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 868: "Know your rights."

1/ The Human Rights Campaign issued a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people living in the U.S. The declaration – a first in the organization’s more than 40-year history – comes after state legislatures have passed more than 75 anti-LGBTQ bills this year, more than double last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record. “The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived — they are real, tangible and dangerous,” the president of the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement. The organization also released a guidebook summarizing state-by-state anti-LGBTQ laws, as well as a “know your rights” guide for LGBTQ+ travelers and those living in hostile states. (NBC News / Axios / CNN / USA Today / ABC News)

2/ A federal judge temporarily blocked portions of a new Florida law that prohibits gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. “The elephant in the room should be noted at the outset. Gender identity is real. The record makes this clear,” Judge Robert Hinkle said, adding: “Florida has adopted a statute and rules that prohibit these treatments even when medically appropriate.” In May, Ron DeSantis signed off on a first-of-its-kind rule making it illegal for health care professionals to provide gender-affirming care – including puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and surgeries – to transgender minors. Several other states, including Texas, have also recently enacted bans on gender-affirming care. (Axios / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

3/ A Texas sheriff recommended criminal charges for the flights that Ron DeSantis arranged to deport 49 asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last year. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office filed several counts of unlawful restraint, both misdemeanors and felonies, with the local district attorney, but didn’t name any individual suspects. “At this time, the case is being reviewed by the DA’s office. Once an update is available, it will be provided to the public,” Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy Johnny Garcia said. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, meanwhile, threatened DeSantis with kidnapping charges after Florida flew three dozen migrants from Texas to Sacramento. Newsom’s administration is investigating who paid for the plane trips, if migrants were misled, and if any laws, including kidnapping, were violated. (Axios / The Guardian / Texas Tribune)

4/ A state school board in Oklahoma approved the nation’s first publicly funded religious school despite the state’s attorney general warning that the decision was unconstitutional. “The approval of any publicly funded religious school is contrary to Oklahoma law and not in the best interest of taxpayers,” Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said. “It’s extremely disappointing that board members violated their oath in order to fund religious schools with our tax dollars. In doing so, these members have exposed themselves and the state to potential legal action that could be costly.” The online public charter school – the St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Charter School – will be open to students across the state in kindergarten through grade 12. (Associated Press / USA Today / Politico)

5/ Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office recently issued federal grand jury subpoenas to multiple witnesses associated with the classified documents investigation involving Trump. The subpoenas were sent from southern Florida. For more than a year, the Justice Department’s investigation has been presenting evidence and witness testimony to a separate grand jury in Washington, which has focused on the possible mishandling of national security information and obstruction. It’s not clear what the Florida activity means for the direction of Smith’s work. One witness already testified before the grand jury in Florida, with at least one additional witness expected to appear. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News / CNN)

Day 867: "Political stunts."

1/ Trump’s attorneys met with the Justice Department to argue why the government should not charge him in connection with his handling of classified documents after leaving office. A defense attorney meeting with Justice Department officials is often used when a charging decision is imminent. Trump’s team was seen leaving the Justice Department after 90-minutes. The meeting, however, did not include Attorney General Merrick Garland or Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. The federal grand jury that has been hearing evidence in the investigation, meanwhile, is expected to meet again this week. If special counsel Jack Smith decides to charge Trump, it would be the first time a former president has been charged with a federal crime. After the meeting ended, Trump posted an all-caps message to his personal social media platform: “How can DOJ possibly charge me, who did nothing wrong, when no other presidents were charged.” (CBS News / Washington Post / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / ABC News / New York Times / Associated Press)

2/ Trump’s attorneys haven’t been able to find the classified document about a potential attack on Iran that Trump said he had kept after leaving the White House. Trump acknowledged that he held onto the classified Pentagon document during a recorded book interview in 2021. Federal prosecutors issued a subpoena seeking the return of “any and all” records that resembled the document Trump mentioned, but Trump’s legal team informed the Justice Department that they were unable to find the document. It is unclear if the Iran document was already returned to the National Archives or recovered in the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. (CNN / New York Times)

  • The Justice Department ended its investigation into Pence’s handling of classified documents and will not bring any charges. In January, about a dozen documents marked classified were found in Pence’s home. (CNN)

3/ Pence filed paperwork declaring his campaign for president in 2024. He joins seven other Republicans who have formally announced campaigns for the GOP nomination, including Trump, Ron DeSantis, and Nikki Haley. Chris Christie and Doug Burgum are also expected to launch presidential campaigns this week. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Politico)

4/ A federal judge ruled that first-of-its-kind Tennessee law that banned drag shows in public or where children could watch them is unconstitutional and can’t be enforced. U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker, who was appointed by Trump, wrote that the law is “unconstitutionally vague and substantially overbroad,” encouraged “discriminatory enforcement,” and was passed “for the impermissible purpose of chilling constitutionally-protected speech.” The measure aimed to criminalize what it called “adult cabaret entertainment” by charging first-time offenders with misdemeanors and repeat offenders with felony charges. Further, people convicted of multiple offenses could face prison sentences of up to six years. Nationwide, at least 26 bills have been introduced this year aiming to limit drag performances. 🏳️‍🌈 (Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico)

5/ Florida reportedly flew three dozen migrants from Texas to Sacramento. A flight carrying roughly 20 migrants arrived in Sacramento on Monday, which follows a group of about 16 migrants who were flown to California’s capital and dropped off in front of a Catholic church on Friday. In both cases, the migrants were approached in Texas, taken to New Mexico, and then flown to Sacramento on chartered planes. California Attorney General Rob Bonta blamed Ron DeSantis for the “political stunt,” adding he is “prepared to bring civil and criminal action if the facts and the law support it.” Florida officials have not issued a denial. (Associated Press / San Francisco Chronicle / Politico / NBC News / San Francisco Chronicle)

Day 863: "Time is a luxury."

1/ A group of Republicans threatened to delay plans to fast-track the House-passed bill to suspend the debt ceiling and limit federal spending before Monday’s default deadline. Lindsey Graham said he’d keep the Senate tied up “until Tuesday” unless he received assurances that there would be a supplemental funding bill to spend more money on the military than the debt limit deal allowed. Under the bill, defense spending would be capped at $886 billion next year – a 3% increase – which Susan Collins called “woefully inadequate.” Biden needs to sign the debt ceiling bill into law by Monday to avoid a default. “Time is a luxury the Senate does not have if we want to prevent default,” Chuck Schumer said. “June 5 is less than four days away. At this point, any needless delay or any last-minute holdups would be an unnecessary and even dangerous risk.” (CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Senate passed a Republican effort to overturn Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loans for 43 million borrowers. Biden has promised to veto the measure. The legislation would also repeal the freeze on student loan repayment and limit the Education Department’s ability to cancel student loans in the future. It passed in a 52-46 vote, with two Democrats and one independent senator joining with Republicans. (Associated Press / CNBC / Politico / USA Today / NBC News)

  • 💡 Why should I care? Imagine you and your friends want to play at the arcade, but some of them don’t have enough allowance left because they owe money. Or maybe some of your friends live in neighborhoods where they don’t get as much allowance or have to use it for other things, and so they don’t get to play at the arcade as often. If their parents cancel this debt, they would have more money to spend at the arcade, which means more fun for everyone and more business for the arcade. This is similar to how student loan forgiveness can help people from different backgrounds have the same chances to learn and succeed. Student loan forgiveness isn’t just about money; it’s about fairness and giving everyone an equal shot at success.

3/ The largest property insurer in California will stop selling coverage to homeowners because of the state’s “rapidly growing catastrophe exposure.” State Farm, which insures more homeowners in California than any other company, cited wildfire risk, rising construction costs, and challenges with reinsurance (which is when insurance companies buy their own insurance coverage). Disasters linked to climate change have caused $33 billion in damages since 2017 in the state. (New York Times / E&E News / Politico / Grist / Curbed)

4/ Humans have pushed Earth past seven of the eight safety limits related to planetary health and human well-being. A study by the Earth Commission found that only air pollution wasn’t already in “the danger zone,” revealing that significant damage to the planet is already occurring even before breaching the globally agreed 1.5 degree Celsius warming threshold. This study also introduced the concept of “justice” when quantifying what’s safe for the planet and people by incorporating factors such as human well-being, air pollution, overuse of fertilizers, groundwater supplies, the health of fresh surface water, and the overall natural and human-built environment. The study concludes that humans are taking “colossal risks with the future of civilization and everything that lives on Earth.” (Associated Press / The Guardian)

  • 💡 Why should I care? Climate change directly impacts our lives and the future of our planet. It affects the well-being of communities, threatens biodiversity, and jeopardizes our economic stability. By addressing climate change, we can protect vulnerable populations, preserve the natural world, create a sustainable economy, and ensure a safe and livable future for ourselves and generations to come.

5/ Two Alabama congressional representatives want to block funding for U.S. Space Command’s temporary headquarters in Colorado. The two lawmakers submitted a draft House bill seeking to block the Biden administration from spending money on SPACECOM until “an official decision” is made on the location of its permanent headquarters, which the Trump administration said would be in Huntsville, Alabama. The Biden administration, however, has considered reversing the planned move to Alabama over concerns about the state’s near-total ban on abortion. (NBC News / The Hill / AL.com)

poll/ 84% of Americans who don’t identify as LGBTQ support equal rights for the LGBTQ community. 70% of non-LGBTQ Americans agree that companies should publicly support the LGBTQ community through hiring practices, advertising, and sponsorships. (GLAAD)

Day 862: "No margin for error."

1/ The bipartisan deal to suspend the debt ceiling and limit federal spending cleared a major procedural hurdle in the House. The House voted 241-187 to formally consider the debt ceiling bill. While setting the rules for debate is nearly always decided along party lines, Kevin McCarthy needed 52 votes from Democrats to offset 29 Republican “no” votes. A final vote on the debt ceiling is expected later Wednesday – days ahead of the June 5 default deadline. If approved, it would then move to the Senate, where conservatives could force days of debate. “I cannot stress enough that we have no margin – no margin – for error,” Chuck Schumer warned. “Either we proceed quickly and send this bipartisan agreement to the president’s desk or the federal government will default for the first time ever.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / CNN)

  • 💡 What are the consequences of default? A U.S. default would likely cause severe disruption to financial markets worldwide – including declines in the value of your retirement savings and other investments. A default could also result in a recession, which may lead to job losses, hiring freezes, and increased borrowing costs for the U.S. government. Higher interest payments on government debt potentially leads to increased budget deficits, which impact government spending.

2/ Federal prosecutors obtained an audio recording of Trump acknowledging that he held onto a classified document after leaving the White House. On the July 2021 recording, Trump indicates that he wanted to share the classified document about a potential attack on Iran but the attendees didn’t have sufficient security clearances. The meeting was with two people working on the autobiography of Mark Meadows. The recording suggests that Trump understood he retained classified material, contrary to his repeated claims that he could retain presidential records and “automatically” declassify documents. Special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation has focused on the meeting as part of the criminal investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving the White House. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico)

  • 💡 Why should I care? Government documents are classified to protect national security. Document classification ensures that sensitive information, like intelligence sources, defense strategies, diplomatic relations, and details about ongoing operations are safeguarded from unauthorized access or disclosure.

  • An employee at Mar-a-Lago was questioned by investigators about moving boxes of documents following a government request for surveillance footage. A Mar-a-Lago employee who was captured on video assisting a Trump aide in moving boxes on June 2, the day before classified material was collected in response to a subpoena, has been repeatedly questioned by investigators. In mid-July, authorities also scrutinized the employee’s involvement in a separate subpoena seeking security camera footage, as he allegedly had a conversation with an IT worker regarding camera functionality and data retention. The employee claimed innocence, stating that the conversation was unrelated to hiding information from authorities and that they were unaware of the investigation or subpoena at the time. (Washington Post)

3/ Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo signed legislation that protects access to abortion for out-of-state patients. The legislation codifies an existing executive order from the former governor, which banned Nevada officials and agencies from assisting with out-of-state investigations that could lead to the prosecution of people who travel to Nevada seeking abortion care. The bill also ensures that in-state medical boards, commissions, and licensing committees cannot discipline or disqualify physicians who provide abortion care. (Associated Press / NBC News / The Hill)

4/ The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that two state laws banning abortion are unconstitutional because they require a “medical emergency” before a doctor can perform an abortion. The court said the laws violated the Oklahoma Constitution, which provides an inherent right for a woman to terminate a pregnancy to save her own life. The ruling, however, will not restore full abortion access in the state because Oklahoma’s 1910 ban on abortion remains in effect, which made intentionally performing an abortion a felony unless “necessary to preserve her life.” (The Oklahoman / Politico / KOSU / The Hill)

5/ The woman who accused Biden of sexual assault during the 2020 presidential race defected to Russia. Tara Reade appeared at an event hosted by the Russian state news outlet Sputnik and said she will apply for Russian citizenship. “I feel really happy to be here, and I feel safe,” Reade said from Russia. Biden has strongly denied the allegation that he sexually assaulting Reade while she was working in his Senate office in 1993, saying the alleged assault “unequivocally, it never, never happened. It didn’t. It never happened.” Members of his Senate staff at the time said Reade never went to them with her claim of harassment. The event also featured convicted Russian agent Maria Butina, who promised to ask Putin “to fast track her citizenship request.” The White House declined to directly comment, saying: “I won’t attempt to speak for an aspiring Russian citizen, the convicted Russian spy who’s sponsoring her, or the foreign government with which she has chosen to align.” (CNN / NPR / CBS News / The Guardian / Insider)

Day 861: "There's going to be a reckoning."

1/ Biden and Kevin McCarthy reached an agreement in principle to lift the debt limit and prevent a default on the federal debt. The plan suspends the borrowing limit for two years, caps federal discretionary spending increases at 1%, while defense spending increases would be limited to about 3.5%, as proposed in Biden’s budget. The legislation also includes new work requirements for select social safety net programs, claws back unspent Covid-19 relief funds, reduces IRS funding, reallocates funds from the Inflation Reduction Act, and streamlines the process of issuing federal permits for energy projects. As part of a debt ceiling agreement, the freeze on federal student loan repayments will end at the end of the summer, which is when the Education Department had been preparing to restart payments. To avert a default, the Fiscal Responsibility Act needs be approved by both the House and the Senate and then signed by Biden before the Treasury Department’s June 5 deadline. A vote in the House is expected as soon as Wednesday night. (New York Times / NBC News / Politico / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

  • 💡 Why should I care? The U.S. debt ceiling plays a critical role in maintaining global financial stability. Failing to raise or suspend the debt limit risks a default on U.S. debts, causing a loss of confidence in the U.S. dollar and higher borrowing costs, as well as disruptions to financial markets. The broader impact would be an economic downturn. Hitting the debt ceiling would also disrupt government operations and services, potentially leading to delayed payments to beneficiaries of programs like Social Security, Medicare, and veterans’ benefits.

2/ At least 20 conservative Republicans rejected the debt ceiling deal, with some members of the House Freedom Caucus threatening to force a vote to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker if the bill is passed. Dan Bishop said McCarthy “capitulated” to Democrats and suggested that he plans to trigger the formal process to remove the speaker. “I’m fed up with the lies. I’m fed up with the lack of courage, the cowardice,” Bishop said, adding: “Nobody could have done a worse job.” Under new rules this year, a single Republican can bring a no-confidence vote to the floor to remove the speaker. Chip Roy, another member of the House Freedom Caucus, added: “Not one Republican should vote for this bill. We will continue to fight it today, tomorrow, and no matter what happens, there’s going to be a reckoning about what just occurred unless we stop this bill by tomorrow.” Several prominent conservative groups, meanwhile, publicly threatened to downgrade any Republican lawmaker who supports the bill. (NBC News / New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg / CNBC / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The Texas House voted to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton over allegations of bribery and abuse of office. A Republican-led House General Investigating Committee filed 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton last week, citing a “long-standing pattern of abuse of office and public trust,” including alleged bribery and obstruction of justice. The investigation began after Paxton requested that the Legislature pay the $3.3 million settlement from a whistleblower lawsuit against him. The Senate impeachment trial to determine whether Paxton should be permanently removed from office will start no later than Aug. 28. Ted Cruz called Paxton’s impeachment a “travesty.” (Texas Tribune / New York Times / Axios / Washington Post / NBC News / Dallas Morning News)

4/ Trump’s aides directed his lawyer to not search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office for classified documents, despite a subpoena ordering Trump to return all documents still in his possession that were marked as classified. After Evan Corcoran completed his search of the Mar-a-Lago storage room and found 38 classified documents, he asked if he should search anywhere else. Several Trump aides, however, waved him off, assuring him that no documents would be found in Trump’s office. Corcoran then handed over the documents to the Justice Department and drafted an affidavit saying all the classified documents were turned over to the “best of my knowledge.” Corcoran had a fellow attorney, Christina Bobb, certify the letter, which attested to a “diligent search.” The FBI later recovered more than 100 classified documents at Mar-a-Lago – including some from Trump’s office. In total, more than 300 classified documents were retrieved from Mar-a-Lago. (The Guardian)

poll/ 63% of Republican voters say Trump is their strongest candidate to beat Biden in 2024, while 32% say another Republican candidate would be a stronger candidate. (Monmouth University Poll)

Day 856: "An ongoing threat."

1/ The leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia was sentenced to 18 years in prison for orchestrating a seditious conspiracy on Jan. 6 to keep Trump in power after he lost the 2020 election – the longest sentence imposed on a Jan. 6 defendant to date. A jury convicted Stewart Rhodes last November of seditious conspiracy for plotting to forcefully disrupt the transfer of power after the 2020 election. “You, sir, present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country, to the republic and to the very fabric of our democracy,” Judge Amit Mehta told Rhodes, adding: “For years, its clear that you have wanted the democracy in this country to devolve into violence and you have thought that violence is an acceptable means of accomplishing your ends.” Americans will “now hold our collective breaths every time an election is approaching,” Mehta concluded. A second Oath Keepers member convicted of seditious conspiracy, Kelly Meggs, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. (Associated Press / NPR / NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

2/ The Supreme Court limited the EPA’s authority to protect wetlands and waterways under the Clean Water Act – the second time in a year that the court has limited the EPA’s ability to combat pollution and climate change. At issue was what counts as “waters of the United States” under the landmark 51-year-old Clean Water Act and how far upstream federal water protections should extend to protect downstream water quality for drinking and wildlife. The ruling will prevent the EPA from putting federal protections on as much as 118 million acres of wetlands. Biden criticized the decision, saying the ruling “defies the science that confirms the critical role of wetlands in safeguarding our nation’s streams, rivers and lakes from chemicals and pollutants” and “upends the legal framework that has protected America’s waters for decades.” (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Politico / NPR / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s Twitter livestream announcing his presidential campaign was marred by technical issues. Minutes into the audio-only Twitter Spaces forum between Elon Musk and DeSantis, the event’s audio repeatedly cut out and users were being kicked out — including DeSantis. “Are we on?” someone asked at one point. After nearly 20 minutes of crashing, echoing, and confusion, the livestream abruptly ended. Eventually, Musk launched a new Twitter Spaces, delaying DeSantis’ presidential announcement by nearly half an hour. Biden’s Twitter account, meanwhile, mocked the DeSantis disaster, tweeting: “This link works,” inviting followers to donate. (CNN / Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / Associated Press / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 53% Republican primary voters prefer Trump for the party’s presidential nomination; 26% prefer DeSantis. (CNN)

poll/ 60% of Democratic voters said they favor Biden for the party’s presidential nomination. 20% prefer activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and 8% back author Marianne Williamson. Another 8% say they would support an unnamed “someone else.”(CNN)

Day 855: "Gutted."

