” of his efforts to pressure Pence to block Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results. The prospect of a subpoena emerged in discussions about what options remained available after she appeared to refuse the request for cooperation. (The Guardian / Business Insider)

Day 393: "Give people a break."

1/ Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there’s been “no meaningful pullback” of Russian forces at the Ukrainian border, disputing the Kremlin’s claim that it was withdrawing some troops. Blinken added that Russian troops “remain massed in a very threatening way along Ukraine’s borders. It would be good if they follow through on what they said. But so far, we haven’t seen it.” The NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, agreed with the U.S. assessment, saying that Russia remains capable “of a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine without any warning time.” U.S. analysts estimate that more than 150,000 Russian troops have amassed near the Ukrainian border. (New York Times / Politico)

2/ Biden rejected Trump’s claim that his White House visitor logs were subject to executive privilege, directing the National Archives to the send Trump administration logs to the Jan. 6 committee. In a letter to the National Archives, White House counsel Dana Remus said Biden had determined that executive privilege “is not in the best interests of the United States” and “in light of the urgency” of the committee’s work, the Archives should provide the records to the committee within 15 days. Trump was trying to block the release of the records, which show appointment information about who entered the White House on the day of the insurrection. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News / CNN)

3/ The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed six more people tied to the plan to use false slates of electors to help Trump stay in office after losing the 2020 election. The committee subpoenaed two of Trump’s campaign aides and Republican Party officials from Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. All six are ordered to provide documents to the committee by March 1, and to submit to questioning from March 8 to March 15. (New York Times / Bloomberg)

4/ The EPA will reinstate California’s authority to adopt its own, stricter tailpipe emission standards. The Biden administration is expected to finalize the waiver within days, which would reverse a Trump-era rollback. In 2019, the Trump administration revoked California’s decades-old waiver that allowed it to set stricter air pollution standards for cars and light trucks than those required by the federal government. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia – representing more than a third of the U.S. vehicle market – follow California standards. (E&E News / Bloomberg / CNN / New York Times)

5/ Trump’s former Interior Department secretary misused his position to advance a development project in his hometown and then lied about it to an ethics official. Inspector General Mark Greenblatt’s report found that Ryan Zinke repeatedly broke federal ethics rules by improperly participating in real estate negotiations, including directing his staff to assist on the project. Despite sending dozens of emails and text messages and meeting with developers in his office at Interior Department, Zinke told an ethics official in 2018 that he had done nothing improper. The Justice Department declined to bring charges. (Washington Post / Associated Press)

6/ The CDC is expected to loosen its indoor masking guidelines as a growing number of states have eased mask mandates following the Omicron wave. Speaking during a White House coronavirus task force briefing, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the agency was working on guidance that was “relevant” and that it would be based on the level of severe disease and hospitalizations in a given community. “We want to give people a break from things like mask wearing when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen,” Walensky said. The U.S. reported an average of about 136,000 new daily Covid-19 cases over the last week – down 83% from the record high average set on Jan. 15. About 85,000 people with Covid-19 remain hospitalized nationwide – down from a peak of nearly 160,000 on Jan. 20. Biden, meanwhile, is set to deliver his State of the Union address on March 1 and is expected to lay out a new nationwide strategy to move past the pandemic. (New York Times / ABC News / NBC News / Washington Post / CNBC)

poll/ 49% of voters want states to rescind mask mandates, while 43% say it’s too early. 65% of Democrats think it’s too early for states to rescind mask mandates, compared to 20% of Republicans and 42% of Independents. (Politico)

Day 392: "Clear and present risk."

1/ Biden warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine “remains distinctly possible” despite Putin’s claim that Moscow had withdrawn some troops from the border and that he was open to renewed talks to end the standoff with the West. Biden said the U.S. has not verified Russia’s claim that it has begun to withdraw troops, saying its forces “remain very much in a threatening position.” NATO added that it had not seen “any de-escalation on the ground” by the Russian military. Earlier in the day, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he saw reason for “cautious optimism” after Putin said Russia would “partially pull back troops.” Biden vowed to “give the diplomacy every chance” to prevent an invasion, but warned that if Russia does invade the “human” and “strategic” costs would be “immense” and an attack “would be met with overwhelming international condemnation.” Following a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Putin said Russia would continue pushing for a rollback of NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe and a guarantee that Ukraine would never join the alliance. The U.S. and its allies have rejected those demands, while Scholz suggested that NATO’s expansion was “not on the agenda” as a way of defusing the tensions. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / NBC News / Associated Press / CNN / CNBC)

2/ NOAA reported that U.S. shorelines are projected to rise by as much as a foot over the next 30 years as climate change accelerates, leading to a “dramatic increase” in exposure to flooding for millions of Americans. “Sea level rise driven by global climate change is a clear and present risk to the United States, now and for the foreseeable future,” the report said. Rick Spinrad, the NOAA administrator, said the U.S. “is expected to experience as much sea level rise in 30 years as we saw over the span of the entire last century,” noting that while “current and future emissions matter,” U.S. coasts will rise “no matter what we do about emissions.” (Politico / Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press)

3/ Senate Republicans boycotted and delayed a Senate Banking Committee vote on Biden’s five nominees to the Federal Reserve because one of the candidates pledged to focus on the ways climate change threatens financial stability and the economy. In order to prevent Sarah Bloom Raskin’s advancement, Republicans held up the vote on all five nominees, including Fed Chair Jerome Powell for a second term and Governor Lael Brainard to be the Fed’s No. 2. Biden nominated Raskin to serve as vice chairwoman for bank supervision. (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Senate confirmed Dr. Robert Califf as FDA commissioner, which has been without a permanent leader for more than a year. The final vote was 50-46 for Califf, with five Democrats opposing him because of his prior work with the pharmaceutical industry and what they called the FDA’s lax record on opioids. The White House relied on six Republicans to move Califf across the finish line. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC)

5/ A 30th House Democrat will not seek re-election in 2022, adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its majority in the House. Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice is the latest lawmaker to announce that she won’t seek re-election. In total, 22 House Democrats have announced they will retire and 8 other are seeking another offices, compared with 14 Republicans. (NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / Axios)

poll/ 28% of Democrats said the party didn’t take advantage of having control of the White House and Congress in 2021, while 47% blamed Republicans for derailing their plans, and 25% said the party had accomplished its goals. (The Hill)

Day 391: "On the edge of a precipice."

1/ The White House said it believes Russia could invade Ukraine at “essentially any time,” and Britain’s prime minister said Europe is “on the edge of a precipice.” Russia, meanwhile, left the door open to further negotiations with Russia’s foreign minister suggesting that talks “are far from being exhausted” but “can’t go on indefinitely.” The Kremlin has continued to press Ukraine to drop its bid to join NATO, and on Monday, Ukraine’s president didn’t rule out the possibility, saying: “Maybe the question of open doors is for us like a dream.” On Sunday, Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain suggested that Ukraine was willing to be “flexible” over its goal to join the alliance in order to avoid war. The U.S., meanwhile, evacuated its diplomats and military advisers from Kyiv and is moving all remaining staffers to a city near the Polish border, citing the “dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces.” Russian has amassed more than 130,000 troops outside Ukraine – about 60% of its ground combat forces and more than half of its air power. Russia has also moved some long-range artillery and rocket launchers into firing position. The Pentagon ordered 3,000 additional troops to Poland, bringing the total number of troops sent to Europe in the past two weeks to 5,000. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / CBS News / ABC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Reuters / Politico / Associated Press / CNBC / CNN)

2/ The Western U.S. and northern Mexico are experiencing their driest period in at least 1,200 years, according to a new study. Scientists using tree ring data analyzed droughts in southwestern North America found that 2000-21 was the driest 22-year period since 800 A.D., which is as far back as the data goes. The last comparable multidecade megadrought occurred in the 1500s. The current drought is 5% drier than the old record. The study also calculated that 42% of the current megadrought can be attributed to human-caused climate change. (NPR / New York Times / Associated Press / CNBC)

3/ Trump’s long-time accounting firm cut ties with the Trump Organization last week, saying the annual financial statements it prepared for Trump from 2011 to 2020 “should not be relied upon.” In a Feb. 9 letter to the Trump Organization, Mazars USA said given what it called “the totality of circumstances,” it could no longer stand behind the financial statements it prepared for Trump. Mazars noted that while they had not “as a whole” found “material discrepancies” between the information the Trump Organization provided and the actual value of Trump’s assets, the statements should no longer be viewed as reliable. Mazars cited a “non-waivable conflict of interest” and that they can no longer do any new work for the company. The financial statements, which Trump used to secure loans, are at the center of two investigations by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the office of the New York attorney general into whether Trump used the documents to defraud his lenders. (New York Times / NBC News / CNN)

4/ Rudy Giuliani is in discussions with the House Jan. 6 committee about testifying. The committee subpoenaed Giuliani last month for documents and testimony. Rep. Adam Kinzinger said he “fully” expects Giuliani to cooperate, while one person familiar with the matter said Giuliani was negotiating whether to give an informal interview or a formal deposition, as well as how much information he might try to shield from the committee by invoking executive privilege or attorney-client privilege with Trump. (New York Times / NBC News)

5/ The lawyer who helped craft Trump’s false argument that the 2020 election was stolen is attempting to shield more than 10,000 pages of emails from congressional investigators, citing attorney client or attorney work-product privileges. Last month, a judge ordered John Eastman to respond to the Jan. 6 committee’s subpoena of his Chapman University email account, which contains more than 94,000 pages of emails. In a court filing, Eastman said he had reviewed about 46,000 pages and provided about 8,000 to the committee, while holding back more than 10,000 pages he calls privileged material. (Politico / CNN)

poll/ 45% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters want the party renominate Biden in 2024, while 51% preferred a different candidate. 50% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters, meanwhile, want their party to nominate Trump again, while 49% want a different candidate. (CNN)

Day 387: "On fire."

1/ U.S. inflation accelerated to 7.5% in January compared with a year ago – the steepest year-over-year increase since February 1982. It was the eighth straight month that inflation has been above 5% despite claims by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that inflation would only be “transitory.” On a monthly basis, prices rose 0.6% from December to January. Over the past 12 months, the U.S. economy has added nearly 7 million jobs while average hourly earnings have climbed 5.7%. On an annual basis, however, inflation-adjusted average hourly earnings fell 1.7% in January from a year earlier, marking the 10th straight decline. Biden, meanwhile, said “while today’s report is elevated, forecasters continue to project inflation easing substantially by the end of 2022” and that there are “signs that we will make it through this challenge.” (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / CNBC / Politico / NBC News / CNN)

2/ Following the inflation report, Joe Manchin assailed the prospect of Biden’s roughly $2 trillion social and climate package, saying Congress should not add “more fuel to an economy already on fire.” Manchin effectively killed the package in December after announcing that he would not support the legislation, citing concerns about inflation and the cost of the bill. “It’s beyond time for the Federal Reserve to tackle this issue head on,” Manchin said. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, meanwhile, said he supports raising interest rates by a full percentage point by July, calling it a “sensible response to a surprise inflationary shock.” (Bloomberg / The Hill / Business Insider)

3/ White House call records do not reflect the calls made to or from Trump during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. While there is no evidence that any official records were tampered with or deleted, the House committee investigating the attack said they’re finding few records of calls between Trump and lawmakers that have been publicly reported in the hundreds of records from the National Archives turned over after the Supreme Court ruled against Trump’s efforts to block their release. The committee, however, is still waiting for additional records from the National Archives, and from phone companies that have been subpoenaed for the personal cellphone records for more than 100 people, including Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle. (New York Times / CNN)

4/ Trump reportedly tried to flush documents he had ripped into pieces down the White House toilet, according to White House staff who periodically found Trump’s toilet clogged with paper. Trump, meanwhile, denied that he may have flushed official documents down a White House toilet, calling the allegations “another fake story” that was “categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book.” The details of Trump flushing documents down a White House toilet come from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s forthcoming book, “Confidence Man.” Earlier this month, the National Archives said Trump had ripped up some White House documents while he was in office. The agency also recently asked the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s handling of White House records after finding documents clearly marked as classified, including documents at the “top secret” level, in the boxes that Trump took from the White House when he left office. (Axios / Washington Post / New York Times /Politico / NBC News / Rolling Stone)

5/ The Biden administration will allocate $5 billion over five years to build half a million electric vehicle charging stations – five times the current number. The money, was approved as part of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, will fund the creation of a “network of EV charging stations along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, particularly along the Interstate Highway System.” (Washington Post / CNBC / Reuters / The Verge / Wall Street Journal)

6/ The Senate passed legislation to end the use of forced arbitration to resolve workplace sexual harassment and assault claims. The reform guarantees that victims of workplace sexual harassment or assault are free to pursue lawsuits in court. More than 60 million Americans are subjected to third-party arbitration clauses in employment contracts. The bipartisan legislation was passed unanimously by a voice vote and now heads to Biden’s desk to be signed into law. (CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Politico)

7/ Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene accused Nancy Pelosi of leading the “gazpacho police,” apparently confusing the cold tomato-based soup with the “Gestapo,” the Nazi secret police. During an interview, Greene said Pelosi was using Capitol police as “political pawns” and “sending them into our offices” to “investigate” – referring to a complaint from Rep. Troy Nehls, who claimed that Capitol Police entered his office. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger, however, clarified that an officer entered Nehls’ office because the door had been “left open and unsecured, without anyone inside” after hours. (Washington Post / NBC News / Bloomberg / The Hill)

poll/ 56% of Americans said they have little or no confidence that American elections reflect the will of the people – up from 52% in September and 40% in January 2021. (CNN)

Day 386: "A new phase."

1/ New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois will ease mask requirements as the Omicron wave recedes, joining New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Oregon in lifting mandates. New York and Illinois will drop their mask-or-vaccine mandates for indoor businesses, while Massachusetts will end its statewide school mandate. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said it was time to “let counties, cities and businesses to make their own decisions on what they want to do with respect to ‘mask or the vaccination’ requirement,” citing “a new phase in this pandemic.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, said Americans living in states that have lifted their mask mandates should still follow CDC guidance “because the data is changing. The science is changing.” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky added that despite encouraging trends in coronavirus case rates in several states, the country as a whole is “not there yet.” Instead, Walensky said, “We continue to recommend masking in areas of high and substantial transmission. That’s much of the country right now, in public indoor settings.” The seven-day average of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has decreased by about 44% from the previous week, while hospitalizations have dropped by about 25%, and deaths, which lag behind those indicators, have increased by about 3%. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

2/ The National Archives asked the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s handling of White House records. The referral came after it was revealed that Trump took 15 boxes of documents to Mar-a-Lago instead of handing them over to the agency, and that Trump had turned over other White House records that had been torn up. Archives officials contacted the Justice Department after suspecting that Trump had possibly violated laws concerning the handling of government documents, including classified ones. The Presidential Records Act requires that presidential records be immediately transferred to the agency when a president leaves office. Meanwhile, former Trump White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman claimed that Trump would sometimes eat torn-up documents, saying that “After Michael Cohen left the office and I walked into the Oval, Donald, in my view, was chewing what he had just torn up.” (Washington Post / Axios / The Independent)

3/ Rudy Giuliani and other Trump legal advisors asked a Michigan prosecutor to hand over the county’s voting machines to the Trump team. James Rossiter, the prosecuting attorney for Antrim County in northern Michigan, said Giuliani and his colleagues made the request during a call after the county initially misreported its election results in favor of Biden. Officials later said that Trump had beaten Biden by more than 3,000 votes in Antrim, which was confirmed by a hand recount of the paper ballots. The call came around Nov. 20, 2020, when Trump’s legal team was searching for evidence to support his false claims that the election had been stolen. (Washington Post / CNBC)

4/ The House Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed Peter Navarro, Trump’s former trade adviser. The committee said it wanted to speak to Navarro because of reports that Navarro may have worked with Stephen Bannon and others to help develop a plan to delay the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Navarro has previously publicly said that Trump and “more than 100” members of Congress were “on board with the strategy.” (CNN)

5/ The House approved legislation to keep the government funded through mid-March. The Senate plans to approve the plan by a Feb. 18 deadline, temporarily averting a shutdown as lawmakers seek a longer-term agreement on spending for the remainder of the year. (New York Times / CNBC)

6/ The House passed legislation overhauling the Postal Service’s finances and operations. The bill, which passed with bipartisan support, would relieve the mail agency of tens of billions of dollars in liabilities that leaders said prevented it from modernizing and providing efficient service. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it’s also expected to pass bipartisan support. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

7/ The White House approved a plan for U.S. troops in Poland to help Americans flee Ukraine if Russia invades. If U.S. troops are needed to support an evacuation, the 82nd Airborne Division would set up checkpoints for medical screening, shelters, and processing areas where Americans fleeing Ukraine could go. U.S. forces are not currently authorized to enter Ukraine if a war breaks out. The effort comes as the Biden administration tried avoid the kind of chaotic withdrawal conducted in Afghanistan last year. (Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CNN)

Day 385: "A disservice."

1/ The House is scheduled to vote on a short-term funding bill to avert a shutdown and keep the federal government funded through March 11 while talks on a broader spending package continue. Funding is currently set to expire on February 18. Once the House passes the stopgap bill, the Senate would need to approve it before it can be sent to Biden to be signed into law. House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro said the stopgap bill is needed to allow time for more negotiations between Republicans and Democrats on a complete $1.5 trillion appropriations package that would keep the government funded at least through September. (Bloomberg / CNN / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Politico)

2/ The Supreme Court allowed a congressional map drawn by Alabama Republicans to remain in place despite a lower court saying the map violated the Voting Rights Act. A lower court had ordered Alabama Republicans to redraw the map because it resulted in one congressional district with a majority of Black voters even though they make up more than a quarter of the state’s population. “Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress,” the lower court wrote, ruling that the state had likely violated the federal Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote, however, means the upcoming elections will be conducted under the current map, drawn by Alabama’s Republican-controlled legislature. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal justices in dissent, who called the order “a disservice to Black Alabamians” who under Supreme Court precedent “have had their electoral power diminished — in violation of a law this Court once knew to buttress all of American democracy.” (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Mitch McConnell criticized the Republican National Committee for censuring two Republican lawmakers who serve on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. In remarks at the Capitol, McConnell called the attack a “violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.” On Friday, the RNC approved a resolution accusing Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of participating in the “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.” Cheney and Kinzinger are the only GOP members of the House panel. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)

4/ Biden’s top science adviser resigned after he acknowledged he mistreated demeaned his subordinates. Eric Lander, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, apologized in an email to his staff after an internal review by the White House found credible evidence that he bullied staff in violation of the White House’s “safe and respectful workplace policy.” Lander is the first member of Biden’s Cabinet to resign. (Politico / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)

5/ Biden threatened to “bring an end” to the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine. The pipeline, however, isn’t under U.S. control and Biden didn’t explain how he would keep that promise. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined to commit to ending the pipeline if an invasion moves ahead. Although the pipeline between Russia and Germany was finished last September, it hasn’t transported any actual gas yet. (NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

6/ The IRS suspended its plan to use a private facial-recognition system to authenticate taxpayers’ identities for online access following criticism from privacy advocates and lawmakers over concerns about the collection of biometric data. The agency originally planned to start using the third-party service this summer, called ID.me, which would require all taxpayers to submit a “video selfie” to access their tax records and other services. The IRS said it would “transition away” from the facial recognition service over the coming weeks. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ Fewer than 1 in 5 people in the U.S. say the country is doing “the right amount to combat climate change.” 64% of Democrats and 26% of Republicans say the Biden administration is doing too little to address climate change. (Politico)

Day 384: "Legitimate political discourse."

1/ Jill Biden said that two years of tuition-free community college – her signature legislative initiative – is “no longer” part of the Build Back Better agenda, telling a group of educators that she is “disappointed” that the provision was dropped because of necessary “compromises.” In October, Joe Biden told lawmakers that community college would likely not be in the bill. Democrats also didn’t include it in the roughly $2 trillion version that passed the House last year. “Congress hasn’t passed the Build Back Better legislation yet. And free community college is no longer part of that package,” the first lady said during an appearance in Washington before the Community College National Legislative Summit. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

2/ New Jersey and Delaware will no longer require students and school employees to wear masks. New Jersey’s new policy will take effect the second week of March, while Delaware’s indoor mask mandate for public and private K-12 schools and child care facilities will end on March 31. The Democratic governors of New York and Connecticut also said they’re re-evaluating school mask mandates. The White House, meanwhile, said its “advice to every school district is to abide by public health guidelines. It continues to be at this point that the CDC is advising that masks can delay, reduce transmission.” (New York Times / NPR / CNN)

3/ Biden’s top science adviser bullied and demeaned subordinates, and created a hostile work environment, according to a White House investigation. Eric Lander, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, apologized for his behavior following the two-month investigation, which found “credible evidence” that he created a toxic work environment. While swearing in political appointees on Inauguration Day, Biden pledged to fire anyone who disrespected their colleagues “On the spot. No ifs, ands or buts.” The White House declined to comment when asked whether Biden would seek Lander’s resignation. Lander, however, promised “check-ins” to ensure “that every employee knows how to report conduct that concerns them.” (Politico / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The North Carolina Supreme Court blocked the state’s new Republican-drawn congressional map, ruling 4-3 that they violate the state constitution. The new map could have given Republicans control of 11 of the state’s 14 districts and would likely have helped Republicans gain at least two seats in the state’s delegation. The state Supreme Court gave the General Assembly until Feb. 18 to submit a new redistricting proposal. (Politico / CNN)

5/ Pence rejected Trump’s claim that he could have “overturned” the results of the 2020 election, saying Trump is “wrong” and that the Republican Party needs accept the outcome. His comments came after Trump called on the Jan. 6 committee to investigate why Pence didn’t “overturned the election,” asserting that Pence had the “right” to do so. Speaking at the Federalist Society Florida Chapters conference, Pence called it “un-American” to suggest one person could have decided the outcome. The Republican Party, meanwhile, declared the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol “legitimate political discourse” in a resolution censuring GOP Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for participating on the House Jan. 6 committee. (CNN / ABC News / New York Times / NPR / NBC News / Washington Post)

6/ The National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence that should have been turned over to the agency when he left the White House. The Presidential Records Act requires the preservation of memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes, and other written communications related to a president’s official duties. The documents from Trump’s Florida resort included letters from Kim Jong Un, which Trump once described as “love letters,” as well as a letter from Obama. The Archives said Trump’s representatives are “continuing to search” for additional records. (Washington Post)

Day 380: "Amateur hour."

1/ The U.S. accused Russia of planning to fabricate a video showing an attack by Ukraine on Russia or Russian-speaking people as a pretext for an invasion. Defense Department press secretary John Kirby said the scheme to stage and film a fabricated attack, which could include “graphic scenes of a staged false explosion with corpses,” would be used to accuse Ukraine of conducting a genocide against Russian-speaking people. A senior Biden administration official said Russian intelligence is intimately involved in the effort, and that Moscow has already recruited people who would be involved in the fake attack. The White House declassified the intelligence to deny Russia the chance to use the video as a reason to mount an invasion. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / ABC News / CNN)

2/ The leader of the Islamic State killed himself during an overnight raid by U.S. Special Operations commandos in Syria. Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi detonated an explosive, killing himself and 12 other people, including his wife and children, as U.S. forces approached with the intention of capturing him. Biden said that the raid serves as a “testament to America’s reach and capability to take out terrorist threats,” calling al-Quaryshi’s decision to detonate an explosive “a final act of desperate cowardice, with no regard to the lives of his own family or others the building.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / Politico / NBC News / USA Today)

3/ Less than three weeks before the Capitol riot, Trump’s allies circulated a memo arguing that he should use the National Security Agency and Defense Department to find evidence of election fraud and foreign interference. The plan, according to the memo, called for Trump to appoint three men to lead an effort to seize and analyze “NSA unprocessed raw signals data,” and then declassify the purported evidence to help Trump win. There is no evidence of widespread fraud or indication that foreign interference helped Biden win. One informal adviser to Trump at the time called the effort “amateur hour.” In a separate memo, authored just over two weeks after Election Day, lawyers working with the Trump campaign laid out the rationale for creating alternate slates of electors as part of an effort to buy time to overturn the results. (Washington Post / New York Times)

4/ Rudy Giuliani was unmasked as a contestant on “The Masked Singer,” prompting hosts Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke to walk out in protest. Giuliani is currently being sued for more than $1.3 billion in damages by Dominion Voting Systems for carrying out “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion” made up of “demonstrably false” allegations intended to promote the “false preconceived narrative” that the election was stolen from Trump and to enrich himself through legal fees and his podcast. Giuliani is also the subject of a federal investigation into his dealings in Ukraine, including efforts to dig up damaging information on Trump’s political opponents. It’s unclear what costume Giuliani was wearing or what song he was singing and dancing to. (Deadline / Rolling Stone / A.V. Club / Intelligencer)

Day 379: "Ambitious but doable."