1/ Target pulled some LGBTQ-themed merchandise following “threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing while at work.” Target said conservative activists have knocked down Pride displays, approached workers, and posted threatening videos on social media from inside stores over its “tuck friendly” women’s swimsuits that allow trans women who have not had gender-affirming operations to conceal their genitalia. The so-called customers have falsely claimed that Target is selling the “tuck-friendly” swimsuits to kids – the swimsuits, however, are only offered in adult sizes. The move to remove “items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior” comes one week before Pride Month kicks off on June 1. (Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post / NBC News / ABC News)

2/ The South Carolina Senate passed a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The legislation, which bans most abortions after early cardiac activity can be detected in a fetus or embryo, heads to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who has said he will sign it. A physician who knowingly violates the law would have their license revoked and could face felony charges, fines, and jail time. At least 25 states have restricted abortion access since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. (CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

3/ A Florida elementary school restricted access to the poem recited at Biden’s 2020 presidential inauguration after a parent complaint and school review. Amanda Gorman – the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history – said she was “gutted” that her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” was moved to the library’s middle school section, which is for grades six through eight. A review committee at a Miami-Dade K-8 public school, however, determined that the poem and three other titles – “The ABCs of Black History,” “Cuban Kids,” and “Love to Langston” – were “better suited” for middle school students after one parent complained that the titles included inappropriate topics and were meant to “cause confusion and indoctrinate students.” Gorman said “The Hill We Climb” was inspired by the Jan. 6 insurrection “so that all young people could see themselves in a historical moment.” Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the nation’s fourth-largest school district by enrollment. (USA Today / The Hill / CNN / Miami Herald / New York Times / ABC News)

4/ House Republicans will vote on a measure to block Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, which would cancel up to $20,000 in federal student debt for millions of low- and middle-income borrowers. The resolution would also end a pandemic-era pause on loan payments. Biden has pledged to veto the resolution if it passes in both the House and Senate, saying it would “weaken America’s middle class” because the cost of higher education has become a “lifelong burden” on low- and middle-income Americans. The student debt relief program is currently on hold because of two challenges that are being considered by the Supreme Court, which is expected to issue its ruling in late June or early July. (CNN / NBC News / USA Today)

5/ Kevin McCarthy suggested that negotiations over raising the debt limit were progressing but the two sides still remained “far apart.” At the same time, McCarthy renewed his demand for Biden and the Democrats to accept spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit, claiming “it’s not my fault” that an unprecedented federal default is only eight days away. The White House called the standoff a “manufactured crisis” by Republicans pushing “extreme proposals” that would hurt “every single part of the country, whether you’re in a red state or a blue state.” Democrats, so far, have reportedly agreed to freeze spending at current levels, but Republicans have insisted on roughly $131 billion in spending cuts, while seeking an increase in military spending. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned the U.S. could run out of money to pay its bills as soon as June 1. House Democrats, meanwhile, have all 213 members signed onto a discharge petition to bypass McCarthy and force a vote to raise the debt ceiling. Democrats still need at least five Republicans. So far, no Republicans have agreed to support it. (CNBC / Bloomberg / Politico / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 51% of Americans want Congress to raise the debt ceiling and deal with spending cuts separately — a so-called “clean” increase. 25% say raising the debt ceiling should be tied to spending cuts demanded by House Republicans. (Monmouth University Poll / Bloomberg)

Day 854: "Very substantial."

1/ The Texas billionaire and Republican megadonor with close ties to Clarence Thomas refused to answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about his gifts to the Supreme Court justice. Harlan Crow told chairman Dick Durbin that the Senate Judiciary Committee did not have “the authority to investigate Mr. Crow’s personal friendship with Justice Clarence Thomas.” In response, Durbin said Crow “did not provide a credible justification” for refusing to cooperate, saying “Harlan Crow believes the secrecy of his lavish gifts to Justice Thomas is more important than the reputation of the highest court of law in this land.” Recent reporting revealed that Thomas received lavish gifts and luxury travel from Crow, plus favorable real estate transactions and gifts that Thomas never included in his annual financial disclosures. (CNN / Bloomberg / NBC News / Politico / Washington Post)

2/ E. Jean Carroll is seeking “very substantial” monetary damages of no less than $10 million from Trump in response to his insults made about her at a CNN town hall. A day after Carroll won her $5 million sexual abuse and defamation case against him, Trump appeared on CNN and “falsely stated that he did not sexually abuse Carroll, that he has no idea who Carroll was, and that Carroll’s now-proven accusation was a ‘fake’ and ‘made up story’ created by a ‘whack job.’” The amended lawsuit said Trump “doubled down” on his derogatory remarks about Carroll, “undeterred by the jury’s verdict, persisted in maliciously defaming Carroll yet again” at the CNN event. “It is hard to imagine defamatory conduct that could possibly be more motivated by hatred, ill will, or spite,” Carroll’s lawyers said. (New York Times / CNN / CNBC / Associated Press)

3/ Trump’s criminal trial on charges of falsifying business records related to a hush money payoff to Stormy Daniels is set to begin less than eight months before the 2024 presidential election. Trump’s New York trial starts March 25 – during the Republican primary schedule – and makes him the first American president, former or otherwise, to face criminal charges. Judge Juan Merchan warned Trump that he could be found in contempt if he shared evidence provided to his lawyers in the criminal case. Following the hearing, Trump complained about the protective order and the trial date on his personal social network, saying “I believe my First Amendment Rights, ‘Freedom of Speech,’ have been violated, and they forced upon us a trial date […] right in the middle of Primary season. Very unfair, but this is exactly what the Radical Left Democrats wanted. It’s called ELECTION INTERFERENCE.” Trump was indicted in March by a grand jury, which accused him of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / ABC News / CNN / CNBC)

4/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will announce his 2024 presidential campaign in a Twitter Spaces livestream with Elon Musk on Wednesday. The event will be moderated by David Sacks, a Republican donor who is openly supportive of DeSantis and is considered to be part of Musk’s inner circle on decisions about Twitter. Last year, Musk said he would support the governor if he were to run for president, though Musk said at an event Tuesday that he was not formally throwing his support behind DeSantis, or any other Republican. A Trump advisor, meanwhile, said “Announcing on Twitter is perfect for Ron DeSantis. This way he doesn’t have to interact with people and the media can’t ask him any questions.” Since acquiring Twitter, Musk has drawn criticism for his promise to return “free speech” to the social media site, including reducing content moderation and reinstating banned accounts — including Trump’s. Tucker Carlson, who remains one of the most popular figures in conservative media even after being fired by Fox News, recently announced that he would relaunch his program on Twitter. (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg)

poll/ 62% of Americans say they believe Biden’s mental fitness is a real concern, while 36% say it is not. 51% said Trump’s mental fitness was a real concern. 43% said it was not. (NPR)

Day 853: "Openly hostile."

1/ California, Arizona, and Nevada agreed to reduce their water use from the Colorado River to help keep Lake Mead and Lake Powell from falling to critically low levels. Under the agreement, the states will voluntarily conserve 3 million acre-feet of water until 2026 – about 13% of those states’ total allocation from the river – in exchange for $1.2 billion in federal funding. The deal comes as the water levels in the Colorado River, Lake Mead, and Lake Powell have declined to their lowest levels on record during the 23 year megadrought. The Colorado River supplies water to more than 40 million people, 30 tribal nations, and roughly 5.5 million acres of farmland across seven states. The electricity generated by dams at Lake Mead and Lake Powell also provide power to millions of homes and businesses across eight states. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Los Angeles Times / NPR / ABC News / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The World Meteorological Organization reported that weather- and climate-related disasters have killed more than 2 million people and caused economic damage of $4.3 trillion over the last half-century. 90% of the those 2 million deaths occurred in developing countries. The WMO tallied nearly 12,000 extreme weather, climate, and water-related events during that time. (NBC News / Axios)

3/ A third of the global population will live in dangerously hot conditions by 2080 if average global temperatures remain on track to rise 2.7C in the last two decades of the century, according to researchers from Exeter University’s Global Systems Institute. Under the current projections, India, Nigeria, and Indonesia would suffer the worst impact, with 600 million, 300 million and 100 million people respectively living in dangerously hot areas. However, if global warming is limited to 1.5C, it would reduce the number of people affected to 90 million in India, 40 million in Nigeria, and 5 million in Indonesia. (Bloomberg)

4/ The NAACP issued a travel advisory for Florida, warning that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools” have turned the state into an “openly hostile” place for people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The travel advisory comes four months after Florida rejected the College Board’s new Advanced Placement course in African American studies and warns travelers that “the governor and the state of Florida have shown that African Americans are not welcome in the state of Florida.” (NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / USA Today / Associated Press / Politico)

5/ The FBI violated their own standards more than 278,000 times when using a warrantless surveillance program to investigate people suspected of participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection, the George Floyd protests, and donors to a congressional candidate whose campaign was a possible “target of foreign influence.” The candidate involved was not elected to Congress. FBI officials, however, say they’ve already fixed the issue by tightening restrictions to the warrantless surveillance program. The improper searches were blamed on a misunderstanding between FBI analysts and Justice Department lawyers about how to properly use the program. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act expires at the end of this year unless Congress reauthorizes the surveillance tool. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / NBC News / CBS News / Politico)

poll/ 35% of Americans said their financial situation was worse off compared to a year ago – the highest level since 2014. 73% said they were doing okay financially in 2022 – down 5 percentage points from 2021. (Axios)

poll/ 33% of Americans said they approve of Biden’s handling of the economy. (Associated Press)

Day 849: "Extreme."

1/ Kevin McCarthy and Chuck Schumer are planning a vote on a bipartisan deal to lift the federal debt limit ahead of a potential June 1 default deadline. “I see the path that we can come to an agreement,” McCarthy said. “And I think we have a structure now and everybody’s working hard.” Schumer said the Senate would take up the legislation after House passage, alerting senators they need to be prepared to return to the Capitol within 24 hours if the House passes legislation. In order to avoid a historic U.S. default, a deal needs to pass the Republican majority House and the Democratic-controlled Senate by the June 1 deadline. Hakeem Jeffries, meanwhile, warned that any “so-called extreme work requirements” for federal benefits like SNAP or Medicaid “that MAGA Republicans want to try to impose as a ransom note are a non-starter. Period. Full stop.” (Bloomberg / CNBC / Politico / CNN)

2/ The Texas legislature voted to ban gender-affirming care for most minors, sending the bill to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. If enacted, Texas would become the largest state to ban gender-affirming care for minors, joining at least 17 other states that have passed similar bans. Two years ago, Abbott approved a bill barring transgender girls from playing female sports in public schools. (Washington Post / NPR / CNN / KUT Public Media)

3/ The South Carolina House approved a ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. However, in January the state Supreme Court found a right to abortion in the state Constitution and struck down a similar six-week ban over privacy concerns. If enacted, Virginia would be the only state in the South where women have unrestricted access to abortions. (Associated Press / CNN / New York Times)

4/ The House Ethics Committee will continue with its investigation into George Santos even though the New York Republican is facing a federal indictment. Traditionally, the Ethics Committee has stepped aside when the Justice Department investigates a member of Congress. The committee, however, will continue to investigate Santos for any issues that fall under its jurisdiction, while the Justice Department investigates criminal matters. Federal prosecutors charged Santos with 13 financial crimes, including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and lying to the House on financial forms in that case. House Republicans, meanwhile, blocked a Democratic effort to expel Santos from Congress. (Washington Post / NBC News / NPR)

5/ Penguin Random House, authors, parents, and a free speech group sued a Florida school district for removing 10 books related to race and the LGBTQ community. The school district restricted the books saying they violated Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act – aka the “Don’t Say Gay” Act – after a high school teacher complained. The group, however, argues that “the books being singled out for possible removal are disproportionately books by non-white and/or LGBTQ authors” in violation of the 14th Amendment. The lawsuit also says that the school district violated the First Amendment by “depriving students of access to a wide range of viewpoints, and depriving the authors of the removed and restricted books of the opportunity to engage with readers and disseminate their ideas to their intended audiences.” (NBC News / Axios / Politico / Washington Post)

Day 848: "Repercussions."

1/ Biden said he is “confident” the U.S. will avert a default as negotiations over raising the debt limit continue. “It would be catastrophic for the American economy and the American people if we didn’t pay our bills,” Biden said. “I’m confident everyone in the room agreed […] that we’re going to come together because there’s no alternative. We have to do the right thing for the country. We have to move on.” Republicans want to cut federal spending before lifting the debt limit, while Biden and the Democrats insist that raising the debt ceiling is nonnegotiable. Separately, House Democrats have started collecting signatures for a discharge petition that could circumvent House Republican leadership and force a vote to increase the debt limit should negotiations collapse. A discharge petition requires 218 or more members sign on. A group of Senate Democrats, meanwhile, started circulating a letter urging Biden to invoke the 14th Amendment to unilaterally lift the debt ceiling without involving Congress. The draft letter reminds Biden that the 14th Amendment says “the validity of the public debt, authorized by law […] shall not be questioned.” They add that “using this authority would allow the United States to continue to pay its bills on-time, without delay, preventing a global economic catastrophe.” (Associated Press / New York Times / ABC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)

2/ The North Carolina legislature banned most abortions after 12 weeks. The Republican supermajority in both chambers of the state legislature voted to override the veto of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Although the law includes exceptions for rape or incest and a “life-limiting anomaly” in the fetus, it does requires patients to meet in-person with a physician at least 72 hours before the procedure. The new law takes effect July 1. (Washington Post / New York Times / Axios / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The National Archives will turn over 16 records to special counsel Jack Smith that show Trump and his advisers knew the correct declassification process while he was president. The records were subpoenaed earlier this year and “reflect communications involving close presidential advisers, some of them directed to [Trump] personally, concerning whether, why, and how you should declassify certain classified records.” Trump has repeatedly the claimed that he had a “standing order” to declassify documents he took from the White House, circumventing the standard process. One of Trump’s lawyers in the classified documents investigation, meanwhile, resigned. (CNN / Politico)

4/ About 39% of American households say they struggle to make ends meet – up from 34% a year ago and 27% in 2021. More than 25 million American homes say they used credit cards to meet their spending needs – up from 22.4 million a year earlier. (Bloomberg)

5/ Between 2019 and 2020, the overall mortality rate for young Americans rose by 10.7%. In 2021, the overall mortality increased by an additional 8.3% to the highest level in nearly 15 years. Covid-19 wasn’t the major cause of death for young Americans during that time, but the social disruption caused by the pandemic did exacerbate anxiety and depression. Guns, however, remain the No. 1 cause of death in young people. (Wall Street Journal)

6/ The World Meteorological Organization warned there is a 66% chance that annual average global temperatures will exceed the Paris climate agreement threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2027. Researchers at the U.N. agency also said there is a 98% chance that global temperatures will exceed the 2016 record in the next five years. “This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment,” the secretary general of the meteorological organization said. “We need to be prepared.” (New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 18% of Americans say they have confidence in the Supreme Court – an all time low since polling began in 1973. 46% say they have some confidence in the Supreme Court, while 36% say they have hardly any. (Associated Press-NORC)

Day 847: "Irresponsible."

1/ Biden will cut his trip to Asia short and return to Washington to continue negotiations on lifting the debt ceiling. Biden and the Democrats have argued that a debt ceiling increase should be done without conditions to avoid an economic disaster, while Republicans want to use it as leverage to cut federal spending, ease energy permits, and claw back Covid-19 funds. Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, said that tighter work requirements for safety net programs like food stamps are his “red line” in negotiations, while Hakeem Jeffries called the idea “a nonstarter.” More than a dozen House Republicans meanwhile urged Chuck Schumer to cancel the Senate’s upcoming recess, saying it’s “irresponsible” for the chamber to be out of session during this “critical time leading up to June 1st.” The Treasury Department estimates that the U.S. could default on the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt as soon as June 1 if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN / Bloomberg)

2/ Rudy Giuliani reportedly discussed selling presidential pardons for $2 million, which he would split with Trump, according to a lawsuit filed by Giuliani’s business development director and public relations consultant from 2019 to 2021. According to the lawsuit, Giuliani also told Noelle Dunphy he was able to break laws because he had “immunity.” The lawsuit, however, did not suggest any pardons were sold. Dunphy also alleged in her suit that after Giuliani hired her for $1 million a year in January 2019 he sexually assaulted and harassed her, refused to pay her wages, and often made “sexist, racist, and antisemitic remarks.” The suit alleges that Giuliani “often demanded that Dunphy work naked, or in short-shorts with an American flag on them that he bought for her,” adding that Giuliani “demanded oral sex while he took phone calls,” including with Trump, and told her he enjoyed it “because it made him feel like Bill Clinton.” Dunphy is seeking $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages. (Associated Press / NBC News / CBS News / Politico)

3/ House Democrats introduced a resolution to expel George Santos, who was recently indicted by the Justice Department on counts of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and lying to Congress. While the move is expected to fail, it will force House Republicans to go on the record over Santos. About a dozen House Republicans have called for Santos to resign. (CNN / Axios / USA Today / ABC News)

4/ Biden vetoed a resolution that would have reinstated tariffs on solar panels imported from Chinese companies in Southeast Asia in violation of trade rules. Lawmakers in both parties have expressed concerns about what they call unfair competition from China, arguing that China should be punished for circumventing tariffs by shipping their products through Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. About three-quarters of solar panels imported to the U.S. in 2020 came from Southeast Asia. As a result of the veto, tariffs on solar panels from Southeast Asia will be waived until at least June 2024, providing a “bridge” to ensure that when new U.S. factories are operational, “we have a thriving solar installation industry ready to deploy American-made solar products to homes, businesses and communities across the nation,″ Biden said. A two-thirds majority of lawmakers in both houses would be needed to override Biden’s veto. “Passage of this resolution bets against American innovation,” Biden said. “It would undermine these efforts and create deep uncertainty for American businesses and workers in the solar industry.” (Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times)

poll/ 16% of Americans said religion is the most important thing in their lives – down from 20% a decade ago. 28% said they “seldom” attend religious services, and 29% of respondents said they “never” attend religious services. A decade ago, those figures were 22% and 21%, respectively. (NPR)

poll/ In a hypothetical match-up, voters prefer Biden to Trump 44% to 38%. In March, Biden led Trump by five percentage points after trailing him by three points in February. (Reuters)

Day 846: "Remain optimistic."

1/ A man armed with a metal baseball bat attacked two staff members in Rep. Gerry Connolly’s district office in Virginia. Xuan Kha Tran Pham entered the office and demanded to see the congressman, saying “Where’s Connolly?” Pham, 49, reportedly grew agitated when he learned Connolly was at a ribbon cutting for a food bank in another part of Fairfax County. He proceeded to attack two staff aides, smash a glass conference room window, and break computers. Pham faces charges of one count of felony aggravated malicious wounding and one count of malicious wounding. It’s not clear what his motivation may have been, but last year Pham filed a $29 million federal lawsuit alleging that the CIA had imprisoned him for decades in a “lower perspective based on physics called the book world” and that he was being “brutally tortured […] from the fourth dimension.” (CNN / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Politico / Associated Press)

2/ Republican congressman Paul Gosar’s digital director is a neo-Nazi acolyte. Evidence shows Wade Searle pledging his allegiance to Nick Fuentes’ white supremacist “Groyper” movement, as well as posting extremist, anti-Semitic, racist, and anti-vaccine content on far-right websites. Searle’s alleged involvement occurred before and after he started working in Gosar’s office. (Talking Points Memo)

3/ Biden will meet with congressional leaders on the debt ceiling limit Tuesday following “productive” negotiations over the weekend. “I remain optimistic because I’m a congenital optimist,” Biden said despite time running out to strike a deal to avert a government default. Negotiations have centered on federal spending caps, clawing back unspent Covid-19 funds, speeding up the permitting process for energy projects, and stricter work requirements for social safety net programs. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, meanwhile, reiterated that the U.S. could default on its debt by June 1 if Congress doesn’t raise or suspend the debt limit. (CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Bloomberg)

4/ Special counsel John Durham concluded that the FBI should never have launched a full investigation into connections between Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, calling the investigation “seriously flawed.” Durham accused investigators of causing “severe reputational harm” to the FBI, saying agents “discounted or willfully ignored material information that did not support the narrative of a collusive relationship between Trump and Russia.” According to the 306-page report, the FBI used “raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence” as the basis for launching the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation but was more cautious and skeptical of allegations of foreign influence regarding Clinton’s campaign. The FBI opened the Russia investigation after an Australian diplomat reported that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had bragged to him about the Russian government possessing dirt on Clinton. Durham was tapped in 2019 by then-Attorney General Bill Barr to examine the origins and conduct of the investigation into whether Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. Durham, however, did not bring high-level indictments or uncover evidence of what Trump called “the crime of the century.” Instead, Durham charged three defendants during the four-year investigation. Two were acquitted and the third pleaded guilty to avoid prison time. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Politico / Axios)

5/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defunded diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at the state’s colleges and universities, calling the programs a “distraction from the core mission.” The legislation restricts how gender and race are taught on campus, and bans general education courses that “distort significant historical events,” teach “identity politics,” or are “based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, or privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, or economic inequities.” (NBC News / USA Today / CNN / Washington Post / Politico)

Day 842: "It's hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN."

1/ The pandemic-era border policy used more than 2.8 million times to quick expel migrants without providing asylum hearings expires tonight. The Trump administration invoked the use of Title 42 as a Covid-19 precaution in March 2020. The Biden administration will revert to processing illegal border crossings as was done before the pandemic under Title 8 of the U.S. Code, which carries strict penalties, including five- and 10-year bans on reentry for those deported. Migrants, however, are being offered new legal pathways to enter the country if they apply online and meet certain conditions. Homeland Security officials predict as many as 13,000 migrants per day will try to cross into the U.S. after Title 42 expires – up from about 6,000 on a typical day. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / ABC News / NBC News / Associated Press)

2/ The EPA proposed new greenhouse gas emissions regulations that would eliminate nearly all carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants by 2040. The proposed rule would require coal- and gas-fired power plants to reduce or capture 90% of their carbon dioxide emissions by 2038 or be forced to retire. If finalized, the proposed regulation would mark the first time the federal government has restricted carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. (Associated Press / Politico / NPR / NBC News / New York Times)

3/ CNN reported that “it’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN” during Trump’s primetime town hall interview. In his first media appearance since being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation, Trump spent roughly 70 minutes maintaining his lie that the 2020 election was “rigged,” refusing to pledge to accept the results of the 2024 election, calling the moderator a “nasty person,” claiming he had the right to take classified documents to Mar-a-Lago, and saying he would pardon a “large portion” of the Jan. 6 rioters. Although Kaitlan Collins attempted to fact-checked his inaccurate claims, the live audience of Republicans and undeclared voters regularly clapped and laughed on behalf of Trump and his false claims. (CNN / Associated Press / Politico / NPR / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC)

4/ Dianne Feinstein attended her first Judiciary Committee meeting since she was hospitalized with shingles in February. Her absence stalled confirmations of some of Biden’s judicial nominees and lead some to call for her resignation. At 89-years-old, Feinstein is the oldest member of the Senate and has been advised by her doctors to work a “lighter schedule” as she continues to recover. She arrived at the Capitol in a wheelchair. (CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / ABC News)

poll/ In a hypothetical 2024 matchup, 44% of voters said they’d vote for Trump while 38% said they’d vote for Biden. The other 18% are either undecided or declined to answer. (Washington Post)

poll/ If the 2024 election were held today, 45% of voters said they’d vote for Biden while 43% said they’d vote for Trump. (Yahoo News)

Day 841: "Rhetoric."

1/ George Santos pleaded not guilty to 13 federal criminal charges. Santos, who was released on a $500,000 bond, faces seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of making false statements to Congress, and one count of defrauding campaign donors to purchase designer clothes, make a car payment, and pay personal credit card bills. Santos also faces a charge that he fraudulently applied for unemployment benefits in 2020 when he was employed and earning an annual salary of $120,000. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / CNN / ABC News / NBC News / Politico / NPR / Axios)

2/ CNN will host Trump for a live, two-hour town hall Wednesday night – one day after a civil jury found him liable for sexual assault, battery, and defamation. As president, Trump regularly attacked the news media, calling the press “the enemy of the people,” while repeatedly insulting journalists and threatening to revoke press passes. [Editor’s note: Why CNN, why?] (NPR)

3/ Inflation eased to the lowest level in two years, but prices remain higher than normal. Consumer prices in April were 4.9% higher than a year ago – down from the 5% inflation rate in March and June 2022’s peak of 9.1%. Last week, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the 10th time in 14 months to a range between 5% and 5.25% – the highest level in 16 years – in an effort to slow the economy. (NPR / CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Bloomberg)

4/ An FDA advisory panel unanimously endorsed making birth control pills available without a prescription for the first time. The FDA’s outside experts said the benefits of making a birth control pill available without a prescription outweigh the risks. The FDA is expected to make a decision on the proposed use of the oral contraceptive, called Opill, this summer or early fall. (Axios / ABC News / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)

5/ Missouri House Republicans banned gender-affirming care for transgender minors and restricted transgender students from participating on school sports teams that align with their gender identity. Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign both bills, which expire in 2027, after threatening a special legislative session on the issue if lawmakers didn’t act. At least 13 states this year have enacted laws or policies aimed at banning or severely limiting transition care for transgender youth. (Associated Press / New York Times / St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Missouri Independent)

6/ Ron DeSantis and Florida education officials rejected dozens of social studies textbooks and “fixed” dozens of other books to prevent “political indoctrination of children.” Florida initially rejected 81% of the textbooks submitted by publishers in part because they “contained prohibited subjects,” including critical race theory, or contained what the state’s education department considered “inaccurate material, errors and other information that was not aligned with Florida law.” The Florida education commissioner said that textbooks should “focus on historical facts” and be “free from inaccuracies or ideological rhetoric.” The list of rejected or changed materials included books on U.S. history, the Holocaust, psychology, references to the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as descriptions of socialism and communism. (NPR / Tampa Bay Times / Washington Post / New York Times)

7/ Joe Manchin threatened to vote against all of Biden’s EPA nominees unless the administration rescinds new carbon emission standards for power plants. The EPA’s proposal, expected to be announced Thursday, would require coal and natural gas-fired power plants to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 by establishing new limits on their emissions. Manchin accused the Biden administration of trying to advance a “radical climate agenda” that’s “designed to kill the fossil industry by a thousand cuts” by “regulat[ing] coal and gas-fueled power plants out of existence.” Electricity production accounts for about 25% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Of that, about 79% of those emissions come from coal and natural gas-fired power plants. Said another way: Roughly 20% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. (Politico / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Reuters)

Day 840: "Absolutely no idea."

1/ A jury unanimously found Trump liable for the sexual abuse, battery, and defamation of E. Jean Carroll, awarding her $5 million in damages. The jury, however, didn’t find Trump liable for rape, as Carroll had alleged. In New York, sexual abuse is defined as subjecting a person to sexual contact without consent while rape is defined as sexual intercourse without consent. Carroll had accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, which Trump denied, calling her a liar. Carroll later sued Trump for battery and defamation. Since it was a civil case – not criminal – Trump has not been convicted of any crime and faces no prison time. Trump called the verdict a “disgrace,” adding: “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is.” It is the first time a former president has been found civilly liable for sexual misconduct. (New York Times / NBC News / Associated Press / CNBC / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

2/ A judge barred Trump from publicly posting evidence and other material related to the pending criminal hush money case. Judge Juan Merchan also barred Trump from reviewing evidence in the case other than in the presence of his lawyers and “shall not be permitted to copy, photograph, transcribe, or otherwise independently possess the Limited Dissemination Materials.” Prosecutors had argued that the “risk” of Trump using the material “inappropriately is substantial.” (CNBC / NBC News)

3/ The Senate Judiciary Committee asked Republican megadonor Harlan Crow to provide an accounting of the free travel and gifts he gave to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The committee also asked Crow to provide a list of real estate transactions, transportation, lodging, and more he might have provided. The Senate Finance Committee is seeking similar information from Crow, who declined to answer questions. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden accused Crow of “stonewalling,” saying he would “explore using other tools at the committee’s disposal to obtain this critical information.” (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / CNN / New York Times / The Hill / Bloomberg)

4/ Biden met with Kevin McCarthy and other congressional leaders for the first time since February to discuss raising the debt ceiling. The Treasury Department has warned that the government will default on its obligations for the first time in history as soon as June 1 unless Congress raises the borrowing limit. McCarthy said he “didn’t see any new movement” after the meeting, while Mitch McConnell blamed the White House for rejecting the Republican’s proposal to cut spending in exchange for lifting the debt limit. Democrats and the White House have maintained that they want the debt limit and spending deals to be handled separately. There are seven days when the House and Senate are in session and Biden is in town between now and the June 1 default deadline. (Washington Post / NPR / NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg)

poll/ Between 34% and 38% of Americans say they have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence in Biden, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Congress to do the right thing for the economy. (Gallup)

poll/ 66% of adults say the abortion drug mifepristone should remain on the market, while 24% say it should be taken off the market. (Washington Post)

Day 839: "Calamity."

1/ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the only way for the U.S. to avoid an unprecedented default is for Congress to pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling, saying there are “no good options” and “these negotiations should not take place with a gun […] to the head of the American people.” Yellen urged congressional Republicans to drop their demand that Biden cut spending in exchange for raising the debt limit, saying failure to raise the debt ceiling will cause a “steep economic downturn” and “economic calamity” in the U.S. The U.S. is projected to default on its debt as early as June 1. Some legal experts contend that the White House can ignore Congress and invoke the 14th Amendment, which says “the validity of the public debt, authorized by law […] shall not be questioned,” to keep borrowing money past the limit, and to issue more federal debt to keep the government funded. Yellen, however, said invoking the 14th Amendment to get around the debt ceiling would risk a “constitutional crisis.” Biden and the Democrats, meanwhile, say Congress should simply increase the borrowing limit, which Republicans have refused unless it also cuts future federal spending. Some 43 Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, say they oppose a “clean” debt limit bill and support the Kevin McCarthy’s “spending cuts and structural budget reform as a starting point for negotiations on the debt ceiling.” Democrats do not have the votes to overcome a Republican filibuster on legislation in the Senate. (Washington Post / ABC News / Politico / NPR / CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News)

2/ The gunman who killed eight people and injured seven others in Texas was terminated by the Army three months after he enlisted for an unspecified mental health issue. Mauricio Garcia, who used an AR-15-style rifle in the attack and was shot dead by a police officer, joined the Army in June 2008 but failed to complete his basic training. An Army official said Garcia was “terminated” due to “designated physical or mental conditions,” without offering further details. A social media profile that appears to belong to Garcia, however, was filled with neo-Nazi content, a smiley face with a Hitler mustache, as well as rants against Jews, women and racial minorities. The profile also uploaded pictures outside the Allen Outlet Mall’s H&M entrance – where Garcia would later open fire – on April 16, including a screenshot from Google Maps showing the mall’s busiest hours. Garcia arrived at the mall wearing military-style body armor with a patch that said “RWDS.” The Right Wing Death Squad phrase is popular among white supremacists and far-right extremist groups. In his final post, Garcia wrote that no psychologist would have been able to fix him. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / Daily Beast / NPR / Politico)

3/ At least eight of the 16 Republican “fake electors” in Georgia have accepted immunity deals in the criminal investigation into Trump efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said the meeting of Trump’s electors on Dec. 14, 2020, Trump’s phone calls to multiple state officials, and his campaign’s involvement in a breach of election equipment are all key targets of her investigation. Willis secured eight cooperation agreements after notifying the 16 fake electors that they were targets in her investigation. (Washington Post / CNN)

4/ A jury will begin deliberations in E. Jean Carroll’s civil battery and defamation trial against Trump, who rejected his last chance to testify. “You must hold him to account for what he’s done,” Carroll’s lawyer said during closing arguments, adding that Trump followed a “playbook” he had for kissing and groping women without their consent before he raped Carroll in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. Trump’s lawyer, meanwhile, called Carroll’s case “a scam,” arguing that she “abused the system by bringing a false claim for money, status and political reasons […] minimizing real rape and exploiting real pain and suffering and we cannot let her profit to the tune of millions of dollars.” The jury is expected to begin deliberations Tuesday. (New York Times / Politico / CNBC / CNN / Wall Street Journal / NPR)

5/ The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 the global public health emergency over. The declaration was first issued more than three years ago, on Jan. 30, 2020. “That does not mean Covid-19 is over as a global health threat,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, noting that the official Covid-19 death toll was 7 million, but the real figure was estimated to be at least 20 million. The director of the CDC, meanwhile, resigned, saying the end of the Covid-19 public health emergency was a good time to make a transition. (Associated Press / NBC News)

poll/ 36% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – down from 42% in February. 47% “strongly” disapprove. (Politico)

poll/ 68% of Americans say Biden is too old for another term as president. 44%, meanwhile, say Trump is too old. Trump is 76; Biden is 80. (ABC News)

poll/ 47% of Democrats want the party to nominate “someone other than Biden.” Among Democratic-leaning voters, 58% want someone nominated other than Biden, while 77% of independents who lean Democrat want a different candidate. (Washington Post)

Day 835: "An insidious plot."

1/ Four members of the Proud Boys were found guilty of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and their use of force to stop the certification of the election. A jury deliberated for seven days before finding Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, and Zachary Rehl guilty on seditious conspiracy and other charges, including three separate conspiracy charges, obstructing the Electoral College vote, and tampering with evidence.  The men were convicted of at least one count punishable by up to 20 years in prison. (NPR / Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News / CNN)

2/ The special counsel investigating Trump’s mishandling of classified documents sent new grand jury subpoenas to top Trump employees for information about the handling of Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage. Trump Organization executives Matthew Calamari Sr. and his son Matthew Calamari Jr. are expected to appear today before the grand jury investigating. Calamari Sr. is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Trump Organization. He’s overseen security operations for Trump and his properties. Calamari Jr. is the director of security for the Trump Organization. It was previously reported that footage captured a Trump aide and another Mar-a-Lago employee moving boxes containing documents out of a storage closet. (CNN)

3/ A New York Supreme Court judge dismissed Trump’s lawsuit against the New York Times. In 2021, Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump, claiming the news outlet’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into his tax records was “an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records.” New York Supreme Court Justice Robert Reed, however, said Trump’s claims “fail as a matter of constitutional law.” Reed ordered Trump to pay all legal fees associated with the case. (New York Times / Axios)

4/ A Republican megadonor paid for two years of private school tuition for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s great nephew. Thomas did not disclose the gift from Harlan Crow, who also treated Thomas to lavish vacations for over two decades. Thomas had taken legal custody of the boy at the time and was “raising him as a son,” but never disclosed that Crow was paying the $6,000-per-month bill for Hidden Lake Academy on his annual financial disclosures. (ProPublica / Washington Post / Associated Press / Politico / New York Times / USA Today / CNBC)

5/ Republican lawmakers in the North Carolina House approved legislation that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks, sending it to the state Senate for approval. The Care for Women, Children and Families Act would restrict the state’s ban on abortions from 20 weeks to 12 weeks, and includes exceptions for rape or incest, fatal fetal anomalies, and to protect the life of the mother. Although Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has vowed to veto the bill, Republicans have a veto-proof supermajority in both chambers. (The Hill / USA Today / Associated Press / CNN)

Day 834: "A national concern."

1/ The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the 10th time in just over a year but signaled that it could be done lifting rates. The quarter percentage point increase brings its benchmark rate to between 5 and 5.25% – the highest level in 16 years. Although inflation has cooled since last year’s peak of 7% to 4.2% as of March, it’s still more than double the Fed’s target of 2%. Economists at the Fed, meanwhile, are projecting a mild recession later this year. (Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Bloomberg / NPR / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ Mexico agreed to accept non-Mexican migrants and asylum-seekers deported by the U.S. when pandemic-era border restrictions end. In a joint statement, Mexico said it will accept up to 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela for “humanitarian” reasons once the Title 42 restrictions expire on May 11. Since March 2020, Title 42 was used to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants without giving them a chance to seek asylum. (CBS News / ABC News / Washington Post / Associated Press)

3/ Trump will not call any witnesses to rebut E. Jean Carroll’s account of him raping and defaming her. Attorney Joseph Tacopina said Trump would not testify in the civil case because he was in Scotland to break ground on a new golf course, and the one expert witness he planned to call is unable to testify due to a health issue. The jury instead saw a videotape of Trump’s deposition, which included footage from the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump brags about groping and kissing women without their consent. (CNBC / USA Today / New York Times)

4/ New York state banned natural gas and other fossil fuels in most new buildings – the first such law in the country. The new law will take effect in 2026 for buildings seven stories and shorter, and in 2029 for all other buildings. The ban on new natural gas hookups helps the state meet its goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2050. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN / USA Today / The Hill)

5/ Test scores in U.S. history and civics for eighth graders fell to the lowest levels on record. The findings from the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation’s Report Card, show that about 40% of eighth graders scored “below basic” in U.S. history. 13% met proficiency standards for U.S. history. For civics, 22% of students were considered proficient. Peggy Carr, National Center for Education Statistics commissioner, said the scores were “woefully low in comparison to other subjects,” calling it “a national concern” because “the health of our democracy depends on informed and engaged citizens.” (NPR / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / The Hill)

Day 833: "Step up and fix this."

1/ Biden will send 1,500 active duty troops to the southern border ahead of an expected surge of migrants when Title 42 restrictions end. They will join the 2,500 National Guard members already at the border. The military members, however, will not serve in a law enforcement capacity and will not interact with migrants, but instead “fill critical capability gaps, such as ground-based detection and monitoring, data entry, and warehouse support,” the Pentagon said. The troops will carry out this support for 90 days. Title 42, which was invoked at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, expires on May 11. It permitted the U.S., for public health reasons, to quickly expel migrants seeking asylum. (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / Associated Press / Bloomberg / CNN / ABC News / Wall Street Journal)

2/ House Democrats took a procedural step to bypass Kevin McCarthy and Republican leaders to raise the debt ceiling and avert a federal default. Democrats would need at least five Republicans to support a so-called “discharge petition,” which allows a majority of House lawmakers to bring a bill directly to the floor without the cooperation of leadership. Rather than trying to discharge the bill itself, Democrats instead would add the petition addressing the debt ceiling as an amendment to a placeholder bill from Democratic Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, which was filed in January. A possible default is now projected as soon as June 1. “House Democrats are working to make sure we have all options at our disposal to avoid a default,” Hakeem Jeffries wrote in a letter to colleagues. “The filing of a debt ceiling measure to be brought up on the discharge calendar preserves an important option. It is now time for MAGA Republicans to act in a bipartisan manner to pay America’s bills without extreme conditions.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNN / The Hill)

3/ U.S. job openings dropped to their lowest level in nearly two years – a sign that demand for workers is cooling. The number of available jobs fell for a third-straight month to 9.59 million from nearly 10 million a month earlier. Layoffs, meanwhile, jumped to the highest level since December 2020. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC)

4/ Some Republicans dismissed a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the Supreme Court’s ethics as a partisan spectacle. Democrats called the hearing to discuss whether Congress has the authority to require the Supreme Court to adopt an enforceable code of conduct after reports detailed Clarence Thomas’s failure to disclose luxury vacations funded by a wealthy Republican donor. Dick Durbin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said “The Supreme Court could step up and fix this themselves,” but “for years, they have refused, and because the court will not act, Congress must.” Lindsey Graham, however, claimed Democrats were leading an “unseemly effort” to “destroy the legitimacy” of the Supreme Court, calling it an “assault on Justice Thomas.” Although Chuck Grassley dismissed the hearing as a “relentless political battering,” he did agree that “it does appear there needs to be better oversight” of the high court. Thom Tillis added that the court “could update, refresh and address the concerns without requiring any Congressional action.” Chief Justice John Roberts, however, declined the committee’s invitation to testify. (Politico / NPR / Bloomberg / Associated Press / CNN / ABC News)

Day 832: "Hardship to American families."

1/ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the U.S. could default “as early as June 1” unless Congress raises or suspends the debt ceiling. A default could cause “severe hardship to American families, harm our global leadership position, and raise questions about our ability to defend our national security interests,” Yellen said. The revised estimate from the Congressional Budget Office comes less than a week after House Republicans passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling through 2024 in exchange for billions of dollars in spending cuts and the repeal of federal funds to fight climate change. Democrats in the Senate, however, have refused to take up the legislation. And Biden, who has threatened to veto the bill, said Republicans need to protect the economy by raising the debt limit without the “reckless hostage taking.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Axios / NBC News / CNN)

2/ Regulators took possession of First Republic Bank and sold most of its assets, marking the third major bank failure in the U.S. in less than two months. JPMorgan – already the nation’s largest bank – agreed to the takeover after a private-sector solution fell through and will assume about $173 billion of First Republic’s loans, $30 billion of securities, and $92 billion in deposits. As part of the agreement, the FDIC will share losses with JPMorgan on First Republic’s loans. When the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates last year to slow the economy and curb inflation, it hurt the value of bonds and loans the bank bought when rates were low and then customers began to move their money in search of better returns. First Republic is the second-largest U.S. bank to collapse after Washington Mutual, which failed during the 2008 financial crisis and was also acquired by JPMorgan. Three of the four largest-ever bank failures have happened since March. First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank held a total of $532 billion in assets – more than the 25 banks that failed in 2008 when adjusted for inflation. (CNBC / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / NPR)

3/ The Federal Reserve is on track to raise interest rates for the 10th time as part of its yearlong effort to fight inflation despite the collapse of First Republic Bank. Another quarter-point rate increase on Wednesday would lift the benchmark federal funds rate to a 16-year high to just over 5% and mark the fastest rate-raising cycle in 40 years. (Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

4/ The Supreme Court will reconsider a 1984 precedent that directs courts to defer to federal agencies when interpreting ambiguous laws. Overturning Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council would limit the regulatory authority of federal agencies. The Biden administration defended the Chevron doctrine, saying “Federal courts have invoked Chevron in thousands of reported decisions, and Congress has repeatedly legislated against its backdrop.” Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, however, have previously questioned the doctrine, arguing that it insulates agencies from the usual checks and balances. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson heard arguments in the case when it was at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and will not take part in the decision. The case will be heard next term, with a ruling likely in 2024. (Washington Post / Associated Press / The Hill / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

5/ The wife of Chief Justice John Roberts made $10.3 million over eight years matching top lawyers with law firms, including some that had cases before the Supreme Court. Jane Sullivan Roberts became a legal recruiter two years after Roberts’ confirmation as the chief justice in 2005. The disclosures were filed under federal whistleblower protection laws and were sent to the House and Senate Judiciary committees. (Insider / Forbes)

poll/ 74% of Americans blame the news media for political divisions in the U.S. 61% of Republicans say the news media is hurting democracy, compared with 23% of Democrats, and 36% of independents. (Associated Press)

Day 828: "This issue is too important."