1/ Biden directed the Pentagon to deploy more than 3,000 American troops to Eastern Europe to reinforce NATO allies as Russia continues its military buildup near Ukraine’s borders. Roughly 2,000 troops will be going to Poland, while another 1,000 already based in Germany will be deployed to Romania. “These forces are not going to fight in Ukraine,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said. “We are making it clear that we’re going to be prepared to defend our NATO allies if it comes to that.” The administration, however, did not rule out sending additional troops to Europe, and still has 8,500 American troops on “high alert” for possible deployment if NATO activates its military response force. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / USA Today / CNN / NBC News)

2/ The EPA urged Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reconsider his plan to spend up to $11.3 billion on as many as 165,000 new mostly gas-powered delivery vehicles, citing the damage the polluting vehicles could inflict on the environment and public health. DeJoy oversaw the agency’s decision to award the contract and signed off on a plan for limiting just 10% of the new trucks to be electric. The new, gas-powered trucks are expected average 8.6 miles per gallon – a 0.4 mpg improvement over the current fleet, which is nearly 30 years old and well below the industry standard for new service vehicles. DeJoy, however, justified the plan, claiming that the Postal Service couldn’t afford to buy more electric vehicles and that the current charging infrastructure was insufficient despite the Postal Service’s own analysis showing that 95% of mail routes could be electrified. Postal Service vehicles make up a third of the government’s fleet. (Washington Post)

3/ Biden relaunched the White House’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, which aims to reduce the death rate from the disease by 50% over the next 25 years. Biden called the goal “ambitious but doable,” noting that the death rate has fallen by about 25% in the past 20 years. The initiative promises improvements in prevention, detection, and treatment, but does not contain new money for the effort. In 2016, Congress authorized $1.8 billion for the program, which still has two years of funding left. Biden called on Congress to fund the effort, as well as his 2021 proposal to create a new health research agency, dubbed the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. (Washington Post / CNN)

4/ A member of the House Jan. 6 committee accused Trump of tampering with witnesses by promising to pardon those involved in the attack if reelected in 2024. “Absolutely,” Rep. Pete Aguilar said when asked if Trump was tampering with witnesses by discussing potential pardons. “And I think the question is more from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, you know where – where are they? Do they support this? When is enough enough?” Trump has repeatedly promised in recent days to pardon the Capitol rioters if he wins a second term as president. Between Jan. 6 and Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021, Trump considered issuing a blanket pardon for all participants in the Jan. 6 riot, reportedly making three calls to an adviser to ask: “Do you think I should pardon them? Do you think it’s a good idea? Do you think I have the power to do it?” (CNN / Politico / Talking Points Memo)

5/ A witness during Trump’s first impeachment sued Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and two former Trump White House staffers, alleging that the group conspired to intimidate him from testifying and later retaliated against him. Retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman filed a civil lawsuit in federal court, accusing the defendants of engaging in an “intentional, concerted campaign of unlawful intimidation and retaliation” against him for testifying before Congress in 2019. Vindman alleges that the campaign was “designed to inflict maximum damage by creating and spreading disinformation” that would be repeated on Fox News and other right-wing outlets, which “destroyed” his ability to continue his career in national security and led to his retirement from the military. During Trump’s 2019 impeachment trial, Vindman testified about a July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son Hunter and his ties to Ukrainian businesses. (NPR / CNN / NBC News / Washington Post)

6/ More than 100 far-right candidates are running for political office as Republicans, according to the Anti-Defamation League. At least a dozen candidates reportedly had explicit connections to “white supremacists, anti-government extremists and members of the far-right Proud Boys.” Meanwhile, the eight Republicans seeking re-election who backed Trump’s impeachment or voted to convict him have raised more money than their GOP challengers. (The Guardian / NBC News)

Day 378: "Dead."

1/ Joe Manchin called Biden’s $2 trillion Build Back Better plan “dead.” When asked about the legislation, Manchin replied: “What Build Back Better bill? It’s dead.” Manchin, however, has said he remains open to a smaller bill aimed at reducing carbon emissions, creating free pre-Kindergarten programs, and increasing federal health care subsidies, but that he hasn’t yet taken part in any negotiations with the White House. In December, Manchin abruptly announced his opposition to the 10-year, roughly $2 trillion social and climate spending package, which had already passed the House. (Associated Press / Bloomberg / NBC News)

2/ At least 4 million people quit or changed jobs in December – down from last month’s all-time high but still near record levels. Job openings totaled nearly 10.9 million in December – more than 4.6 million above the total unemployment level. The White House, meanwhile, warned that Friday’s job report data for last month could overstate the number of unemployed people, saying the January surveys were taken at the height of Covid-19 absences stemming from the holidays. (Washington Post / CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The U.S. daily death toll from Covid-19 rose to an average of more than 2,400 fatalities over the previous seven days – up 39% over the past two weeks and the highest level since mid-February last year. The last time U.S. Covid-19 deaths were this high, vaccines weren’t yet widely available. (CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Pfizer asked the FDA to authorize their Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years. The FDA had urged Pfizer to apply for emergency use authorization for their two-dose vaccine now so that young children would be eligible for a booster by the time the results from the three-dose trial are available. In a clinical trial, the two-dose regimen, while safe, failed to produce the expected immunity in 2- to 5-year-olds in a clinical trial, although it did so for the babies up to age 2. Federal regulators, however, believe that two doses should provide enough protection against the Omicron variant. Data on a third shot is not expected to be available until at least late March. The FDA will convene a panel of independent researchers and physicians in mid-February to review the data, potentially making the first vaccine for young children by the end of the month. The Pfizer shots contain one-tenth of the dose given to adults. There are more than 19 million Americans under 5 years old. (CNN / NBC News / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

5/ Trump was directly involved in plans to use the federal government to seize voting machines after he lost the 2020 election. New accounts show that in one instance, Trump directed Rudy Giuliani to ask the Department of Homeland Security if it could legally take control of voting machines in key swing states. In another instance, Trump asked Attorney General William Barr about the possibility of whether the Justice Department could seize voting machines. Homeland Security’s acting deputy secretary, Ken Cuccinelli, said he didn’t have the authority to seize voting machines, and Barr reportedly immediately shot down the idea. Additionally, Trump’s advisers – retired Col. Phil Waldron and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn – drafted two versions of an executive order to seize voting machines: one would have directed the Department of Defense to do so and the other the Department of Homeland Security. (New York Times / CNN / HuffPost)

6/ Trump called on the Jan. 6 committee to investigate why Pence did not reject electoral college votes from several states that Biden won. Despite no evidence of widespread fraud that would have changed the election results in any of the states that Biden won, Trump nevertheless suggested that Pence “could have sent the votes back to various legislators for reassessment after so much fraud and irregularities were found.” In the same statement, Trump claimed that the House committee examining the Jan. 6 insurrection was filled with “political hacks, liars, and traitors.” Meanwhile, a second top aide to Pence met with the committee. Greg Jacob’s appearance comes after Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, sat for an interview last week. And, former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany turned over text messages to the committee. (Washington Post / CNN / ABC News)

7/ Some of the Trump White House documents preserved by the National Archives had been ripped up and then taped back together. Despite the Presidential Records Act, which requires the preservation of documents related to a president’s official duties, Trump was known for tearing presidential records into pieces and tossing them on the floor. The Archives, which has handed over the documents to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, said “some of the Trump presidential records received by the National Archives and Records Administration included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump.” Meanwhile, Trump’s political action committee donated $1 million to a nonprofit where his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is a senior partner. The donation was made weeks after the House voted to establish a select committee to investigate the Capitol attack. (CNN / Washington Post / NBC News)

8/ New York Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed the General Services Administration for information about Trump’s D.C. hotel lease. The inquiry seeks information related to Trump’s company’s successful bid to turn a historic D.C. post office into a hotel and whether he inflated his net worth to secure the lease. (Washington Post)

Day 377: "Alarming."

1/ A bipartisan group of governors told Biden that the country needs to “move away from the pandemic.” The daily average of U.S. cases remains near 519,000 – more than double from last winter – while daily deaths are averaging more than 1,000 per day. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said the U.S. should move toward treating the virus as endemic, asking Biden to “help give us clear guidelines on how we can return to a greater state of normality” in order to “move beyond the pandemic.” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who also attended the meeting, added that “We’re not going to manage this to zero. We have to learn how to live with this.” White House officials, meanwhile, have reportedly grown so frustrated with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, saying he “is taking too passive a role in what may be the most defining challenge to the administration.” (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ The FDA granted full approval to Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. Moderna’s vaccine, which was previously available under emergency use authorization, is the second coronavirus vaccine to get full FDA approval. (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times)

3/ Biden’s nominee to lead the FDA doesn’t have the Senate votes needed to give the agency its first commissioner in more than a year. Biden nominated Robert Califf more than two months ago. Califf lead the FDA during the Obama administration, but the former commissioner has reportedly struggled to secure the support of the 50 senators needed over concerns about his past ties to the drug industry and regulatory track record on opioids. Five Democrats have signaled they’ll oppose him, while four Republicans have publicly backed his candidacy. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, indicated that she would support Califf’s nomination after he agreed to not seek employment or compensation from any pharmaceutical or medical device company that he interacts with “for four years” following his time in government. (Politico)

4/ The EPA will resume enforcing limits on the release of mercury from coal-fired power plants. The Trump administration reversed the 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in May 2020, which were first implemented during the Obama administration, claiming they were not “appropriate and necessary” because they were too burdensome to industry. The EPA, however, determined that it was “appropriate and necessary” to limit mercury and other toxic air pollutants from power plants using the Obama-era method of measuring the impact of regulation, concluding that the costs to industry is offset by public health benefits, such as prevention of disease and premature deaths. The EPA is expected to start enforcing the rule later this year and said it’s also examining whether to make the rules more stringent. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

5/ Trump suggested that he’ll pardon the rioters charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol if he is elected president in 2024. “If I run and I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly,” Trump said during a Saturday rally in Conroe, Texas. “We will treat them fairly, and if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.” More than 725 people had been arrested in connection with the attack, with 165 people pleading guilty to various federal charges, and at least 70 receiving sentences or having their cases adjudicated. Five people also died in events related to the attack. It’s unclear, however, whether Trump’s suggestion also included those who asserted their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the House Jan. 6 select committee investigation. Separately, Trump released a statement Sunday falsely claiming that a bipartisan group of lawmakers working to reform the Electoral Count Act proves his assertion that Pence had the “right” to overturn the 2020 election. “Actually, what they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away. Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!” Trump wrote. The White House, meanwhile, said that Trump’s assertion that Pence could have “overturned” the election shows “how unfit” he is to hold office. (Washington Post / CNN / Associated Press / NBC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / The Hill)

6/ Atlanta’s top prosecutor asked the FBI for security assistance a day after Trump called on his supporters to hold “the biggest protests we’ve ever had” in places where he is being investigated. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is weighing whether to bring election-related criminal charges against Trump for his “attempts to improperly influence the administration of Georgia’s 2020 General Election,” and has convened a special grand jury to hear evidence in the case in May. At a Saturday rally, Trump told supporters that “if these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had, in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere.” Willis asked the FBI to conduct a risk assessment of the Fulton County Courthouse and Government Center and provide “protective resources to include intelligence and federal agents” following Trump’s “alarming” rhetoric. The Manhattan District Attorney and the New York state Attorney General’s offices are conducting parallel investigations into Trump’s business practices. (Washington Post / CNBC / NBC News / CBS News / Business Insider)

7/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol issued subpoenas to 14 people who tried to submit false slates of electors as part of an effort to overturn the 2020 election. The subpoenas went to the secretaries and chairpeople of each group of false electors in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – all states that Biden won. The panel also subpoenaed Judd Deere, a former White House spokesman with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s behavior before and during the attack on the Capitol. Pence’s former chief of staff, meanwhile, testified before the committee. Marc Short was with Pence at the Capitol during the attack. (CNN / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / ABC News)

Day 373: "Little optimism."

1/ The U.S. economy grew 5.7% in 2021 – its fastest pace since 1984, when the country was rebounding from a recession and an era of high inflation. From October to December, GDP increased at a 6.9% annualized pace. Consumer spending also jumped to 7.9%, the most since 1946, but consumer prices reached 7% – the fastest year-over-year inflation since 1982. A record-breaking 6.4 million jobs were also added in 2021. (Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Politico / CNBC / Bloomberg / NBC News)

2/ The Biden administration’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers takes effect in roughly half the U.S. today, and will extend to the rest of the country in coming weeks. The mandate covers about 10 million workers at hospitals and nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. The Supreme Court blocked Biden’s vaccination-or-testing mandate for large employers earlier this month, but upheld a vaccination requirement for health care workers at facilities subsidized by federal funds. These medical facilities will lose funding if they do not comply. (Washington Post / New York Times)

3/ A record 14.5 million Americans signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act for 2022, eclipsing the previous enrollment record by nearly 2 million. “Health care should be a right, not a privilege, for all Americans,” Biden said, crediting the American Rescue Plan that Democrats in Congress passed last year, which increased subsidies and lifted the income cap to allow more people to be eligible for assistance. The enhanced benefits under the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package only last through the end of the year unless Congress takes further action. Biden’s proposed Build Back Better plan would extend the subsidies through 2025. Joe Manchin, however, has repeatedly said he opposes “a historic expansion of social programs” like Build Back Better because, he says, they would only feed inflation. (The Hill / NBC News / Washington Post / CBS News)

4/ Biden formally announced the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and reaffirmed his commitment to nominating the first Black woman to the court. “It’s long overdue in my opinion,” Biden said, noting that he would announce his choice by the end of February after reviewing candidates and their records. Republicans, meanwhile, have already preemptively attacked Biden’s unnamed Supreme Court nominee as a “radical liberal.” Senate Democrats need only a simple majority to confirm Biden’s future nominee in the 50-50 Senate. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Business Insider)

5/ The Biden administration approved more than 3,500 oil and gas drilling permits in its first year – nearly 900 more than the Trump administration. Despite announcing a halt on any new federal oil and gas leasing, the Biden administration set a record for the largest offshore lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Interior Department plans to auction off oil and gas drilling rights on more than 200,000 acres by the end of March, followed by 1 million acres off the coast of Alaska. In 2021, a federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s temporary suspension of new oil and gas drilling leases on public lands, writing that the authority to suspend oil and gas leasing lies “solely with Congress.” Interior Department appointees, meanwhile, say they were forced to resume leasing because they could be held in contempt if they didn’t follow the judge’s order. (Washington Post)

6/ Russia said there is “little optimism” about the diplomatic efforts by the U.S. and NATO to deescalate tensions along Ukraine’s border. The U.S. said it had offered a “diplomatic path forward” in the standoff with Russia over Ukraine. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, however, said: “We can’t say that they took our concerns into account or showed any readiness to take our concerns into consideration.” Last month, the Kremlin demanded that Ukraine and Georgia be permanently barred from joining NATO while calling on the military alliance to pull back its forces and equipment in Central and Eastern Europe, which the U.S. and NATO rejected. Republican leaders, meanwhile, have been pushing Biden to toughen his stance against Russian aggression, while the the party’s far-right has questioned why the U.S. would support Ukraine at all. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Axios / NBC News)

poll/ 43% of Americans said they would support Biden if the 2024 presidential election were held today, while 33% said they’d vote for Trump, 16% said they would choose a different candidate, and 6% said they wouldn’t vote. In a hypothetical race against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 41% said they would vote for Biden, while 33% would support DeSantis. (The Hill)

poll/ In Georgia, 49% of registered voters said they would support incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, while 47% said they’d support Democrat Stacey Abrams. In 2018, Abrams lost to Kemp by 1.4 percentage points. (Quinnipiac)

poll/ 34% of Georgia voters approve of the job Biden is doing as president – down from 51% in May. 71% of Georgians believe the nation is on the wrong track. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Day 372: "The ball is in their court."

1/ Justice Stephen Breyer will retire at the end of the current Supreme Court term. Breyer, at age 83, is the oldest member of the court and one of the three remaining liberal justices. After the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020 and the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett by Trump, Breyer’s been under pressure to retire while Democrats control the Senate. Although Biden’s pick will not change the balance of the court, currently split 6-3 between conservative and liberal justices, the new nominee is expected to be a much younger liberal who could serve on the court for decades. The White House, meanwhile, said Biden remains committed to nominating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. (NBC News / CNN / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. offered Russia a “serious diplomatic path forward” to de-escalating military threats against Ukraine. The U.S. and NATO formally responded to Russia’s demands that NATO pull back forces from Eastern Europe and bar Ukraine from ever joining the alliance. Russia also demanded that the U.S. “shall not establish military bases” in the territories of any former Soviet states that are not already members of NATO, or “use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them.” The U.S. and NATO previously said those requests would not be accommodated. The response, which U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan hand-delivered to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “sets out a serious diplomatic path forward, should Russia choose it,” Blinken said, adding: “The ball is in their court.” (NBC News / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / ABC News / CNBC / Washington Post)

3/ The Biden administration canceled two mining leases in Minnesota that had been granted under the Trump administration. The Interior Department said it found that the leases to extract copper, nickel, and other hardrock minerals near Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness — were improperly renewed under Trump. The Obama Interior Department had blocked the Twin Metals Minnesota’s renewal request in December 2016 over concerns about the ecological and economic impact. (Washington Post / The Hill)

4/ The Federal Reserve said it would “soon” raise interest rates in order to tackle the highest inflation in a generation. Although central bankers left rates unchanged at near-zero — where they have been since March 2020 — Chairman Jerome Powell signaled that the Fed could begin raising interest rates at its next meeting in March and continue multiple times in 2022. “I think there’s quite a bit of room to raise interest rates without threatening the labor market,” Powell said. “This is by many measures a historically tight labor market.” (NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post)

poll/ 46% of Americans believe Biden’s Build Back Better plan could lead to more inflation. 43% also say the bipartisan infrastructure bill will increase inflation. However, 23% self-report that they know a lot about what is in Build Back Better, while 47% say they don’t much at all. (Politico)

Day 371: "Profound concern."

1/ The seven-day average of Covid-19 deaths reached 2,188 a day – the highest level since February 2021 and up about 1,000 per day from two months ago. Omicron infections, however, are resulting in fewer hospitalizations than during the Delta wave in the fall. Pfizer, meanwhile, has begun a clinical trial to evaluate a new, Omicron-specific vaccine. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / NPR)

2/ The Biden administration is withdrawing its Covid-19 vaccination and testing mandate for businesses, following the Supreme Court’s decision to block the requirement. The mandate would have applied to some 80 million people if it had not been struck down by the court, which described the regulation’s approach as “a blunt instrument.” (CNN / New York Times / CNBC)

3/ The White House warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is “imminent” and that Biden “may be moving” some troops into Eastern Europe to demonstrate American commitment to its NATO allies. Biden also said that he would consider personally sanctioning Putin if Russian forces invade Ukraine, warning of “enormous consequences” for Russia not only economically and politically but “worldwide.” Moscow, meanwhile, said it had “profound concern” over NATO’s military movements in eastern Europe, accusing the West of “building up tension” in the region. The Kremlin, however, announced military exercises on Ukraine’s border, including fighter jet and ballistic missile exercises. The Biden administration also announced that it was working with gas and crude oil suppliers to secure energy for European allies in the event that Moscow weaponizes energy supplies by cutting off fuel shipments. (CNN / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / USA Today / ABC News / CNBC)

4/ Federal prosecutors are reviewing fake Electoral College certifications that declared Trump the winner of states that he lost. The certificates contain the signatures of Trump supporters who falsely claimed to be the rightful electors in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, and New Mexico – all states that Biden won. The attorneys general in at least two of the seven states – Michigan and New Mexico – say they have referred investigations to federal prosecutors. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, meanwhile, confirmed that the Justice Department had “received those referrals. Our prosecutors are looking at those and I can’t say anything more on ongoing investigations.” The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is also focusing on the falsified documents. (CNN / NPR)

5/ A federal judge ordered the Trump attorney who authored memos outlining how Trump could overturn the 2020 election to respond to a subpoena issued by the Jan. 6 select committee. The committee issued its subpoena to John Eastman’s former employer, Chapman University, on Jan. 18. Eastman had previously refused to provide information to the committee when it subpoenaed him directly. Eastman invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 146 times when he was questioned by the committee last month. (CNN / Politico / Yahoo News)

6/ Biden was caught on a hot mic calling Fox News reporter Peter Doocy “a stupid son of a bitch.” As reporters were shouting questions while exiting the East Room, Doocy shouted: “Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?” Thinking his microphone was turned off, Biden responded: “No, that’s a great asset. More inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.” Doocy said Biden called him to apologize for the remark. It’s not the first time, however, that Biden was caught swearing on a hot mic. In 2010, a microphone picked up Biden telling Obama that passage of the Affordable Care Act was “a big fucking deal!” By comparison, Trump intentionally and repeatedly lobbed insults at journalists throughout his term, calling a reporter a “disgrace” for asking why he lied to Americans about the severity of Covid-19, and attacking another on live TV who asked what his message would be to Americans who are frightened by the coronavirus pandemic. Trump also threatened to revoke press passes, called CNN’s Jim Acosta “a rude, terrible person,” called April Ryan from American Urban Radio Networks a “loser,” accused CNN reporter Abby Phillip of “ask[ing] a lot of stupid questions,” and called PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor, a woman of color, a “racist” for asking a question about white nationalists supporting him. (CNN / New York Times / CNBC)

poll/ 41% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance – down from 44% in September and 59% in April. 21% of Americans say they’re satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. – 12 points lower than last March (33%) and 15 points lower than in February 2018 (36%). (Pew Research Center)

Day 370: "Massive consequences."

1/ The Pentagon put 8,500 American troops on “high alert” as NATO and the U.S. prepare for a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Biden has also reportedly discussed deploying several thousand U.S. troops, as well as warships and aircraft, to NATO allies in Eastern Europe. The options include sending 1,000 to 5,000 troops, with the potential to increase that number tenfold. The British government, meanwhile, warned that the Kremlin was planning to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine. And, the State Department ordered the families of all American personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine to leave, citing the “threat of Russian military action.” Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops and weaponry on Ukraine’s borders. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that there will be “massive consequences” for Russia if it invades Ukraine. (CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Washington Post / CBS News)

2/ A draft executive order prepared for Trump would have authorized the secretary of defense to have National Guard troops seize voting machines following the 2020 election, and release an assessment 60 days later – well after Trump was set to leave office on Jan. 20, 2021. Additionally, the draft order – dated Dec. 16, 2020 but never signed by Trump – would have appointed a special counsel “to institute all criminal and civil proceedings as appropriate based on the evidence collected.” The document was titled “Remarks on National Healing” and was part of a trove of documents released by the National Archives to the committee after the Supreme Court ruled against Trump’s claim of executive privilege. (Politico / NBC News)

3/ A Fulton County Superior Court judge granted a request to seat a special grand jury to investigate Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. The special grand jury will allow Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify and to gather additional evidence. Willis said she expects to decide on whether to bring charges against Trump in the first half of 2022. (CNN / Washington Post)

4/ Former Attorney General William Barr spoke with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. “To be honest with you, we’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already,” Bennie Thompson said. “We’ve talked to Department of Defense individuals. We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false.” (CNN / CBS News / The Guardian / Politico)

5/ Trump called it “very, very unfair” that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot asked Ivanka Trump to sit for an interview. “It’s a very unfair situation for my children,” Trump said. “It’s a disgrace, what’s going on […] They’ll go after children.” Michael Cohen, meanwhile, said Trump told him in 2012 that if one of his kids had to go to prison over the family business to “make sure” it was Trump Jr. – not Ivanka. (The Hill / Business Insider)

6/ The Arizona Democratic Party censured Sen. Kyrsten Sinema “as a result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy.” The announcement came days after Sinema voted to maintain the Senate’s filibuster rules, effectively blocking Democrats’ voting legislation. The censure, however, is largely symbolic. (NPR / CBS News / CNN)

7/ A federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccine requirement for federal employees, saying Biden didn’t have the authority to mandate “that all federal employees consent to vaccination against Covid-19 or lose their jobs.” The Justice Department said it was filing an appeal. (USA Today / Wall Street Journal)

8/ The Supreme Court agreed to reconsider race-based affirmative action in college admissions. The justices said they will hear challenges to admissions policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina that use students’ race when trying to build diverse student bodies. Under the Trump administration, the Justice Department supported the lawsuit, but the Biden-era department switched that position and told the court it should not accept the challenge. (NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 72% of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction; 61% say their family’s income is falling behind the cost of living; 70% agree say America has become so polarized that it can no longer solve the major issues facing the country; and 76% believe there is a threat to democracy and majority rule in this country. (NBC News)

Day 366: "Profoundly disappointed."

1/ Senate Republicans blocked voting rights legislation for the fifth time and then Democrats failed to unite behind changing the Senate’s filibuster rules to pass it anyway – despite all 50 Democrats supporting the voting rights bill. First, Democrats fell 10 votes short of the 60 needed to break the Republican filibuster. Then, Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema joined with Republicans in rejecting an effort to reinstate the “talking filibuster,” which would have allowed the elections legislation to pass by a simple majority vote. It is unclear how Democrats will proceed after the twin defeats, though some Republicans have appeared open to reforming the narrower election-related issue about how Congress deals with disputes over presidential election results. Biden, meanwhile, said he was “profoundly disappointed that the United States Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis requested a special grand jury to help investigate Trump and his efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. Willis said the grand jury was needed because a “significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony.” A grand jury could issue subpoenas compelling them to provide information. Willis said that Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, was among those who had refused to cooperate without a subpoena. In a Jan. 2, 2021, call, Trump pressured Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to overturn the state’s presidential election results. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / New York Times / CNBC)

3/ The Supreme Court rejected Trump’s request to block the release of more than 750 pages of his White House records related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The court’s order effectively rejected Trump’s claim of executive privilege and paves the way for the release of the material from the National Archives — which Biden has already approved. Congressional investigators have sought the documents, which include speech drafts, call and visitor logs, handwritten notes, and other files, to determine Trump’s actions and mindset in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack, as well as what he did as his supporters were rioting at the Capitol. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House committee investigating the attack, said the committee will make Trump’s White House records public “as soon as we can go through them.” (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Politico / Bloomberg)

4/ The Jan. 6 Committee requested voluntary testimony from Ivanka Trump, saying witnesses have told investigators she was “in direct contact” with Trump on the day of the riot and that she may have “direct knowledge” of Trump’s efforts to pressure Pence to block Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results. “One of the president’s discussions with the vice president occurred by phone on the morning of January 6th,” the committee’s chairman, Bennie Thompson wrote in a letter to Ivanka Trump. “You were present in the Oval Office and observed at least one side of that telephone conversation.” The committee also said it has information that White House aides asked Ivanka aides to get Trump to intervene as his supporters ransacked the Capitol. (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the Jan. 6 Committee that Trump held secret meetings at the White House in the days before the insurrection. Grisham said that only a few staffers knew about Trump’s meetings, which were mostly scheduled by then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. While the former press secretary told the committee she wasn’t sure who Trump met with in the White House residence, she directed the panel to former chief usher Timothy Harleth, who Grisham said would waved participants upstairs to the meetings. Grisham resigned from the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, following the Capitol riot. (The Guardian)

poll/ 56% of Americans disapprove of how Biden is handling his job as president, while 43% approve. In July, 59% of Americans said they approved of Biden’s job performance. 28% of Americans say they want Biden to run for reelection in 2024, including 48% of Democrats. (Associated Press)

poll/ 5% of Americans say Biden’s presidency has been better than expected, while 36% say it has been worse than expected, and 59% say it’s just as expected. The 5% who say Biden’s presidency has been better than expected is the lowest for any president on this question going back to Clinton in 1994. (NBC News)

Day 365: "A great misleading of the American people."

1/ Senate Democrats are pressing ahead on voting rights despite unified opposition from Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and Senate Republicans. A vote on voting rights legislation is expected to happen tonight. Republicans are expected to block the bill, which will prompt Chuck Schumer to then hold a vote to change Senate rules to allow for a “talking filibuster” that only covers the voting package, allowing it to pass by a simple majority in the evenly divided Senate. Manchin and Sinema, however, are expected to oppose the proposed changes. Manchin, meanwhile, admonished Democrats’ effort to change the filibuster rules in order to pass voting rights legislation, calling it “a great misleading of the American people” and a “perilous course” for the nation, while accusing his Democratic colleagues of trying to take the “easy way out” by “break[ing] the rules to change the rules.” (Politico / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNN)

2/ Biden conceded that in order to get his Build Back Better agenda passed, Congress will have to “break it up” to get as much of it through as possible. “I’m confident we can get pieces, big chunks of the Build Back Better law signed into law,” Biden said, adding “and come back and fight for the rest later.” Biden pointed to roughly $500 billion in climate change provisions, funding for universal pre-kindergarten, and some financing provisions that he said had “clear” support. “I know that the two people who have opposed on the Democratic side at least, support a number of things that are in there,” Biden said, referring to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. (CNBC / CNN / The Hill / NPR)

3/ The U.S. will make 400 million N95 masks available for free at pharmacies and community health centers starting next week. The move, which officials called the “largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history,” comes days after the CDC updated its mask guidance to recommend that people wear “the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.” The masks will be sourced from the Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million masks on hand. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

4/ New York Attorney General Letitia James accused Trump’s business of repeatedly using “fraudulent or misleading” valuations of its assets to get loans and tax benefits. In a court filing Tuesday, James’s office claimed that the Trump Organization made “misrepresentations to financial institutions,” including the IRS, lenders, and insurers, and that many of the 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.” The filing adds that Trump “was personally involved in reviewing and approving the statements of financial condition before their issuance.” The filing came in response to Trump’s effort to block James from questioning him, Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump under oath. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press / Axios)

5/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and two other members of Trump’s legal team who pursued and disseminated bogus claims of mass election fraud. “The four individuals we’ve subpoenaed today advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former President about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes,” Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, said in a statement. The committee also subpoenaed and obtained records of phone numbers associated with Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle. Separately, the National Archives will release four pages of Trump’s White House records to the Jan. 6 committee despite Trump’s pending request at the Supreme Court to block the handover. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News / NPR)

6/ Declassified drone footage shows that the U.S. military mistakenly killed 10 Afghan civilians — including seven children — last August in a botched strike in Kabul. The 25 minutes of footage show a car on a residential street, with figures moving around a courtyard, and children walking on the street. The Pentagon previously called the Aug. 29 strike “a tragic mistake.” But in November, the Air Force’s inspector general released findings of his investigation into the strike, which found no violations of law and did not recommend any disciplinary action. (New York Times)

7/ Biden said he expects Putin to invade Ukraine. “I’m not so sure he is certain what he is going to do,” Biden said, adding “Do I think he’ll test the West, test the United States and NATO, as significantly as he can? Yes, I think he will.” Asked to clarify whether he was accepting that an invasion is coming, Biden said: “My guess is he will move in. He has to do something.” Biden added that repercussions will “depend” on what Russia does, but warned that Putin has “never seen sanctions like the ones I promised would be imposed if he moves.” (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

Day 364: "We're going to vote."

1/ The Senate started debate on voting rights legislation even though the measure appears all but dead – a day after Democrats failed to meet their symbolic deadline to pass election reform by Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Consideration of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act kicked off with Chuck Schumer warning “the eyes of the nation will be watching what happens this week in the United States Senate.” Republicans, however, are determined to filibuster the bills. While Democrats plan to vote on changing Senate rules in order to pass the legislation, they lack the votes needed due to opposition from Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, despite both saying they support the bills. Debate is expected to continue into Wednesday or Thursday. Once it ends, the Senate will vote on a motion to end debate and move to a final vote on the bills, which is expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster. Senate Democrats are reportedly leaning toward voting on the revival of the so-called “talking filibuster” – which Sinema and Manchin won’t support either – that would, after lengthy debate, require a simple majority to advance any bill toward final passage. Schumer, however, made clear that the election reform vote and the associated filibuster reform would go forward, regardless if it’s guaranteed fail, saying: “If Republicans choose to continue the filibuster of voting rights legislation, we must consider and vote on the rules changes. Long odds are no excuse for this chamber to avoid this important issue. Again, members of this chamber were elected to debate and to vote. We’re going to vote.” (New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico / NBC News / ABC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Top career officials at the Census Bureau warned of “unprecedented” meddling by Trump’s political appointees in 2020. Officials wanted to address “an unusually high degree of engagement in technical matters” and “direct engagement” by political appointees with Wilbur Ross, who was then the secretary of the Commerce Department, which oversees the bureau. At the time, the Trump administration was pressing the bureau to end the count weeks early so that if Trump lost the election in November, he could still use the census numbers used to redistribute political representation in the House before leaving office. Ross, meanwhile, said he had no recollection of the memo. (New York Times / NPR / CNN)

3/ A fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose may not be sufficient at preventing breakthrough Omicron infections, according to a preliminary study in Israel. The early data suggests that a fourth dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine can bring an increase in antibodies, but the level of antibodies needed to protect against infection from Omicron “is probably too high for the vaccine, even if it’s a good vaccine.” (Bloomberg / Reuters / CNN / New York Times)

4/ The Biden administration’s website to order four free at-home rapid tests per household is now live at covidtests.gov. The tests, however, won’t ship for another seven to 12 days. (CNN / ABC News)

5/ The Biden administration accused Russia of sending a group of saboteurs into eastern Ukraine to execute “an operation designed to look like an attack on them or Russian-speaking people in Ukraine.” The intel suggests that the group might “carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy-forces,” providing Putin with a pretext for sending some or all of its 100,000 troops stationed outside of Ukraine over the border. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of seven U.S. senators arrived in Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other top Ukrainian leaders in what they say is a show of commitment to the country as an “increasingly belligerent Russia” has massed troops near portions of the border. (CNN / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 47% of Americans prefer the Republican Party, while 42% prefer the Democratic Party. In the first quarter of 2021, an average of 49% of Americans preferred the Democratic Party, compared to 40% for the Republican Party – a net swing of 14 points. (Gallup)

poll/ 60% of voters age 18-29 prefer the Democratic Party, compared to 36% of young Americans who prefer the Republican Party. 53% of the voting group turned out to vote in the 2020 presidential election. (Axios)

Day 359: "Doomed to fail."

1/ The global average surface temperature in 2021 was the sixth-highest since reliable temperature record-keeping began in 1880 – marking the 45th consecutive year that global surface temperatures were above average. More than two dozen countries set their warmest years ever in 2021, while the U.S. recorded its hottest summer since 1936. July was the hottest month humanity has recorded. 2021 was also the seventh year in a row that global temperatures were more than 1 degree Celsius above the preindustrial average. Overall, 2021 ranked seventh lowest for Northern Hemisphere snow cover, ninth smallest for average Arctic sea ice extent, and 10th highest for number of named tropical storms. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / The Guardian)

2/ Kyrsten Sinema will not support changing the Senate filibuster to pass voting rights legislation under any circumstance. In a Senate floor speech – just before Biden arrived at the Capitol to meet with all 50 Senate Democrats – Sinema said: “While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.” She added: “We must address the disease itself, the disease of division, to protect our democracy, and it cannot be achieved by one party alone.” Sinema’s comments came after the House approved a measure to combine the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act into a single bill. Chuck Schumer has said the Senate would begin debate on the House-passed bill by Monday, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. It will be the Senate’s fifth attempt to consider voting rights legislation after Republicans used the filibuster four times to prevent the bills from ever reaching the floor. Biden, meanwhile, conceded that “the honest to god answer is I don’t know whether we can get this done.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Bloomberg)

3/ The Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers. The rule would have applied to nearly 80 million American workers, and OSHA estimated that it would cause 22 million people to get vaccinated, prevent 250,000 hospitalizations, and save over 6,500 lives. The court, however, allowed a separate mandate requiring health care workers at facilities receiving federal money to be vaccinated. (New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / CNBC)

4/ Biden directed his staff to purchase an additional 500 million at-home rapid Covid-19 tests – doubling the number of tests the U.S. plans to send to the public free of charge. In addition, the administration will send 120 military medical personnel to six states where hospitals have been “hard-hit.” The U.S. has deployed more than 800 military and emergency personnel since Thanksgiving. More than 14,000 National Guard members have also been activated in 49 states to assist with the response to Covid-19. At least 19 states currently have less than 15% of their ICU beds available, largely due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and a shortage of available medical workers. And, calling it a “patriotic duty” to wear a mask, Biden said the administration would share details next week on how it will make “high-quality” masks available free. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Kevin McCarthy will not cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee, which had asked him to voluntarily provide information about communications surrounding the attack on the Capitol, including details about Trump’s state of mind “before, during and after” the attack. McCarthy previously said he would be willing to discuss a phone conversation he had with Trump as the riot unfolded. “We also must learn about how the President’s plans for January 6th came together, and all the other ways he attempted to alter the results of the election,” committee Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote. “For example, in advance of January 6th, you reportedly explained to Mark Meadows and the former President that objections to the certification of the electoral votes on January 6th ‘was doomed to fail.’” Thompson did not rule out a possible subpoena for McCarthy. (Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / New York Times)

6/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol subpoenaed Twitter, Reddit and the parent companies of Facebook and Google for information and records relating to the spread of misinformation and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The committee had asked for the records last summer, but said it received “inadequate responses” from some of the largest platforms. “We cannot allow our work to be delayed any longer,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson said in a statement. “Two key questions for the Select Committee are how the spread of misinformation and violent extremism contributed to the violent attack on our democracy, and what steps — if any — social media companies took to prevent their platforms from being breeding grounds to radicalizing people to violence.” (Washington Post / CNBC / The Guardian)

7/ The Republican National Committee threatened to “prohibit” Republican nominees from participating in debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit organization that has hosted them for more than three decades. Republicans have complained in recent years that the commission and how it handles debates is biased against GOP candidates. RNC officials sent a letter to CPD, saying the party plans to vote on changing its rules at their winter meeting in February to require candidates seeking the Republican nomination to sign a pledge to not participate in any debates sponsored by the commission. If the RNC moves forward with the change, it is unclear what that would mean for future debates. (New York Times / Politico / ABC News / NBC News / Washington Post)

Day 358: "It's hard to process what's actually happening right now."

1/ The White House will provide 10 million free coronavirus tests a month to U.S. schools to help keep classes in person. The expanded testing initiative comes as the country is seeing an Omicron-driven surge of cases that risks overwhelming the nation’s hospitals. At a Senate hearing, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the FDA, warned that the nation needs to ensure police, hospital, and transportation services aren’t disrupted by the wave, saying “It’s hard to process what’s actually happening right now, which is, most people are going to get Covid.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, meanwhile, added that the Omicron variant will infect “just about everybody” regardless of vaccination status, adding that “If you’re vaccinated, and if you’re boosted the chances of your getting sick are very, very low.” (Washington Post / NBC News /Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Inflation increased 7% in 2021 – the fastest pace in 40 years. Consumer price rise exceeded 6% year over year for third straight month. While high, on a month-to-month basis, prices rose 0.5% in December, which was lower than the 0.8% measure in November and 0.9% in October. Biden said that “demonstrates that we are making progress in slowing the rate of price increases,” but conceded that the report “underscores that we still have more work to do, with price increases still too high and squeezing family budgets.” Joe Manchin, meanwhile, called the report “very, very troubling.” Manchin has repeatedly warned “a historic expansion of social programs” like Build Back Better would only feed inflation and has cited high prices as one of the reasons he won’t back the legislation. (New York Times / Politico / Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

3/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to voluntarily provide information about his communications with Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson said he wanted to hear about discussions McCarthy had with Meadows ahead of the attack, along with McCarthy’s communications with Trump during and after the violence. “It appears that you may also have discussed with President Trump the potential he would face a censure resolution, impeachment, or removal under the 25th Amendment,” Thompson wrote. “It also appears that you may have identified other possible options, including President Trump’s immediate resignation from office.” In particular, the panel said it was interested in a phone call that McCarthy had with Trump during the riot asking Trump to send help, which McCarthy previously described as “very heated.” McCarthy is the third GOP lawmaker the panel has asked to testify. The others, Jim Jordan and Scott Perry, have rejected the committee’s requests to sit for an interview or provide documents. Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, meanwhile, appeared before the committee virtually. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / Associated Press / Politico / CNN)

4/ The Jan. 6 committee issued subpoenas to two of Trump Jr.’s advisers. In letters to Andy Surabian and Arthur Schwartz, the committee said it had “reason to believe that you communicated with both organizers and speakers at the rally held on the Ellipse.” The panel also issued a subpoena for Ross Worthington, who helped draft Trump’s Jan. 6 speech for the rally at the Ellipse, which preceded the attack on the Capitol. The subpoenas require the three men to provide documents by Jan. 24 and appear for depositions between Jan. 31 and Feb. 2. (CNN / Politico / CBS News)

5/ Trump abruptly ended an interview with NPR after he was pressed on his baseless claims of election fraud and repeated lies that the 2020 election was “rigged.” Trump hung up on “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep nine minutes into the scheduled interview after Inskeep pushed back against false election claims, noting “Your own lawyers had no evidence of fraud, they said in court they had no evidence of fraud, and the judges ruled against you every time on the merits.” Inskeep also asked Trump whether he would endorse only Republican candidates in the midterms who are pressing his case that the 2020 contest against Biden was stolen from him. Trump responded: “They are going to do whatever they want to do — whatever they have to do, they’re going to do,” adding that the candidates “that are smart” are going to press his case. Trump then hung up. (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR)

6/ Mitch McConnell called Biden’s speech on changing the filibuster to pass voting rights and elections legislation “profoundly unpresidential,” adding that the speech was a “rant” that was “incoherent, incorrect, and beneath his office,” and “unbecoming of a President of the United States.” In his remarks in Atlanta, Biden backed changing the filibuster to ensure voting rights are protected, framing the issue as one that has historically received bipartisan support and accusing Senate Republicans of lacking the “courage to stand up to a defeated president to protect the right to vote.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, said the Senate will vote on rule changes to the filibuster by Jan. 17. (NBC News / CNN / Axios)

Day 357: "This is the moment."

1/ Biden endorsed “getting rid of the filibuster” in order to pass voting rights legislation. With less than 10 months until the 2022 midterms, Biden said “this is the moment to defend our democracy” and that the repeated obstruction of election reform by Senate Republicans had left Democrats with “no option but to change the Senate rules […] to prevent a minority of senators from blocking action on voting rights.” In his remarks, Biden cited the Jan. 6 insurrection, characterizing the “violent mob” of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol to try to stop Biden’s electoral college win as an “attempted coup.” He added that the only way to protect the right to vote and ensure election security was to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. “Pass it now,” Biden said. “I am tired of being quiet.” Changing the Senate rules, however, would require the support of all 50 Democrats and the vote of Kamala Harris to break a tie. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, meanwhile, have expressed strong public opposition to changing filibuster rules, and several other Democrats, including Mark Kelly, Jon Tester, and Jeanne Shaheen, haven’t committed to changing the Senate rules to allow elections reform legislation to pass by a simple majority. (NBC News / New York Times / ABC News / Politico / Washington Post / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

2/ A record 145,982 people are in U.S. hospitals with Covid-19, passing the record of 142,273 set on Jan. 14, 2021. Overall the seven-day average of new cases stood at more than 714,600 – up 74% from a week ago. The U.S., however, reported 1.34 million cases in a single day on Monday, beating the previous record of 1,044,970 cases, which was set on Jan. 3. The daily average of new deaths was 1,674 – up 6% from a week earlier. (Washington Post / NBC News)

3/ The CDC is considering updating its mask guidance to recommend that people opt for N95 or KN95 masks rather than cloth face coverings. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky previously declined to officially recommend Americans wear N95s regularly. The White House, meanwhile, is weighing whether to offer better, higher quality masks, like KN95 or N95s, to all Americans for free. A senior administration official, however, said the effort would make little difference because “half the country won’t wear any mask.” A half dozen former health policy makers, including members of Biden’s transition team, said the Biden administration needs a reset on its Covid-19 strategy because “trust in the CDC, it feels like we have gone backwards.” (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News)

4/ The Justice Department is forming a new domestic terrorism unit. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said the number FBI investigations into domestic terrorism has more than doubled since March 2020. “We have seen a growing threat from those who are motivated by racial animus, as well as those who ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies,” Olsen added. Republican senators, meanwhile, accused the FBI and the Justice Department of giving more attention to the Jan. 6 insurrection than to the 2020 racial justice protests. (Associated Press / Washington Post / CNN)

5/ Trump asked a federal judge for a preliminary injunction to stop a civil investigation into his business practices by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Trump called James’ investigation into how the Trump Organization valued its real estate holdings a “targeted attack against a political adversary.” James, meanwhile, called the filing a delay tactic and “neither Donald Trump nor the Trump Organization get to dictate if and where they will answer for their actions. Our investigation will continue undeterred because no one is above the law, not even someone with the name Trump.” (ABC News)

6/ House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened to remove some Democratic members from their committee roles if Republicans win control of House in the midterms. McCarthy called out Reps. Eric Swalwell, Ilhan Omar, and Adam Schiff as Democrats he’d remove from their committee assignments in retaliation to Democrats removing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her assignments for social media posts spreading baseless conspiracy theories and encouraging violence against Democrats. (NBC News)

7/ Republican state lawmakers in Florida are planning to pass legislation this year that bans abortions after 15 weeks, except if two doctors agree a fetus is suffering from a fatal abnormality. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. Florida’s current law restricts abortions after 24 weeks. (Politico)

poll/ 55% of Americans believe returning to their normal pre-coronavirus life poses no or little risk to their health – up from 40% in August. 58% of vaccinated Americans consider themselves to be less at risk of contracting the virus compared to 31% who are unvaccinated. 36% of vaccinated Americans, however, have self-reported a “breakthrough case.” (Axios)

Day 356: "By a clear margin."

1/ More than 5,400 K-12 schools stopped in-person instruction at some point last week due to the coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus-related shutdowns during the 2021-2022 school year had previously peaked at about 2,800 in November. Meanwhile, classes in Chicago’s school district, the third largest in the country, have been canceled since last Tuesday after 73% of teachers voted to stop reporting to work amid concerns over the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. (Washington Post / New York Times)

2/ The Biden administration will require private health insurers to reimburse people for up to eight over-the-counter Covid-19 tests per month beginning Jan. 15. Under the new policy, Americans will be able to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement, up to the monthly per-person limit. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be covered by insurance with no limit. (Associated Press / Politico)

3/ Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and Rep. Mo Brooks asked a federal judge to dismiss three lawsuits alleging that they incited the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, two members of the Capitol Police, and a group of House Democrats have each accused Trump of inciting the insurrection. The suit filed by Swalwell also named Giuliani and Brooks. The suit from 11 House Democrats claimed Trump and Giuliani violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, which prohibits interference in Congress’s constitutional duties. During a hearing on the lawsuits, Trump argued he has “absolute immunity” from liability in the three civil suits and claimed that his speech outside the White House before the riot – urging attendees to “fight like hell” and march to the Capitol “to make your voices heard” – were protected by the First Amendment. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, however, repeatedly highlighted that Trump’s last words were “‘go to the Capitol,’” but that Trump waited two hours to ask people to stop the violence. “What do I do about the fact the president didn’t denounce the conduct immediately?” Mehta continued: “Isn’t that, from a plausibility standpoint, that the President plausibly agreed with the conduct of the people inside the Capitol that day?” (Washington Post / Politico / CBS News / CNN)

  • Fox News hosts were more influential in Trump’s White House than previously known. “There were times the president would come down the next morning and say, ‘Well, Sean thinks we should do this,’ or, ‘Judge Jeanine thinks we should do this,’ ” said Grisham, referring to Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro. (Washington Post / Rolling Stone)

4/ Rep. Jim Jordan will not cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, calling it an “unprecedented and inappropriate demand.” Jordan – one of the 147 lawmakers who took part in the effort to raise objections to certifying Biden’s victory – declined to comply with the Dec. 22 request to appear before the panel to discuss his communication with Trump on Jan. 6. In November, however, Jordan told the Rules Committee that he had “nothing to hide” regarding the bipartisan committee’s investigation. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Axios)

5/ The Republican National Committee spent nearly $720,000 in donor money in October and November to pay Trump’s legal bills. In total, the Republican Party spent $3 million between September and November. (ABC News)

6/ The Senate confirmed 41% of Biden’s nominations – the lowest first-year confirmation rate among the last three presidents. 75% of Bush’s first-year nominees were confirmed, while 69% of Obama’s and 57% of Trump’s were approved during their first year in office. 171 of Biden’s 2021 nominations are still awaiting a vote. (CNN)

7/ The past seven years have been the warmest on record “by a clear margin” and 2021 was the fifth-hottest ever, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. The hottest years on record were 2020 and 2016. U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, meanwhile, increased 6.2% in 2021 compared to 2020. Coal burned for electricity increased 17% in 2021 – the first annual increase in coal-fired electricity in the U.S. since 2014. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Reuters / CNN)

Day 352: "A perpetual state of emergency."

1/ Biden condemned Trump and his allies of holding “a dagger at the throat of America,” denouncing “the former president” for promoting a “web of lies” and going to extraordinary lengths to cling to power because he “can’t accept he lost” a free and fair election. Speaking from Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol on the anniversary of that Jan. 6 attack, Biden said “for the first time time in our history, a president not just lost the election, he tried to prevent a peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol.” Biden charged Trump with waging an “undemocratic” and “un-American” campaign to “pre-emptively sow doubt about the election results,” adding that Trump bears “singular responsibility” for the attack. “You can’t love your country only when you win,” Biden said. “You can’t obey the law only when it’s convenient. You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.” (Washington Post / NBC News / NPR / Politico / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / ABC News / CNN)

2/ Republicans accused Democrats of “exploiting” the deadly Jan. 6 attack for political purposes instead of “conducting basic oversight” of Capitol security. Top Republicans, however, were nowhere to be found at the Capitol as Biden and members of Congress commemorated the deadliest attack on the building in centuries. In a statement, Mitch McConnell called Jan. 6 “a dark day for Congress and our country” before accusing Democrats of trying to “exploit this anniversary” to advance voting rights protections that Republicans have repeatedly blocked. (NBC News / New York Times)

3/ Federal judges in D.C. have imposed lighter sentences than prosecutors have sought in 49 out of 74 sentencings held for Capitol riot defendants so far. Of the 701 federal defendants, 174 of defendants have pleaded guilty to storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, and 74 have been sentenced, but nearly all for misdemeanors. Of the 74 people who have been sentenced, fewer than half have received prison time for their actions. (Washington Post / Politico)

4/ The number of children in U.S. hospitals with Covid-19 more than doubled to over 4,000 in less than two weeks. An average of 766 children were admitted to hospitals every day with Covid-19 over the last seven-days. Over the previous seven-days, 383 children were hospitalized on average. The CDC, meanwhile, recommended that children ages 12 to 17 get a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine booster as Omicron infections disrupt schools and workplaces. (Washington Post / CNN)

5/ About 35% of Americans have received a coronavirus booster shot, and about 62% of Americans — about 206 million people — are fully vaccinated. The U.S. is averaging 1.08 million shots in arms per day, but reporting an average of 585,000 cases a day. Hospitalizations, meanwhile, are up 53% in the past two weeks, while deaths are down by 3%. (New York Times)

6/ The U.S. Postal Service asked for a temporary waiver from Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, saying the vaccine-or-test mandate “is likely to result in the loss of many employees — either by employees leaving or being disciplined.” The mandate takes effect Jan. 10, but OSHA officials have said the agency would not issue citations for violations until Feb. 9. The Postal Service asked OSHA to extend the deadline by 120 days and to suspend the Postal Service’s compliance obligations until the Supreme Court rules on the legality of the vaccine requirement. (Washington Post)

7/ A group of Biden’s former health advisers called on the administration to develop a new national Covid-19 strategy centered on the “new normal” of living with the coronavirus indefinitely. In a series of articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association, six of the former health advisors who counseled Biden during the presidential transition called for universal access to low-cost testing; for vaccine mandates to be imposed more broadly; for the development of next-generation Covid-19 vaccines; for a “universal coronavirus vaccine” that would combat all known coronaviruses; for upgrades to public health infrastructure; and to make N95 masks free and readily available to everyone. The authors suggested that the administration needs to accept that Covid-19 is here to stay and to set specific benchmarks that should trigger emergency measures in order to avoid becoming stuck in “a perpetual state of emergency.” Asked about the recommendations, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s “ultimate goal continues to be to defeat the virus.” (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Politico)

poll/ 20% of Americans say they’re very confident in the integrity of the election system, 39% say they’re somewhat confident, and 41% say they’re somewhat or not confident at all in the system. (ABC News)

Day 351: "Follow the facts."