1/ Pence testified before the federal grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The closed-door appearance comes one day after a federal appeals court rejected Trump’s emergency attempt to prevent or limit Pence’s testimony. A grand jury subpoena was issued by special counsel Jack Smith to compel Pence to testify about conversations he had with Trump leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, including the pressure campaign to have him block the certification of the election in his role as president of the Senate. It is the first time that a vice president has been compelled to testify about the president he served. (NBC News / CNN / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ Senate Republicans blocked a resolution that would have allowed the Equal Rights Amendment to be added to the Constitution. The bipartisan resolution to remove an arbitrary 1982 deadline for ratification failed 51-47. It needed to clear a 60-vote threshold. The ERA, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, was first introduced in 1923 and later passed by Congress in 1972. Although Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA in 2020 – meeting the required three-fourths needed for Constitutional amendments – it did so after the deadline. Chuck Schumer changed his vote to a “no,” which would allow him to bring the resolution back up later, saying: “This issue is too important, and we are not giving up.” (The Hill / CNN / Politico / ABC News / USA Today / Washington Post)

3/ A Missouri judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a first-of-its-kind rule that limited gender-affirming care for minors and adults in the state – hours before it was set to take effect. St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo said she wanted more time to review briefs from Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who issued the new restrictions. Ribaudo delayed implementation of the rule until 5 p.m. Monday, saying she expects to issue a ruling before then. Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled Montana House voted to discipline the state’s first transgender lawmaker after she told colleagues they would have “blood on [their] hands” if they passed a bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors. Zooey Zephyr is barred from attending or speaking from the House floor for the remainder of the 2023 session, but will be allowed to vote remotely. In Kansas, Republican legislators enacted a transgender bathroom law, overriding the Democratic governor’s veto of the measure. The Kansas law prevents transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, prisons, domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centers associated with their gender identity. In Minnesota, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation that enshrines the right to abortion and gender-affirming care into law, and another that bans so-called conversion therapy. (CNN / NBC News / CNN / NPR / CBS News / Associated Press)

4/ The U.S. economy slowed at the start of 2023 with U.S. gross domestic product rising at a 1.1% annualized rate – down from a 2.6% rate in the last three months of 2022 and lower than the 1.9% annual growth analysts expected. The report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that growth was weighed down by declining business investment, home buying, and construction. The economy is projected to slow further in 2023 as the Federal Reserve continues to work on getting inflation down to 2% with higher interest rates. (Associated Press / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley suggested that Biden would more likely die than make to the end of a second term. “I think we can all be very clear and say with a matter of fact that if you vote for Joe Biden, you really are counting on a President Harris because the idea that he would make until 86 years old is not something that I think is likely,” Haley said. Biden, already the oldest sitting U.S. president in history at 80 years old, would be 86 at the end of a second term if reelected. Biden announced his reelection bid with Harris two days ago. (CNBC / The Hill / Insider)

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Day 827: "Mundane matters."

1/ Chief Justice John Roberts declined to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Supreme Court’s ethics practices, calling such testimony “exceedingly rare” for what he called “mundane matters.” Instead, Roberts released a statement that was meant to provide “new clarity” to the public about the court’s ethics principles and practices. The statement said all nines justices “reaffirm and restate foundational ethics principles and practices to which they subscribe in carrying out their responsibilities” as Supreme Court justices. The committee had planned to hold a hearing to examine “common sense proposals” to hold Supreme Court justices to the same ethical standards as the rest of the federal judiciary after it was reported that Justice Clarence Thomas hadn’t disclosed several luxury trips he received from a Republican megadonor. (NPR / CNN / Politico / NBC News)

2/ Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch neglected to disclose details of a nearly $2 million sale of property to the CEO of a prominent law firm executive in 2017. While Gorsuch did note on his federal disclosure forms that he made between $250,001 and $500,000 on the sale – which occurred nine days after he was confirmed for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court by the Senate – he left the identity of the purchaser blank. The purchaser was Brian Duffy, chief executive officer of Greenberg Traurig – one of the nation’s biggest law firms that has appeared in at least 22 cases before the Supreme Court since Gorsuch joined in April 2017. Gorsuch sided with Greenberg Traurig clients eight times of the 12 times that Gorsuch recorded an opinion. (CNN / Politico)

3/ A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that requires the Supreme Court to implement a code of conduct – the only branch of government to operate without a code of conduct. The bill would require the court to establish its own code of conduct within one year and to make it available publicly, as well as appoint someone to handle any complaints of potential violations. “It’s pitiful that we’re having to introduce this bill—it’s pathetic that the Supreme Court hasn’t done this itself,” Sen. Angus King said, one of the bill’s sponsors. “The Supreme Court Code of Conduct Act is a commonsense step to restore and maintain faith in the high court by requiring the creation of consistent, transparent rules like the ones that apply to every other federal judge across our democracy. The other two branches of government already have codes of conduct, it is only reasonable the full Judiciary should as well.” (The Hill / Wall Street Journal / ABC News / CNN / USA Today)

4/ The House passed a Republican bill to cut federal spending and roll back Biden’s top legislative accomplishments in exchange for a one-year increase to the U.S. debt ceiling. The plan, approved 217-to-215 along party lines, cuts federal spending by nearly 14% over a decade, repeals Biden’s climate change tax credits, his student loan cancellation plan, imposes strict new work requirements for welfare recipients, and expands mining and fossil fuel production. The Republicans’ Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, however, has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate. The White House, meanwhile, promised not to budge on negotiations over the debt limit, saying Congress should raise the ceiling without conditions. “I’m happy to meet with McCarthy, but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended,” Biden said. “That’s not negotiable.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico)

5/ E. Jean Carroll, in her civil lawsuit accusing Trump of battery and defamation, testified that “I’m here because Donald Trump raped me.” In 2019, Carroll alleged that Trump sexually assaulted her in the dressing room at a luxury department store in the mid-1990s. Trump denied the allegation and called Carroll a liar, saying the incident “never happened” and called her case a “hoax,” “scam,” “lie,” and “complete con job.” Carroll subsequently sued Trump for battery over the alleged rape, as well as defamation for his claims that she made up her story. For about three and a half hours today, Carroll detailed the alleged incident on the witness stand. “He lied and shattered my reputation, and I’m here to try and get my life back.” Trump, meanwhile, posted on his personal social media network that the lawsuit was “a made up SCAM” and accused Carroll’s attorney of being a “political operative.” The judge overseeing the trial called the posts “entirely inappropriate” and warned that Trump could be “tampering with a new source of potential liability.” (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Bloomberg / Politico)

Day 826: "The bridge."

1/ Biden formally announced his 2024 re-election campaign. Biden, who once pitched himself as “the bridge” to a new generation of Democratic leaders during his 2020 campaign, argued that “the question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or fewer,” adding: “I know what I want the answer to be. This is not a time to be complacent. That’s why I’m running for reelection.” In a three-minute video announcing his re-election, Biden cast Republicans as a danger to democracy who want to cut “Social Security that you’ve paid for your entire life while cutting taxes for the very wealthy. Dictating what health care decisions women can make, banning books, and telling people who they can love. All while making it more difficult for you to be able to vote.” Biden, who would be 86 at the end of a second term, concluded his announcement by saying: “It’s time to finish the job. Finish the job.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News / ABC News / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

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  • [Analysis] Almost every recent poll shows a highly competitive presidential race. (New York Times)

  • [Analysis] Biden vs. Trump 2024 would be the rematch nobody wants. (NBC News)

  • [Analysis] What young Democrats want from a 2nd Biden campaign. “Just a quarter of people under 45 said they would definitely support Biden in a general election, compared with 56% of older Democrats.” (Axios)

2/ Biden threatened to veto a House Republican debt ceiling bill that would require spending cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling, calling it “a reckless attempt to extract extreme concessions as a condition for the United States simply paying the bills it has already incurred.” The Republican proposal would make cuts to discretionary spending, repeal the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate change tax credits, impose new welfare work requirements, and cancel Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. The White House has insisted that Republicans “address the debt limit without demands and conditions, just as the Congress did three times during the prior Administration,” saying Biden “has been clear that he will not accept such attempts at hostage-taking.” Still, if the proposal were to pass the full House, Chuck Schumer has already declared it dead in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The U.S. risks defaulting on its national debt as soon as early summer without an increase to the debt ceiling. (Washington Post / Axios / NPR / CNBC / Politico)

3/ The Senate will vote on the Equal Rights Amendment this week – 100 years after the measure was first introduced. Chuck Schumer said “the Equal Rights Amendment has never been as necessary and urgent as it is today,” citing the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, efforts to limit access to the abortion pill mifepristone, and state-level actions to roll back women’s rights. The proposed amendment to the Constitution would prohibit discrimination based on sex and guarantee that women have equal rights as men. Congress initially passed the ERA in 1972 and sent it to the states with a seven-year deadline for 38 states to ratify it. However, only 35 states had ratified the ERA by 1979 and the deadline was extended until 1982. Virginia eventually became the 38th state to ratify the ERA in 2020, after Nevada (2017) and Illinois (2018). Meaning, the Senate vote is largely symbolic since the deadline for ratification expired in 1982. (NBC News / Washington Post / The Hill / Axios)

4/ Washington State banned the sale of assault-style weapons, becoming the 10th state to prohibit sales of AR-15s and dozens of other high-powered semiautomatic rifles. House Bill 1240 bans the sale, transfer, distribution, manufacture, and importation of 62 different “assault weapons,” imposes a 10-day waiting period on all firearms purchases, and allows consumers to sue gun makers and retailers for “irresponsible conduct.” Several gun groups, however, have sued, saying the law violates the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. (Seattle Times / Associated Press / CNN)

poll/ 70% of Americans believe Biden should not run for re-election. 60% of Americans, however, say Trump should not run for president. (Axios)

poll/ 54% of Democrats “accept” that Biden is running for re-election. 28% say they are “confident,” 27% are “nervous,” and 22% are “excited.” (CBS News)

poll/ 63% of Republicans want Trump to be president again, even if he’s found guilty of a crime. Overall, 71% of Republicans said they think Trump should be president again. (NPR)

Day 825: "We thank him for his service."

1/ Fox News parted ways with Tucker Carlson, effective immediately. Carlson’s departure comes a week after Fox News settled Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit for $787.5 million. Although Fox News said that the network and Carlson had “agreed to part ways,” Carlson found out he was fired about 10 minutes before the network announced his departure. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” Fox News said in a statement. Excluding sports, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the top rated prime-time show on cable TV. Carlson’s last broadcast aired Friday, and he ended the show by saying: “We’ll be back on Monday.” (NPR / CNN / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / Politico)

2/ The Supreme Court protected full access to the most commonly used abortion pill in the U.S. In its first major abortion-related decision since overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court blocked a lower court’s ruling that had revoked the FDA’s approval of mifepristone after more than two decades. As a result, mifepristone will remain widely available while appeals play out. Two of the nine justices – Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – said they would have let part of District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s ruling to suspend the FDA’s approval of mifepristone take effect. (NBC News / CNN / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times)

3/ Chief Justice John Roberts declined to directly respond to a congressional request to investigate possible ethics violations by Justice Clarence Thomas. Instead, Roberts referred the request from Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin to the Judicial Conference. Durbin requested the investigation after a report found that Thomas had accepted luxury trips from a Republican megadonor for more than two decades. The trips were not disclosed on Thomas’ public financial filings. (CNN / Bloomberg)

4/ Trump’s legal team discussed using data from a breached Georgia voting machine to try and decertify the state’s 2021 U.S. Senate run-off election. In mid-January 2021, Jim Penrose, a former NSA official working with Sidney Powell, texted Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, which runs audits of voting systems: “Here’s the plan. Let’s keep this close hold. We only have until Saturday to decide if we are going to use this report to try to decertify the Senate run-off election or if we hold it for a bigger moment.” In Jan. 7, 2021, Trump allies and contractors working on his behalf copied sensitive software and data from voting equipment in Coffee County. The data was shared with several Trump allies and operatives, including Logan, Penrose, Powell and Rudy Giuliani. Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating the scheme to breach voting systems, has subpoenaed Penrose and Logan, as well as Powell and Giuliani. The Coffee County breach is also under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. (CNN)

5/ Florida’s surgeon general personally omitted information from a state study about Covid-19 vaccines last year to suggest that young men should not get vaccinated. Draft versions of the analysis show that Joseph Ladapo, a known Covid-19 vaccine skeptic, edited the document to say that men between 18 and 39 years old are at high risk of heart illness from Covid-19 vaccines that use mRNA technology – assertions that contradicted state data and go against guidance from the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics. The initial draft of the document stated that there was no significant risk associated with the Covid-19 vaccines for young men. Ladapo, who was appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2021 to head the Florida Department of Health, later used the altered analysis to recommend that young men should not get the Covid-19 vaccine. (Politico / Tampa Bay Times / Associated Press)

6/ The Supreme Court rejected appeals from oil and gas companies facing nearly two dozen lawsuits by state and local governments accusing them of contributing to climate change. The lawsuits were filed by Rhode Island, as well as municipalities or counties in Maryland, Colorado, California, and Hawaii. The companies wanted the cases moved to federal courts, which the justices refused. Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted that he would have taken up one of the cases, while Justice Samuel Alito did not participate because he owns stock in ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66. (NBC News / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

poll/ 68% of Republican voters stand behind Trump despite his indictment and the other investigations into his conduct, saying the investigations are a politically motivated attempt to stop him from being president again. (NBC News)

poll/ 51% of likely Republican primary voters prefer Trump to Ron DeSantis (38%) in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup. In December, Republican primary voters preferred DeSantis (52%) over Trump (38%). (Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 36% of young Americans approve of Biden’s performance – a drop of three percentage points since last fall (39%) and five percentage points since last spring (41%). (Harvard Youth Poll)

Day 821: "Great."

1/ An arbitration panel ordered the MyPillow Guy to pay $5 million for losing his “Prove Mike Wrong” challenge that there was Chinese interference in the 2020 election. In August 2021, Mike Lindell, the MyPillow Inc. chief executive, claimed he had data showing Chinese interference and offered $5 million to anyone who could prove that the data was not from the 2020 election. Welp, Robert Zeidman, a computer forensics expert and a Nevada Republican who voted twice for Trump, proved that Lindell’s data “unequivocally did not reflect November 2020 election data,” according to the arbitration panel. Zeidman called the ruling “great,” saying “this was obviously manufactured bogus data.” Lindell, meanwhile, claimed the court “made a terribly wrong decision!” (Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC / New York Times / CNN / The Hill / Wall Street Journal)

2/ An attorney who helped Trump in his effort to overturn the 2020 election told top Republican donors that they need to curtail college voting, same-day voter registration, and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters. “What are these college campus locations?” Mitchell asked during her presentation at a Republican National Committee donor retreat in Nashville. “What is this young people effort that they do? They basically put the polling place next to the student dorm so they just have to roll out of bed, vote, and go back to bed.” Mitchell singled out on campus voting in five states: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Virginia, and Wisconsin. (Washington Post / Stevens Point Journal)

3/ The Senate Judiciary Committee asked Chief Justice John Roberts to testify on Supreme Court ethics reform. The invitation follows a report that Justice Clarence Thomas accepted but never disclosed over two decades of luxury trips from a Republican billionaire donor. Chair Dick Durbin called on Roberts to appear before the committee on May 2, saying his testimony on ethics issues could “strengthen faith” in the Supreme Court. When asked if he planned to subpoena Roberts if he declines the invitation to testify, Durbin replied: “It takes a majority. I don’t have a majority.” Dianne Feinstein’s health-induced absence from the Judiciary Committee means Democrats don’t have the majority needed to issue a subpoena. (Politico / CNN / CNBC / Bloomberg / NBC News / Associated Press)

4/ House Republicans passed a bill to ban transgender women and girls from competing on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity. The first-of-its-kind federal legislation would amend Title IX to define sex as based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth. It would bar schools that receive federal funding from allowing people “whose sex is male” to participate in sports for women or girls. The bill, however, will likely fail in the Democratic-led Senate. Biden has also vowed to veto the measure. The Biden administration proposed new rules earlier this month that would prohibit categorical bans on transgender athletes at any school receiving federal funding. (NBC News / New York Times / ABC News / Axios / CNN / Politico)

Day 820: "The result will be chaos."

1/ The Supreme Court temporarily extended access to the abortion pill mifepristone until at least Friday, freezing a lower court order that had invalidated the FDA’s approval of mifepristone more than two decades ago. In an order signed by Justice Samuel Alito, the court said it will act by Friday night. The Supreme Court is considering emergency appeals from the Biden administration and the brand-name manufacturer of the pill about whether to block a decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who revoked the FDA’s approval of mifepristone altogether. A federal appeals court later modified Kacsmaryk’s ruling so that mifepristone would remain available while the case continues, but blocked the drug from being mailed or dispensed as a generic and required patients to make three in-person visits with a doctor. (CNBC / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / Axios / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The company that supplies two-thirds of mifepristone in the U.S. sued the FDA to keep its generic version of the abortion pill on the market. GenBioPro seeks to preemptively block the FDA from suspending approval of the drug if the courts order mifepristone off the market, arguing that the FDA can’t suspend its approval without finding an “imminent hazard to public health.” GenBioPro’s lawsuit adds that “the result will be chaos” if the FDA revokes approval of generic mifepristone, and that “upending nearly a quarter-century of public reliance on a safe and effective drug” would cause “catastrophic harm” to the company, doctors, and patients who rely on the drug. (New York Times / Politico / Axios / CNBC / CNN / NPR)

3/ The Florida Board of Education expanded its ban on classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity, extending the restrictions from kindergarten through high school. The rule builds on the Parental Rights in Education law Florida, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in March 2022, that banned classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade. Under the updated rule, teachers who violate the ban risk losing their teaching licenses. The new guidelines were approved unanimously. (ABC News / CNN / Politico / Associated Press / Washington Post)

4/ The Nebraska Legislature approved a measure to allow people to carry concealed guns without a permit, removing the existing requirements for permits and training. While the bill doesn’t remove federal background check requirements for buying a gun, but it does overrides stricter gun laws in the state’s cities. If signed by Gov. Jim Pillen, Nebraska would become the 26th state to allow people to carry concealed guns without a permit. (Associated Press / KLKN TV / KETV 7)

5/ Republican lawmakers in Tennessee passed a bill to protect gun and ammunition dealers, manufacturers, and sellers from lawsuits – weeks after the Nashville school shooting that killed six people, including three 9-year-olds. The measure heads to Gov. Bill Lee. (Associated Press)

Day 819: "Extremely unusual."

1/ Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans won’t allow Democrats to temporarily replace Dianne Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee, who was hospitalized for shingles in March and has been recovering at home. Feinstein’s absence has stalled confirmations of some of the Biden administration’s judicial nominees. She has not provided a return date. Chuck Schumer said he planned to ask for unanimous consent from the Senate to appoint a temporary substitute, but McConnell called the effort to substitute Feinstein on the panel “an extremely unusual” request with no known precedent. “Let’s be clear,” McConnell said. “Senate Republicans will not take part in sidelining a temporarily absent colleague off a committee just so Democrats can force through their very worst nominees.” It would take the support of at least 10 Republicans to allow Democrats to make the temporary change on the committee. Some progressive House Democrats have called on the 89-year-old Senator to resign. (Washington Post / USA Today / Associated Press / Bloomberg / NPR / Politico / ABC News)

  • How Feinstein’s absence has stopped Biden’s judicial nominees. “Democratic Senate absences and a Senate rule that gives Republicans the ability to veto district court nominees for courts in their home states.” (CNN)

2/ An anti-abortion coalition urged the Supreme Court to reinstate a lower court decision that suspended the FDA’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine claimed that the FDA’s approval of mifepristone more than 20 years ago had “stripped away every meaningful and necessary safeguard on chemical abortion.” The government, pharmaceutical companies, leading medical organizations, former FDA officials, 250 Democratic members of Congress, Democratic-led cities and states, and abortion-rights groups, meanwhile, urged the court not to second-guess the expertise of the FDA. On April 7, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of Texas suspended approval of mifepristone. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, modified the ruling so that the drug would remain available while the case continues, but rolled back the drug’s accessibility and limited its use through the seventh week of pregnancy. The Supreme Court is set to act by midnight on Wednesday. (Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News)

3/ A federal judge in New York denied Trump’s request to delay the civil rape and defamation trial against him, which was brought by E. Jean Carroll. Trump’s lawyers wanted to postpone the trial for four weeks, arguing a “cooling off” period was necessary following his recent criminal indictment in Manhattan. Carroll’s lawsuit alleges that Trump raped her at a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s, and Trump has repeatedly called Carroll a liar. The trial is scheduled to start April 25. (NBC News / New York Times / ABC News)

4/ Fox News reached a last-minute settlement with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million. Dominion, which accused the network of defamation for promoting false claims that its voting machines in the 2020 election were rigged against Trump, had been seeking $1.6 billion in damages before the settlement. In a statement, Fox said “we acknowledge the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” adding “this settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards.” The settlement came after the jury had been sat, but before opening statements began. (NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Washington Post / Axios)

Day 818: "A ticking time bomb."

1/ The Supreme Court temporarily preserved access to the abortion pill mifepristone while considers a lower court’s ruling that restricted the FDA’s approval of the drug. The hold will remain in effect until midnight on Wednesday. Last week, U.S. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk suspended the FDA’s approval of mifepristone after more than two decades. Although an appeals court blocked Kacsmaryk’s order that suspended the approval of mifepristone, the judges blocked mail delivery of the pill, reimposed doctor visits, and shortened the length of time mifepristone can be used during pregnancy. They also blocked the 2019 approval of the generic form of the drug. (Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC)

2/ Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas reported rental income totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last two decades from a firm has not existed since 2006. Nevertheless, Thomas continued to disclose between $50,000 and $100,000 in income from the old firm annually on his financial disclosures. Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, called on the federal court system’s policymaking body, the Judicial Conference, to refer Thomas to the U.S. attorney general for potential ethics violations after it was reported that he failed to report real estate deals made with Republican megadonor Harlan Crow. Thomas also accepted luxury vacations from Crow for more than two decades in apparent violation of a financial disclosure law. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics also filed a civil and criminal complaint against Thomas, saying his failure to disclose “repeated, lavish gifts” undermines confidence in the Supreme Court as an institution. (Washington Post / CNBC / Washington Post)

3/ The $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News was delayed by one day to allow both parties to discuss a possible settlement. Dominion Voting Systems, which sells voting machines and election software, claims it was defamed by Fox News after its hosts and guests made false claims on air that the company helped rig the 2020 election against Trump. Dominion’s civil lawsuit seeks $1 billion in “lost enterprise value” and $600 million in lost profits. People directly involved in the case said that they didn’t expect a settlement, and jury selection and opening arguments are now scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / NBC News)

4/ House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee hosted a field hearing in New York to attack Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is prosecuting Trump on 34 charges of falsifying business records in connection with his hush money payments to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign. In a political stunt by Jim Jordan and other Republicans, they accuse Bragg of “pro-crime, anti-victim policies” that they claim have caused “an increase in violent crime and a dangerous community for New York City residents.” Despite the claims, Manhattan’s current levels of both violent crime are down significantly from the record levels of the early 1990s. And, for what it’s worth, the crime rate in New York is about one-third that of Columbus, Ohio, which is just south of Jordan’s district. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)

5/ Kevin McCarthy proposed a one-year debt ceiling increase paired with cuts to the budget and new work requirements to receive federal benefits, like Medicaid and food stamps. “Defaulting on our debt is not an option,” McCarthy said, but “a no strings-attached debt limit increase will not pass,” adding that “American debt is a ticking time bomb that will detonate unless we take serious, responsible action.” McCarthy, who has four votes to spare in a narrow majority, said House Republicans plan to vote “in the coming weeks” on forthcoming legislation to raise the debt ceiling, limit federal spending, claw back Covid-19 aid, and enact new work requirements for social programs. The plan, however, is likely dead on arrival in the Democratic-led Senate. And, the White House, which has argued that Congress should raise the debt limit without conditions, said “McCarthy is holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage, threatening our economy and hardworking Americans’ retirement.” Lawmakers have about seven weeks to raise the debt limit and avert a financial catastrophe. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC)

Day 814: "Continued complications."

1/ The Justice Department will seek emergency intervention from the Supreme Court to protect the availability of the widely-used abortion pill mifepristone. The decision comes after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals partially blocked U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s order, which suspended the FDA’s 2000 approval of mifepristone. It was the first time a court had ordered the suspension of a long-approved medication. The court, however, ruled that mifespristone could no longer be prescribed after the seventh week of pregnancy, rolled back mail delivery of the pill, and reimposed doctor visits. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department “strongly disagrees” with the 5th Circuit’s decision, adding that the administration will “be seeking emergency relief from the Supreme Court to defend the FDA’s scientific judgment and protect Americans’ access to safe and effective reproductive care.” Any filing would go to Justice Samuel Alito, who handles emergency matters from the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit. Alito wrote the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / NPR / CNBC / ABC News / CNN)

2/ Florida’s Republican legislature banned most abortions after six weeks, sending the bill to Gov. Ron DeSantis. The six-week ban includes exceptions for rape, incest, medical emergencies, and “fatal fetal abnormalities,” but effectively outlaws the procedure before many people know they’re pregnant. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, patients in the South have been traveling to Florida for abortions. Of the 82,000 people who had an abortion in Florida in 2022, nearly 7,000 of those traveled to the state. Of the 13 states that prohibit nearly all abortions, most are in the South, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. (Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times)

3/ The FBI arrested a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman in connection with the leak of highly classified U.S. intelligence documents, which included maps, intelligence updates, and the assessment of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Federal agents took Jack Teixeira into custody, and the FBI conducted a search of his home in North Dighton, Massachusetts, which appears to be his mother’s. Teixeira was the administrator of a chat group where the classified documents first appeared. The chat group of about 20 to 30 people reportedly shared a “love of guns, racist online memes, and video games.” Attorney General Merrick Garland said Teixeira was arrested “without incident” on allegations of “alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information.” Teixeira will likely face charges under 18 U.S.C. 793 – better known as the Espionage Act. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNBC / CNN / Politico)

4/ Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked to be temporarily replaced on the Judiciary Committee after some House Democrats called on her to resign while she recovers from shingles. The 89-year-old California Democrat is the oldest member of Congress and hasn’t cast a vote in the Senate since Feb. 16. Her absence has stalled efforts to confirm Biden’s judicial picks. The chamber returns to session next week after a two-week recess, but Feinstein won’t be returning “due to continued complications related to my diagnosis.” She has not provided a timetable for returning to Washington. “I understand that my absence could delay the important work of the Judiciary Committee,” Feinstein said after two House Democrats called on her to resign. “So I’ve asked Leader Schumer to ask the Senate to allow another Democratic senator to temporarily serve until I’m able to resume my committee work.” (New York Times / NPR / Associated Press / Politico / NBC News / ABC News / Washington Post / CNN)

5/ Trump sat for a deposition in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million lawsuit alleging “staggering” fraud in his real estate business practices. This is the second time that the attorney general’s office has questioned Trump under oath: Trump sat for a deposition in August, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination more than 400 times. About a month later, James’ office sued Trump, three of his children, and their company, alleging years of fraud. Ahead of his deposition, Trump posted on his personal social media platform that the case is “another unjust & ridiculous persecution,” but suggested he “will finally be able to show what a great, profitable, and valuable company I built.” Trump went on to call James, who is black, a “racist” and her lawsuit “ridiculous.” The civil case is expected to go to trial in October. (New York Times / NBC News / ABC News / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

6/ Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas didn’t disclose that he sold real estate to Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who also provided Thomas and his wife Ginni with luxury travel for more than two decades. The 2014 sale of Thomas’ childhood home to Crow never appeared on a disclosure form. Crow paid for $36,000 in improvements to the property and Thomas’ 94-year-old mother continues to live in the house under Crow’s ownership. It is the first known instance of money flowing from Crow to Thomas. (ProPublica)

Day 813: "Credibility problems."

1/ The EPA proposed tougher tailpipe emissions limits that could require up to 67% of new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be all-electric by 2032 – the nation’s most ambitious climate regulations to date. The new rules are expected to eliminate 7.3 billion tons of CO2 through 2055 – the equivalent of eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions from the entire U.S. transportation sector for four years. The limits would also surpass Biden’s previous commitment to have EVs make up roughly 50% of cars sold by 2030. Last year, EVs accounted for 5.8% of the 13.8 million new vehicles sold in the U.S. The White House has also set aside $7.5 billion to expand the EV charging network – as part of the 2021 $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. And, the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act will provide tax credits up to $7,500 for car buyers to incentive EV adoption and affordability. The U.S. is the world’s third-largest market for EVs behind China and Europe. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / NPR)

2/ The Federal Reserve projects the nation’s economy to fall into a “mild recession” by year’s end, according to minutes from the Fed’s March meeting minutes. Central bank officials scaled back their economic expectations for future rate hikes this year due in part to the string of bank failures and instability in the banking sector. Although Fed officials considered skipping a rate increase at their March meeting, they raised their benchmark lending rate a quarter point to a range of 4.75% to 5%. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Forbes / CNBC)

3/ U.S. inflation fell to its lowest level in nearly two years. The consumer price index rose 0.1% from February to March, and 5% from a year ago. Despite the lower prices, inflation is still running more than two-and-a-half times the Fed’s target of 2% and the central bank is on track to raise interest rates at least once more before what they say will be an extended pause to let their work filter through the economy. Economists expect that the federal funds rate to settle around 5.25% and stay there through 2023. The central bank will announce its next policy decision on May 3. (Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NPR / CNBC)

4/ Trump sued Michael Cohen for $500 million over allegations that his former attorney violated their attorney-client relationship and breached a confidentiality agreement. Trump accused Cohen – a key witness in the criminal case against him – of revealing “confidences” in an “embarrassing or detrimental way,” including “falsehoods” about Trump “with malicious intent and to wholly self-serving ends.” A Trump lawyer added without evidence that Cohen “lied to the judge. He’s lied to the prosecutors. He’s lied to his employers. He’s lied to his own attorneys.” Cohen’s lawyer, meanwhile, said Trump “appears once again to be using and abusing the judicial system as a form of harassment and intimidation.” The lawsuit comes after Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges that he falsified business records to conceal $130,000 in reimbursement payments to Cohen, who paid Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election in order to buy her silence about her sexual encounter with Trump. (ABC News / CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

  • Trump said he would continue campaigning for the White House even if convicted of a crime. “I’d never drop out, it’s not my thing,” Trump said when asked on Fox News about a potential conviction. (New York Times)

5/ A Delaware Superior Court judge sanctioned Fox News for withholding evidence in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems. Judge Eric Davis said Fox lawyers had previously “represented to him more than once” that Rupert Murdoch was only an officer at Fox Corp. and didn’t have any role in Fox News. The distinction may have narrowed what Fox turned over as part of the discovery process, like Murdoch’s internal emails and text messages. Davis also said the network has a “credibility problem” and such information “could have” led him to make different rulings earlier in the case, adding: “By the way, an omission is a lie.” Davis also said he would appoint a so-called “special master” to investigate whether the network lied to the court and withheld key evidence. The sanctions imposed against Fox will allow Dominion to conduct additional depositions of some Fox witnesses or redo any already done and that “Fox will do everything they can to make the person available, and it will be at a cost to Fox.” The trial in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit is scheduled to begin Monday. Meanwhile, a Fox Corp. shareholder sued Murdoch and four other board members, accusing them of failing to stop Fox News from “reporting false and dangerous misinformation” about the 2020 presidential election. (NBC News / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / USA Today / NPR / The Hill / Reuters)

Day 812: "Uncertainty is high."

1/ Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sued Jim Jordan to keep the House Judiciary Committee from interfering in his prosecution of Trump. In a 50-page lawsuit, Bragg describes a “transparent campaign to intimidate and attack” his office by Jordan and others, calling it “an unprecedentedly brazen and unconstitutional attack” by members of Congress on the prosecution and investigation of Trump. The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena last week to Mark Pomerantz, a former prosecutor involved in the criminal investigation of Trump. Bragg is seeking a court order to bar Pomerantz from complying with the subpoena. (New York Times / CNBC / Washington Post / CNN / Politico / USA Today)

2/ Trump appealed a judge’s order requiring Pence to testify before the grand jury investigating his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Trump is seeking to narrow the scope of the testimony that Pence has to give a grand jury, while also accusing the Justice Department of “attempting to destroy the long accepted, long held, Constitutionally based standards of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.” Trump has lost several attempts in court to block other top officials from his administration from testifying based on claims of executive privilege. (New York Times / CNBC / NBC News / CNN / ABC News / Politico)

  • Stephen Miller arrived at the D.C. federal court where the Jan. 6 grand jury meets. (NBC News)

3/ Biden formally ended the Covid-19 national emergency, which was first enacted by the Trump administration in 2020. Biden signed the bipartisan congressional resolution behind closed doors despite publicly opposing the bill, saying it “would be a grave disservice to the American people.” The ending of the national emergency does not, however, affect the public health emergency, which underpins Title 42 – the border policy that allows the expulsion of migrants from U.S. borders without the opportunity to seek asylum. That policy is set to expire on May 11. The coronavirus has killed more than 1.13 million people in the U.S. and disrupted the global economy. (Associated Press / Washington Post / Politico)

4/ The International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecasts for the global economy, noting “the recent increase in financial market volatility.” The IMF now expects the global economic growth to slow from 3.4% in 2022 to 2.8% in 2023. The IMF also expects growth to hover around 3% for the next five years – its weakest medium-term growth forecast since 1990. The warning follows the failure of two U.S. banks last month, and UBS’s takeover of Credit Suisse in Europe. “Uncertainty is high, and the balance of risks has shifted firmly to the downside so long as the financial sector remains unsettled,” the organization said in its latest World Economic Outlook report. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, meanwhile, shrugged off the recent banking turmoil, saying “I’m not anticipating a downturn in the economy, although of course that remains a risk.” (CNN / CNBC / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

Dept. of Mass Confusion/ I don’t know where or how to start with summarizing this story about leaked classified U.S. military and intelligence documents and could use your help deciphering this complicated story. From what I can gather, more than 100 documents that detail national security secrets – some labeled “Top Secret” – related to Ukraine, the Middle East, and China were recently leaked on social media. The documents in question are photographs of printed reports from a classified briefing. They appear to have been folded up, put in a pocket, and then taken out of a secure area to be photographed. Some documents were specifically marked for U.S. eyes only, meaning it’s likely that an American official leaked the information. The Justice Department has since opened an investigation into the leak of the “highly sensitive, classified” documents. The government’s current “working theory” is that the documents are authentic but were selectively edited before being leaked. Congress, meanwhile, has requested classified briefings. Send help.

Day 811: "Extraordinary and unprecedented."

1/ The Biden administration appealed a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that would block access to the widely-used abortion drug mifepristone. On Friday, a federal judge in Texas suspended the FDA’s 23-year-old approval of the abortion pill, while another federal judge in Washington State ordered the FDA to keep the pill available. Despite the conflicting orders by two federal judges, mifepristone continues to be available – for now – since the Texas judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, stayed his own order for seven days to allow the FDA time to file an appeal. It’s the first time a federal judge has blocked an approved drug over the objection of the FDA. The Justice Department, meanwhile, asked the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals to suspend Kascmaryk’s order, arguing that the “extraordinary and unprecedented” ruling upends the status quo and should be blocked while they pursue a full appeal of the case. “If allowed to take effect,” Justice Department lawyers said, “the court’s order would thwart FDA’s scientific judgment and severely harm women.” The government asked the appeals court to issue its decision by Thursday at noon. Kascmaryk’s order is set to take effect Friday. (Washington Post / ABC News / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Axios / The Hill / NBC News)

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said “everything is on the table” following a Texas federal judge’s ruling to suspend the FDA’s approval of the medication abortion drug mifepristone. “What you saw by that one judge in that one court in that one state — that’s not America,” Becerra said of the ruling issued Friday by District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. (CNN / Politico)

2/ Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas defended the luxury vacations he accepted from a Republican megadonor for more than two decades, saying he was advised “by colleagues and others in the judiciary” that the trips were “personal hospitality” that didn’t need to be disclosed. Last week it was revealed that Thomas had traveled by private jet and yacht at the invitation of Harlan Crow, a Texas real estate billionaire, who is reportedly an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia and has a garden full of statues of the 20th century’s worst dictators. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court justice said Crow and his wife, Kathy, are “dearest friends” and, “as friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter-century we have known them.” A Judicial Conference committee adopted new rules that require Supreme Court justices and all federal judges to disclose all complimentary trips, travel by private jet, and stays at commercial properties, such as hotels, ski resorts or other private retreats owned by a company, rather than an individual. (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / New York Times / CNN)

3/ The two former Democratic lawmakers, who were expelled by Republican colleagues from the Tennessee House, will likely get their seat back. Nashville’s Metro Council could return Justin Jones to the Legislature when it votes to fill the vacant position on an interim basis, while Justin Pearson could be reappointed at a meeting of the Shelby County Commission in his district. Jones, Pearson, and Gloria Johnson led a protest calling for gun reform on the House floor after a shooting at a Nashville school killed six people, including three 9-year-old children. Jones and Pearson, who are Black, were voted out, while Johnson, who is white, was spared expulsion by a single vote. (NPR / Associated Press / NBC News)

4/ The Washington State Senate approved a ban on the sale and manufacture of assault weapons in the state. While the bill bans the sale, manufacture, and import of assault weapons, it does not ban the possession of an assault weapon and it allows for ownership by law enforcement and military service members. The proposal passed the state House last month, setting the measure up to go to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature. If signed into law, Washington would join nine other states that have enacted bans on the sale, manufacture, and transfer of assault weapons. (Fox 13 / King 5 / Seattle Times)

5/ A gunman killed four people and nine others were injured in a mass shooting at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky. The gunman, Connor Sturgeon, was an employee of Old National Bank and used an AR-15-style rifle. He livestreamed the attack on Instagram. Sturgeon was shot and killed after exchanging gunfire with the police. There have been at least 145 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. (New York Times / CNN / Associated Press / Washington Post / NPR / ABC News / NBC News)

Day 807: "Something is going to go boom."

1/ Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted secret luxury vacations from a Republican megadonor for more than two decades without disclosing them. The trips were funded by Harlan Crow, a real-estate billionaire and Republican Party donor, who treated Thomas and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas to luxury vacations, stays at his properties and private resort, as well as free travel on his private jet and superyacht. Thomas didn’t disclose that travel on his annual financial disclosure forms, which appear to violate a federal law mandating top officials from the three branches of government, including the Supreme Court, file annual forms detailing their finances, outside income, and spouses’ sources of income. Judges are prohibited from accepting gifts from anyone with business before the court, and until a month ago the judicial branch had not defined an exemption for gifts considered “personal hospitality.” Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Thomas’ actions were “simply inconsistent with the ethical standards the American people expect of any public servant, let alone a Justice on the Supreme Court,” adding that “the highest court in the land shouldn’t have the lowest ethical standards.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, called for Thomas to be impeached, saying “this is beyond party or partisanship. This degree of corruption is shocking - almost cartoonish.” (ProPublica / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / NBC News / CBS News / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Supreme Court refused to reinstate a West Virginia law barring transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams at school. West Virginia’s 2021 law – the Save Women’s Sports Act – was challenged by a 12-year-old middle school transgender girl and her parents to allow her to continue running on her middle school cross-country and track teams. The Supreme Court was not considering the ban on the merits but instead addressed whether the law should remain on hold while legal proceedings continue in lower courts. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented, saying they would have granted the request to immediately reinstate the ban on transgender girls from participating on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity. Some 19 states have enacted laws like West Virginia’s in the last three years. (NPR / ABC News / CNN / Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times)

3/ The Biden administration proposed new regulations to make it illegal for schools to broadly ban transgender students from sports teams. Under the proposal, blanket or categorical bans on all transgender athletes would not be allowed, but schools could bar transgender athletes from participating in competitive high school and college sports for “fairness in competition.” Schools that want to limit participation by transgender athletes would have to consider the sport, the level of competition, and the grade or education level involved. (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / The Hill)

4/ Idaho’s Republican governor signed a bill into law that makes it illegal to help a pregnant minor get an abortion in another state. The new “abortion trafficking” law – the first of its kind in the U.S. – makes helping a minor obtain abortion pills or cross state lines for an abortion without parental consent punishable by two to five years in prison. Anyone convicted could also be sued by the minor’s parent or guardian. Abortion has been banned at all stages of pregnancy in Idaho. (Associated Press / ABC News / NBC News)

5/ Tennessee Republican lawmakers expelled the first of three Democratic legislators from the state House for leading a protest calling for gun reform – the first partisan expulsion in the state’s modern history. Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson violated House decorum rules by using a bullhorn on the House floor to lead the protest and speaking without being formally recognized. In the first vote, the legislature voted 72-25 to oust Jones, with votes on expelling the other two lawmakers expected to follow. “We called for you all to ban assault weapons and you respond with an assault on democracy,” Jones said during his opening statement, calling the resolution “a spectacle” and “a lynch mob assembled to not lynch me, but our democratic process.” The trio represent the three largest cities in Tennessee. (The Tennessean / Politico / ABC News / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / New York Times / CNN / NBC News)

6/ The IMF warned that its outlook for global economic growth over the next five years is the weakest in more than three decades. The world economy is expected to grow less than 3% this year – down from 3.4% last year – making it the lowest medium-term growth forecast since 1990. “There is simply no way that interest rates would go up so much after being low for so long and there would be no vulnerabilities. Something is going to go boom,” Kristalina Georgieva said, IMF Managing Director. Georgieva added that slower growth would be a “severe blow,” making it even harder for low-income nations to catch up. “Poverty and hunger could further increase, a dangerous trend that was started by the COVID crisis.” (Politico / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

  • Fear of an economic “lost decade” hangs over world leaders. “The war in Ukraine, stubbornly high inflation, rising interest rates, a fragile banking system and slower growth in China are all looming threats.” (Politico)

poll/ 32% of American say Biden deserves to be reelected – down 5 points since December. (CNN)

Day 806: "Seems accurate."