1/ The CDC’s independent vaccine advisory committee recommended booster doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for 12- to 17-year olds. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to accept the recommendation and make it official policy later today. The CDC also updated its vaccine guidance, recommending that individuals who received the Pfizer shot get a booster five months after getting their second shot instead of six. The updated guidance means nearly 6 million more people are now eligible for a booster shot. (Washington Post / NBC News / Axios / CNBC)

2/ The CDC will not add a testing requirement to its isolation guidelines for people infected with Covid-19 who want to end their isolation after five days. Last week, the agency shortened the time people should isolate after they test positive from 10 days to five if they’re free of fever and their symptoms have improved – no test required. The CDC also said it is not changing the definition of being fully vaccinated to include booster shots. “Individuals are considered fully vaccinated against Covid-19 if they’ve received their primary series. That definition is not changing,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. (NPR / NBC News / ABC News)

3/ Coronavirus cases have been reported on all 92 cruise ships sailing with passengers in U.S. waters, according to the CDC. In every case, the CDC has either started an investigation or has investigated and continues to observe the ship. Last week, the CDC warned all travelers, including those who are vaccinated, to avoid cruise ships. (Washington Post)

4/ Trump canceled his planned Jan. 6 news conference to mark the first anniversary of the attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters, blaming the media and the bipartisan congressional committee investigating the attack. Instead, Trump promised to “discuss many of those important topics” at a rally he is planning for Jan. 15 in Arizona. Republican senators had said a press conference from Mar-a-Lago wasn’t a “good idea.” (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times)

5/ Trump’s former press secretary will speak to the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol today. Stephanie Grisham resigned from the White House on Jan. 6 in response to the riot. Separately, Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of select committee, wants Pence to voluntarily speak with the panel about what he witnessed on Jan. 6 and the conversations he had with Trump and allies in the days leading up to the attack. The select panel has also issued a subpoena for the phone records of Sebastian Gorka, a pro-Trump commentator and conservative radio talk show host. Gorka, however, is suing the committee and Verizon to block the subpoena for his phone records. (CNN / NBC News / USA Today)

6/ The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot said it’s “in possession” of dozens of text messages that Fox News host Sean Hannity sent to Mark Meadows and other Trump associates around the time of the attack. In a letter to Hannity, the committee wrote that they were in possession of material that suggested Hannity “had advance knowledge regarding President Trump’s and his legal team’s planning for January 6th,” including a text Hannity sent to Meadows on Jan. 5, saying he was “very worried about the next 48 hours.” According to the committee letter, Hannity texted Meadows on Dec. 31, 2020, saying “We can’t lose the entire WH counsels office,” amid concerns that White House lawyers would quit in protest against plans to challenge the election results. “I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told.” The select committee has asked Hannity to cooperate with its investigation and answer questions about the text messages sent to associates before, during, and after the assault. (Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg / ABC News / NBC News)

7/ At least 57 people involved with the events of the Jan. 6 insurrection are running for elected office – including some who were arrested on charges related to the Capitol attack. At least 11 people who participated in the Jan. 6 riot were elected to public office in 2020, ranging from state legislature to city council to school board. (Politico)

8/ Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged to hold those responsible for the Jan. 6 riot at “any level” accountable, saying federal authorities would “follow the facts wherever they lead.” Garland’s remarks come as the attorney general faces pressure from lawmakers and others to take more aggressive action and charge those responsible for conspiring to stop Congress from certifying the election of Biden and for encouraging the insurrection that day – including possible action against Trump and his advisers. The Justice Department, meanwhile, has called the inquiry one of the largest in its history with authorities having made more than 700 arrests. More than 225 people have been accused of attacking or interfering with the police; about 275 have been charged with obstructing Congress’s duty to certify the vote; and more than 300 people have been charged with petty crimes, like trespassing and disorderly conduct. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / USA Today)

9/ Mitch McConnell signaled that he’s open to reforming the Electoral Count Act – a year after Republicans objected to the certification of Biden’s win ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection – saying: “It obviously has some flaws. And it is worth, I think, discussing.” Senate Minority Whip John Thune added that said there’s “some interest” among Senate Republicans in reforming the Electoral Count Act, which Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have also endorsed. Democrats, however, are pursuing more comprehensive election reform and the federalization of elections. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised to hold a vote on Senate rules changes by Jan. 17 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day – to bypass Republican obstruction and pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. (Politico / Axios)

10/ Ted Cruz warned that Republicans would likely impeach Biden “whether it’s justified or not” if they retake the House in the midterm elections. In an interview last month, Cruz claimed there are “potentially multiple grounds to consider” for impeaching Biden, including “the utter lawlessness” of his “refusal to enforce the border.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, said “maybe Senator Cruz can work with us on getting something done on comprehensive immigration reform […] instead of name-calling.” (Washington Post)

11/ More than 40% of Americans lived in a county that experienced a climate-related disaster in 2021. More than 80% of Americans experienced a heat wave. NOAA estimates that the federal disaster declarations cost more than $104 billion. And, 2021 ended as the fifth hottest globally, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service records, which go back to 1979. (Washington Post / Bloomberg)

Day 350: "The stakes are high."

1/ The U.S. reported more than 1 million new Covid-19 infections – a single-day record for new cases for any country in the world. The seven-day average of cases climbed to 485,363 on Monday, more than doubling in the span of a week. The U.S. is reporting a seven-day average of about 1,200 Covid-19 deaths – well below last year’s holiday season when the January 2021 daily average was above 3,000 – and about 98,000 daily hospitalizations, a figure that’s approaching September’s peak Delta wave levels of about 103,000. The CDC estimates that the Omicron variant now accounts for up to 95% of all U.S. Covid-19 cases – up from 77% in the previous week. (CNBC / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The U.S. doubled its order of Pfizer’s coronavirus antiviral pills, bringing the government’s total order of the drug to 20 million treatment courses. Monthly deliveries of Paxlovid, however, are not expected to ramp up into the millions until April and the combined order is not due to be filled until the end of September. Doctors, meanwhile, say the limited initial supply of the pills means they’re unlikely to alleviate the current strain on hospitals due to the Omicron surge. (Washington Post / New York Times)

3/ A record 4.5 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in November – up from the 4.2 million who left or changed jobs in October, and surpassing the previous record of 4.4 million in September. The Labor Department also reported that employers posted 10.6 million job openings in November, down from 11.1 million in October but well above pre-pandemic levels. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, has fallen to 4.2%, close to what’s considered full employment. (Politico / CNN / New York Times / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

4/ Joe Manchin told reporters he’s had “no negotiations” with Democrats about reviving Biden’s $1.75 trillion social and climate spending bill. Last month, Manchin said he opposed the House-passed version of the bill, ending his party’s hopes of passing the package before the end of 2021. “I’m really not going to talk about Build Back Better because I think I’ve been very clear on that,” Manchin said outside his office today, adding that he feels “as strongly today” as he did in December about his concerns that the plan could exacerbate high inflation. When asked about possible rule changes to the filibuster, Manchin called it a “heavy lift” and indicated that his “absolute preference” is to do it with Republican support. Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, warned that Manchin will have to vote on Biden’s signature spending bill at some point, saying “I intend to hold a vote in the Senate on BBB and we’ll keep voting until we get a bill passed. The stakes are high for us to find common ground.” (Politico / NBC News / The Hill / Bloomberg / CNBC)

5/ Trump endorsed Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister Viktor Orban for reelection, pledging his “complete support” to the far-right populist who has championed turning Hungary into an “illiberal state.” In his endorsement, Trump called Orban a “strong leader” who has “done a powerful and wonderful job in protecting Hungary, stopping illegal immigration, creating jobs, trade, and should be allowed to continue to do so in the upcoming election.” (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / Business Insider)

6/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is running out of time as Trump and his allies block or slow down the committee’s subpoenas and document demands. The panel is facing a litany of lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies seeking to run out the clock ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, where Republicans are expected to regain control of the House, which would give them the power to shut down the investigation. Though the committee has interviewed hundreds of witnesses, some of the most important have yet to cooperate with the inquiry at Trump’s direction. “We’re moving as swiftly as I think any congressional committee ever has,” Adam Schiff said. “Some witnesses are far more important than others, and I think that some really important witnesses are attempting to deprive the committee and American people of what they know. There’s still some very significant witnesses and very significant documents we haven’t obtained.” The committee is also waiting on 800 pages of Trump’s official records and communications related to Jan. 6. Whether those records will be turned over is being litigated in the courts, where the U.S. district court and the U.S. appeals court have already ruled that Biden has the final say over which White House documents are subject to executive privilege. Last month, however, Trump asked the Supreme Court to block the release of those records, arguing that the documents are subject to executive privilege Biden, however, has declined to assert privilege on Trump’s behalf. (The Guardian / New York Times / Washington Post)

7/ The Jan. 6 select committee will reportedly ask Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity for his voluntary cooperation with its investigation. Hannity texted then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the riot, urging him to get Trump to stop his supporters. (Axios)

poll/ 29% of Republicans say the Jan. 6 attack by Trump supporters was not violent, while 61% say it was very or somewhat violent. Overall, 86% of adults describe the attack on the Capitol as extremely or very violent. (Associated Press)

poll/ 56% of voters disapprove of the job Biden is doing – the worst job approval rating of his presidency. Biden’s approval rating stands at 44%, down from 46% in September and 51% in April. (CNBC)

Day 349: "A symptom of a broader illness."

1/ The U.S. reported a pandemic record 403,385 Covid-19 cases over the past week – about 60% higher than the previous U.S. peak in Jan. 2021. The seven-day PCR test positive rate in the U.S. hit 17% – the highest since April 2020. The number of tests reported by states, however, are running below the 2021 highs, which suggests that cases are significantly undercounted. Hospitalizations and deaths, meanwhile, remain below previous peaks. Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress, warned of an “unprecedented” number of cases among members and staff, saying the seven-day coronavirus positivity rate within the Capitol has gone from less than 1% to greater than 13%, with Omicron making up a majority of those cases. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Politico)

2/ The FDA authorized booster shots of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds. The agency also shortened the timeframe between the second and third shots to at least five months, down from six months. The agency will also allow some immunocompromised children ages 5 to 11 to get a third dose. (NPR / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / CBS News)

3/ Twitter “permanently suspended” the personal account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for “repeated violations” of its Covid-19 misinformation policies. The suspension came after she published a tweet falsely suggesting “extremely high amounts of Covid vaccine deaths.” Facebook, meanwhile, suspended Greene 24 hours for spreading similar misinformation about the coronavirus. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / New York Times)

4/ New York Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed Ivanka Trump and Trump Jr. as part of her civil tax fraud investigation into the Trump Organization. Ivanka and Trump Jr., however, have refused to comply with subpoenas. The attorney general’s office previously subpoenaed Trump for testimony and set a Jan. 7 deadline. Eric Trump was previously subpoenaed and provided testimony in Oct. 2020. (NBC News / ABC News / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Politico)

5/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot said it has “firsthand testimony” that Ivanka Trump twice asked Trump to intervene as his supporters stormed the Capitol. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, said Ivanka “went in at least twice to ask [Trump] to ‘please stop this violence.’” Chairman Bennie Thompson added that the panel has “significant testimony” that the White House “had been told to do something.” Thompson said the panel believes Trump made “several videos” before he released his one-minute clip on social media 187 minutes after the attack began, in which Trump repeated false claims about the election he lost while encouraging the rioters to “Go home. We love you. You’re very special.” The panel has asked the National Archives for the videos that were never shared. (CNN / NBC News)

6/ Chuck Schumer announced that the Senate will vote on changes to the filibuster rules by Jan. 17 if Republicans continue to block voting rights legislation. In a letter to colleagues, Schumer said the Senate “must evolve” and will “debate and consider changes” to the rules by Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Schumer, however, will need buy-in from both Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to change or eliminate the filibuster. Both have voiced opposition to changing Senate rules along party lines. “Let me be clear: January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness — an effort to delegitimize our election process,” Schumer wrote, “and the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic or else the events of that day will not be an aberration — they will be the new norm.” (Associated Press / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / CNBC)

poll/ 64% of Americans believe U.S. democracy is “in crisis and at risk of failing.” 65% of Americans agree that U.S. democracy is “more at risk” now than it was a year ago. Among Republicans, that number climbs to 80%. (NPR)

poll/ 34% of Americans say violence against the government might be justified – from 23% in 2015 and 16% in 2010. While 62% said violence against the government is never justified, that view is down from 1995 when 95% of respondents said violence was never justified. (Washington Post)

poll/ 72% of Americans believe the people involved in the attack on the Capitol were “threatening democracy,” while 25% believes that the individuals involved were “protecting democracy.” (ABC News)

poll/ 34% of voters say the Republican Party is headed in the right direction – 10 points higher than before the attack on the Capitol. (Morning Consult)

Day 344: "We must adapt."

1/ U.S. Covid-19 cases hit their highest level of the pandemic. The U.S. reported 441,278 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday – the highest single-day total – and surpassing the previous daily record by nearly 150,000. The seven-day average of U.S. cases topped 267,000 – more than double the rate in early December – exceeding the previous high mark of about 252,000 average daily cases set on Jan. 11, 2021. Hospitalizations and deaths, meanwhile, have been rising, but remain far below peak levels. The CDC reported that Omicron accounted for 58.6% of all Covid-19 cases in the U.S., while the Delta variant accounted for 41.1% of cases. (Politico / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC / Bloomberg)

2/ The CDC defended its decision to shorten the recommended isolation from 10 to five days for asymptomatic individuals who test positive for Covid-19, saying “we must adapt” as the coronavirus has also “proven its ability to adapt quickly.” The agency said the change in guidance was “motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness.” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, however, acknowledged that minimizing disruptions to the economy in part motivated the decision, saying it “really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate […] that people were willing to adhere to.” As part of the updated guidance, the CDC did not recommend that people test negative for Covid-19 before reentering society, which public health experts and union leaders have criticized as reckless because it relies on people’s self-judgment to assess their transmission risk – which could lead to more spread and more Covid-19 cases. Instead, the CDC recommended that those ending their isolation can go back to their regular activities as long as they wear a mask for an additional five days. (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / NBC News)

3/ Biden conceded that his efforts to expand Covid-19 testing capacity is “not enough. It’s clearly not enough,” adding that the long testing lines over the Christmas weekend “shows that we have more work to do.” The Biden administration, however, announced plans to order 500 million at-home test kits, which officials expect the free tests to be available as early as January. During a meeting between state leaders and members of his Covid-19 response team, Biden added: “I wish I had thought about ordering a half a billion [tests] two months ago,” before the recent surge. The FDA, meanwhile, said preliminary research shows some rapid antigen tests may be less sensitive at detecting the Omicron variant – meaning it’s possible the tests could miss an infection, known as a “false negative.” (CNN / CNBC / NBC News / Politico)

4/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol – at the request of the Biden administration – agreed to delay or withdraw demands for hundreds of Trump White House records. The White House flagged some of the records for potential national security concerns. The agreement, however, does not prevent the committee from making new requests. The committee, meanwhile, plans to hold public hearings in the new year, followed by an interim report in the summer, and a final report ahead of November’s elections. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, said the panel will also open an inquiry into Trump’s phone call seeking to stop Biden’s certification from taking place hours before the insurrection and why it took so long for him to call on his supporters to stand down. Thompson said Trump’s delayed response to the Capitol attack – which came 187 minutes after he instructed his supporters to march on the Capitol – could be a factor in deciding whether to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department. (New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / CNN / Bloomberg / Washington Post / The Hill)

5/ Biden signed a $768 billion defense policy bill – $24 billion more than he had requested. Aside from increased spending in almost every part of the military, the National Defense Authorization Act contains a 2.7% pay increase for most service members, billions more for weapons procurement than the Pentagon requested, and several changes to the military justice system and how the military handles sexual assault and harassment. (Politico / New York Times / CNN)

6/ Biden confirmed more judges to the federal bench in 2021 than any first-year president since Ronald Reagan. The Senate confirmed 40 of Biden’s judicial nominees, including 11 appellate picks. 78% of his confirmed judges were women and 53% were people of color. (Reuters)

poll/ 52% of Republicans disapprove of the job Mitch McConnell is doing as Senate minority leader. (Business Insider)

Day 337: "It checks all the boxes."

1/ Biden announced that pandemic relief for federal student loan borrowers will be extended once again until May 1, 2022. The extension affects about 41 million borrowers, including nearly 27 million who haven’t been paying their monthly bill since early in 2020. (New York Times / NPR / CNN / CNBC / Associated Press)

2/ The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the first pill for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 cases in adults and children ages 12 and older. The Pfizer pill, Paxlovid, is a faster way to treat early COVID-19 infections, though initial supplies will be extremely limited. All of the previously authorized drugs against the disease require an IV or an injection. “The efficacy is high, the side effects are low and it’s oral,” said Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic. “It checks all the boxes.” (Associated Press)

3/ Corporate donations to Sen. Joe Manchin’s PAC surged as he fought against Biden’s agenda. The political action committee received 17 contributions in October and 19 last month, according to a CNBC analysis of Federal Election Commission filings. (CNBC)

4/ The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is seeking information about Rep. Jim Jordan’s contact with Trump on Jan. 6. Committee investigators want to ask Jordan about “possibly multiple communications” he had with Trump on the day of the invasion, according to a letter from committee chair Bennie Thompson. The Ohio Republican has emerged as the top conduit for GOP House members involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. (CNN / CNBC / Washington Post)

5/ A judge rejected a bid by former Trump advisor Michael Flynn to block a subpoena for his Jan. 6 phone records a day after he filed suit. Flynn claimed in federal court in Florida that the subpoena issued to him by the House Jan. 6 committee was too broad and that it punishes him for constitutionally protected speech as a private citizen. The judge, however, left the door open for Flynn to renew his bid if he thinks he can satisfy two issues that the judge cited in denying a restraining order against the committee. (CNBC / CNN / The Guardian / NBC News)

6/ A member of the Proud Boys pleaded guilty for his role in the Capitol riot. Matthew Greene pleaded guilty in federal court to two criminal charges: conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, related to the Capitol siege on Jan. 6, 2021. (NPR)

Day 332: "Deliberate efforts."

1/ Biden acknowledged that the Build Back Better bill will not clear Congress this year despite efforts and pledges by Democrats to pass the $1.75 trillion social spending and climate bill before Christmas. “It takes time to finalize these agreements, prepare the legislative changes, and finish all the parliamentary and procedural steps needed to enable a Senate vote,” Biden said after it became clear that his team, so far, has failed to secure Joe Manchin’s vote. Pushing back the Build Back Better bill until next year means that the Dec. 15 child tax credit payments, which have been sent to families for the past six months but expired Wednesday, will be the last ones until the program is renewed. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration has “talked to Treasury officials and others about doing double-payments in February as an option,” if the Build Back Better Act passes in January. (Politico / Bloomberg / CNBC / Business Insider / Bloomberg)

2/ The Senate parliamentarian rejected the Democrats plan to include immigration reform in the social spending bill for the third time. Elizabeth MacDonough said provisions to extend work permits and provide temporary deportation protections for some immigrants who have been in the U.S. since before 2011 don’t comply with Senate rules associated with the reconciliation process. A so-called reconciliation bill can’t have provisions that are driven more by policy changes than by changes in the federal budget. Democrats had argued that the work permits and other provisions would have a budgetary impact. (Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / NPR / Politico / Bloomberg)

3/ The Trump administration engaged in “deliberate efforts” to undermine the nation’s response to the coronavirus for political purposes, the House Select subcommittee on the coronavirus said in a report. The committee said the administration repeatedly overruled public health and testing guidance by the nation’s top infectious disease experts, blocked officials from speaking publicly in order to promote Trump’s political agenda, and attempted to interfere with other public health guidance. The subcommittee also found that the Trump White House blocked the CDC from conducting public briefings for more than three months after a top CDC official in late-February 2020 “accurately warned the public about the risks posed by the coronavirus.” (NBC News / CNN)

4/ New York state reported its highest number of new Covid-19 cases in a single day of the entire pandemic. The 21,027 new cases surpassed the previous record of 19,942 set in January, and about 8% of total all Covid-19 tests were positive. Nationwide, hospitalizations have increased by about 3% and deaths rose by about 7% over the past week. (CNBC / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

5/ The Biden administration plans to replace all of the nation’s lead water pipes in the next decade. The Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan will use $15 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed last month. Up to 10 million households, schools, and care facilities currently get their drinking water through lead pipes. (CBS News / NBC News)

6/ The FDA permanently lifted major restrictions on access to abortion pills, allowing doctors to prescribe the drugs online and have them mailed to patients or sent to local pharmacies. The drug, mifepristone, is approved for use in combination with another medication, misoprostol, to terminate pregnancies up to 10 weeks. Before the coronavirus pandemic, doctors could prescribe the pills to patients who were able to pick them up in person. In response to Covid-19, however, the Biden administration suspended that requirement, allowing them to be mailed to patients instead. (New York Times / NPR / Politico / Axios)

7/ A Florida man was sentenced to five years in prison for assaulting police officers with a fire extinguisher, a plank, and a long pole during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol – the longest sentence for a Capitol rioter so far. Robert Palmer had argued that he should get a more lenient sentence because Trump has not been held accountable, which U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected. Roger Stone, meanwhile, asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to every question asked during his 90-minute deposition with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot. And, a judge rejected a request from Fox News to dismiss a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems over baseless claims by Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and their guests that Dominion was using algorithms in voting machines that were created in Venezuela to rig multiple elections for Hugo Chávez, the late president. “Fox possessed countervailing evidence of election fraud from the Department of Justice, election experts, and Dominion at the time it had been making its statements,” Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis wrote. “The fact that, despite this evidence, Fox continued to publish its allegations against Dominion, suggests Fox knew the allegations were probably false.” (NBC News / Politico / CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Washington Post / CNN)

8/ The Republican National Committee agreed to pay up to $1.6 million of Trump’s personal legal bills. The payments are meant to help Trump defend himself in parallel fraud investigations by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. At issue is whether the Trump Organization committed fraud by manipulating the value of assets to obtain loans and tax benefits. (Washington Post / New York Times)


Programming Note: As in years past, WTFJHT will publish on a modified holiday schedule to end the year. We’ll be publishing on Wednesday, Dec. 22 and again on Wednesday, Dec. 29 – unless, of course, something truly WTF-y happens. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming starting Monday, Jan. 3. WTFJHT supporting members can also expect an end of year member update from me next week on the status of WTFJHT, where we’re going with this thing in 2022, and – most importantly – an update on Baby S. and what he’s eating and doing the days. If you want to get in on the update, become a supporting member today.

Happy holidays and stuff from Matt, Joe, Baby S., and Ramona (the cat).

Day 330: "This is bullshit."

1/ Talks between Biden and Joe Manchin reportedly soured over the size and scope of the $1.75 trillion climate and social safety net legislation. Manchin continued to push for spending reductions, including eliminating the measure’s expanded child tax credit – a federal program that sends monthly tax credit checks to roughly 35 million families with young children. The final child tax credit payments went out today and the program is set to expire at the end of this year, unless lawmakers reauthorize it as part of the Build Back Better Act. Manchin, however, denied that his resistance to the bill was related to the inclusion of the child tax credits, telling reporters: “I’m not negotiating with any of you all, okay? […] This is bulls—. You’re bulls—. Okay. I’m done, I’m done!” Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, hasn’t said he’ll delay work on the bill, but the unresolved disputes with Manchin make it increasingly likely that Democrats will miss their self-imposed deadline to pass BBB before the end of the year. (Washington Post / Associated Press / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / NBC News / The Hill)

2/ The House voted to hold Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress over his refusal to cooperate with the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The former White House chief of staff initially provided numerous documents to the committee before he abruptly stopped cooperating with the panel a day before his scheduled Dec. 8 deposition, claiming executive privilege. The matter now goes to the Justice Department, which will decide whether to pursue criminal charges. Before the vote, lawmakers shared a series of text messages – from Fox News personalities, Trump Jr., and unnamed lawmakers – sent to Meadows as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, urging him to get Trump to end the violence. At least half a dozen people, including Rep. Jim Jordan, reached out during the riot to Meadows to get Trump to intervene. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / ABC News / CNBC)

3/ A federal judge dismissed Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block Congress from obtaining his tax returns. In April 2019, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal first requested six years of Trump’s tax returns to review the effectiveness of the presidential audit program. A federal law gives the chairman of the committee broad authority to request any person’s tax returns. The Treasury Department, however, refused to provide the documents at the time and the Trump Justice Department supported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s refusal to turn over the tax returns. Trump’s lawyers immediately appealed the decision. Separately, Trump’s longtime accountant testified before a New York grand jury investigating Trump’s financial practices. Donald Bender helped prepare Trump’s taxes and the financial statements used to obtain loans. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ The Senate approved a $768 billion defense spending bill. Biden is expected to sign the measure, which will increase the Pentagon’s budget by roughly $24 billion more than he requested. (Politico / New York Times)

5/ The House passed legislation to raise the federal debt limit by $2.5 trillion, sending the bill to Biden for his signature. The Treasury Department had set a Wednesday deadline to extend the country’s borrowing authority, saying it was using so-called “extraordinary measures” to delay the threat of a default. The action came a week after party leaders reached a deal to allow a one-time-only change to Senate rules to increase the debt ceiling with a simple majority vote, instead of the 60 votes needed to move most legislation through the Senate. The $2.5 trillion figure punts the threat of a default until after next year’s midterm elections. (NPR / NBC News / New York Times / CBS News)

6/ The CDC warned that the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading in the U.S. and that “everything points to a large wave” coming as soon as January. The CDC detailed a “a triple whammy” scenario where an Omicron wave, coupled with Delta and influenza cases could overwhelm health systems, particularly those with low vaccination rates. While the Delta variant remains the dominant strain in the U.S., accounting for 96% of sequenced cases, the Omicron variant now makes up 3% of all sequenced Covid-19 cases in the U.S. – up from less than 0.1% in early December. Omicron has been detected in 33 U.S. states. In Europe, Omicron is expected to be the dominant variant by mid-January. Based on the available data so far, health officials say booster doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines are likely to offer a substantial increase in protection against the Omicron variant. (Axios / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

poll/ 60% of Americans say they feel “worn out” by how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted their daily lives, and 45% feel “angry” about it. (Monmouth University)

Day 328: "No choice."

1/ Joe Manchin signaled concerns about inflation and the cost and structure of the Democrats’ $1.7 trillion climate and social spending bill ahead of a phone call with Biden on the bill. Manchin, objecting to the way the entire bill is constructed, indicated that he’s concerned that the Build Back Better legislation relies on temporary spending that will likely become permanent, which – he says – hides the true costs over 10 years. “Inflation is real, it’s not transitory,” Manchin said. “It’s alarming. It’s going up, not down. And I think that should be something we’re concerned about.” Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, is pressing for the Senate to adopt the bill by Christmas. Manchin, however, hasn’t committed to the timeline. (Politico / The Hill / CNN / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The U.S. surpassed 800,000 Covid-19 deaths – more than any other nation. About 600,000 of the 800,000 who have died so far have been 65 or older, and one in 100 older Americans has died from the coronavirus. For people younger than 65, the ratio is closer to 1 in 1,400. The total number of known coronavirus cases in the U.S. has surpassed 50 million. (New York Times / NBC News)

3/ The Supreme Court denied an emergency request to block New York’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers, doctors, and nurses. The legal challenge was filed by a group of 20 doctors and nurses who argued that the vaccine mandate violated the First Amendment because it allowed for medical objections exemptions but not for people with religious objections. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas dissented, with Gorsuch criticizing New York Governor Kathy Hochul for saying in September that unvaccinated people “aren’t listening to God and what God wants” while defending the lack of a religious exemption. (CNBC / CNN / Bloomberg)

4/ Mark Meadows turned over a PowerPoint presentation suggesting that Trump could declare a national security emergency in order to delay the certification of the 2020 election to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. A version of the PowerPoint, which spanned 38 pages and was titled “Election fraud, Foreign Interference and Options for 6 JAN,” was sent to Meadows on Jan. 5, and recommended that Trump declare a national emergency, seize paper ballots, and for all electronic voting to be rendered invalid, citing foreign “control” of electronic voting systems. Phil Waldron, a retired U.S. Army colonel who worked with Trump’s outside lawyers and circulated the proposals to challenge the 2020 election, said that he visited the White House on multiple times after the election, spoke with Meadows “maybe eight to 10 times,” and briefed several members of Congress on the eve of the Jan. 6 riot. Waldron, however, said he did not personally send the document to Trump’s former chief of staff. Meadows also sent an email on Jan. 5 saying the National Guard would be present at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to “protect pro Trump people,” according to a report from the House committee. It’s unclear, however, who Meadows sent the message to. (New York Times / The Guardian / Washington Post / Rolling Stone / NBC News / Politico / CNN)

5/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob said it had “no choice” but to advance criminal contempt proceedings against Mark Meadows after he decided to no longer cooperate with their investigation. The committee is scheduled to vote Monday night on holding Meadows in contempt, and the House will likely vote later this week to approve the resolution. Meadows would be the third of Trump’s associates to face criminal prosecution under the Justice Department for defying a subpoena. (Associated Press / CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / CNBC)

6/ Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro refused to comply with a Congressional subpoena for documents related to the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus. Navarro said Trump ordered him not to turn over documents or share information about the White House coronavirus response, citing a “direct order” to claim executive privilege. The subcommittee gave Navarro until Dec. 15 to sit for a deposition and demanded again that he turn over relevant documents. Navarro served as one of Trump’s pandemic response advisers and warned the White House in a Jan. 2020 memo that the virus could become a “full-blown pandemic.” (Washington Post / CNN / Bloomberg)

Day 325: "No basis."