1/ Roughly six hours after pleading not guilty to 34 counts of filing false business records, Trump called the judge overseeing the case “a Trump-hating judge with a Trump-hating wife and family.” Judge Juan Merchan had asked Trump during his arraignment to “please refrain from making statements that are likely to incite violence or civil unrest, or jeopardize the safety or well-being of any individuals.” Nevertheless, Trump went ahead and singled out Judge Merchan and Merchan’s daughter, who is president of a digital campaign strategy agency that’s work with Biden, Harris, and other Democrats. Trump also called the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, a “criminal” for, he claims, leaking information about the case. “I never thought anything like this could happen in America,” Trump told supporters at Mar-a-Lago. “The only crime that I’ve committed has been to fearlessly defend our nation against those who seek to destroy it.” (Washington Post / ABC News / New York Times / Reuters)

2/ Pence will not appeal a court order requiring him to testify before the grand jury investigating Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. Pence’s decision to not appeal means he will likely testify under oath about Trump’s unsuccessful attempts to pressure him into blocking the certification of the 2020 presidential election. Trump could still pursue an appeal to try to block Pence from testifying about their communications ahead of the Jan. 6 election certification. Trump, however, has lost similar cases previously. (NBC News / Politico / CNN / Washington Post)

3/ Wisconsin voters elected a liberal candidate to the State Supreme Court, flipping majority control from conservatives. Janet Protasiewicz’s victory means that the court is likely to reverse the state’s abortion ban and end the use of gerrymandered legislative maps drawn by Republicans. Protasiewicz’s victory also ends 15 years of conservative control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. (NBC News / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / NPR)

4/ A North Carolina Democratic state lawmaker switched party affiliation, giving Republicans a veto-proof supermajority in the state’s legislature. Tricia Cotham claimed she had been “bullied” for not toeing the party line, saying “They have pushed me out. They’ve made it very clear they do not want me.” Cotham said the turning point came when she was criticized for using the American flag and a prayer-hands emoji on social media and on her vehicles. North Carolina Democrats, meanwhile, called for Cotham’s resignation for her “deceit” and “betrayal.” Republicans now have a veto-proof majority in the middle of the legislative session, giving them the ability to bypass Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, and enact their agenda. (Washington Post / New York Times / Axios / Associated Press)

5/ The EPA proposed stricter rules for pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants, updating standards imposed more than a decade ago. The proposed rules aim to limit the mercury emissions and other toxic air pollutants from coal-fired power plants by up to 70%. The EPA said the new rules would also reduce nickel, arsenic, and lead pollution. Together, the pollutants can cause “significant health impacts including fatal heart attacks, cancer and developmental delays in children.” (New York Times / CNN / Associated Press / Washington Post)

6/ The Florida Senate passed a plan that would ban gender-affirming care for children diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The bill, SB 254, prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from undergoing surgeries or hormone therapies associated with gender-affirming care. The legislation comes after the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine – at the urging of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis – adopted rules that barred all doctors from treating minors with the surgeries and prescription treatments in November. Those rules went into effect last month. Florida is one of 13 states that have enacted bans on transgender care. (Politico / Miami Herald)

7/ Elon Musk labeled NPR’s Twitter account as “state-affiliated media,” a tag typically used for foreign media outlets that represent the official views of the government, like the Russian-government-owned RT and the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper. NPR operates independently of the U.S. government. While the nonprofit media company receives federal money, the total amounts to less than 1% of its annual budget. As a result of being in the same category as propaganda outlets, Twitter “will not recommend or amplify” NPR’s posts on the platform. According to Twitter’s company policy, state-affiliated media is defined as “outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content.” Twitter’s policy previously stated that the label did not apply to state-financed organizations with editorial independence, specifically citing NPR and the BBC as examples. In his role as Twitter’s new owner, Rocket Man has banned journalists from the platform and revoked the New York Times’ verification after the news organization declined to pay to use Twitter. Musk, meanwhile, weighed in on NPR’s new label, responding to a post of Twitter’s rules, saying “seems accurate.” (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Semafor / Forbes / NPR)

Day 805: "Can't believe this is happening in America."

1/ Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to hush money payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump, the nation’s 45th president and the Republican Party’s leading presidential candidate in the 2024 race, surrendered himself to the Manhattan district attorney’s office and appeared before a judge for his arraignment, where he entered a not guilty plea to falsifying business records in the first degree. Trump is the first former or sitting American president to be criminally charged and faces a maximum of four years in prison if convicted. While in custody, he was fingerprinted like any felony defendant, but special accommodations were made: Trump did not have a mug shot taken and was not handcuffed. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office allege that Trump “orchestrated” a “scheme” to help his 2016 presidential campaign through a series of hush money payments made by others, and then “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records” to “cover up crimes.” Prosecutor Chris Conroy told the court that Trump engaged in an “illegal conspiracy” to aid his campaign and “undermine the election.” All 34 counts against Trump are linked to a series of checks reimbursing Michael Cohen for his role in paying off adult film star Stormy Daniels, Playboy model Karen McDougal, and a former Trump Tower doorman who’d claimed to have a story about a child Trump had out of wedlock. Hours before the arraignment, Trump posted on his personal social network that the experience is “SURREAL,” adding, “WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America.” Trump is the focus of three other criminal investigations, including efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House. Following the arraignment, Bragg told reporters: “Everyone stands equal before the law. No amount of money and no amount of power changes that enduring American principle.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Associated Press / NPR / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CBS News / CNBC / ABC News / Axios)

2/ A federal appeals court denied Trump’s request to block his top aides from testifying about him to a grand jury investigating his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. While it’s not clear which aides were covered by the court order, Trump recently lost an emergency bid to prevent advisors like Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino, and Stephen Miller from answering questions. (Politico / CNN / Bloomberg)

3/ Job openings fell below 10 million in February for the first time since May 2021. There were 9.9 million job openings in February, down from 10.6 million in January. Meanwhile, four million workers quit their jobs in February, an increase from January — a sign of confidence they can find a better job elsewhere. The February JOLTS report also showed that the number of new hires decreased to 6.1 million from 6.3 million while layoffs fell to 1.5 million from 1.7 million. (CNBC / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / ABC News)

4/ The Florida Senate approved a proposed ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The proposal must still be approved by the House before it reaches the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis. Republicans, however, hold a supermajority in the Legislature, and the bill is expected pass. The bill, S.B. 300, comes one year after DeSantis signed a 15-week ban into law. (Associated Press / CNN / Politico)

5/ Tennessee House Republicans initiated the process of expelling three Democratic lawmakers for “disorderly behavior.” The trio, using a bullhorn, led a protest on the House floor demanding stricter gun laws following the Nashville mass shooting that left three young children and three adults dead. Instead of doing something to end gun violence, Republican lawmakers filed resolutions seeking the expulsion of Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson for “knowingly and intentionally bring[ing] disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives.” Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton also stripped Johnson and Jones of their committee assignments and restricted their access to legislative facilities for their role in the protest in support of gun control. (The Tennessean / Associated Press / Washington Post / CNN / Common Dreams)

Day 804: "Crystal clear."

1/ The Justice Department obtained new evidence in the Mar-a-Lago documents case that suggests potential obstruction by Trump. Federal investigators have reportedly gathered new evidence that boxes containing classified material were moved from a Mar-a-Lago storage area after the subpoena from the Justice Department was served, and that Trump personally examined some of those boxes and documents. The additional evidence is based on witness statements, security camera footage, and emails and text messages from a former Trump aide. (Washington Post / CNN)

2/ Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News will go to trial following a ruling by Superior Court Judge Eric Davis, who said it was “CRYSTAL clear” that none of the allegations made by Fox hosts and guests in the weeks after the election were true. Fox News had argued that the First Amendment protected the comments and opinions made on its air alleging that the election had somehow been stolen. “It appears oxymoronic to call the statements ‘opinions’ while also asserting the statements are newsworthy allegations and/or substantially accurate reports of official proceedings,” Davis said. The trial is expected to begin in mid-April. (Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News)

3/ Ron DeSantis signed legislation to allow Floridians to carry a concealed loaded weapon without a permit. The new law will allow anyone who can legally own a gun in Florida to carry one without a permit. No training or background checks will be required to carry concealed guns in public. The governor signed the bill in a private ceremony in his office with only bill sponsors, legislative leaders and gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association, in attendance. Florida is the 26th state to pass some form of permitless carry legislation. The new law takes effect July 1. (NBC News / ABC News / CNN)

4/ Millions of Americans are at risk of losing their Medicaid coverage as Covid-19 public health emergency safety net comes to an end. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 15 million people – roughly 1 in 6 people on Medicaid – will lose Medicaid insurance. Nearly half of those who lose coverage will be Black or Hispanic. During the public health emergency, states were required to keep people on Medicaid. As of Saturday that prohibition ended and states can begin removing people from the government health insurance rolls. Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, and West Virginia are expected to start their disenrollment process this month. (New York Times / CBS News / CNBC / CNN / ABC News)

5/ Trump arrived in New York to surrender himself to authorities for his arraignment on hush-money charges. Trump is the first sitting or former U.S. president to be indicted after a Manhattan grand jury voted to formally accuse him of a crime related to his role in the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign. Trump will be arraigned, fingerprinted, and photographed around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday. The indictment itself, which describes the exact charges filed against Trump, is also expected to be unsealed Tuesday. Trump is facing multiple charges of falsifying business records, including at least one felony offense. “WITCH HUNT, as our once great Country is going to HELL!” Trump wrote on his personal social media platform. (Associated Press / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / Politico)

poll/ 62% of Americans approve of the Trump indictment, while 38% disapprove. Among Democrats, 94% approve while 79% of Republicans disapprove. (CNN)

poll/ 57% of Republicans prefer Trump over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the party’s 2024 presidential nominee – his largest-ever lead over DeSantis. 31% prefer DeSantis. (Yahoo! News)

Day 800: "Dead on arrival."

1/ The Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Trump for his role in the hush-money payment to a porn star during his 2016 campaign. While the exact charges are unknown because the indictment remains under seal, Trump is reportedly facing more than 30 counts related to business fraud. Trump will be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon and will enter a plea of not guilty at a hearing at the New York State Supreme courthouse in lower Manhattan, at which point the specific charges will be unsealed. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office confirmed that it had contacted Trump’s attorney to “coordinate his surrender” on an indictment that “remains under seal.” Bragg’s office had initially asked for Trump to surrender on Friday, but lawyers for the disgraced former president said the Secret Service needed more time to prepare. Like any criminal defendant, Trump will have his fingerprints and mug shots taken when he is processed. Bragg has been investigating whether Trump falsified business records that violated campaign finance laws as part of the $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels. Michael Cohen has claimed that he fronted the money used to pay Daniels – at Trump’s direction – during the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign, and that Trump later reimbursed him, signing monthly checks while serving as president. As part of the scheme, Trump had Trump Organization employees falsely record the repayments as part of a non-existent “retainer” for “legal expenses” to justify the Cohen’s reimbursement. The felony indictment makes Trump the first former president to face criminal charges. Being charged with – or found guilty of – a crime, however, doesn’t disqualify Trump from running for office. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico)

  • Trump and his aides were reportedly caught off guard by the timing of his indictment, believing that any action by the grand jury was still several weeks away. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Trump, meanwhile, took to his personal social network to call the grand jury indictment “political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history.” Trump accused “Radical Left Democrats” of a “Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement,” calling Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “a disgrace” while casting himself as “a completely innocent person.” (Politico)

  • Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg defended his office’s decision to indict Trump, rejecting accusations by Republican lawmakers of political persecution as “baseless and inflammatory.” In a letter to the three committee chairmen who are pressing for documents and testimony about Trump’s case, Bragg’s office chastised them for choosing to “collaborate” with Trump, who is now under indictment, while characterizing their demands as “unlawful political interference” in an ongoing criminal case. (Politico / Washington Post / CNN)

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the indictment “un-American,” and said he would not assist with any extradition request. Trump, a Florida resident, is expected to appear in court on Tuesday in New York. (Politico / CNN)

2/ A federal judge in Texas invalidated the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that insurers and employers offer certain preventive health care services, including some cancer and heart screenings. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the law’s requirement that ACA plans cover HIV-prevention measures violates federal law guaranteeing religious freedom. The lawsuit was brought by six individuals and two Christian-owned businesses who argued that the mandate would make them “complicit in facilitating homosexual behavior.” In 2018, O’Connor struck down the entire ACA on the grounds that “the individual mandate is unconstitutional.” The Supreme Court, however, upheld the ACA. It was the third time that the Supreme Court ruled the ACA constitutional. (Washington Post / NBC News / Axios / CNN)

  • The FDA approved an over-the-counter Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug. “The approval marks the first time any form of naloxone will be available without a prescription. The drug, which first received FDA approval in 1971, was originally an injection. The FDA approved the inhaled nasal spray version, more commonly known as Narcan, in 2015. It contains 4 mg of naloxone that can be sprayed into the nose like a common allergy medication.” (Politico)

3/ House Republicans passed legislation that would increase oil drilling and mining on public lands and waters. The Lower Energy Costs Act would increase domestic production of oil, natural gas and coal, cut some environmental regulations, ease permitting restrictions for pipelines, refineries and other projects, and repeal sections of the Inflation Reduction Act – the landmark climate change legislation that Biden signed into law last summer. All but one Republican – including four Democrats – voted in support of the bill. Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, called the package “dead on arrival” in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Biden has also said he’ll veto the measure if it reaches his desk, calling it “a thinly veiled license to pollute.” (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Politico)

4/ A train hauling ethanol derailed and caught fire in Minnesota, triggering an evacuation of residents living near the crash site. The evacuation order was lifted hours later. Twenty-two cars carrying ethanol and corn syrup derailed around 1 a.m., and four caught fire, according to a BNSF Railway statement. The fire burned more than 8 hours. (ABC News / Associated Press / NBC News / NPR / CNN)

5/ The Senate passed a bill to end the national Covid-19 emergency, which Trump declared on March 13, 2020. The resolution cleared the House earlier this year and now heads to Biden’s desk, who said he plans to sign it despite his his opposition to ending the Covid-19 emergency. (CNN / Associated Press / Axios)

6/ Kevin McCarthy – again – declined to say whether the House would consider an assault weapons ban following the Nashville school shooting. When asked about calls for gun reform, McCarthy filibustered the press conference saying: “There’s not one person in America who doesn’t want to try to solve all this. We want to make sure we’re taking all the information. I would say to the nation as a whole that the problem that we [have] today, it’s not just going to be legislation. We’ve got to have a severe conversation here with this country. We’ve got to deal with mental illness. I don’t think one piece of legislation solves this. I think a nation together, working together, solves a problem that’s much bigger than us. We will get all the information, how we deal with any subject, and we’ll work through it.” A Democratic lawmaker, meanwhile, yelled at his Republican colleagues and repeatedly called them “cowards” for not supporting stricter gun measures in the wake of the Nashville school shooting. While several lawmakers walk by Jamaal Bowman without engaging, Republican Thomas Massie stopped to tell Bowman that “there’s never been a school shooting in a school that allows teachers to carry.” Massie then added: “Calm down.” Bowman responded: “Calm down? Children are dying. Nine-year-old children. The solution is not arming teachers.” (ABC News / NBC News)

  • After a mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas last year, Republican-led states moved expand access to firearms. One of them was Tennessee, where a shooter carrying multiple weapons killed six people, including three children. (New York Times)

  • Why do Americans own AR-15s? “Self-defense was the most popular reason for owning an AR-15. Other popular answers included recreation, target shooting and hunting, while some pointed to owning an AR-15 as their Second Amendment right.” (Washington Post)

Day 799: "Mess things up."

1/ Kevin McCarthy suggested that lawmakers need to see “all the facts” before they consider any gun legislation following the shooting in Nashville where seven people were killed. The Nashville shooting was the 130th mass shooting incident in this U.S. this year, so far. Democrats planned to introduce a measure to boost federal research into the cause of gun violence, but it has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled House. Republican congressman Tim Burchett, meanwhile, said Congress is “not gonna fix” the problem of school shootings and that he doesn’t see a role for Congress in preventing future shootings “other than mess things up.” Instead, the three-term congressman from Tennessee suggested that Americans should focus on more thoughts and prayers, saying: “If you want to legislate evil, it’s just not going to happen. We need a real revival in this country. Let’s call on our Christian ministers and our people of faith.” (CNN / Washington Post)

2/ North Carolina residents no longer need a permit to buy a handgun. The state’s Republican-led legislature eliminated the longstanding permit system that required local sheriffs to perform character evaluations and criminal history checks of pistol applicants. Although Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the measure, the legislature overrode the veto. The permit repeal takes effect immediately. (Associated Press / USA Today)

3/ The Idaho Legislature will vote to establish a new crime – dubbed “abortion trafficking” – that would limit minors’ ability to travel for an abortion without parental consent, even in states where the procedure is legal. House Bill 242 defines “abortion trafficking” as an adult “recruiting, harboring, or transporting the pregnant minor within this state” without the parent’s consent. The bill passed the Idaho House earlier this month. Less than a year ago, Idaho banned nearly all abortions in the state. (Washington Post / HuffPost)

4/ The Senate voted to formally repeal the war authorizations that justified the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War. The action is largely symbolic since U.S. combat operations against Iraq ended more than a decade ago and would have no effect on any ongoing military operations. Nearly 5,000 Americans lost their lives in Iraq and more than 31,000 U.S. troops were wounded. Iraqi deaths are estimated in the hundreds of thousands. (NPR / Associated Press)

5/ The Manhattan grand jury investigating Trump’s alleged hush money payment isn’t expected to hear evidence in the case until late April. The break is due in part to a pre-scheduled two weeks off beginning April 10. The hiatus comes about 10 days after Trump publicly predicted he would be arrested. Trump, meanwhile, released the following statement: “I HAVE GAINED SUCH RESPECT FOR THIS GRAND JURY, 7 PERHAPS EVEN THE GRAND JURY SYSTEM AS A WHOLE.” (Politico / Washington Post / Associated Press / CNN)

poll/ 57% of Americans believe Trump should be disqualified from running for president if he is criminally charged in any of the multiple state and federal investigations. 38% said he should not be barred from doing so if he’s criminally charged. (Quinnipiac)

poll/ 60% of Americans say the government spends too much money, while 22% say spending levels are about right, and 16% say the government is spending too little. At the same time, roughly 60% of Americans also say the government spends too little on education, health care, infrastructure, and Social Security, and Medicare. (Associated Press)

poll/ 31% of Americans say the economy is the most important issue facing the country – the top issue for respondents in the survey – followed by preserving democracy at 20%. No other issue, including health care, immigration, climate change, and education, broke double-digits. (NPR)

Day 798: "No plausible conflict of interest."

1/ A federal judge ordered Pence to testify to a grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Pence, however, can decline to answer questions related to his role in Congress on Jan. 6, when he was serving as president of the Senate for the certification of the 2020 presidential election. Special counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed Pence for his testimony and documents earlier this year in the investigation into whether efforts to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory constituted federal crimes. Pence challenged the subpoena under the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause, which is intended to protect the separation of powers. Trump, meanwhile, argued that executive privilege barred Pence from appearing. It’s unclear whether Pence plans to appeal Judge James Boasberg’s decision, but previously said he would take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / NBC News / Politico / Associated Press / CNBC)

  • Trump faces several investigations. Here’s where they stand. (New York Times)

2/ The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas collected nearly $600,000 in anonymous donations for a conservative group. Between 2019 and the end of 2021, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas acted as the self-described “convener” who helped raise $596,000 in donations to Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, which were channeled through the right-wing think tank Capital Research Center. The majority of that money – $400,000 – was routed through a different nonprofit, Donors Trust, which receives money from wealthy donors whose identities are not disclosed and steers it toward conservative causes. The arrangement, known as “fiscal sponsorship,” meant that Crowdsourcers didn’t have to disclose the donors, information about the group’s activities, or its spending that would’ve been required if it had registered as a nonprofit. It is not clear how much compensation, if any, Ginni Thomas received. Mark Paoletta, a lawyer for Ginni Thomas, claimed her activism with people and groups that have interests before the court represents “no plausible conflict of interest issue with respect to Justice Thomas.” (Washington Post / USA Today)

3/ Kevin McCarthy demanded a meeting with Biden to discuss raising the debt limit. The White House, however, responded to McCarthy’s demands by calling for House Republicans produce a budget proposal first. Republicans wants Biden and the Democrats to agree to spending cuts as a condition of raising the debt limit, but the White House has called on Republicans to accept a “clean” debt limit increase without any conditions – like they did three times during Trump’s presidency. Biden released his budget earlier this month, which would cut the deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade, and asked House Republicans to release a budget to begin negotiations on spending cuts from there. Republicans have yet to release their budget. Congress must raise or suspend the current $31 trillion cap by this summer or risk a default. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / The Hill / CNBC)

poll/ 46% of Americans think Trump has done something illegal, and an additional 29% consider Trump to have done something unethical, but not illegal. 23% of Americans, meanwhile, say Trump has done nothing wrong. (NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll)

poll/ 78% of Americans are not confident that life for their children’s generation will be better than it has been for them. 21% feel confident that their children are better off. (Wall Street Journal)

Day 797: "Degenerate psychopath."

1/ A 28-year-old woman shot and killed three children and three staff members at a Christian school in Nashville before being shot and killed by the police. The woman, Audrey Hale, 28, a resident of Nashville, was armed with two assault-style rifles and a handgun. The White House, meanwhile, said: “Enough is enough […] How many more children have to be murdered before Republicans in Congress will step up and act to pass the assault weapons ban, to close loopholes in our background check system, or to require the safe storage of guns?” [Editor’s note: This is a developing story.] (The Hill / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / ABC News)

  • The gun that divides a nation. “This is how it came to dominate the marketplace.” (Washington Post)

2/ Trump threatened “potential death & destruction” if he’s indicted by the Manhattan grand jury investigating the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign. In a late-night post on his personal social media platform, Trump called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a “degenerate psychopath” while wondering aloud “What kind of person can charge another person […] with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed?” (Washington Post / CNN)

3/ The former publisher of the National Enquirer testified before the Manhattan grand jury investigating Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels. David Pecker, who previously served as CEO of American Media, also testified in January about how Michael Cohen asked American Media to buy the rights to Stormy Daniels’ story to keep her from publicly disclosing it – a practice known as “catch and kill.” The grand jury adjourned Monday without taking a vote on whether to indict Trump, and is next scheduled to meet on Wednesday. (CNN / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC / NBC News)

4/ A federal judge ordered Mark Meadows and other former Trump aides to testify to the grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Judge Beryl Howell rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege to block more than a half-dozen former administration officials from responding to grand jury subpoenas issued by special counsel Jack Smith for testimony and documents. In a separate decision last week, Howell ordered Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify in the classified documents case under the “crime fraud” exception, provision that allows prosecutors to work around attorney-client privilege if they have reason to believe that legal advice or services were used to further a crime. Howell’s order noted that Smith’s team had made “a prima facie showing that the former president committed criminal violations.” Trump is expected to appeal the sealed ruling. (ABC News / NBC News / New York Times)

5/ The Fox News producer who sued the network alleging she was “conditioned and coerced” to give false testimony in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems has been fired. In the amended complaint, Abby Grossberg said she was fired in “yet another thinly veiled act of retaliation” while expanding on her earlier allegations about “impermissible coaching and coercion” by Fox lawyers, bias, unprofessional behavior by staff members, and discrimination by the network. Grossberg wants to correct the Sept. 14 deposition she gave about the network’s coverage of Dominion Voting Systems, which she says was inauthentic given how Fox News was “fraudulently inducing her to deny facts she knew to exist.” (NBC News / ABC News / Talking Points Memo / CNN / CBS News)

6/ Kentucky’s Democratic governor vetoed a Republican bill that would prohibit transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care, such as surgical procedures or the use of certain hormones. The bill would also ban discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, and allow teachers to refuse to refer to transgender students by their preferred pronouns. The Republican-majority state legislature could still override Gov. Andy Beshear. (Associated Press / CNN)

poll/ 38% of Americans said patriotism was very important to them – down from 70% in 1998 – while 39% said religion was very important – down from 62% in 1998. (Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 44% of Democratic voters want Biden to step aside in 2024, while 25% want Biden to run again, and 30% have no preference. (Monmouth University Poll)

Day 793: "False expectations."

1/ The Manhattan grand jury hearing evidence about Trump’s role in the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels will not consider the matter again until at least Monday. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg declined to give details of the investigation, and it was unclear whether the grand jury was hearing witness testimony or reviewing other evidence today. Last week, Trump declared that he would be arrested Tuesday. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico)

2/ The Manhattan district attorney called demands by three House Republican leaders to force his testimony about his criminal investigation into Trump “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution.” The District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office rejected the House Republicans’ request for documents and testimony, saying they lacked a “legitimate basis for congressional inquiry” and that their requests for information “only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene.” In a five-page letter to Jim Jordan and other House Republicans, Bragg said their request “treads into territory very clearly reserved to the states” and would be an inappropriate use of congressional power. (New York Times / CNN / Politico / The Hill / Washington Post)

3/ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen backtracked on the prospect that regulators would not extend deposit insurance to protect the banking system. Yesterday, Yellen made a point of saying she had not considered or discussed temporarily expanding emergency federal insurance – or as she called it, “blanket insurance” – to all U.S. banking deposits without approval by Congress. Yellen, however, testified today before a House Appropriations subcommittee that federal emergency actions could be deployed again in the future if necessary, saying: “We have used important tools to act quickly to prevent contagion. And they are tools we could use again. Regional bank stocks fell Wednesday following comments Yellen made at a Senate hearing that afternoon. (Bloomberg / CNBC / Reuters)

4/ A hospital in Idaho will stop delivering babies or providing other obstetrical care due recently enacted state laws “that criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care.” After the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, Idaho banned nearly all abortions and subjected physicians to prosecution for providing abortions, even if needed to protect the health of a pregnant patient. A physician who violates the law face two to five years in prison, along with their medical license being suspended or revoked. Bonner General Health in Sandpoint will discontinue obstetrical services in mid-May, meaning patients will now have to drive 46 miles for labor and delivery care. The Sandpoint area averages annual snowfall of about 60 inches. (Associated Press / Idaho Statesman / Washington Post)

5/ Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill to ban most gender-affirming care for minors. Senate Bill 140 bars doctors in Georgia from providing minors with hormone therapy or surgery related to gender transition. Physician who violate the law risk losing their license. The bill will take effect July 1. Kemp skipped the bill signing ceremony, in part, because he’s a total clown. Instead, he announced the signing on Twitter. (CNN / ABC News / Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

poll/ 78% of trans adults say that “living as a different gender has made them more satisfied with their lives.” 45% say they are “a lot” more satisfied. (Washington Post)

Day 792: "Sufficient."

1/ The Manhattan grand jury hearing evidence about Trump’s involvement in the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels did not meet today as scheduled. The reason for the grand jury adjournment, which typically meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, wasn’t immediately clear. The pause comes after unexpected testimony from Robert Costello, appearing on behalf of Trump, who called into question Michael Cohen’s testimony. Cohen, who has admitted to paying $130,000 to Daniels just before the 2016 election to stop her from going public about an alleged affair with Trump, had spent two days of testimony walking grand jurors through the chronology of Trump’s involvement in the payment. Any potential indictment against Trump will not be issued by the panel until Thursday at the earliest. Trump, meanwhile, has reportedly told advisers that he wants to be handcuffed when he makes an appearance in court, if he is indicted. Trump – apparently – wants to be handcuffed behind his back for a perp walk because he thinks any special arrangements would make him look weak. (Insider / New York Times / The Guardian / CNN / Associated Press / Washington Post / ABC News / CNBC / Politico)

2/ A federal appeals court ordered Trump’s attorney to testify before the grand jury investigating classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago and to turn over documents to federal prosecutors. Last week, prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith’s office presented “sufficient” evidence that Trump “intentionally concealed” the existence of additional classified documents from his attorney, Evan Corcoran. U.S. Judge Beryl Howell wrote that prosecutors had made a “prima facie showing that [Trump] had committed criminal violations.” Trump appealed Howell’s ruling, but a three-judge appeals court panel denied the request to halt the order. Corcoran is scheduled to testify Friday. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / CNN)

3/ The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point – the ninth increase since March 2022. The Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to increase the federal funds rate to a range of 4.75% to 5% – the highest since September 2007 – despite the risk of exacerbating stress in the banking sector. Fed officials, however, signaled they expect one more quarter-point rate increase this year, equivalent to a target range of 5%-5.25%, due to the instability in the banking system. Looking ahead to 2024, the Fed projected that rates would fall to 4.1%. In its latest forecast, Fed officials expect unemployment to rise to 4.5% – up from the current 3.6% – and that the U.S. economy will grow by 0.4% this year – down from 0.5% they projected in December. Officials, meanwhile, believe inflation will remain above normal levels and finish 2023 at 3.3%. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / CNBC)

4/ Drug shortages in the U.S. are increasing in frequency and duration, which represent an “unacceptable national security risk,” according to a report issued by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Between 2021 and 2022, drug shortages increased by nearly 30% due in part to an over-reliance on foreign countries like China and India. Although more than 15 basic critical care drugs have remained in shortage for more than a decade, there were over 295 active drug shortages in at the end of 2022. (ABC News / NBC News / The Hill)

Day 791: "A necessary step."

1/ The Senate advanced a bill to repeal the congressional authorization used to attack Iraq in 1991 and 2003 – nearly 20 years to the day that the U.S. began its “shock and awe” campaign to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. The bipartisan legislation would repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force that Bush used for the 2003 invasion, as well as the 1991 authorization for the first Gulf War under H.W. Bush. Although Obama formally ended the war in 2011 and ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Trump used the 2002 authorization to justify the airstrike that killed Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in 2020. It’s unclear, however, if Kevin McCarthy will bring the legislation up for a vote in the House. “Repealing this [Authorization for Use of Military Force] is a necessary step towards putting the final remnants of the Iraq War squarely behind us,” Chuck Schumer said. (CBS News / NPR)

2/ The Pentagon will accelerate the training and delivery of Abrams tanks and Patriot missile defense systems for Ukraine. The U.S. will send 31 older M1-A1 models instead of the more modern version of the tank in order to get them to Ukraine this fall. A group of 65 Ukrainian soldiers, meanwhile, are scheduled to complete their training on the Patriot missile system in the coming days. Two Patriot systems are expected to be deployed to Ukraine in the coming of weeks. (CNN / Politico / Associated Press)

3/ The Minnesota House of Representatives advanced legislation that would shield patients who travel to the state for an abortion and the providers that treat them. If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act would prevent state courts or officials from complying with extraditions, arrests or subpoenas related to reproductive health care that a person receives in Minnesota. The bill now goes to the state Senate, where Democrats hold a thin majority. (Minnesota Public Radio / Associated Press / Washington Post)

4/ Missouri’s Republican attorney general filed an emergency regulation to limit access to gender-affirming treatments for minors. Andrew Bailey’s new rules will require an 18-month waiting period, 15 hourlong therapy sessions, and treatment of any mental illnesses before Missouri doctors can provide that kind of care to transgender children, Bailey’s office said. The Missouri Senate, meanwhile, advanced a pair of bills to prohibit gender-affirming health care for minors and restrict them from competing in sports. Both bills, which sunset in 2027, need a final vote from the Senate before heading to the House. (Associated Press / St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Fox 2 Now / KOMU)

5/ Biden designated new national monuments in Nevada and Texas. The designation of the Avi Kwa Ame monument in Nevada, and Castner Range monument in West Texas protects nearly 514,000 acres of land from new development. Biden also started the process to designate a new marine sanctuary in U.S. waters around the Pacific islands southwest of Hawaii, which will protect 777,000 square miles of islands, reefs, and marine life. After taking office, Biden committed to conserving 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. (NPR / Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times)

6/ A Fox News producer filed a lawsuit claiming the network’s lawyers coerced her into providing misleading testimony in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the network. The lawsuit from Abby Grossberg came shortly after Fox News sought a temporary restraining order to prevent her from disclosing privileged information, like in-house legal discussions. In a federal civil suit, Grossberg alleges that Fox News lawyers “coerced, intimidated, and misinformed” her as they prepared her to testify in Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation suit. Grossberg also contends that Fox News lawyers advised her against hiring a personal attorney and implied that she was being “too candid” in her deposition prep sessions. Grossberg claims the attorneys took extra time “to make sure she got her story straight and in line with [Fox’s] position” and that was urged to give generic answers, like “I do not recall.” (Associated Press / NBC News / Washington Post)

7/ U.S. cases of a rare and often deadly fungus tripled from 2019 to 2021. More than half of U.S. states have now reported the fungus, Candida auris, which is resistant to several antifungal medications. Candida auris has a mortality rate of up to 60%. The CDC and World Health Organization have labeled it a growing threat to public health. (Associated Press / NPR / Wall Street Journal)

Notable/ As of 2:08 pm Pacific time, Trump has not been indicted. (NBC News)

Day 790: "A final warning."

1/ Trump claimed he will be arrested Tuesday and urged his supporters to “protest, take our nation back!” The claim comes while District Attorney Alvin Bragg considers criminal charges over Trump’s handling of a hush money payment to Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump, however, provided no clear basis for his expected arrest, and a Trump spokesperson said there had been no actual “notification” about an imminent arrest from Bragg’s office. If charged, Trump would be the first former president to be indicted in U.S. history. (New York Times / NPR / Associated Press / CNN / Politico)

2/ Three House Republican committee chairmen are demanding that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg testify before Congress “about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision” in any potential indictment of Trump in connection with hush money payments made ahead of the 2016 election. The letter to Bragg comes before any decision on charging Trump with a crime has been made. House Republicans, meanwhile, have threatened to defund Bragg’s office, vowing to “investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.” (Politico / The Hill / NBC News)

3/ Trump asked a Georgia court to scrap the criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the state’s presidential election by him and his allies. The motion seeks to prohibit Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from filing charges and to suppress the grand jury’s final report, which recommended indictments for more than a dozen people. Trump’s lawyers also requested that Willis be “disqualified from further investigation and/or prosecution of this matter.” (Politico / NBC News / USA Today / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

4/ A federal judge ordered Trump’s attorney to testify as part of the special counsel investigation into his handling of classified documents. The judge said in an order under seal that Justice Department prosecutors had met the threshold for the crime-fraud exception – a provision that allows prosecutors to get around attorney-client privilege when they have reason to believe that legal advice or legal services have been used in furthering a crime. Prosecutors overseeing the investigation can now compel Evan Corcoran to answer more questions before a grand jury. (CNN / New York Times)

  • Dozens of Mar-a-Lago staff have been subpoenaed in the classified documents probe. “Many of the Mar-a-Lago staffers are being represented by counsel paid for by Trump entities, according to sources and federal elections records.” (CNN)

5/ Wyoming became the first state to ban the use of pills for abortion. Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill making it a felony to prescribe, sell, or use “any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion.” Violators could face up to six months in prison and a $9,000 fine. The legislation takes effect July 1. In addition to prohibiting abortion pills in the state, Gordon allowed a second anti-abortion bill to become law without his signature. The law bans abortion under most circumstances. (New York Times / Politico / CNN / ABC News)

6/ Biden vetoed legislation that would bar investment managers from weighing environmental, social, and corporate governance factors when selecting investments. It was Biden’s first veto of his presidency. Despite ESG factors – short-hand for environment, social, and governance – being a widely accepted investing principle since 2004, Republicans recently started attacking it as “woke capitalism” that, they argue, attempts to force climate change politics into Americans’ financial planning. Investment managers, however, are not required to consider ESG factors – they’re simply encouraged to consider them. “This bill would risk your retirement savings by making it illegal to consider risk factors MAGA House Republicans don’t like,” Biden tweeted. “Your plan manager should be able to protect your hard-earned savings — whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene likes it or not.” The rule will now stand, as Congress is unlikely to get a two-thirds majority in each chamber to override Biden’s veto. (New York Times / Associated Press / Politico / NPR / Bloomberg / NBC News)

7/ Earth will likely to cross a critical threshold for global warming within the next decade and the world’s current plans to avoid catastrophic warming are inadequate. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that unless there are “deep, rapid and sustained” cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, global average temperatures will rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels sometime around “the first half of the 2030s.” Beyond that threshold, scientists warn that the climate disaster will become so extreme that humans will not be able to adapt to the impact of catastrophic heat waves, flooding, drought, crop failures, famines, and infectious diseases. Earth has already warmed an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius since the industrial age. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an end to new fossil fuel exploration and for rich countries to quit coal, oil, and gas by 2040. A climate expert at Greenpeace International warned: “This report is definitely a final warning on 1.5C. If governments just stay on their current policies, the remaining carbon budget will be used up before the next IPCC report [due in 2030].” (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Associated Press / The Guardian)

Day 786: "Brink of collapse."

1/ The Biden administration threatened to ban TikTok if the app’s Chinese owners refuse to sell their stake in the U.S. version of the app. TikTok has been under scrutiny over fears that Beijing could request Americans’ data from its parent company, ByteDance, for more than two years. In 2020, the Trump Administration threatened to ban the app, citing national security concerns. Since then, the White House has been trying to negotiate an agreement with TikTok that would safeguard its data and eliminate the need for ByteDance to divest. TikTok, meanwhile, dismissed the threat, saying: “If protecting national security is the objective, divestment doesn’t solve the problem: a change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access. The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification, which we are already implementing.” TikTok is used by more than 100 million Americans. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / Axios)

  • The FBI and the Department of Justice ByteDance’s use of TikTok to spy on journalists. “According to a source in position to know, the DOJ Criminal Division, Fraud Section, working alongside the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has subpoenaed information from ByteDance regarding efforts by its employees to access U.S. journalists’ location information or other private user data using the TikTok app.” (Forbes)

2/ The Fulton County special grand jury heard an audio recording of Trump pressuring the then-Georgia House speaker to call a special legislative session to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. The call from Trump to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston lasted about 10 minutes, and at one point Trump asked Ralston who would stop him from holding a special session. Ralston responded: “A federal judge, that’s who.” The call to Ralston was in addition to the call where Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the number of votes needed to overturn Biden’s victory and suggested that he publicly announce that he “recalculated” the election results. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / CNN / NBC News)

3/ Federal prosecutors investigated Trump’s social media company for money laundering in connection with $8 million in loans with suspected Russian ties. The loans were wired through the Caribbean to Trump Media, which owns Trump’s Truth Social platform, in 2021 and 2022 from “two obscure entities that both appear to be controlled in part by the relation of an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin.” The wires were reportedly made when Trump Media was on the “brink of collapse” after its planned merger with Digital World, a special purpose acquisition company, was delayed by an SEC investigation into whether the arrangement broke regulatory rules. (The Guardian / Variety / Forbes)

4/ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congress that the U.S. “banking system is sound” after the collapse of three regional U.S. banks last week. Yellen, appearing before the Senate Finance Committee, defended the actions by federal regulators to stabilize the U.S. financial system, saying guaranteeing the uninsured deposits at the failing banks was necessary to stem a possible contagion that put “community banks across the country at great risk of runs.” Eleven of the nation’s largest banks, meanwhile, agreed to collectively rescue First Republic Bank with $30 billion in deposits. Yellen, Fed Chair Jerome Powell and others issued the following statement: “This show of support by a group of large banks is most welcome, and demonstrates the resilience of the banking system.” (Wall Street Journal / Politico / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNBC / ABC News)

5/ Leaked tax records show CEOs making millions through well-timed trades of competitors’ stock, likely using nonpublic information. While insider trading laws require executives of public companies to disclose trades they make in their own company’s stock, the disclosure requirement doesn’t apply to trades that executives make in partner companies and competitors. Executives, however, typically have deep knowledge of their industry and extensive access to nonpublic information about competitors, partners, and vendors. For instance: “A Gulf of Mexico oil executive invested in one partner company the day before it announced good news about some of its wells. A paper-industry executive made a 37% return in less than a week by buying shares of a competitor just before it was acquired by another company. And a toy magnate traded hundreds of millions of dollars in stock and options of his main rival, conducting transactions on at least 295 days. He made an 11% return over a recent five-year period, even as the rival’s shares fell by 57%.” (ProPublica)

Day 785: "Severe penalties."

1/ A federal judge in Texas heard arguments in a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the FDA’s approval of the pills used in medication abortions. The abortion-inducing pill known as mifepristone is used in more than half of the abortions in the U.S. The lawsuit alleges that the FDA did not adequately evaluate mifepristone’s safety before it approved the drug in 2000, and argues that the FDA should not have made the medication accessible via telehealth during the pandemic. The FDA, which took more than four years to approve mifepristone, said it approved the drug after “a thorough and comprehensive review of the scientific evidence presented and determined that it was safe and effective for its indicated use.” U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was appointed by Trump and and is known for his conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage, took the unusual step of intentionally delaying the public notice of today’s planned hearing, citing a “barrage of death threats and protesters” and his interest in avoiding a “circus-like atmosphere.” Kacsmaryk said he would issue his ruling as soon as possible, which is expected to be appealed and could eventually reach the Supreme Court. (Associated Press / NBC News / Washington Post / NPR / Wall Street Journal)

2/ South Carolina Republican lawmakers are considering legislation that would make a person who has an abortion eligible for the death penalty. The South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act would “ensure that an unborn child who is a victim of homicide is afforded equal protection under the homicide laws of the state.” The bill defines a “person” as an “unborn child at every stage of development from fertilization until birth.” While the bill provides some exceptions to save the life of the pregnant person or if they were “compelled to do so by the threat of imminent death or great bodily injury,” it provides no exceptions for rape or incest. (NBC News / Rolling Stone / USA Today / The Hill)

3/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dismissed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial dispute,” saying protecting the European nation’s borders is not a “vital” U.S. interest. DeSantis’s view on Ukraine policy, which is now aligned with Trump’s, is a reversal from his earlier support for arming Ukraine in 2015 after Russia annexed Crimea. Some top congressional Republicans, however, have argued that a sovereign Ukraine is in the long-term interests of the U.S. and that Biden should be doing more to help Ukraine, framing Putin’s invasion as a fight to defend the post-World War II international security framework. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

4/ A pro-Trump super PAC filed an ethics complaint against Ron DeSantis, accusing him of waging a “shadow presidential campaign” in violation of state ethics and election laws. DeSantis, who is expected to announce a 2024 presidential bid, is seen as Trump’s biggest competition in the Republican primary. The super PAC, MAGA Inc., wants the Florida Commission on Ethics to impose the “most severe penalties permitted” — including disqualifying him from the ballot. (NBC News / CNBC / Associated Press / Bloomberg)

  • Trump prepares an extensive opposition file on “Ron DeSanctimonious.” An early look inside Trump’s operation into his rival for the nomination reveals nothing is off the table. (Politico)

poll/ 59% of Republican voters prefer a 2024 presidential primary nominee who agrees with their views on major issues. 41% prefer a GOP nominee who has a strong chance to beat Biden. (CNN)

poll/ 46% of Republican voters support Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, while 32% support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Trump led DeSantis 42% to 36% in February’s poll. (Quinnipiac)

Day 784: "Reckless."