1/ The Supreme Court allowed abortion providers in Texas to challenge the new state law that essentially bans abortions after about six weeks. The law – the most restrictive in the country – remains in place while abortion providers challenge the law in federal court. But at the same time, the court limited which state officials could be sued by abortion providers to four licensing officials who are involved with enforcement of SB8. Separately, the court also dismissed a challenge to the law brought by the Justice Department. White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, said Biden was “very concerned” about the ruling, which is “a reminder of how much these rights are at risk.” (NPR / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / ABC News / CBS News / USA Today / Associated Press)

2/ A federal appeals court rejected Trump’s effort to stop the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol from obtaining his White House records. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied Trump’s request to block the National Archives from releasing roughly 800 pages of Trump documents, saying Biden’s decision not to invoke executive privilege over the material outweighed Trump’s residual secrecy powers. The court said Congress had a “uniquely vital interest” in studying the events of Jan. 6 and that Biden had made a “carefully reasoned” decision that the documents were in the public interest when he declined to assert executive privilege. “On the record before us, former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the Political Branches over these documents,” the panel concluded. The court, however, paused its ruling for two weeks so that Trump could seek a Supreme Court intervention. (Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / NBC News / Politico / CNN)

3/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued six new subpoenas to people involved in the planning of the rally that preceded the insurrection. In a statement, the committee said “some of the witnesses we subpoenaed today apparently worked to stage the rallies on January 5th and 6th, and some appeared to have had direct communication with the former president regarding the rally at the Ellipse directly preceding the attack on the U.S. Capitol.” Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the committee, said the panel is seeking information from people involved with the rally’s planning or who witnessed the coordination of these plans. Among those subpoenaed were Max Miller, who was an aide to Trump and is now an Ohio congressional candidate, and Brian Jack, Trump’s former political affairs director. Kevin McCarthy hired Jack in March to direct the House Republicans midterm election efforts. (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

4/ The New York attorney general is seeking to depose Trump early next year as part of her investigation into potential fraud inside the Trump Organization. Letitia James requested that Trump answer questions under oath on Jan. 7 in her New York office about his company’s business practices, including whether the Trump Organization committed tax fraud in the reported the value of certain properties to banks and tax authorities. James’ office is considering whether to file a civil suit against the company. (Washington Post / NBC News)

5/ The FDA authorized Pfizer’s Covid-19 booster shots for 16- and 17-year-olds. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, signed off on the move and strongly encouraged all 16- and 17-year-olds who have been vaccinated to get a booster as soon as they are six months past their second shot. Nearly 50 million Americans — about a quarter of those fully vaccinated — have gotten a booster shot. (New York Times / Washington Post)

6/ The Senate Republicans voted to roll back Biden’s vaccine and testing mandate for large employers with the help of two centrist Democrats: Joe Manchin and Jon Tester. The vote, however, is largely symbolic because the House is not expected to take up the measure, and the White House has said Biden will veto it if it reaches his desk. In September, Biden proposed a vaccination-or-testing rule that large private employers must require their workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or tested, or face losing their jobs. (NPR / New York Times / NBC News)

7/ Inflation hit a 39-year high in November, rising 6.8% from a year ago and the sixth straight month in which inflation topped 5%. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, said his concerns about inflation outweigh the benefits of Biden’s $1.7 trillion Build Back Better package, which focuses on reducing costs for child care and health care and fighting climate change. A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showed that if the temporary benefit programs in the bill were made permanent, the bill would add $3 trillion in deficits over ten years – more than double its 10-year cost. The White House disputed the CBO report, arguing that over the long term, the bill would boost worker productivity and reduce inflation, and that Biden would only support expanding programs if they were fully paid for. Republicans, however, urged Manchin to kill the bill in the 50-50 Senate, pointing to the 6.8% annual gain in the consumer price index. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNBC / Politico / Associated Press)

Day 323: "No choice."

1/ Preliminary laboratory tests suggest that three doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine offer significant protection against the Omicron variant. The early data, which has not been peer reviewed or published, found that a third dose increased antibodies 25-fold compared with two doses against Omicron. The lab findings also indicate that the two-dose regimen “may not be sufficient” to protect against infection with Omicron, but may still protect against severe disease. Dr. Anthony Fauci, meanwhile, added that the emerging evidence suggests Omicron may be more transmissible than previous variants but cause less severe illness. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN / Politico)

2/ A U.S. District Court judge temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s mandate for federal contractors to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Judge Stan Baker of the Southern District of Georgia said Biden likely exceeded his authority under the Procurement Act when he issued the Sept. 9 mandate, which applies to roughly a quarter of the U.S. workforce. The White House originally gave contractors until Dec. 8 to comply but later pushed back the deadline until Jan. 4. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are expected to invoke and pass the Congressional Review Act to force a vote on a potential repeal of Biden’s employer vaccine mandate. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Jon Tester have said they support the legislation. The bill would still have to pass the House and overcome a presidential veto. Nancy Pelosi, however, has said she does not plan to schedule a vote on the repeal in the House. (Bloomberg / CNBC / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / The Hill)

3/ The House approved legislation to create a one-time pathway for Senate Democrats to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling without Republican support, who have refused to drop their blockade against legislation to raise the borrowing cap long-term in protest of Biden’s economic agenda. The House took the first step to implement the plan by passing the measure 222-212, which allows Democrats to raise the debt ceiling once using a simple majority in the Senate rather than the 60 votes needed for most legislation. At least 10 Republicans in the Senate now need to support that bill in order to set up the process for Democrats to then increase the debt ceiling by a simple majority vote. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the debt limit could be reached as soon as Dec. 15, which would lead to a catastrophic and first-ever U.S. default. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / Bloomberg)

4/ Biden signed an executive order to cut the federal government’s carbon emissions 65% by the end of the decade and carbon neutral by 2050. Biden’s order establishes a “Buy Clean” policy, directing the federal government to use 100% clean electricity by 2030, stop buying gas-powered vehicles and instead create a fleet of electric vehicles by 2035, and upgrade federal buildings to be carbon neutral by 2045. “As the single largest land owner, energy consumer and employer in the nation, the federal government can catalyze private-sector investment and expand the economy and American industry by transforming how we build, buy and manage electricity, vehicles, buildings and other operations to be clean and sustainable,″ the order said. (Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press / Bloomberg)

5/ The House passed a $768 billion defense policy bill – roughly $24 billion above what Biden had requested. The bill, which sets the policy agenda and authorizes funding, now moves to the Senate, where it’s expected to pass this week. The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act also contains changes to how sexual assault and harassment are prosecuted and handled within the military, and includes a 2.7% pay raise for both military service members and the Defense Department civilian workforce, and provides funding intended to counter China and bolster Ukraine, as well as money for new aircraft and ships. The bill also establishes a “multi-year independent Afghanistan War Commission” to examine the 20-year war. (New York Times / ABC News / CNN)

6/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol will move hold Mark Meadows in criminal contempt for refusing to appear for a scheduled deposition. Trump’s former chief of staff, who has turned over thousands of pages of documents, informed the panel that he was no longer willing to sit for a deposition, reversing a cooperation deal he had reached with the panel last week. “The select committee is left with no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution,” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said wrote Meadows’s lawyer, George Terwilliger III. Meadows also sued Nancy Pelosi and members of the select panel, claiming that he can’t discuss matters that could be covered by executive privilege, which Biden has not asserted on Trump’s behalf. A federal judge, meanwhile, set a tentative July 18 date for Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress trial. The date splits the difference between requests from prosecutors, who wanted a trial in mid-April, and Bannon’s lawyers, who requested 10 months to prepare. And, Pence’s former chief of staff is reportedly cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee. Marc Short was subpoenaed a few weeks ago. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Axios / Politico / CNBC / New York Times)

Day 321: "Crimes against humanity."

1/ The Biden administration announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.” American athletes, however, are free to participate in the games. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well as human rights advocates, have called on the Biden administration to pressure Beijing over abuses against the Uyghur community (which has been declared a genocide both by Biden and the Trump administration), a crackdown on pro-democracy free speech protests in Hong Kong, China’s recent aggression toward Taiwan, pursuit of hypersonic weapons, and its secrecy surrounding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is looking to send a “clear message” that the human rights abuses in China mean there cannot be “business as usual.” (New York Times / Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC)

2/ The Justice Department sued Texas over its plan to redraw congressional and state legislative voting districts, alleging that the Republican-led legislature’s redistricting plans disenfranchise minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Texas’ redistricting plan “denies Black and Latino voters the equal opportunity to participate in the election process,” and was created “with discriminatory intent,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said. The suit claims Texas is “refusing to recognize the State’s growing minority electorate” and asks the court to stop the state from holding elections under the new maps and to redraw Texas’s congressional and state House districts for 2022. The Justice Department previously sued Texas, as well as Georgia, over laws limiting ballot access. (Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / USA Today / CNBC)

3/ The metadata in a draft letter written by a Trump Justice Department official “indicates some involvement with the White House” in Trump’s failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election. In Dec. 2020, Jeffrey Clark drafted a letter to the Georgia governor and legislative leadership urging them to convene a special session of the legislature to investigate voter fraud claims. The metadata in the file indicates that the White House communications staff may have worked on the draft letter, which encouraged Georgia to appoint new electors who would overturn its election results and swing the presidential election to Trump. Clark had urged then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue to sign the letter, saying: “I think we should get it out as soon as possible.” Rosen and Donoghue, however, refused to send it. Clark was scheduled for a deposition before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot on Saturday, but it was rescheduled for Dec. 16 because he has a “medical condition that precludes his participation.” Members of select committee, meanwhile, are pushing to rewrite the Electoral Count Act of 1887 – the law that Trump and his allies tried to use to overturn the 2020 election. Proposed reforms include clearer time limits for states to choose electors, limiting what a lawmaker can object to, and clarifying that the vice president’s role in the process is clerical and lacks the authority to unilaterally throw out a state’s votes, which Trump and his allies urged Pence to do. (Rolling Stone)

4/ Sidney Powell raised more than $14 million off of her baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Powell is currently being sued for $1.3 billion by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation over her claims that the company rigged the election against Trump. She’s also claimed that “no reasonable person” would believe that her false conspiracies about widespread election fraud were “statements of fact.” (Washington Post)

5/ Devin Nunes resigned from Congress to become CEO of Trump’s media company. The shell company taking Trump’s social media startup public, however, is currently under investigation by two federal regulators. The SEC is investigating the potential merger between Trump Media and Technology Group and the special purpose acquisition company Digital World Acquisition, which may have violated securities rules by failing to disclose discussions it was reportedly having before initially raising nearly $300 million. Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, will start in January. (CNBC / Politico / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Politico)

6/ The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been identified in at least 17 U.S. states since Dec. 1, when the the first case was reported in California. New York City, meanwhile, announced a coronavirus vaccine mandate for all private employers to combat the spread of Omicron. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the mandate a “pre-emptive strike” to slow another wave of cases and help reduce transmission during the winter months. And, since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Trump in the presidential election are nearly three times as likely to die from Covid-19 as those who live in areas that went for Biden. (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR)

Day 318: "Bare minimum."

1/ Biden signed legislation to keep the government funded through Feb. 18 after Republicans dropped a threat to force a shutdown over the administration’s vaccine mandates. The House passed the measure 221-212, sending it to the Senate, where a handful of Republican senators threatened to hold up the measure over the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate on private employers. Senators, however, voted down an amendment on the issue on a 48-to-50 vote, with two Republicans absent. The Senate then voted 69-28 to approve the spending bill. “Funding the government isn’t a great achievement,” Biden said. “It’s a bare minimum of what we need to get done.” Democrats and Republicans will now turn to several must-pass items in the coming weeks, which include increasing the debt limit and passing the annual National Defense Authorization Act. Chuck Schumer has also promised a vote before Christmas on Biden’s roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better legislation. (NPR / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post / CNBC)

2/ The U.S. added 210,000 jobs to the economy in in November – the smallest gain since December 2020 – while the unemployment rate fell to 4.2% from 4.6% – a new pandemic-era low. Economists had expected more than half a million new jobs in November. So far the U.S. has recovered about 82% of the jobs lost during the pandemic. “Simply put, America, America is back to work,” Biden said. “Because of the extraordinary strides we’ve made, we can look forward to a brighter, happier New Year, in my view.” (CNBC / NBC News / CNN / Politico / NPR / New York Times / CBS News / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

3/ New research indicates that the Omicron variant is spreading more than twice as quickly as Delta, which was previously the most contagious form of the coronavirus. Researchers concluded that the Omicron mutation has a “substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection” and that the variant is at least three times more likely to cause reinfection than previous variants, such as Beta and Delta. In the U.S., Omicron has been detected in five states. The CDC also reported that nearly 2.2 million vaccine doses were administered over a 24-hour period ending Thursday – the largest single-day total since May. Roughly half of those shots were booster doses. The Biden administration, meanwhile, announced that it is sending an additional 9 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Africa, bringing the total U.S. donation to 100 million vaccines. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC)

4/ The Biden administration reinstated the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forced asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while awaiting their immigration hearings. While the Biden administration had tried multiple times to roll back the policy, a federal judge in August ordered the program restored. The administration appealed to the Supreme Court which refused to block the order. Mexico agreed to restart the Migrant Protection Protocols policy, after the Biden administration agreed to address “humanitarian concerns” at the border, such as providing Covid-19 vaccines for migrants, secure shelters in Mexico, transportation to U.S. ports of entry, and access to essentials like health care and work permits in Mexico. Unaccompanied minors and other “particularly vulnerable individuals” will not be included in the program. (New York Times / Politico / CNBC)

5/ The attorney who helped Trump pressure Pence to overturn the 2020 election asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. John Eastman joins former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark in asserting the Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. While Clark appeared before the committee in response to a subpoena for records and testimony on Nov. 5, he refused to answer questions, citing Trump’s claims of executive privilege. The committee then recommended holding Clark in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with its inquiry. Clark, however, informed the committee that he “now intends to claim Fifth Amendment protection.” Eastman laid out six steps in a memo that he claimed Pence could take to attempt to overturn the 2020 election results and throw the election to Trump. One of them involved Pence unilaterally rejecting Biden’s victory in a handful of swing states and instead appointing alternate electors to the Electoral College, effectively denying Biden’s victory. (Politico / Washington Post / ABC News / CNN / Business Insider)

6/ At least 11 U.S. State Department employees had their iPhones hacked with spyware developed by the Israel-based NSO Group. The attacks come a month after the U.S. added NSO Group to a federal blacklist amid allegations that its phone-hacking tools had been used by foreign governments to “maliciously target” government officials, activists, human rights workers, journalists, academics, embassy workers, and others. The hacks are the first confirmed cases of NSO surveillance software, known as Pegasus, being used to target American officials. (Reuters / Washington Post)

Day 316: "Survive the stench."

1/ The Supreme Court appeared likely to uphold a Mississippi law that bans almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. At issue is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a 2018 Mississippi law that banned abortions for women roughly two months earlier than current Supreme Court precedent allows. It is the most direct challenge to Roe v. Wade in nearly three decades. Lower courts have blocked the law, ruling that it violated the Supreme Court’s decisions in 1973’s Roe v. Wade, as well as 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Those rulings held that women have a fundamental right to an abortion, states cannot ban abortion before the point of fetal viability — roughly between 22 and 24 weeks — and that laws restricting abortion should not pose an “undue burden.” Mississippi, however, appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and asked the justices to reverse all its prior abortion decisions outright and return the abortion question to the states. During arguments, the court’s six-member conservative majority appeared divided about whether to stop at 15 weeks or whether to overrule Roe entirely, allowing states to ban abortions. The court’s liberal justices, meanwhile, said overturning Roe would make the court appear political and that its reputation would be irreparably damaged if it cast aside decades of precedent because of new justices. “It is particularly important to show that what we do in overturning a case is grounded in principle and not social pressure,” Justice Stephen Breyer warned. Justice Sonia Sotomayor added: “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it’s possible.” Should 50 years of legal precedent be overturned, at least 20 states will immediately make almost all abortions unlawful: a dozen states have trigger laws that would automatically end most abortions and nine more have pre-Roe bans on the books. A decision is not expected until late June or early July. Last month, the justices heard arguments over a Texas law that bans abortion after about six weeks and allows enforcement by private citizens. The court has not yet issued a decision in the Texas case. (NBC News / NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN / CNBC / Bloomberg)

2/ The first confirmed U.S. case of the coronavirus omicron variant was detected in California. The CDC said the fully vaccinated traveler, who returned to California from South Africa on Nov. 22, has mild Covid-19 symptoms that are improving. Since the new variant was first reported in South Africa last week, it has been identified in at least 24 countries. The World Health Organization has warned that the global risk of the omicron variant is “very high.” Federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana, meanwhile, blocked the Biden administration from enforcing two mandates requiring millions of Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The House Freedom Caucus is urging Mitch McConnell to force a government shutdown in an effort to defund the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates. The House Freedom Caucus suggested that Senate Republicans have “important leverage” and can protest the vaccine mandates because Democrats need Republican votes to advance the spending measure by Friday night, when current funding for the government expires. Under Biden’s mandate, businesses that employ more than 100 workers must require vaccines or tested weekly. Entering the week, lawmakers had aimed to pass a spending bill that would finance the government at least into late Jan., but congressional leaders currently do not have an agreement on a stopgap resolution to keep the government open past Friday. (Politico / NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Trump tested positive for the coronavirus three days before his first debate against Biden in 2020, according to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and another former administration official. Trump’s positive test was on Sept. 26, 2020, the presidential debate was Sept. 29, and he was hospitalized for Covid-19 at Walter Reed National Medical Center on Oct. 2. The White House did not announce the positive test publicly or tell debate organizers at the time. Shortly after testing positive, Trump received a negative result from a different test and went ahead with a campaign rally and the debate. The administration first told the public on Oct. 2 that Trump had tested positive – several hours before he was hospitalized later that day. The White House at the time repeatedly declined to give a precise timeline of when Trump first received a positive coronavirus test result. Trump, meanwhile, called the report that he tested positive for Covid days before his first presidential debate “Fake News.” (The Guardian / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)

5/ Mark Meadows agreed to cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Trump’s former White House chief of staff agreed to provide requested documents and sit for a deposition. Meadows initially refused to cooperate with the committee because of Trump’s claims of executive privilege, which has been waived by Biden. Meadows’s cooperation deal, however, comes a day after the committee announced that it will move to hold Jeffrey Clark in criminal contempt for not complying with its subpoena. Trump reportedly made several calls from the White House to top lieutenants at the Willard Hotel hours before the attack on the Capitol about how to delay Biden’s certification from taking place. Trump’s calls about stopping Biden’s certification have increasingly become a central focus in the committee’s investigation. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / ABC News)

poll/ 52% of 18-to-29-year-olds believe that American democracy is either “in trouble,” or “failing,” while 7% view the U.S. as a “healthy democracy.” 46% of young Republicans, meanwhile, place the chances of a second civil war at 50% or higher, compared to 32% of Democrats, and 38% of independents. (Harvard Youth Poll)

Day 314: "A cause for concern."

1/ Biden called the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” urging Americans to get vaccinated, obtain booster shots, and to wear masks in indoor public places. Biden added that he didn’t believe there would be a need for lockdowns, saying “We’re throwing everything we have at this virus, tracking it from every angle; I’m sparing no effort, removing all roadblocks to keep the American people safe.” While administration officials believe the current vaccines likely provide protection against the new variant, it’ll be a few weeks until scientists know how effective they are against Omicron. Drugmakers, however, cautioned that existing vaccines could be less effective and the CDC now recommends that all adults “should” get a booster shot. The new Covid-19 variant has been detected in more than a dozen countries, though not yet in the U.S. Biden, meanwhile, announced travel bans on South Africa and seven other countries, warning that it’s “almost inevitable” that the variant will turn up in the U.S. “at some point.” (NPR / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Politico / ABC News / CNBC)

2/ The White House told federal agencies they can delay punishing the roughly 3.5% of federal workers who failed to comply with Biden’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate, which took effect last week. Agencies instead will pursue “education and counseling […] as the first step in an enforcement process” and take no further actions beyond letters of reprimand for unvaccinated employees until Jan. 1, 2022. As of last week, 92% of the roughly 3.5 million people in the federal workforce and the military had received at least one shot, while an additional 4.5% had requested exemptions. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Reuters)

3/ Trump argued that the pursuit of his White House records by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack could permanently damage the presidency. “The [committee’s] clear disdain for President Trump is leading them to a course of action that will result in permanent damage to the institution of the presidency,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in a brief filed in federal court. Trump has asserted executive privilege over his White House records, which Biden has refused to grant. Earlier this month, Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled against Trump, saying that he had no power to override the current administration’s decisions. A federal appeals court will hear oral arguments on November 30 in the historic case. Stephen Bannon, meanwhile, filed a motion to request all documents in his contempt-of-Congress case be made public, saying “Members of the public should make their own independent judgment as to whether the U.S. Department of Justice is committed to a just result based upon all the facts.” (NBC News / CNN / Washington Post)

4/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol plans to vote on holding a second Trump ally in contempt of Congress. The committee will meet this week to vote on whether the full House should refer Jeffrey Clark to the Justice Department on criminal contempt charges. Clark, a former Justice Department official involved in Trump’s unsuccessful efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, appeared for a deposition Nov. 5 but refused to answer questions, saying he was “duty bound not to provide testimony to your committee covering information protected by the former president’s assertion of executive privilege.” (Associated Press / New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC)

5/ The Pentagon ordered an investigation into a U.S. airstrike in Syria in 2019 that killed dozens of women and children. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s decision follows recent allegations that the Trump administration covered up the airstrike, which killed 80 people. Gen. Michael Garrett will examine the strike over the next 90 days to determine whether any recommendations from previous inquiries were carried out, and whether anyone should be held accountable. (New York Times)

Notably Next: The Supreme Court will take up a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade on Wednesday; government funding runs out Friday; the U.S. could hit the debt limit as soon as Dec. 15; Democrats hope to pass Biden’s Build Back Better plan in the Senate by Christmas; and the House and Senate both need to pass the annual defense policy bill.

Day 309: "Taking action."

1/ The Biden administration will require all foreign travelers crossing U.S. borders to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 22. The administration previously announced that fully vaccinated nonessential foreign travelers could enter the U.S. beginning Nov. 8. The White House, however, delayed the requirement for essential foreign travelers, such as truck drivers and government officials, to allow more time to get vaccinated and not disrupt trade. The Biden administration also asked a federal appeals court to reinstate its workplace rule requiring employees at larger companies to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or face weekly testing. Republican-led states, private employers, and conservative groups challenged the requirement, arguing that OSHA lacked the authority to mandate vaccines. The Justice Department said in its filing that the federal government should be permitted to address “the grave danger of Covid-19 in the workplace.” (NBC News / Washington Post / Associated Press)

2/ Weekly unemployment claims totaled 199,000 last week – the lowest total in 52 years. The four-week average of initial jobless claims also dropped by 21,000 to about 252,000 – the lowest since mid-March 2020. (Politico / Washington Post / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Biden authorized the release of 50 million barrels of crude from its strategic reserves to help offset a surge in gasoline prices. Biden called it the “largest-ever release,” which was done in concert with China, Japan, India, South Korea, and the U.K. “We’ve made historic progress over the last 10 months,” Biden said, pointing to the jobs added to the economy since taking office. But “disruptions related to the pandemic have caused challenges in our supply chain, which have sparked concern about shortages and contributed to higher prices.” He also vowed to continue “taking action.” (ABC News / Bloomberg)

4/ Biden will nominate Shalanda Young to serve as the administration’s budget director. Young, currently the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, would be the first Black woman to hold the post on a permanent basis. The administration withdrew its initial selection of Neera Tanden for budget director after bipartisan criticism about her past social media attacks on lawmakers. (New York Times / Washington Post)

5/ A federal appeals court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Nov. 30 about whether Congress can receive Trump’s White House records related to the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol. Earlier this month, Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered the National Archives to hand over the material, ruling that Congress’s constitutional oversight powers, backed by Biden, outweighed Trump’s residual executive privilege. An appeals court, however, instituted a short-term hold, but notified lawyers for Trump, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and the National Archives that they should be prepared to address whether the court has the legal authority to hear the dispute. (NBC News / New York Times)

6/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued subpoenas to three right-wing extremist groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. Dozens of members of both groups have been charged in the attack on the Capitol, and prosecutors have said they conspired ahead of time to disrupt the Electoral College proceedings. In all, the panel issued five new subpoenas for records and testimony, which came a day after the panel subpoenaed Roger Stone, Alex Jones and three others. (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times / CNN)

7/ The RNC paid $121,670 to a lawyer representing Trump in the criminal investigations into his real estate company’s financial practices by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and state Attorney General Letitia James. There is no indication that either investigation involves Trump’s time as president or his political campaigns. In October, however, the RNC made two payments totaling $121,670 to the law firm of Ronald Fischetti, who was hired by the Trump Organization in April. (Washington Post / CNN)

poll/ 77% of Americans say inflation is personally affecting them. 35% say Biden deserves “the most” blame for the current inflation, compared to 30% who blame the disruptions on the Covid-19 pandemic. (Yahoo News)

poll/ 42% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – his lowest since taking office. (NPR / Marist)

Day 307: "Backsliding."

1/ The number of U.S. Covid-19 deaths in 2021 surpassed the 2020 death toll. The total number of reported deaths linked to Covid-19 topped 770,800 on Saturday, according to federal data and Johns Hopkins University. New cases, meanwhile, are increasing with the seven-day rolling average ticking up to more than 90,000 cases a day after it dropped to about 70,000 last month. More than 30 states are seeing sustained upticks in infections. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

2/ More than 95% of the 3.5 million federal workers are in compliance with the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. About 90% of workers have received at least one shot and the other 5% have requested a medical or religious exemption that has been either approved or is pending. Workers who are not in compliance will receive “education and counseling” with the goal of getting more federal workers fully vaccinated. Workers who don’t get vaccinated or secure an approved exception could ultimately be terminated. (Reuters / Associated Press / NPR / CNN)

3/ Biden nominated Jerome Powell for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman. Powell, a Republican, was originally appointed to the Fed’s governing board by Obama and was later elevated to the chairman’s post by Trump. Under Powell’s stewardship, the Fed set aside its practice of raising rates to pre-empt inflation and instead has kept interest rates near zero to stimulate a faster recovery following downturns, like from the Covid-19 pandemic. Inflation, meanwhile, has reached a three-decade high with the Labor Department reporting that prices in October were 6.2% higher than a year ago. Biden nominated current Fed governor Lael Brainard – seen as a leading contender to eventually replace Powell – to serve as vice chair. (NPR / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson publicly urged the Republican-controlled state Legislature to take over the running of federal elections and direct local officials to ignore election guidance issued by the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Johnson, a Republican, claimed that Republican control of Wisconsin elections was necessary despite previously acknowledging that there was “nothing obviously skewed about the results” of the 2020 presidential election. Johnson baselessly accused Democrats of cheating. Last month, a report on the 2020 results that was ordered by Republican state legislators found no evidence of voter fraud. Johnson’s push comes after a Republican member of the State Assembly formally proposed decertifying Wisconsin’s election results, and a Republican sheriff in Racine County called for five members of the state’s six-member election commission to be charged with felonies because they waived a requirement to send poll workers into nursing homes during the pandemic. Biden won Wisconsin last November by about 21,000 votes. In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin by about 23,000 votes. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

5/ Two Fox News commentators resigned in protest over Tucker Carlson’s “documentary” about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes called the series “a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions.” The two longtime conservative commentators concluded that “the voices of the responsible are being drowned out by the irresponsible” at Fox News, adding that Carlson’s three-part series relied on fabrications and unfounded conspiracy theories to exonerate Trump supporters who participated. Carlson, meanwhile, said the departure of Goldberg and Hayes “will substantially improve the channel.” (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times)

6/ A federal judge blamed the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Trump, suggesting that the rioters were pawns provoked into action. Speaking at sentencing hearing for rioter John Lolos, Judge Amit Mehta said rallygoers like him were “called to Washington, DC, by an elected official, prompted to walk to the Capitol by an elected official.” Mehta called the rioters who stormed the building “a pawn in the game played by people who know better.” Lolos received a 14-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to illegally demonstrating in the Capitol building. (Politico / CNN)

7/ Organizers for the Jan. 6 rally at the White House Ellipse coordinated closely with the White House, according to leaked group text messages. The messages from Amy Kremer and her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, detail their coordination with Trump’s team on the rally, including an in-person meeting at the White House, working with the team to announce the event, promote it, and grant access to VIP guests. “We are following POTUS’ lead,” Kylie wrote the group on Jan. 1 – before the Ellipse rally was publicly announced. Two days later, March For Trump organizer Dustin Stockton texted the group chat to ask who was “handling” rally credentials for VIPs. “It’s a combination of us and WH,” Kylie replied. The House Select Committee investigating the attack, meanwhile, has subpoenaed documents and testimony from both Amy and Kylie Kremer. Congressional investigators have reportedly obtained “tons of” group chats from the organizers. (Rolling Stone)

8/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection subpoenaed five more people, including Roger Stone and Alex Jones. The committee has asked Stone and Jones to provide testimony by Dec. 17 and Dec, 18, respectively, and to provide the panel with requested documents by Dec. 6. The committee is also demanding records and testimony from Dustin Stockton, Jennifer Lawrence who was also involved in organizing the rally that preceded the Capitol riot, and Taylor Budowich, who organized an advertising campaign to encourage attendance at the Jan. 6 rally. The panel has subpoenaed more than 20 witnesses and has interviewed more than 150 people across government, social media, and law enforcement. (Associated Press / NBC News / Washington Post)

9/ The United States – for the first time – was added to a list of “backsliding democracies,” according to the International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy 2021 report. “The United States, the bastion of global democracy, fell victim to authoritarian tendencies itself, and was knocked down a significant number of steps on the democratic scale,” the report said, pointing to a “visible deterioration” that began in 2019. “A historic turning point came in 2020-21 when former president Donald Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results in the United States.” More than a quarter of the world’s population lives in democratically backsliding countries. (Washington Post / The Guardian / CBS News)

Day 304: "Landmark progress."

1/ The House passed Biden’s roughly $2 trillion social and climate spending package to “build back better.” The 220-213 vote came after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy delayed the vote for more than eight hours with a meandering speech criticizing the bill and Biden’s policies. Centrist House Democrats had also demanded that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office release a full analysis of the legislation prior to voting. The CBO found that the package would add more than $367 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. The White House, however, said that figure didn’t include revenue expected to be generated from beefing up tax-enforcement efforts at the IRS, which could capture roughly $400 billion in additional revenue. The package would provide universal pre-K for all children ages three and four, subsidize child care and expand family leave, cap certain drug costs, and expand financial aid for college. The bill would also set aside more than $550 billion to combat climate change, promote greener energy, and provide new incentives and tax credits for renewable energy and electric vehicle purchases. The legislation would also provide relief from deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants, provide hungry Americans with access to food, and promote affordable new housing nationwide. The measure now goes to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future. “For the second time in just two weeks, the House of Representatives has moved on critical and consequential pieces of my legislative agenda,” Biden said in a statement, referring to the recently enacted $1 trillion infrastructure bill. “Now, the Build Back Better Act goes to the United States Senate, where I look forward to it passing as soon as possible so I can sign it into law.” If passed by the Senate, the legislation would be the most significant expansion of the social safety net by the government since the 1960s. In a floor speech before the vote, Nancy Pelosi said “with the passage of the Build Back Better Act, we, this Democratic Congress, are taking our place in the long and honorable heritage of our democracy with legislation that will be the pillar of health and financial security in America. It will be historic in forging landmark progress for our nation.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / NPR / USA Today)

2/ All American adults are now eligible for coronavirus vaccine boosters. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky authorized the booster doses hours after the agency’s independent panel of vaccine scientists unanimously endorsed opening up eligibility to everyone 18 and older. The panel said that all American adults “may” opt for a booster, while those 50 and older “should” get a booster. Earlier in the day, the FDA authorized Pfizer and Moderna boosters for people 18 and older. (Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg / CNBC / Axios / New York Times)

3/ Biden nominated two new members to the U.S. Postal Service’s board of governors, replacing key allies of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Biden nominated Daniel Tangherlini, a Democrat, to replace board Chair Ron Bloom, whose term is expiring. Biden also nominated Derek Kan, a Republican, to replace Republican John Barger, whose term is also expiring. DeJoy, a major donor to the Trump campaign as well as other GOP groups, was hired after then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin threatened to withhold funds from the Postal Service unless the Trump administration could take over decision-making authority at the agency. Within weeks of taking office in June 2020, DeJoy implemented cost-cutting measures that were faulted for slowing mail delivery during the 2020 election. (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times / Axios)

4/ Trump endorsed Rep. Paul Gosar a day after he was censured and stripped of his committee assignments for tweeting an anime video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging swords at Biden. Trump praised Gosar as “a loyal supporter of our America First agenda, and even more importantly, the USA.” He added: “Gosar has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Gosar, meanwhile, has claimed that he wasn’t promoting violence and has not apologized for the video. He is also reportedly soliciting the names of Democrats who should be stripped of their committee assignments in a Republican-controlled House. In February, the House removed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her two committee seats for embracing baseless conspiracy theories and supporting violent rhetoric against Democrats, including the assassination of Nancy Pelosi. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, however, said that under a hypothetical Republican majority in 2022, he would give Gosar and Greene better committee assignments. (Washington Post / NBC News)

5/ A Wisconsin jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of homicide, attempted homicide, and other charges. Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, fatally shot two men and wounded another during protests over the shooting of a Black man by a white Kenosha police officer. Rittenhouse testified that he shot all three men with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle in self-defense and pleaded not guilty to all counts. Seven months prior to the shooting, Rittenhouse appeared in the front row at a Trump rally in Des Moines. His social media presence at the time was filled with him posing with weapons, posting “Blue Lives Matter,” and supporting Trump for president. Biden, meanwhile, acknowledged that the verdict in the trial “will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included,” but urged Americans to accept the verdicts and remain peaceful in protest. “Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded,” Biden said. “The jury system works, and we have to abide by it.” The verdict cannot be appealed. (NBC News / CNN / New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post / CNBC)

poll/ 60% of Republicans want Trump to run for president in 2024. Overall, 28% of Americans would like to see Trump make another run for the presidency, while 71% do not want him to run again. (Marquette Law School Poll)

poll/ 46% of voters say they want the Republican Party to win control of the House of Representatives, while 41% prefer the Democratic Party win control. 46% also say they want to see the Republican Party win control of the Senate with 42% saying they want to see the Democrats win. (Quinnipiac)

Day 302: "We must draw the line."

1/ The House voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar for posting an animated video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking Biden. Gosar was also stripped of his committee assignments. The vote was 223 to 207, with two Republicans – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – joining Democrats in favor. Kevin McCarthy called the vote an “abuse of power” by Democrats. Nancy Pelosi, however, deemed the social media post an “emergency,” saying: “We can not have a member joking about murdering another. This is about workplace harassment and violence against women.” In a speech from the House floor prior to the vote, Ocasio-Cortez said: “As leaders in this country, when we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence in this country, and that is where we must draw the line, independent of party or belief. It is about a core recognition of human dignity and value and worth.” Gosar, meanwhile, claimed that the video was “mischaracterized,” but did not apologize. (Politico / Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)

2/ Trump asked a federal appeals court to block the National Archives from sending his White House records related to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol to Congress, arguing that the Constitution gives a former president the power to keep files confidential even though they are no longer in office – and even though Biden refused to assert executive privilege over them. Last week, a Federal District Court judge sided with Congress and the Biden administration that while Trump could invoke executive privilege, whatever residual secrecy powers he possessed were outweighed by the sitting president agreeing that the documents should be turned over to House investigators. The appeals court, however, temporarily put a hold on the ruling, and a three-judge panel is scheduled to review whether Trump can control records the National Archives is set to give to the House after Thanksgiving. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

3/ The now-infamous shirtless insurrectionist wearing face paint and a horned helmet during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in the attack. Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman,” pleaded guilty on Sept. 3 to one felony count of unlawfully obstructing an official proceeding. During the attack, Chansley left a note for Pence on the Senate dais that read: “It’s Only A Matter Of Time. Justice Is Coming!” Chansley’s sentence of roughly 3.5 years is the longest sentence handed down to any Jan. 6 participant so far. (ABC News / Washington Post / CNN)

4/ The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights appointed the Republican attorney who helped Trump attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election to a federal election advisory board. Cleta Mitchell was named to the Board of Advisors for the federal Election Assistance Commission. While the advisory board can’t directly make policy, it does recommend guidelines for the EAC, which certifies voting systems and advises on federal election compliance. On Jan. 2, 2020, Mitchell joined Trump on a phone call where Trump asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes to overturn the election in his favor. (Associated Press / Business Insider)

5/ The seven-day average of new hospital admissions with Covid-19 climbed in 25 states from a week earlier. Two weeks ago, only 14 states saw a rise in hospital admissions. (Bloomberg)

6/ The Biden administration will purchase 10 million courses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral pill once authorized. In a clinical trial, Paxlovid reduced the rate of death and hospitalization by 89% when given to people at high risk of severe illness within three days of symptoms. Paxlovid could become available at pharmacies within weeks pending FDA authorization. The FDA, meanwhile, is aiming to authorize booster doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for all adults as soon as Thursday. The CDC’s independent committee of vaccine experts is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the booster dose’s efficacy and safety. (Washington Post / New York Times)

7/ More than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses between April 2020 and April 2021 – the first time that drug-related deaths have reached six figures in any 12-month period. Overdose deaths were up almost 30% from the 78,000 deaths in the prior year. (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

8/ Biden called for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether oil and gas companies are engaging in “illegal conduct” by keeping gasoline prices high. In a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan, Biden said there’s “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies,” noting that gasoline prices are rising even as the price of unfinished gasoline goes down. The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.41 – that’s $1.29 more than a year ago. “This unexplained large gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump is well above the pre-pandemic average,” Biden wrote. “Meanwhile, the largest oil-and-gas companies in America are generating significant profits off higher energy prices.” (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNBC / New York Times / USA Today)

poll/ 40% of voters agree that Biden “is in good health,” while 50% disagreed – a 29-point shift since Oct. 2020. Biden turns 79 on Saturday. (Politico)

Day 300: "We're finally getting this done."

1/ Biden signed the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan into law – the largest federal investment in infrastructure in more than a decade. In total, the measure contains $550 billion in new funds to improve the nation’s highways, roads, bridges, ports, rail, pipes, and public transit systems, as well as upgrades to the electrical grid and expanded access to broadband internet. Before signing the legislation, Biden said “we’re finally getting this done” in a nod to Trump, who repeatedly tried and failed to secure a bipartisan infrastructure deal. “My message for the American people is this: America’s moving again, and your life’s going to change for the better.” Trump, meanwhile, said the 13 Republicans who voted for the bill “should be ashamed of themselves” for giving Biden and Democrats a victory. In the House, Democratic leaders expect to vote on the roughly $2 trillion climate, safety net, and tax package this week and send it to the Senate, despite uncertainty over the measure’s cost. The timing of Senate vote, however, is complicated by a Dec. 3 deadline to avoid a government shutdown, address the debt limit, and pass the annual defense policy bill. If the social safety net and climate bill passes the House and Senate, the total increased infrastructure spending as a share of the economy will eclipse Roosevelt’s New Deal. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / Bloomberg / ABC News / CNN / CNBC)

2/ Nearly 200 nations reached a climate agreement intended to propel the world toward more urgent climate action, but it falls short of what’s needed to avert a crisis. After two weeks of United Nations COP26 talks, delegates left Glasgow with Earth still on track to blow past the 2015 Paris accord goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. The Glasgow Climate Pact doesn’t reflect the urgency expressed by international scientists in their “code red for humanity” climate report, after delegates agreed to “phase down” the use of coal power (the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions), phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies, and defer more action on reducing fossil fuel emissions to next year. The U.N. Environment Program reported that countries’ current COP26 commitments between now and 2030 would give humanity less than a 20% chance of keeping warming to 1.5 Celsius. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, meanwhile, reported that the world needs to roughly halve emissions over the next decade in order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The world has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / NPR / Bloomberg / CNN)

3/ A federal court kept its block on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more workers, saying the Labor Department “grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority.” The order from a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals instructs OSHA to “take no steps to implement or enforce” the federal mandate that all large employers require their workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to weekly testing starting in January. Lawyers for the Justice and Labor departments, meanwhile, said stopping the mandate from taking effect will only prolong the Covid-19 pandemic and “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.” (Politico / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / USA Today)

4/ The Trump administration covered up a 2019 airstrike in Syria that killed 80 people, including women and children. Immediately following the strike, an Air Force lawyer reported the incident as a possible war crime to his chain of command, which required an independent investigation. The military, however, never conducted the investigation into the bombing. Following complaints, the Defense Department’s inspector general office launched an inquiry into the March 18, 2019, strikes, but the report was delayed and ultimately “stripped” of any mention of the bombing. The Baghuz strike – which included a 500-pound bomb and two 2,000-pound bombs – was one of the largest civilian casualties in the war against the Islamic State, but it wasn’t publicly acknowledged by the U.S. military until last week. (New York Times / Reuters)

5/ Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos dropped her defamation lawsuit against Trump. Zervos sued Trump in 2017 after he denied allegations that he had sexually assaulted her. A judge had recently ordered Trump to sit for a deposition in the case by Dec. 23. Zervos did not give a reason for ending the case, but her attorneys said she “no longer wishes to litigate against the defendant and has secured the right to speak freely about her experience.” Last month, Trump’s lawyer sought to file a counterclaim against Zervos for allegedly “harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting” Trump’s free speech rights. (Washington Post / NBC News / CNN)

6/ Steve Bannon surrendered to federal authorities, three days after being indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions from the House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Each count of contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $100,000. Bannon did not enter a plea and was released without bail after surrendering his passport. He is due back in court on Thursday. Following the court appearance, Bannon said his supporters should remained focused on taking on “the illegitimate Biden regime” because “we’re going to go on the offense on this […] Stand by.” Republicans, meanwhile, warned Democrats’ that forcing Bannon to comply paves the way for them to go after Biden’s aides for unspecified reasons if they take back the House in 2022. Separately, Adam Schiff said the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection will “move quickly” to refer Mark Meadows for criminal contempt for not cooperating with its investigation. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / CNN / Associated Press)

7/ Republicans have added a net of five seats in the House based on redrawn district maps so far, while Democrats have lost one. Democrats currently hold 221 seats to the Republicans’ 213. So far, 12 states have completed the mapping process, which will continue, state by state, before next year’s midterm elections. In all, GOP-led legislatures and governors will redraw 187 House districts, compared with 75 for Democrats. Republicans need to flip five Democratic-held seats in the 2022 midterm elections to take back the House majority. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 41% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance, with 53% disapproving. In June, Biden’s approval rating stood at 50%. (Washington Post)

poll/ 51% of registered voters say they’d support the Republican candidate in their congressional district if the midterm elections were today, while 41% say they’d support the Democrat. That’s the biggest lead for Republicans since November 1981. (ABC News)

Day 297: "Beyond the pale."

1/ A federal grand jury indicted Steve Bannon on charges of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Bannon faces one contempt count for his refusal to appear for a deposition and another for his refusal to produce documents to the congressional investigators, the Justice Department said in a statement. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the indictment reflects the Justice Department’s “steadfast commitment” to ensuring that the department adheres to the rule of law. If convicted, Bannon could face up to a year behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000. Law enforcement expects Bannon to self-surrender on Monday and appear in court that afternoon. (NBC News / CNN / NPR / Washington Post / ABC News / / Politico / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

2/ Mark Meadows refused to appear for a deposition before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, setting up a potential criminal referral to the Justice Department for contempt of Congress. Meadows’ lawyer said the former White House chief of staff “remains under the instructions” of Trump to not comply with the House subpoena on claims of executive privilege. Biden, however, has refused to invoke executive privilege for Trump officials and records in the House’s inquiry. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said Meadows’ “willful noncompliance” would force the select committee to “consider invoking contempt of Congress procedures” that could result in a criminal referral to the Justice Department, as well as the possibility of a civil action to enforce the subpoena. (CNN / Politico / NBC News / The Guardian / CNBC / The Hill)

3/ A federal appeals court temporarily blocked the National Archives from turning over Trump’s White House records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol – a day before the committee was set to receive the first batch. On Tuesday, a lower court ruled that Biden can waive Trump’s claim to executive privilege over the documents, saying a former president’s claim to executive power to withhold records from Congress after leaving office does not continue in perpetuity. Less than an hour after the ruling, Trump filed a notice of appeal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit then granted a temporary injunction while it considered Trump’s request to delay the release of documents and to “maintain the status quo” pending the appeal. The court will hear arguments on Nov. 30. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg)

4/ Trump justified his supporters’ chants to “hang Mike Pence” during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, saying it was “common sense” and that Pence was “well-protected.” Trump defended the chants, telling ABC News’ Jonathan Karl during an interview for Karl’s new book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” that “people were very angry” that Pence hadn’t overturned the election. Trump then repeated his baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election result was fraudulent. (Axios / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / Business Insider / The Hill)

5/ House Democrats introduced a resolution to censure Republican Paul Gosar for tweeting an altered video that depicted him killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging two swords at Biden. “For a Member of Congress to post a manipulated video on his social media accounts depicting himself killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden is a clear cut case for censure,” the Democrats said in a statement. “For that Member to post such a video on his official Instagram account and use his official congressional resources in the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials goes beyond the pale.” The Arizona Republican had defended the video as a “symbolic” fight over immigration policy and the “battle for the soul of America.” Violent threats against lawmakers, meanwhile, are on track to double this year. (CNBC / Washington Post)

6/ Top political officials in the Trump White House repeatedly tried to block public health warnings and guidance from the CDC last year about the coronavirus pandemic, according to newly released documents from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The emails and transcripts detail how in the early days of the pandemic Trump and his allies in the White House blocked briefings and interviews with CDC officials, attempted to alter public safety guidance, and instructed agency officials to destroy evidence that might be construed as political interference. Several interviews also described efforts by Trump appointees to alter or influence the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report to better align with the White House’s more optimistic messaging about the state of the pandemic. (Politico / CNN / Washington Post / The Hill)

7/ Biden nominated Robert Califf to lead the FDA despite his ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Califf previously led the agency in 2016-2017, and has long been a consultant to drug companies. If confirmed by the Senate, Califf would oversee an agency that is responsible for more than $2.8 trillion worth of food, medical products, and tobacco. Joe Manchin and Richard Blumenthal both voted against Califf’s nomination in 2016, and signaled their opposition again over concerns about his ties to the drug industry and the FDA’s track record on opioids. The FDA has been without a Senate-confirmed administrator since Biden took office. (Politico / NPR / ABC News / The Hill / New York Times)

8/ A record 4.4 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in September, the Labor Department reported. The number of people quitting in September constituted 3% of the workforce, which was up from the previous record set in August, when 4.3 million people quit their jobs – or about 2.9% of the workforce. The number of available jobs, meanwhile, has topped 10 million for four consecutive months. Prior to the pandemic, the record was 7.5 million job openings. (Politico / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post)

Day 295: "Willful disregard for the law."

1/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot issued new subpoenas to 10 former Trump White House officials, including Kayleigh McEnany and Stephen Miller. The chairman of the select committee, Bennie Thompson, said his panel “wants to learn every detail of what went on in the White House on January 6th and in the days beforehand,” including “precisely what role the former President and his aides played in efforts to stop the counting of the electoral votes and if they were in touch with anyone outside the White House attempting to overturn the outcome of the election.” Among those subpoenaed to provide testimony and documents include John McEntee (former White House personnel director), Christopher Liddell (former deputy chief of staff), Keith Kellogg (national security advisor to Pence), Ben Williamson (former deputy assistant to Trump and senior adviser to Mark Meadows), and Nicholas Luna (Trump’s former personal assistant). The subpoenas come a day after the committee issued subpoenas to six former Trump administration and campaign officials, bringing the total number of subpoenas issued to 35. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / CNBC)

2/ A federal judge rejected Trump’s attempt to keep more than 700 pages of records from his White House secret. The decision by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan clears the way for the National Archives to release the documents requested by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol beginning Friday. Trump’s lawyers had argued that the documents requested by the House committee – including White House call logs, visitor logs, and schedules related to Jan. 6, as well as three pages of handwritten notes from Trump’s then-chief of staff – were covered by executive privilege. In her ruling, however, Chutkan noted that the Biden administration had approved the release of Trump’s White House records, saying there can be only one president at a time, and that Trump’s assertion of executive privilege “is outweighed by President Biden’s decision not to uphold the privilege.” Chutkan added: “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.” (Reuters / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)

3/ At least 13 of Trump’s senior aides campaigned illegally for his re-election in violation of the Hatch Act – a law designed to prevent federal employees from abusing the power of their offices on behalf of candidates. The Office of Special Counsel report described a “willful disregard for the law” by senior Trump administration officials who “chose to use their official authority not for the legitimate functions of the government.” Special Counsel Henry Kerner said Trump’s “refusal to require compliance with the law laid the foundation for the violations,” which he called “especially pernicious considering the timing of when many of these violations took place.” The list includes several Cabinet officials and top White House aides, including Mike Pompeo, Mark Meadows, and Kayleigh McEnany. No punishments, however, are expected because the president in office at the time is the only person who can discipline their top employees. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

4/ Nearly 1 million kids aged 5 to 11 will have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in their first week of eligibility. That represents about 3% of eligible children, with an additional 700,000 have appointments scheduled in the coming days. (NPR / Associated Press)

5/ The Biden administration will invest an additional $785 million to combat the spread of the coronavirus in communities hit hardest by the pandemic and those at the highest risk of death and disease. White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said the additional American Rescue Plan funding will also be used to build vaccine confidence in communities of color, rural areas, and low-income populations. (Washington Post / The Hill)

6/ People are dying from Covid-19 at a rate three times higher in counties where Trump won at least 60% of the vote than in counties where Biden won a similar percentage. In October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents in “Trump counties” died from Covid-19, compared to 7.8 per 100,000 for “Biden counties.” October was the fifth consecutive month that the gap between the death rates in Trump counties and Biden counties widened. (New York Times / Business Insider)

7/ Nancy Pelosi called for investigations by the House Ethic committee and law enforcement into Rep. Paul Gosar for posting a video that depicts him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging two swords at Biden. Gosar shared the altered, animated video from both his personal and professional Twitter accounts Sunday. Despite violating Twitter’s hateful conduct policy, the tweets have not been removed, but instead labeled with a “public interest notice.” Pelosi urged House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to join in condemning the “horrific video” and supporting the investigations, saying “threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated.” (Washington Post / NPR)

8/ The Labor Department reported the largest annual increase in consumer prices in three decades. The worse-than-expected inflation report showed that prices rose 6.2% in October compared with a year ago. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, pointed to the pace of inflation as a reason to pause on the $1.75 trillion social spending and climate package, saying the “threat” of inflation is “getting worse,” and that lawmakers “can no longer ignore the economic pain.” Previously, Manchin suggested that the spending package could worsen inflation and that he wouldn’t support a bill to expand social programs if it “irresponsibly adds” to the national debt. (NPR / Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times / CNBC)

poll/ 65% of Americans support the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which Congress passed last week. 62% of Americans support the social safety net and climate bill. 42% of Americans, however, approve of the job Biden is doing as president. (Monmouth University)

Day 293: "Appropriate and necessary."

1/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued subpoenas to six former Trump advisers “tied to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election,” including two who were involved in plans at the Willard hotel “command center” to overturn the election the day before the attack on the Capitol. Those subpoenaed to provide testimony and documents include John Eastman, who outlined a legal strategy to deny Biden the presidency, former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who led efforts to investigate voting fraud in key states, Michael Flynn, Jason Miller, Bill Stepien, and Angela McCallum. The committee “needs to know every detail about their efforts to overturn the election, including who they were talking to in the White House and in Congress, what connections they had with rallies that escalated into a riot, and who paid for it all,” Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement. The committee is demanding records and testimony from witnesses between late November and mid-December. (CNN / ABC News / Washington Post / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNBC / USA Today)

2/ The House passed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to improve the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports, and Internet connections, which Biden hailed as a “monumental step forward for the nation.” After a months-long standoff between progressive and moderate Democrats, the funding package passed on a 228-to-206 vote: 13 Republicans joined 215 Democrats in support, while six progressive Democrats voted against the measure. Progressives had insisted that they could not back the measure without a vote on the $1.75 trillion social safety net and climate bill, which a half-dozen moderate-to-conservative Democrats refused to support without an official cost estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which could take a week or more. Progressives ultimately accepted a written commitment from moderates that they would pass the social safety net and climate package when it comes up for a vote in mid-November, provided the spending plan does not add to the deficit. Democrats are now aiming to vote on the safety net bill before Thanksgiving. “Finally, infrastructure week,” Biden told reporters. “I’m so happy to say that: infrastructure week.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / Bloomberg / NBC News)

3/ A federal court blocked the Biden administration’s mandate that millions of workers get vaccinated against Covid-19 or be tested weekly. Earlier in the week, the Biden administration set a Jan. 4 deadline for companies with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations or implement weekly testing of workers. A three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said that the suit filed by several Republican-led states, companies, and conservative religious groups “give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.” The Biden administration, meanwhile, is “prepared to defend” the vaccine rules for large companies, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, said. “The president and the administration wouldn’t have put these requirements in place if they didn’t think that they were appropriate and necessary.” (Politico / CNN / New York Times)

4/ Ted Cruz accused Sesame Street’s Big Bird of “government propaganda” after the Muppet tweeted he had been vaccinated against Covid-19. Big Bird, who has been on TV since 1969, is officially 6 years old and became eligible for the vaccine after the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. “I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy,” Big Bird wrote on Twitter. Nevertheless, Cruz and other Republicans persist, accusing the Muppet of “brainwashing children” and calling the yellow anthropomorphic bird’s comment “evil.” (NPR / Business Insider / NBC News)

5/ The Justice Department indicted a Ukrainian national and a Russian national for alleged involvement in a ransomware attack on an American company. Yaroslav Vasinskyi and Yevgeniy Polyanin were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, among other charges, for deploying ransomware known as REvil over the Fourth of July weekend on U.S. software firm Kaseya, which affected about 1,500 businesses. Vasinskyi was arrested in Poland last month, while Polyanin remains at large. The Justice Department also said it had seized $6.1 million in ransom payments. European Union law enforcement, meanwhile, said authorities in Romania and South Korea had arrested five people in connection with REvil. (CNN / USA Today / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

6/ Trump said he will “probably” wait until after the 2022 midterm elections to announce whether he will run for president in 2024. “I am certainly thinking about it and we’ll see,” Trump said. “I think a lot of people will be very happy, frankly, with the decision, and probably will announce that after the midterms.” As for a potential running mate, Trump said “there are a lot of great people in the Republican Party,” calling Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “a good man.” Trump, meanwhile, has continued to hold campaign-style rallies and send fundraising emails, telling voters “We’re going to take America back.” Meanwhile, on his final day as president, Trump told the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee he was leaving the GOP and creating his own political party and that he didn’t care if the move would destroy the Republican Party, saying “I’m done. I’m starting my own party. You lose forever without me. I don’t care.” (Politico / Fox News / NBC News / ABC News)

poll/ 38% of voters approve of the job Biden is doing as president – a new low – while 59% disapprove. 46% say Biden has done a worse job as president than they expected, and 64% say they don’t want Biden to run for a second term in 2024. (USA Today)

poll/ 58% of Americans say Biden isn’t paying attention to the nation’s most important problems. 36% say the economy is the most pressing problem facing the country, while 20% say the coronavirus pandemic is the nation’s top problem, followed by immigration (14%) and climate change (11%). (CNN)

Day 290: “We’ll see, won’t we?”

1/ The House will vote on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill tonight after abandoning an agreement with progressive Democrats to first vote on a separate $1.75 trillion education, healthcare, and climate package. Party leaders began the day hoping to hold a vote on the social spending legislation, followed by a vote on the infrastructure legislation. A small group of moderates, however, refused to support the $1.75 trillion social safety net, climate, and tax package without a cost analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which could take a week or more. The opposition forced Speaker Nancy Pelosi to change course, announcing that the House would vote first on the infrastructure bill, which already passed the Senate, and then take a procedural vote to begin debate on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill, with hopes of passing it by Thanksgiving. Progressives, however, rejected Pelosi’s move to vote on infrastructure without the broader social spending plan, saying “If our six colleagues still want to wait” for the CBO review, “we would agree to give them that time — after which point we can vote on both bills together.” Pelosi, however, said the bipartisan infrastructure bill was too important to put off any longer and that she believes a “large number” of progressives actually plan to support the bill. “The agenda that we are advancing is transformative and historic, hence challenging,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democrats outlining the new plan. Pelosi can’t afford to lose more than three votes, unless some Republicans vote for the infrastructure bill. Earlier in the day, Biden called on House members to advance both bills, which total nearly $3 trillion in investments in infrastructure, social policy, and climate programs. “I’m asking every member of the House of Representatives to vote yes on both these bills right now,” Biden said. “Send the infrastructure bill to my desk, send the Build Back Better bill to the Senate. Let’s build on incredible economic progress, build on what we’ve already done because this will be such a boost when it occurs.” When asked whether she had the votes to pass the infrastructure bill, Pelosi replied: “We’ll see, won’t we?” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / Bloomberg / NBC News)

2/ The attorneys general in 11 states sued the Biden administration to stop new rules requiring workers at companies with at least 100 employees be vaccinated against Covid-19 or tested weekly. Under the new requirements, which apply to an estimated 84 million workers, employers have until Jan. 4 to make sure their workers are either vaccinated or produce a negative test weekly. Workers who remain unvaccinated must wear a mask at work, and employers aren’t required to provide or pay for the tests. A second rule requires about 17 million health care workers to be vaccinated, but with no option for weekly testing in lieu of vaccination. Employers could face penalties of up to nearly $14,000 per violation. (Wall Street Journal / CNN / NPR / Reuters)

3/ The American economy added 531,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate declined to 4.6% — a new pandemic-era low but still well above the pre-pandemic jobless rate of 3.5%. The U.S. has recovered about 80% of the jobs lost at the depth of the recession in 2020. (Axios / New York Times / Associated Press)

4/ Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral pill reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in a clinical trial, making it the second pill to show efficacy against Covid-19. The drug also appears to be more effective than the Merck antiviral pill, which already received authorization in the U.K. and is currently awaiting federal authorization in the U.S. Both oral medicines attack the coronavirus by interfering with its ability to replicate itself. (NPR / Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ The Biden administration sued Texas over the state’s restrictive voting law, alleging that it disenfranchises eligible voters and that violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB1 into law in Sept., which banned 24-hour and drive-thru voting, imposed new hurdles on mail-in ballots, and empowered partisan poll watchers. “Our democracy depends on the right of eligible voters to cast a ballot and to have that ballot counted,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. “The Justice Department will continue to use all the authorities at its disposal to protect this fundamental pillar of our society.” The law is set to got into effect Dec. 2. (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / CNN)

6/ A federal judge questioned Trump’s effort to block the congressional Jan. 6 select committee from obtaining his White House records, expressing skepticism that a former president can overrule his successor’s decision to release them to investigators. “There is only one executive,” District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan said, noting that a former president has no authority over either branch of government. Chutkan added, however, that she might curb some “unbelievably broad” requests for records, which go back as far as April 2020, about Trump’s activities leading up to the attack on the Capitol. (Politico / CNN / Washington Post / The Hill)

  • Timeline of the coup: How Trump tried to weaponize the Justice Department to overturn the 2020 election. (CNN)

7/ A former Trump Justice Department official refused to answer the Jan. 6 select committee’s questions about Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. Despite being subpoenaed last month to compel his testimony, Jeffrey Clark claimed he couldn’t provide testimony until the courts resolved Trump’s lawsuit challenging the Jan. 6 select committee’s access to his White House records. Clark cited potential executive and attorney-client privilege to justify his client’s refusal to cooperate. The Jan. 6 committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, said Clark’s refusal to testify could lead to a referral to the Justice Department for contempt of Congress. (Politico / CNN)

8/ An analyst who contributed research to a 2016 dossier that detailed alleged ties between Trump and Russia was arrested as part of a probe by special counsel John Durham. In a 39-page indictment, a grand jury accused Igor Danchenko of five counts of making false statements to the FBI about his sources in the so-called Steele dossier, which detailed alleged ties between Trump and Russia. The dossier was also part of the basis for a secret FBI warrant to tap the phone of former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page as the FBI investigated possible ties between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia. Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham in 2019 to investigate the origins and handling of the Russia investigation for any wrongdoing. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC)

9/ The Manhattan district attorney convened a second grand jury to consider charges in their investigation of the Trump Organization. Both District Attorney Cyrus Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James previously indicated that they were examining whether the Trump Organization manipulated the value of its assets to get favorable loan rates or to lower his taxes. An earlier grand jury returned felony indictments against two Trump companies and Trump’s longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, charging them with tax evasion. (Washington Post)

Day 288: "A turning point."

1/ The Biden administration announced plans to heavily regulate methane emissions from oil and gas drilling. The proposed EPA rules aim to curb methane emissions coming from roughly one million existing oil and gas rigs in the U.S. The EPA previously had rules to prevent methane leaks from oil and gas wells built since 2015, which were rescinded by the Trump administration. An estimated 75% of the country’s methane emissions will be covered by the new EPA rules. Separately, Joe Manchin has pushed to remove or weaken a provision in the $1.75 trillion social safety net and climate measure that would impose a fee on emissions of methane. (NBC News / New York Times)

2/ The CDC recommended the low-dose Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. CDC director Rochelle Walensky’s recommendation came after a unanimous vote by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices supporting the use of the vaccine for the approximately 28 million children in the age group. Biden called the decision “a turning point in our battle against Covid-19,” adding that the federal government has purchased enough of the low-dose children’s vaccine “for every child in America.” (NPR / Washington Post / Associated Press)

3/ House and Senate Democrats reached an agreement on lowering prescription drug prices – a key part of Biden’s $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” package. The proposed deal would establish a $2,000 out-of-pocket limit for seniors’ expenses in Medicare Part D, allow the government power to regulate the prices of some of the most expensive drugs, like insulin. Kyrsten Sinema, who opposed previous proposals on prescription drug reform, endorsed the new agreement. (NBC News / ABC News / CNBC)

4/ House Democrats added four weeks of paid family and medical leave back to the $1.75 trillion social spending bill. Democrats had previously scrapped the family leave provision after failing to reach a compromise with Joe Manchin, who had raised objections to using the reconciliation bill to pass significant policy proposals like paid leave. In response to the announcement, Manchin said he still opposes the paid leave proposal, adding: “They know how I feel about that.” (CNN / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial election – a state that Biden won by 10 points 12 months ago. New Jersey governor’s race, meanwhile, remained too close to call, even though Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy had been favored to win reelection by a comfortable margin in a state Biden won by 16 points. And, at least eight Republicans who attended the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., that turned into a deadly insurrection were elected to office. Three were elected to state legislatures, and five won at the local level. Minneapolis voters rejected a ballot measure to replace the police department a year after the Black Lives Matter movement had elevated the issue of police reform. History, meanwhile, was made in a number of cities: Boston elected Michelle Wu as mayor, the first woman and person of color to run the city, ending the city’s 200-year history of electing white men; New York City elected Democrat Eric Adams as the city’s second Black mayor; Ed Gainey was elected as the first Black mayor of Pittsburgh; and Winsome Sears was elected lieutenant governor of Virginia – the highest office a woman of color has won in Virginia’s history. (NBC News / CNN / NPR / HuffPost / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

6/ Senate Republicans blocked the John Lewis Voting Rights Act from advancing. The legislation would have restored parts of the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened by past Supreme Court rulings, including the federal government’s ability to require “preclearances” from the Justice Department for jurisdictions with a history of discrimination before changing their voting rules. The final vote was 50 to 49 with Republican Lisa Murkowski voting with Democrats in favor and Chuck Schumer changing his vote to “no” so he could have the legislation reconsidered. Republicans have also blocked the Freedom to Vote Act three prior times, insisting that the federal government has no role in setting state election practices. (Washington Post / CNN / Bloomberg / New York Times)

poll/ 41% of Republicans say they are confident their vote will be counted accurately – down from 84% in Oct. 2020. Overall, 66% say they are confident their vote will be counted accurately – down from 85% last year. Meanwhile, 22% of Republicans believe that Biden was elected legitimately, while 71% of independents and 93% of Democrats believe that Biden’s election was legitimate. Overall, 58% believe Biden was legitimately elected. (NBC News)

Day 286: "Enough is enough."

1/ Joe Manchin refused to endorse Biden’s $1.75 trillion social policy and climate package, saying he wants time to “thoroughly understanding the impact it will have on our national debt, our economy and the American people.” House Democratic leaders had planned to bring both the social safety net and separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bills to a vote this week. Manchin also rebuked liberal House Democrats for holding up a vote on the infrastructure legislation, saying “it’s all or nothing, and their position doesn’t seem to change unless we agree to everything. Enough is enough.” Manchin added: “Holding that bill hostage is not going to work to get my support of what you want.” The White House, meanwhile, said the House plan “is fully paid for, will reduce the deficit, and brings down costs for health care, child care, elder care and housing.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

2/ A majority of Supreme Court justices seemed willing to let abortion providers in Texas challenge the state’s abortion law – the most restrictive in the nation. The justices are considering two cases: one brought by abortion providers in Texas, and the other by the Justice Department. The court’s focus isn’t directly on abortion rights, but rather on an unusual provision designed to thwart legal challenges by making the law only enforceable by private citizens rather than the state government. “There’s a loophole that’s been exploited here,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh said, agreeing with Justice Elena Kagan, who said the entire purpose of S.B. 8 was “to find the chink in the armor” of court precedent regarding judicial review. Justice Amy Coney Barrett added that the law was designed to prevent the abortion providers from presenting a “full constitutional defense.” The Justice Department, meanwhile, argued that the Texas law conflicts with a constitutional right established by Roe v. Wade, warning that if the Texas law remains in effect, “no constitutional right is safe. No constitutional decision from this court is safe.” Kavanaugh, however, characterized the Justice Department’s lawsuit as “irregular” and “unusual,” asking what authority the federal government has to sue over a state law. “The reason we’ve done it here,” federal solicitor general, Elizabeth Prelogar, argued, is because the law is “so unprecedented, extraordinary and extraordinarily dangerous for our constitutional structure.” (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

3/ Biden warned world leaders at global climate summit that “climate change is already ravaging the world,” saying “we are standing at an inflection point in world history.” Biden said the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland – widely seen as the most important international climate negotiations since the 2015 Paris climate accord – kicks off a “decisive decade” for combating climate change, which he called an “existential threat to human existence as we know it.” Biden warned that “none of us can escape the worst that is yet to come if we fail to seize this moment.” National climate pledges currently remain too weak to collectively meet the 2015 Paris agreement goals to keep average global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Biden, however, apologized for the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord under Trump, saying: “I guess I shouldn’t apologize, but I do apologize.” (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times)

4/ During the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, a Trump attorney blamed Pence for the violence for refusing to block certification of Trump’s election loss. “The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so that the American people can see for themselves what happened,” the lawyer, John Eastman, wrote to Greg Jacob, Pence’s chief counsel. Eastman sent the email while Pence, Jacob, and other advisers were under guard in a secure area. Rioters, meanwhile, chanted “Hang Mike Pence” while storming the Capitol complex. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC)

  • Notable: The Washington Post’s three-part investigative series about the causes, costs, and aftermath of Jan. 6. “The consequences of that day are still coming into focus, but what is already clear is that the insurrection was not a spontaneous act nor an isolated event. It was a battle in a broader war over the truth and over the future of American democracy.” (Washington Post)

  • Trump “greatly objected” to the Post’s findings, calling the 37 findings “fake news.” (Washington Post)

5/ Trump is trying to prevent Jan. 6 investigators from accessing handwritten memos from his chief of staff, call logs, files of top aides, White House visitor records, and drafts of election-related speeches, the National Archives revealed in a court filing. Trump has tried to block about 750 documents out of nearly 1,600. Among them are hundreds of pages from “multiple binders of the former press secretary [Kayleigh McEnany] which is made up almost entirely of talking points and statements related to the 2020 election,” according to the court filing. The records also include three handwritten notes from then-White House chief of Staff Mark Meadows about the events of Jan. 6, including two pages listing briefings and telephone calls about the Electoral College certification. Trump sued to block release on Oct. 15 and has asked a federal judge to issue an emergency order blocking the National Archives from transmitting them to the committee. (CNN / Associated Press / Politico)

poll/ 30% of Republicans believe violence may be necessary “to save our country,” compared to 11% of Democrats, and 17% of independents. Among those who believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump – which it wasn’t – 39% support resorting to violence. (Washington Post / The Guardian)

poll/ 33% of Republicans say they will trust the results of the 2024 presidential election regardless of who wins, compared to 82% of Democrats. Overall, 62% of Americans say they will trust the results of the 2024 election. 81% Americans believe there is a “serious threat” to democracy, including 89% of Republicans, 80% of independents, and 79% of Democrats. (NPR / Marist)

poll/ 32% of Americans think the infrastructure and social spending bills will hurt people like them, while 25% think they will help them, and 18% think the bills won’t make a difference. Overall, 69% of Americans say they know little to nothing about what’s in both bills. (ABC News)

poll/ 42% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – down from 53% in April. 54% say they disapprove of Biden’s performance, up 6 points since August. (NBC News)

Day 283: "The world wonders whether we can function."

1/ House Democrats – again – postponed a vote on the $1 trillion Senate-approved infrastructure bill, pushing off its consideration until at least next week. The delay followed a visit to Capitol Hill by Biden, who asked House Democrats to support both the infrastructure plan and the separate social policy and climate change framework, saying: “We are at an inflection point. The rest of the world wonders whether we can function […] I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities – and my presidency – will be determined by what happens in the next week.” Progressive Democrats, however, blocked the scheduled vote, saying they wanted to review the written legislative text of the $1.75 trillion social spending outline – and receive assurances that Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema would vote for it, which neither have outright given. The House, meanwhile, passed another temporary extension for highway funding until Dec. 3 – the same deadline to address government funding and a debt ceiling default. The Senate unanimously approved that extension after it passed the House. (Politico / Bloomberg / New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post / NBC News)

2/ The FDA authorized Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children 5 to 11. About 28 million children will be eligible to receive the pediatric doses, which are one-third of an adult dose. The Biden administration said it’s already procured 15 million doses that are ready to ship once the CDC signs off, which could happen early next week. Children will still need two injections three weeks apart. (New York Times / Associated Press / CNBC)

3/ Facebook relaxed its content moderation efforts before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. After the election on Nov. 6, 2020, the company rolled back many of the anti-violence, -misinformation, and -hate speech safeguards it had put into place for U.S. users. Despite banning the main “Stop the Steal” Facebook group, the company allowed dozens of similar and look-alike groups to flourish on the platform. Facebook would later describe the formation of those look-alike groups as a “coordinated” campaign, according to the leaked documents. By the time the company attempted to reign in the spread of the groups, a mob was already storming the steps of the Capitol. (Washington Post / New York Times)

  • Thousands of leaked internal Facebook documents revealed how the company caused or contributed to a long list of atrocities and other real-world harms and that the people in charge of the company were fully aware of the platform’s role. The documents, known as the Facebook Papers, show how the company and its executives privately and meticulously tracked how Facebook exacerbated ongoing crises, ignored warnings from employees about risky design decisions, and how it exposed vulnerable communities to a series of physical and psychological harms. The documents were provided to Congress by whistleblower Frances Haugen, while redacted copies were sent to a consortium of newsrooms. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

  • Mark Zuckerberg frequently made public statements that conflicted with his company’s own internal research and reports. Frances Haugen cited at least 20 public statements by Zuckerberg in which she asserted his unique level of control over the company caused him to bear command responsibility for the variety of social harms it caused. Yet Zuckerberg’s public statements frequently denied or deflected any such responsibility, including during his 2020 testimony before Congress when he claimed the company removes 94% of hate speech it finds on its platform before a human reports it. The leaked documents revealed that number was actually less than 5%. (Washington Post)

  • Facebook employees complained that they had been “actively held back” by their superiors at the company when they tried to make changes. Following the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Facebook announced that it would ban Trump’s account for 24 hours, sparking backlash from Facebook employees. “Do you genuinely think 24 hours is a meaningful ban?” one staffer posted on an internal message board. “How are we expected to ignore when leadership overrides research based policy decisions to better serve people like the groups inciting violence today,” the staffer wrote. “Rank and file workers have done their part to identify changes to improve our platform but have been actively held back.” (The Atlantic)

  • Facebook took years to fix issues surrounding anger and misinformation on its platform. In 2017, the company began weighting the “angry” emoji reaction button at five times the value of the “like” reaction. Facebook’s own data scientists later concluded that the “angry,” “wow,” and “haha” reactions appeared more frequently on posts the company deemed “toxic” or those that contained misinformation. Facebook waited until 2020 to rebalance the weight of each reaction. After the fix was implemented, users began to get less misinformation, less “disturbing” content and less “graphic violence.” (Washington Post)

4/ At least 12 Republicans who participated in the Jan. 6 rally are running for office next week. The candidates include state legislators running for reelection, as well as local officials, and candidates seeking statehouse seats. Of the 12 candidates, three said they only attended the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the insurrection and never went to the Capitol, while nine went to the Capitol but denied entering the building or haven’t spoken about their involvement. Election Day is Tuesday. (BuzzFeed News)

5/ The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack is reportedly weighing criminal contempt charges for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and any other witness who defies a subpoena. Meadows was first subpoenaed more than a month ago, but hasn’t provided the requested documents or testimony. While the committee has indicated that Meadows has been “engaging” in negotiations over the terms of turning over documents and appearing for a deposition, one person with knowledge of the negotiations said it’s becoming “increasingly clear” that Meadows has “no real intention” of providing documents or testimony to the committee. One major focus of the investigation is what Trump knew in the lead-up to Jan. 6, and Meadows’ efforts to aid in overturning the 2020 presidential election. (CNN / The Guardian)

6/ Rep. Adam Kinzinger – a vocal Republican critic of Trump – announced that he will not run for reelection in 2022. Kinzinger announced his departure from Congress after the Democratic-led Illinois legislature adopted a new congressional map, which eliminated the Republican-majority district Kinzinger represented for the last decade. Kinzinger was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

7/ Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was charged with a misdemeanor sex crime. The criminal complaint alleges that Cuomo “intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly place[d] his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim” and “onto her intimate body part” for “purposes of degrading and gratifying his sexual desires.” The incident allegedly occurred on Dec. 7, 2020, at the governor’s mansion. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail or three years probation. (NBC News / Washington Post)

8/ The Supreme Court agreed to consider limiting the EPA’s authority to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. A group of 18 Republican-led states and several coal companies are challenging a lower-court ruling that vacated Trump administration rules, which had eased greenhouse gas standards. In January, a federal appeals court tossed out the industry-friendly Trump-era rules, saying they interpreted the Clean Air Act too narrowly. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

Day 281: "Just can't do it."

1/ Joe Manchin panned a proposed billionaire income tax to help pay for the social safety net and climate change bill, which is expected to cost about $1.75 trillion. Manchin called the plan “convoluted,” saying he didn’t like “targeting different people” with higher taxes just because they’re wealthy. Instead, Manchin floated a 15% “patriotic tax” on corporations. The billionaire tax idea gained traction after Kyrsten Sinema blocked conventional tax rate increases for corporations and individuals. Sinema had reportedly supported the proposed tax on the 700 people in the U.S. with more than $1 billion in assets. Together, Manchin and Sinema’s objections have injected uncertainty into Biden’s domestic agenda and halved what had been a $3.5 trillion package. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico / Associated Press / Axios / ABC News)

2/ Senate Democrats dropped paid family and medical leave from Biden’s Build Back Better spending package. The plan initially included 12 weeks of paid family leave, which lawmakers later considered reducing to four weeks to overcome opposition from Joe Manchin, who said he didn’t want to create a new entitlement program. When asked about the provision, Manchin replied: “I just can’t do it.” Plans to bolster Medicare and Medicaid benefits have also been scaled back due to opposition from Manchin and industry groups. Manchin has reportedly soured on Medicare vouchers to help cover annual dental costs. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Biden – again – refused to exert executive privilege over documents that Trump has tried to keep away from the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. White House counsel Dana Remus informed National Archivist David Ferriero that Biden “has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States […] Accordingly, President Biden does not uphold the former president’s assertion of privilege.” The National Archives is set to begin turning over records to the House on Nov. 12. Trump previously tried to assert privilege on more than 40 documents and sued to attempt to block the House from accessing them. The committee is also expected to subpoena John Eastman, the lawyer who outlined a scheme for overturning the election results in two memos, which served as the basis of an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 4 between Eastman, Trump, and Pence. Recently, however, Eastman has claimed he wrote the memos at the request of “somebody in the legal team” whose name he could not recall. Separately, at least five former Trump administration staffers have voluntarily spoken with the House committee. (CNN / Washington Post / CBS News)

4/ The FDA’s independent panel of vaccine experts voted to recommend that the agency issue an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer Covid-19 shot for children ages 5-11. The FDA is expected to grant emergency approval for the shots and then pass the issue to the CDC for review, which has the final say. (NPR / Politico / CNBC)

5/ Deborah Birx, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator under Trump, testified that the Trump administration could have prevented more than 130,000 American deaths during the early stages of the pandemic. Birx told the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis that the Trump administration had “gotten somewhat complacent through the campaign season,” became “distracted” by the election, and then ignored recommendations to curb the pandemic. “I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining […] and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30% less to 40% less range,” Birx said. When asked if Trump “did everything he could to try to mitigate the spread of the virus and save lives during the pandemic,” Birx responded, “No.” Birx also criticized Scott Atlas, who joined the White House as a special government employee in August 2020 after appearances on Fox News in which he decried fears about Covid-19 and advocated for some Americans to be deliberately infected with the coronavirus in order to reach “herd immunity.” (New York Times / Axios / Washington Post / Politico)

6/ The U.S. issued its first passport with an “X” gender marker as part of an effort to implement gender-inclusive policies. The State Department said it expects to offer the “X” designation to more people early next year after it finishes system and form updates. The U.S. special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights said the decision brings government documents in line with the “lived reality” for nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people. (Associated Press / CNN)

7/ A Wisconsin judge ruled that the three men Kyle Rittenhouse shot during a protest against police brutality can’t be called “victims” during the trial. Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder said using the describing the men shot by Rittenhouse, including two who died, as “victim” would be loaded with prejudice. Schroeder, however, allowed the men to be referred to as rioters, looters or arsonists if the teenager’s defense team has evidence to support the characterizations. (USA Today / NBC News)

Day 279: "Get this done."

1/ Biden and Democratic congressional leaders are pushing for a vote this week on the social spending and climate bill. An agreement could also allow the House to pass a separate $1.2 trillion bill to upgrade the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports, and Internet connections, and send it to Biden’s desk as soon as this week. Together, the two packages could dislodge roughly $3 trillion in economic spending initiatives. Chuck Schumer said there were three to four open issues on the social safety net and climate change bill, but Democrats were “on track to get this done.” Joe Manchin added that he believes a compromise on the package will come together this week. Negotiators are still working out the details for how to pay for the package after Kyrsten Sinema rejected increasing the marginal tax rates on corporations, capital gains and individuals. Sinema, however, has indicated that she is open to a minimum tax on corporations and has not ruled out a tax hike on billionaires. And, while it’s unclear what level of new taxes Manchin will support, he’s indicated that he supports Biden’s proposal to roll back some of the Trump tax cuts for high earners and corporations, as well as the White House plan to tax the investment incomes of billionaires. The bill, initially drafted at $3.5 trillion, is expected to ultimately cost between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion. Biden said he wants a deal this week before he travels to Europe at the end of the week for the Group of 20 summit and a climate conference. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / CBS News / CNN / CNBC)

2/ A team of Trump advisers and lawyers setup a “war room” at a D.C. hotel in an effort to overturn the 2020 election in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 rally and attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The group – Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon, former NYC police chief Bernard Kerik, conservative lawyer John Eastman, One America News reporter Christina Bobb, retired Army colonel Phil Waldron, Boris Epshteyn, and others – set out to pressure Pence into blocking or delaying certification of Biden’s victory, while also publicizing alleged evidence of voter fraud and urging members of state legislatures to challenge and decertify their results. They called the set of rooms and suites at the Willard hotel the “command center,” which was located a block from the White House. The Trump campaign later reimbursed Kerik’s firm for more than $55,000 for rooms for the legal team. The congressional panel investigating Jan. 6 also cited Bannon’s involvement at the “‘war room’ organized at the Willard.” (Washington Post)

3/ Organizers for the Jan. 6 March for Trump and Stop the Steal rallies held “dozens” of planning meetings with members of Congress and White House staff. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Paul Gosar, Rep. Lauren Boebert, Rep. Mo Brooks, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, Rep. Andy Biggs, and Rep. Louie Gohmert or their staffs were reportedly involved in planning conversations leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection in which Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to object to the electoral certification. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was involved in the conversations surrounding the protests. Organizers also claim that Gosar offered them “several assurances” about a “blanket pardon” in an unrelated ongoing investigation to encourage them to plan the protests. No pardons were ultimately issued. (Rolling Stone)

4/ U.S. Customs and Border Protection determined that 60 CBP agents “engaged in misconduct and were subject to discipline” after sharing violent and obscene posts in secret Facebook groups. The CBP Discipline Review Board recommended firing 24 agents for “serious misconduct,” including an agent who posted “offensive images of an alt-right and white supremacist symbol and sexualized images of a Member of Congress.” Of the 60 employees found to have committed misconduct, two were fired, and 43 were suspended without pay. (CNN / Washington Post)

5/ The Russia-linked hackers behind the SolarWinds hack that infiltrated nine U.S. government agencies last year has launched another campaign to steal sensitive information stored in the cloud. Biden imposed sanctions on Moscow in April for the SolarWinds attack. The following month, hackers began targeting more than 140 technology companies, including those that manage or resell cloud computing services. Of the companies targeted, 14 were compromised. (New York Times / ABC News / Wall Street Journal)

Day 276: "The principal obstacles to progress."

1/ The Supreme Court – again – refused to block the Texas law that bans most abortions in the state after six weeks, but agreed to hear legal arguments over the nation’s most restrictive abortion law on Nov. 1. The court said it would focus specifically on whether the federal government has the authority to challenge the unusual way in which the Texas legislature crafted the law, which deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs the procedure or “aids and abets” it. The court, however, turned down a request from Texas to use the cases to decide whether to overturn the right to abortion established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision legalizing abortion nationwide prior to viability, generally thought to be around 22 to 24 weeks. In December, the court will also consider a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. Mississippi is explicitly asking the court to overturn Roe. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / NBC News / ABC News)

2/ Kyrsten Sinema won’t support raising taxes on businesses, high-income earners, or capital gains, potentially derailing the revenue-increasing provisions needed to finance Biden’s social safety net and climate plan. Democrats had hoped to pay for much of their plan by raising the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from 21%, moving the top personal income rate to 39.6% from 37%, and increasing the capital gains tax rate for those earning at least $400,000. The plan would also add a 3% surtax on income above $5 million. Instead, Biden’s advisers said that they are now pursuing a range of ideas to raise new revenues, including a new minimum tax on corporations, targeting America’s roughly 700 billionaires who don’t pay taxes on their unrealized gains, taxing stock buybacks, closing loopholes for high income Americans, and increased IRS enforcement. Sinema reportedly appears open to an excise tax on stock buybacks and a 15% minimum corporate tax rate. (Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNN / NBC News)

3/ Five veterans on Kyrsten Sinema’s advisory board resigned from their roles, accusing her of “hanging your constituents out to dry.” In a letter to Sinema, the veterans accused the Arizona Democrat of “answering to big donors rather than your own people.” The group criticized her opposition to parts of Biden’s social safety net, education, climate, and tax plan, refusal to change the Senate filibuster to protect voting rights, failure to support prescription drug negotiations, and for not voting on the Jan. 6 commission. They added: “You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress.” (CNN / New York Times / The Hill)

4/ The White House, intelligence agencies, and Pentagon concluded “no country will be spared” from the effects of climate change, according to a series of four reports from the Biden administration on the threat of climate change. Together, the reports show that the effects of climate change will be wide-reaching, with rising temperatures, droughts, and extreme weather likely increasing the risks of instability and conflict within and between countries over food and water supplies, which could also lead to the displacement of tens of millions of people around the world. The top-level conclusion of the Financial Stability Oversight Council report is that climate change is an “emerging threat” to the stability of global markets and the economy, while the National Intelligence Estimate warns “that climate change will increasingly exacerbate risks to U.S. national security interests.” (Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / New York Times / Axios)

5/ The House voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena issued by the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Nine Republicans voted with all 220 Democrats to pass the resolution and send the matter to the Justice Department, which will decide whether to prosecute Bannon. Attorney General Merrick Garland declined to say whether he would move forward with charges, instead saying the Justice Department would “make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution.” Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $100,000. (CNN / Associated Press / CNBC / Politico / New York Times)

6/ Rudy Giuliani’s former associate was convicted on six counts related to “influence buying” campaign finance schemes. Lev Parnas – a key figure in Trump’s first impeachment – was charged with conspiring to funnel $325,000 in donations to a pro-Trump super PAC on behalf of his company, Global Energy Producers, to give the appearance of a successful business and “obtain access to exclusive political events and gain influence with politicians.” In reality, the money came from a loan his business partner, Igor Fruman, had taken out on his Florida condo. Fruman previously pleaded guilty. Parnas faces up to five years in prison for each of five counts and a sixth count for falsifying records to the FEC, which carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence. (New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 41% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the presidency, compared with 52% who disapprove. In July, 48% approved while 45% disapproved. (CNBC)

Day 274: "The same rotten core."

1/ Senate Republicans blocked a federal voting rights bill for the third time. All 50 Republicans voted against bringing the Freedom to Vote Act to the floor, a compromise version of the For the People Act, which Joe Manchin helped negotiate in an effort to win Republican support. Democrats remain at least 10 votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster to advance the bill without changing the Senate filibuster rule. Kyrsten Sinema and Manchin, however, remain reluctant to change the filibuster rules, saying any election overhaul needs bipartisan support. “If there’s anything worthy of the Senate’s attention, if there’s any issue that merits debate on this floor, it’s protecting our democracy from the forces that are trying to unravel it from the inside out,” Chuck Schumer said after switching his vote to “no” at the last moment in order to allow him to request another vote in the future. The Freedom to Vote Act would set federal standards for early and mail-in voting, allow for same-day voter registration, make Election Day a national holiday, and mandate that voters provide some form of identification before casting a ballot. Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, denounced the compromise legislation, saying: “The same rotten core is all still there.” (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / ABC News / CBS News)

2/ Joe Manchin reportedly threatened to leave the Democratic Party if Biden and congressional Democrats didn’t agree to his demand to cut the size of the social infrastructure bill from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion. Manchin would declare himself an “American Independent,” but it’s unclear whether he’d end up caucusing with the Democrats – allowing them to maintain control of the Senate – or side with the Republicans and place the Senate in GOP control. When asked about the potential plan, Manchin replied: “I can’t control rumors, and it’s bullshit, bullshit spelled with a B, U, L, L, capital B.” (Mother Jones / Business Insider)

3/ Biden lowered the new tax-and-spending proposal to between $1.75 trillion and $1.9 trillion, telling Democrats during a private meeting that he believed they could secure a deal at that level. While the number is not finalized, it is far closer to Joe Manchin’s $1.5 trillion top line, but a significant reduction from the $3.5 trillion that Democrats initially pursued. A package up to $1.9 trillion would allow Democrats to accomplish some of their priorities, including at least some expansion of Medicare, the introduction of universal prekindergarten, and billions of dollars to address climate change. Biden’s plan to offer free community college, however, is expected to be dropped from the final package, as is the $150 billion program to encourage utility companies to switch to renewable energy. The enhanced child tax credit will likely be extended for only one additional year. Democrats had pushed to keep in place for up to five years. (Washington Post / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Biden administration scaled back its plan for the IRS to crackdown on tax cheats after criticism from Republican lawmakers and the banking industry. Under a revised plan, banks would be required to provide data about accounts with more than $10,000 in non-payroll income, rather than the $600 threshold that was initially proposed. The Treasury Department had estimated that its original proposal could raise $700 billion over a decade by cracking down on tax cheats. The proposal is currently included in the multi-trillion dollar social policy and climate change bill lawmakers and the White House have been negotiating for months. (ABC News / New York Times / Politico)

5/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol voted unanimously to recommend charging Stephen Bannon with criminal contempt for defying its subpoena. The full House is expected to vote on the recommendation this week. If passed, a criminal referral would be sent to the Justice Department, which would decide whether to press charges. A conviction could result in up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000. Bannon has refused to comply with a committee subpoena demanding that he testify and hand over relevant documents about the riot and the effort to delay the electoral vote count, citing Trump’s attempt to claim “executive and other privileges.” No criminal charges have ever been filed when an assertion of executive privilege is involved. Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Jordan – a potential witness in the House’s investigation – struggled to answer questions about his communications with Trump during the Jan. 6 attack, telling a House panel that he doesn’t recall the number of times he spoke with Trump that day. And Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, retained a top Republican lawyer to handle the Jan. 6 investigation. (NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times)

6/ The Westchester County district attorney’s office subpoenaed property-tax records related to the Trump National Golf Club in Ossining, N.Y. Every year since 2015, the Trump golf club has appealed its tax bill in court in an effort to cut the tax bill — sometimes by as much as 90%. That process usually requires a company to submit data about its property’s financial performance as evidence. The district attorney appears to be focused in part on whether the Trump Organization misled local officials about the property’s value to reduce its taxes. The Trump Organization is also facing a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who has already indicted Trump’s Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg on charges of felony tax fraud. (New York Times / Washington Post)

7/ The Trump administration discussed sending 250,000 troops to the southwest border at the start of the coronavirus pandemic – more than half the U.S. Army and a sixth of all American forces. In the spring of 2020, Stephen Miller pressed the Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan for the number of troops needed to secure the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico against the coronavirus. Trump’s defense secretary, Mark Esper, quashed the idea following a brief, contentious confrontation with Miller in the Oval Office. Had Trump gone through with the deployment, it would have been the largest use of the military inside the U.S. since the Civil War, and dwarfing the American presence in both Afghanistan and Iraq at the height of the war. Around the same time, Trump was pressing his top aides to launch military raids against drug cartels inside Mexico. Trump was talked out of the idea after aides suggested that military raids inside Mexico would look like the U.S. was committing an act of war against one of its closest allies. (New York Times)

8/ More than 1.7 million migrants along the Mexico border were detained by the Border Patrol during the 2021 fiscal year that ended in September – the highest levels ever recorded. Earlier this year, Biden tapped Harris to address the “root causes” of migration from Central America’s Northern Triangle nations — Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The latest Customs and Border Protection data indicates that the strategy has had little to no measurable effect. (Washington Post)

poll/ 62% of Americans believe Supreme Court bases its decisions more on the justices’ political views than the Constitution and the law. 62% say they favor changing the current lifetime appointment to a one-time, 15-year term. (Grinnell College National Poll)

poll/ 78% of Republicans say they want to see Trump run for president in 2024 – up from 66% in May. Overall, 51% of Americans say Trump has had a mainly negative impact on American politics, while 41% say he has had a mainly positive impact. (Quinnipiac)

Day 272: "Untethered."

1/ Trump sued the Jan. 6 select committee and the National Archives to block the release of his White House’s records related to the Capitol attack. In a federal lawsuit, Trump argued that the House select committee’s request for documents was “unprecedented in their breadth and scope and are untethered from any legitimate legislative purpose,” and “almost limitless in scope.” Trump alleged that the committee is seeking potentially millions of presidential records that he claims are covered by executive privilege, which the Biden administration previously declined to assert on Trump’s behalf. (CNN / Politico / Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block a Texas law that bans most abortions in the state while a legal challenge moves forward, calling the law “plainly unconstitutional.” The DOJ said that leaving the law in effect would allow Texas to “nullify” half a century of Supreme Court precedents “by banning abortion long before viability – indeed, before many women even realize they are pregnant.” In a 5 to 4 decision last month, the Supreme Court allowed the law to go into effect, saying the case presented “complex and novel” questions about whether the court had the authority to hear it. The court ordered Texas to respond by Thursday, and could rule this week. (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Politico)

3/ A key climate policy designed to phase out fossil fuels will likely be cut from the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package because Joe Manchin opposes the clean electricity program. Manchin, whose home state of West Virginia depends heavily on coal, told the White House that he is completely opposed to the Clean Electricity Performance Program, which would reward energy companies that switch from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas to clean power sources like solar, wind, and nuclear power. The Biden administration had been counting on the $150 billion program to achieve the bulk Biden’s pledge to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As a result, the White House is rewriting the legislation without the climate provision while trying to cobble together a mix of other policies that could also cut emissions. Manchin is a crucial vote to passing any reconciliation package in the evenly divided Senate, and FEC filings show that he’s raised over $400,000 from energy companies in the third quarter. (NBC News / New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / Vox / Business Insider)

4/ The Biden administration laid out a roadmap for regulating a group of toxic “forever chemicals” that pose health risks to millions of Americans. The EPA wants to designate polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, as hazardous substances under the nation’s Superfund law, which could make manufacturers and distributors of the chemicals liable for cleaning up contaminated sites. PFAS are commonly called “forever chemicals,” because they do not break down naturally and have turned up in drinking water and the food supply. The EPA previously promised to regulate PFAS under both the Obama and Trump administrations, but the agency met resistance from the American Chemistry Council, a trade association that represents the industry. (Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

5/ The Texas Senate passed a bill requiring transgender youth to compete on sports teams that match their birth gender, not the gender they identify with. The measure requires public schools to assign athletes based on the sex on their birth certificates. The new law negates a current regulation that lets transgender students compete if they’ve received a court order allowing them to change the gender marked on their birth certificate. The bill now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott, who has indicated he intends to sign it. (NBC News / CBS News)

6/ The Senate is expected to take up a voting rights legislation this week, which Republicans plan to block. The bill – a pared-back version of the For the People Act – give all voters in all states access to a minimum of 15 early voting days and same-day registration, establish Election Day as a public holiday, require states to have automatic voter registration, restore the right to vote to Americans with felony convictions upon completion of their prison sentence, and prohibit partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts. Democrats would need 10 Republicans to join them in overcoming the filibuster. Chuck Schumer said the Freedom to Vote Act was necessary to “right the ship of our democracy and establish common sense national standards to give fair access to our democracy to all Americans.” Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, promised that the measure “will go nowhere,” calling it a “partisan power grab” to “micromanage elections across America.” (NBC News / The Hill)

Day 269: "Just looking out!"

1/ The Justice Department will ask the Supreme Court to block enforcement of a restrictive Texas abortion law while a legal challenge moves forward. The law, which bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and empowers private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” in the procedure, took effect Sept. 1 after the Supreme Court refused to grant an emergency request to stop it. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s three liberal members in dissent. The Justice Department then sued the state of Texas after the court declined to block the law. Last week, a federal judge temporarily suspended enforcement of the abortion ban, saying he would “not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.” The law, however, was allowed to go back into effect after the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the law to remain in place during ongoing litigation between Texas and the federal government. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

2/ A Capitol Police officer was indicted on obstruction of justice charges in connection to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Prosecutors allege a day after the riot, Michael Riley sent a private message on Facebook to a rioter and encouraged him to delete incriminating selfies and videos about being in the Capitol. Riley instructed the person to “Get off of social media” and to “Take down the part about being in the building they are currently investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to charged. Just looking out!” Riley also expressed support for the rioter’s political views, saying “im a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance.” (CNN / Politico)

3/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol will move to hold Stephen Bannon in criminal contempt for not complying with its subpoena. Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson accused Bannon of “hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke. We reject his position entirely.” The panel will vote Tuesday to recommend criminal charges, sending the recommendation to the full House. If certified, Attorney General Merrick Garland would decide whether to criminally prosecute Bannon for failing to comply with the congressional subpoena. (Associated Press / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN)

4/ Biden’s commission studying potential reforms to Supreme Court warned that there are “considerable” risks to expanding the number of justices, according to the group’s preliminary “discussion materials.” The bipartisan commission agreed that Congress has the legal power to expand the court, but expansion efforts could hurt the court’s “long-term legitimacy or otherwise undermine its role in our legal system.” The group did not, however, that there is widespread support for term limits. The group is expected to present a final report to Biden by mid-November. (Washington Post / The Hill / NBC News / CNN / CNBC / Bloomberg)

5/ The U.S. will reopen its border to fully vaccinated foreign travelers on Nov. 8. The new policy will will require foreign national travelers from 33 countries to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken three days prior to boarding an airplane. The policy applies to both those traveling by plane and over land from Canada and Mexico. (Politico / New York Times / CBS News / NBC News)

6/ An independent FDA advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend authorizing booster shots of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine for people 18 years or older, at least two months after the first dose. The FDA will now consider the committee’s advice and the CDC’s advisory group will then be asked to consider it. The FDA panel voted yesterday to recommend authorizing Moderna booster shots. (Politico / New York Times / CNN / ABC News)

7/ A judge in New York ordered Trump to sit for a videotaped deposition as part of a civil lawsuit connected to a 2015 rally where protesters say Trump’s security guards assaulted them. A group of Mexican protesters said they were assaulted during a rally outside Trump Tower in Sept. 2015 over the then-candidate’s comments that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists. The lawsuit named Trump, his campaign, his former head of security Keith Schiller, and others. Trump’s deposition is scheduled for Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. at the Trump Tower in Manhattan. (ABC News / Business Insider / The Hill)

Day 267: "Not even within the realm of possibility."

1/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack subpoenaed a former Justice Department lawyer who tried to use department resources to push Trump’s false claims of voting fraud in the 2020 election. Internal emails show that Jeffrey Clark urged top DOJ officials to send out a letter he drafted that falsely claimed the FBI found evidence of voter fraud in multiple states. Richard Donoghue, who served as the acting deputy attorney general at the time, replied: “There is no chance that I would sign this letter or anything remotely like this […] from where I stand, this is not even within the realm of possibility.” In early January, Trump reportedly entertained a plan to fire acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and replace him with Clark, who would publicly pursue Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud. The committee is seeking documents and a deposition from Clark by Oct. 29. Rosen, meanwhile, sat for an interview with the committee today. (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / NPR / CNN)

2/ A federal judge held Washington, D.C.’s corrections director and jail warden in contempt of court, ruling they had improperly delayed medical treatment for a defendant detained as part of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Judge Royce Lamberth acted after jail officials failed to turn over the information needed to approve surgery for Christopher Worrell, who broke his wrist in May while in custody. Worrell, a member of the Proud Boys, was charged with four felonies, including rioting and spraying pepper gel at police. Prosecutors have alleged that Worrell traveled to Washington and coordinated with Proud Boys leading up to the attack. Lamberth, calling Worrell’s delayed treatment “incompetent” and “inexcusable,” said he would refer the case to the Justice Department to investigate whether the jail violated the civil rights of other detained Jan. 6 defendants. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press)

3/ The U.S. will lift travel restrictions at land borders with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated travelers. Starting in November, nonessential travelers, such as those entering for tourism or to visit family members, will be required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination to Customs and Border Protection officers when they cross land borders. For the last 19 months, only “essential travel” had been allowed across the Canadian and Mexican borders. In January, essential travelers will also be required to be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated travelers will continue to be banned from crossing. (New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News)

4/ Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles will operate “24 hours a day, seven days a week” as part of an effort to relieve supply chain bottlenecks. The announcement follows a similar transition by the Port of Long Beach in September. Together, the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the U.S. As of Monday, there were 62 ships berthed at the two ports and 81 waiting to dock and unload. The average anchorage time has stretched to more than 11 days, driving prices higher for U.S. consumers. Consumer prices, meanwhile, climbed 5.4% from a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Bloomberg / CNBC)

5/ The House approved a bill to raise the debt ceiling into early December, postponing the threat of a first-ever national default. The bill, passed by the Senate last week, now heads to Biden’s desk. He is expected to sign it later this week. The legislation extends the debt ceiling by $480 billion, which the Treasury Department has estimated is enough to last until at least Dec. 3 – the same day government funding will expire. (Politico / CNBC / New York Times)

6/ The Biden administration announced a plan to develop wind farms along nearly the entire U.S. coastline. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold up to seven lease sales by 2025 in the Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico, and off the coasts of California, the Carolinas, and Oregon as part of Biden’s pledge to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 – enough to power 10 million homes. (New York Times / Reuters)

poll/ 54% of Americans support requiring public school students aged 12 or older to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before they can attend classes in person. 45% oppose the vaccine mandate. 72% of Democrats favor a vaccine mandate for the students while 59% of Republicans are opposed. (Politico)

Day 265: "Failures."

1/ A Capitol Police whistleblower accused the agency’s two senior leaders of significant “failures” surrounding the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The whistleblower accused Sean Gallagher, the USCP’s acting chief of uniformed operations, and Yogananda Pittman, assistant chief of police for protective and intelligence operations, of failing to take appropriate action “which directly contributed to the deaths and wounding of officers and civilians.” The whistleblower also accused Pittman of lying to Congress about an intelligence report Capitol Police received a day before the riot. Pittman told congressional investigators in April that senior officials were also aware of the intelligence before the attack. The whistleblower, however, claimed that Pittman never sent “the single most important piece of intelligence information […] with any members of USCP leadership.” (Politico / NBC News)

2/ A federal appeals court temporarily reinstated the nation’s most restrictive abortion law. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Friday struck down a lower federal court ruling that temporarily blocked Texas from enforcing its ban on abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. Texas appealed the order just two days after it was issued. The Department of Justice has until Oct. 12 to respond to the ruling. The ban will remain in effect until then. (NPR / Texas Tribune / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

3/ Merck asked the FDA for emergency authorization for its antiviral pill for treating Covid-19 after it halved hospitalizations and deaths in a clinical trial. If authorized, the drug, molnupiravir, would be the first antiviral pill to treat Covid-19. (Associated Press / New York Times)

4/ The Biden administration canceled the remaining Trump-era border wall contracts in the Laredo and Rio Grande Valley. After taking office, Biden suspended wall construction and called for a review of projects and funds. In late July, Customs and Border Protection terminated two border wall contracts in the Laredo area, covering approximately 31 miles. The latest cancelations cover some 44 miles. (CNN / Yahoo News)

5/ The Biden administration has reunited 52 families separated by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy. At least 1,000 migrant children remain without their parents. Michelle Brane, the head of the Family Reunification Task Force, said progress has been slow because “there was no system in place for documenting separations,” and people have moved since being separated. (Business Insider / Axios)

6/ Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel lost more than $70 million while he was in office despite taking in an estimated $3.7 million from foreign governments. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform said the Trump Organization had to inject $27 million into the hotel from other parts of its business, and got “preferential treatment” from Deutsche Bank, which had previously loaned Trump $170 million to renovate the hotel. The committee, which recently obtained documents from the General Services Administration, said the information raises “concerns about possible violations of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause.” (Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press / CNN / CNBC / Reuters)

7/ The Saudi royal family gifted Trump and administration officials with three robes made out of white tiger and cheetah fur, as well as a dagger that appeared to be made out of ivory. When a White House lawyer concluded that the gifts most likely violated the Endangered Species Act, the Trump administration instead held onto them and failed to disclose them on the State Department’s legally required annual filings for foreign gifts. The State Department’s inspector general is also investigating whether Trump’s political appointees took gift bags worth thousands of dollars, which were meant for foreign leaders at the 2020 Group of 7 summit. The summit was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The inspector general is also trying to locate a $5,800 bottle of Japanese whiskey given to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a 22-karat gold coin given to another State Department official. The Trump administration also reportedly never disclosed that Jared Kushner received two swords and a dagger from the Saudis, which he later paid for after he left office. (New York Times)

Day 262: "Not in the best interests of the United States."

1/ Biden rejected Trump’s request to assert executive privilege over records related to the Jan. 6 attack. In a letter to the National Archives, the White House said Biden “determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States.” Trump had claimed executive privilege in an attempt to shield documents requested by the House Select Committee about his and his aides’ activities during the Jan. 6 attack. (Washington Post /