1/ Inflation eased for the eighth straight month. Consumer prices increased 6% in February from a year earlier, down from 6.4% in January and a 40-year peak of 9.1% in June. Inflation, however, remains far above the Federal Reserve’s 2% annual inflation target. On a monthly basis, prices increased 0.4%. Just before the collapse of two major banks – which in some ways is the result of the Fed’s efforts to raise borrowing costs after years of near-zero interest rates – Chair Jerome Powell had opened the door to re-accelerating the pace of rate hikes if inflation remained high. Many economists, however, now expect the Fed to either slow its rate hikes or stop them altogether when it meets next week. (USA Today / Associated Press / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / CNBC / New York Times / CNN)

2/ The Justice Department and SEC opened investigations into the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. The investigations are reportedly focused on stock sales by several bank executives made days before the bank failed. The Justice Department’s probe involves the fraud prosecutors in Washington and San Francisco. No one at the bank, however, has been accused of wrongdoing and the investigation could end without charges being brought. Separately, a class action lawsuit was filed against the parent company of Silicon Valley Bank, its CEO, and its chief financial officer, alleging that the company “understated the risks” that the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes “had the potential to cause irrevocable damage to the company.” (Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

3/ The EPA proposed limiting the amount of harmful “forever chemicals” in drinking water – the first time the federal government has suggested setting a standard for a class of chemicals known to pose significant health risks. The proposal would require water utilities to detect and reduce PFAS contamination at 4 parts per trillion – the lowest level that PFAS can be accurately measured and detected. Last year, the EPA found that the chemicals could cause harm at levels “much lower than previously understood” and that almost no level of exposure was safe. (NBC News / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

4/ Biden signed an executive order designed to increase background checks before firearm sales. The executive order directs Attorney General Merrick Garland to clarify the statutory definition of who is “engaged in the business” of selling firearms and to come up with a plan to deal with firearm sellers who are either avoiding doing background checks or may not realize they are required to do them. The National Instant Background Check System carried out more than 31 million background checks on people looking to own firearms or explosives last year. (NBC News / NPR / Washington Post)

5/ Russian fighter jets intercepted and collided with a U.S. drone over the Black Sea. Two Russian Su-27 aircraft flew “in the vicinity” of the U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone for 30 to 40 minutes and dumped fuel on the unmanned drone several times before one the warplanes hit its propeller. The drone, conducting “routine operations” over international airspace, was brought down by operators after the collision, which the U.S. military said was the result of “reckless” actions by Russian pilots. Russia, meanwhile, denied that the jet made contact. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN / NBC News)

Day 783: "Substantial concerns."

1/ The Biden administration approved the Willow oil-drilling project in the Alaskan Arctic over the objections of nearby tribal communities, environmentalists, and Democrats, who warned that the development threatens the pristine wilderness and that the project’s greenhouse gas emissions contradict Biden’s vow to fight climate change. Last month, the Interior Department said it had “substantial concerns” about the Willow project, including its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and impact on wildlife. The Interior also estimated that the project would generate roughly 9.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year – the equivalent to adding two million gas-powered cars to the roads. The U.S. currently emits about 5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. The decision allows ConocoPhillips to start developing three drilling sites within Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. The project is expected to produce about 180,000 barrels of oil a day at its peak – equivalent to about 40% of Alaska’s current crude production. Separately, Biden made the entire U.S. Arctic Ocean indefinitely off limits to future oil and gas leasing, and limited drilling in more than 13 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, where ConocoPhillips’s 600 million-barrel Willow venture is planned. (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC / NPR / Politico)

2/ The Biden administration took emergency measures to ensure that all depositors of Silicon Valley Bank – which failed Friday – and Signature Bank – which failed Sunday – would be paid back in full. Following the second- and third-largest bank failures in history, the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. invoked a so-called systemic-risk exception to back deposits beyond the federally insured ceiling of $250,000 to prevent contagion at other small and regional banks. “Americans can rest assured that our banking system is safe. Your deposits are safe,” Biden said. “Let me also assure you we will not stop at this; we’ll do whatever is needed.” The Federal Reserve also set up an emergency lending program to ensure that other banks could meet the needs of depositors. Federal officials noted that the money being used to aid depositors will come from the Deposit Insurance Fund that banks – not taxpayers – pay into. The failure of Silicon Valley Bank – the nation’s 16th largest bank – occurred two days before the 15th anniversary of the Federal Reserve-backed rescue of Bear Stearns. (NBC News / Associated Press / NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNBC / CNN)

3/ Trump has “no plans” to appear before the Manhattan grand jury investigating the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office convened the grand jury to evaluate whether Trump falsified business records in connection with a $130,000 payment Michael Cohen made to Daniels before the 2016 election. The DA’s office informed Trump last week of his right to testify before a grand jury in the probe. Cohen, who is expected to testify before the grand jury next week, previously said he fronted the money involved in the transactions and was reimbursed by Trump. At least seven other people have testified about the hush money deal. It remains unclear, however, whether Bragg will seek an indictment at the end of the process. (ABC News / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

4/ West Virginia’s Republican-majority Legislature passed a bill banning health care for transgender minors in the state. Despite every major medical organization, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association, supporting gender-affirming care for minors, more than a dozen states have restricted or have considered restricting access to care. The bill heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who hasn’t taken a public stance on the legislation. (Associated Press / USA Today)

5/ A Texas man filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against three women who allegedly helped his ex-wife terminate her pregnancy. In the first lawsuit of its kind since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Marcus Silva alleges that his now ex-wife learned she was pregnant in July 2022 and conspired with friends to illegally obtain abortion-inducing medication without his knowledge to terminate the pregnancy. While Roe was overturned by the Supreme Court in June 2022, the state’s trigger law, which made performing abortion a crime punishable by up to life in prison, didn’t go into effect until August. However, in 2021 Texas passed a law that deputized private citizens to sue any person who performs an abortion or helps someone get an illegal abortion. Silva’s civil case could result in the women each being forced to pay over $1 million in damages. Texas’ abortion laws, however, exempt the pregnant person from prosecution. (Texas Tribune / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

Day 779: "Undermining the American public's confidence."

1/ A Trump attorney admitted to knowingly making 10 public “misrepresentations” about the 2020 presidential election being stolen. On November 20, 2020, Jenna Ellis claimed on Newsmax that “with all those states (Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia) combined we know that the election was stolen from President Trump and we can prove that.” Ellis later claimed on Fox News show on Dec. 5, 2020 that “we have over 500,000 votes (in Arizona) that were cast illegally,” adding on Dec. 15 on Newsmax that Trump was “the true and proper victor.” Ellis was censured for misconduct by Colorado legal officials for the repeated false statements about the election. As part of the public censure, Ellis agreed that her legal work for Trump “caused actual harm by undermining the American public’s confidence in the presidential election.” (Colorado Newsline / Associated Press / NBC News / Politico / New York Times / CNN)

2/ House Republicans launched an investigation into the Democratic-controlled Jan. 6 committee from last Congress. The subcommittee — made up of four Republicans and two Democrats — will look into roughly two million documents and records. It also launched a portal to collect tips from the public. The subcommittee is expected to focus on the security failures around Jan. 6, the treatment of Jan. 6 defendants, and possible training or resource reforms for U.S. Capitol Police. (CNN / NBC News)

3/ Mitch McConnell was hospitalized and is being treated for a concussion after falling. The hotel where the fall occurred was the Waldorf Astoria, formerly the Trump International Hotel. McConnell is expected to remain in the hospital for several more days. (ABC News / Washington Post / NBC News)

4/ U.S. companies cut nearly 80,000 job last month – up from 15,245 in February 2022. Since January, U.S. companies have announced more than 180,000 layoffs – the most for any January-February period since 2009. The Labor Department, meanwhile, reported that the number of new unemployment claims rose 21,000 to 211,000 for the week ending March 4 – the biggest increase in five months. Economists, however, expect Friday’s job report to show that the economy added 225,000 new jobs in February. (Bloomberg / Reuters / CNBC)

Day 778: "No blank checks."

1/ Biden’s budget blueprint aims to cut federal budget deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade. As part of the budget, Biden wants to increase the Medicare payroll tax on people making more than $400,000 per year, as well as impose a tax on households worth more than $100 million. Biden will release his fiscal 2024 budget plan tomorrow and has faced pressure to cut spending by House Republicans, who have refused to raise the nation’s debt limit – setting up the risk of a national default. House Republicans, however, have yet to offer a blueprint to balance the federal budget, but nevertheless are reportedly planning to pursue cuts to the foreign aid budget, as well as health care, food assistance, and housing programs for poor Americans. (Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNN)

2/ The White House condemned Tucker Carlson for his false narrative that the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was a largely peaceful event, calling his depiction of the “unprecedented, violent attack on our Constitution” both “shameful” and “false.” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates added: “We also agree with what Fox News’s own attorneys and executives have now repeatedly stressed in multiple courts of law: that Tucker Carlson is not credible.” Bates was referencing revelations from the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News, which led to the disclosure that a senior vice president at Fox News testified in his deposition that he did not consider Carlson’s show to be a “credible source of news.” (Politico / New York Times / The Hill)

3/ Tucker Carlson claimed that he “passionately” hated Trump, according to documents released from the $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems. On Jan. 4, 2021, Carlson texted an unnamed Fox co-worker: “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait,” adding: “I hate him passionately […] I can’t handle much more of this.” Carlson continued: “What he’s good at is destroying things. He’s the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong.” (NBC News / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ Kevin McCarthy rejected President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s invitation to visit Ukraine. Although there is widespread bipartisan support for Ukraine in Congress, some House Republicans have called for an end to further military and financial aid to the country. “Let’s be very clear about what I said: no blank checks, OK? So, from that perspective, I don’t have to go to Ukraine to understand where there’s a blank check or not,” McCarthy said when informed about the invitation. “I will continue to get my briefings and others, but I don’t have to go to Ukraine or Kyiv to see it. And my point has always been, I won’t provide a blank check for anything.” The Pentagon, meanwhile, blocked the Biden administration from sharing American intelligence with the International Criminal Court in The Hague about Russian atrocities in Ukraine. Military leaders said they feared setting a precedent that might be used to prosecute Americans. The evidence reportedly includes material about Russia’s decisions to deliberately target civilian infrastructure and to abduct thousands of Ukrainian children. (Politico / CNN / New York Times)

5/ A bipartisan group of 12 senators introduced a bill that could be used to ban TikTok. While the RESTRICT Act isn’t aimed just at TikTok, it would give the federal government the ability to restrict or ban technologies from China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela – nations deemed to be U.S. adversaries. The Commerce Department would be tasked with reviewing, identifying, and mitigating perceived risks from technology produced by companies with ties to foreign adversaries that poses “undue or unacceptable risk” to U.S. national security. (CNBC / Politico / NBC News / CNN)

Day 777: "Dangerous and just unacceptable."

1/ The Biden administration is reportedly considering restarting the practice of detaining migrant families who cross the border illegally. Although Biden ended the policy after taking office, saying he wanted a more humane immigration system, the White House and Department of Homeland Security officials have met multiple times to discuss various border-policy proposals when Title 42 ends May 11. Title 42 – invoked by the Trump administration in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic – is a public health law that allowed border agents to rapidly expel asylum-seeking migrants who crossed the border illegally. More than 2.3 million people have been expelled under Title 42, which ends May 11 with the expiration of a national emergency for the Covid-19 pandemic. (New York Times / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Walgreens – the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain – will not dispense abortion pills in 20 states, including some places where abortion is still legal and available. Last month, 20 Republican state attorneys general threatened Walgreens and other pharmacies with legal action if they dispensed mifepristone. The Biden administration called Republican efforts to dissuade pharmacies from distributing abortion pills “dangerous and just unacceptable.” Meanwhile, five women who were denied abortions under Texas law while facing medical crises are suing the state – the first time that pregnant women have taken legal action against abortion bans. “[The women] have been denied necessary and potentially life-saving obstetrical care because medical professionals throughout the state fear liability under Texas’s abortion bans,” the lawsuit said. The women, however, are not seeking to block Texas’ abortion bans outright, but instead asked the court to clarify that abortions can be performed when a physician makes a “good faith judgment” that “the pregnant person has a physical emergent medical condition that poses a risk of death or a risk to their health (including their fertility).” (Politico / CNN / NPR / New York Times / CNN)

3/ The Federal Reserve warned that it will likely lift interest rates higher and faster than previously expected if incoming data continues to point to a strong economy and persistent inflation. “If the totality of the data were to indicate that faster tightening is warranted, we would be prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes,” Chairman Jerome Powell said, adding that “the latest economic data have come in stronger than expected, which suggests that the ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated.” Last year, the Fed raised interest rates at the fastest pace since the 1980s, lifting the borrowing costs from near zero to above 4.5%. Powell’s latest remarks suggest that the Fed could raise rates to 5.6%. Fed officials also project that the unemployment rate will reach 4.6% by the end of the year – up from 3.4% currently. Historically, when the jobless rate has increased by at least 1 percentage point, a recession has followed. 56% of voters, meanwhile, say they want the Fed to stop increasing interest rates before it triggers a recession. (CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Groundwork Collaborative)

4/ Biden proposed raising taxes on Americans earning more than $400,000 in an attempt to ensure that Medicare is funded for at least the next 25 years. The plan would raise Medicare taxes to 5% from 3.8%. The Biden administration also proposed allowing Medicare to expand its ability to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Forecasters have warned that Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund, known as Part A, will be able to fully pay scheduled benefits until 2028. Medicare covers more than 65 million senior citizens and people with disabilities. The plan is part of the White House’s 2024 budget proposal, but will likely be rejected by the Republican-controlled House. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / NPR / CNN / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)

5/ Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger denounced Tucker Carlson for airing an “offensive and misleading” portrayal of the Jan. 6 insurrection, including a “disturbing accusation” that Officer Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with the riot. In an internal message to officers, Manger wrote that Carlson’s program “conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video” to incorrectly portray the violent attack as “mostly peaceful chaos,” adding that Carlson’s “commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments.” Kevin McCarthy granted Carlson access to more than 40,000 hours of the Capitol security footage from Jan. 6, which Carlson used in an attempt to downplay the violence and defend the pro-Trump mob. Mitch McConnell and several Senate Republicans called Carlson’s portrayal of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol a “mistake.” (Politico / CNN / NBC News / Associated Press / ABC News)

Day 776: "I am your retribution."

1/ Trump pledged to stay in the 2024 presidential race even if he’s indicted, saying “I am your retribution.” Trump is facing two state investigations and two federal investigations: Prosecutors in Atlanta are considering charges against Trump over his efforts to pressure Georgia state officials to overturn his 2020 loss to Biden; the Justice Department is investigating Trump’s actions related to the Jan. 6 insurrection; a Justice Department special counsel is also looking at his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House; and prosecutors in New York are looking at his past business practices, including alleged hush money payments to a former mistress. Trump, meanwhile, won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll with 62% of the votes. His closest rival – Ron DeSantis – won 20% of the votes. (New York Times / USA Today / ABC News / CNBC)

2/ Trump asked a federal court to block Pence from testifying to a grand jury about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, citing executive privilege. The grand jury subpoena seeks documents and testimony from Pence related to the Jan. 6 events where pro-Trump rioters tried to disrupt the certification of Biden Electoral College victory by Congress. At the time, Pence was presiding over the certification proceedings as president of the Senate. Pence has claimed that because he was acting as president of the Senate that day, he is protected by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which shields lawmakers from some law enforcement actions. (CNN / New York Times)

3/ Paul Manafort agreed to pay $3.15 million to settle a civil case filed by the Justice Department over his “willful failure to timely report his financial interest in foreign bank accounts.” Manafort failed to disclosed to the Treasury Department nearly two dozen bank accounts related to consulting work in Ukraine from 2006 to 2014. (CNN / NBC News / Washington Post)

4/ A cancerous lesion was removed from Biden’s chest during his physical last month and all cancerous tissue was successfully removed, White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer with approximately 3.6 million cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. (Politico / ABC News / Washington Post)

5/ Since 2017, nearly three-quarters of all new debt was approved in bills supported by Republicans, and three-fifths of it was signed into law by Trump, according to an analysis of House and Senate voting records and the fiscal estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The CBO projects that the 13 new laws signed into law since 2017 will combine to add more than $11.5 trillion to the debt. Since 2000, the national debt has grown from under $6 trillion to $31.4 trillion. (New York Times)

Day 772: "A big deal."

1/ Trump can be sued by injured Capitol Police officers and Democratic lawmakers over the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. In a federal court filing, the Justice Department said Trump is not entitled to absolute immunity against civil lawsuits seeking to hold him liable for the attack because “no part of a President’s official responsibilities includes the incitement of imminent private violence.” Although Trump enjoys broad legal latitude to communicate to the public on matters of concern, attorneys for the Justice Department’s civil division wrote that “by definition, such conduct plainly falls outside the President’s constitutional and statutory duties.” Two U.S. Capitol Police officers and 11 Democratic House members are seeking to hold Trump liable for injuries and damages caused during the riot. Trump has argued that he was acting in his official capacity as president when he told a crowd to “fight like hell” to keep Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election. (Washington Post / NBC News / Bloomberg / Associated Press / CNN / Reuters)

2/ The House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into George Santos, who has admitted to numerous fabrications about his background and faced questions about his campaign and personal finances. The probe will look at whether Santos “engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign,” including allegations of sexual misconduct, failure to properly disclose information on his House financial disclosures, and whether he violated federal conflict of interest laws. Santos responded to the investigation, tweeting in third-person that “George Santos is fully cooperating.” (The Hill / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / Associated Press / CNBC)

3/ Biden plans to ask Congress for $1.6 billion to recapture stolen Covid-19 relief funds and help victims of identity theft. The Trump and Biden administrations distributed about $5 trillion in pandemic relief funds, and some experts estimate that more than a quarter of a trillion dollars were stolen by fraudsters. At least $2 billion has been recovered so far. (Washington Post / NBC News / Reuters)

4/ Eli Lilly will cap the out-of-pocket costs of insulin at $35 a month – a 70% cut in the price of its most commonly prescribed insulin products. About 8.4 million people in the U.S. with diabetes rely on insulin in order to live, and the annual cost of medical care for people with diabetes runs $9,601 on average. Eli Lilly will cut the list price of its generic insulin to $25 a vial on May 1 – down from its current list price of $82.41 per vial. And for people with private insurance, the out-of-pocket costs will be capped at $35. Biden called the announcement as “a big deal.” (NBC News / NPR / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Associated Press)

5/ The Senate voted to repeal a Biden administration rule that allowed retirement funds to consider climate and social factors in their investments decisions. Republicans have complained that the rule is a “woke” policy that politicizes retirement investments by pushing liberal environmental and social goals on Americans. Republicans have also argued that the rule would lead to disinvestment from the fossil fuel industry. The rule, however, is not a mandate to consider the environmental, social, and governance factors in investment selections. It was intended to reverse Trump-era policy that discouraged ESG investments. Nevertheless, Senate Republicans, with the help Jon Tester and Joe Manchin, passed the resolution the by a vote of 50 to 46 – a day after the House voted to rescind the rule. Biden, meanwhile, has threatened to veto the measure. (New York Times / Politico / CNN)

Day 771: "To thwart and obfuscate."

1/ Rupert Murdoch testified that several Fox News hosts “endorsed” Trump’s false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Murdoch, chairman of Fox News’s parent company, conceded in a deposition taken by Dominion Voting Systems that Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs promoted false claims that the election was stolen and that he could have stopped them but didn’t. “I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it, in hindsight,” Murdoch said. The Executive Chairman also said that it was “wrong” for Tucker Carlson to allow MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to make baseless election fraud claims on Fox News, but argued that it was a business decision, saying “it is not red or blue, it is green.” A recently unsealed court filing revealed text messages and emails that many of the most prominent executives, hosts, and producers had privately said claims of election fraud in the 2020 election were bogus. Dominion sued Fox News in March 2021 and is seeking $1.6 billion for alleged lies that “deeply damaged Dominion’s once-thriving business.” (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg)

2/ Democratic leaders called on Rupert Murdoch “to stop spreading false election narratives and admit on the air that they were wrong to engage in such negligent behavior.” In a letter to Murdoch and the leadership of Fox News, Chuck Schumer and Hakeem Jeffries wrote: “Though you have acknowledged your regret in allowing this grave propaganda to take place, your network hosts continue to promote, spew, and perpetuate election conspiracy theories to this day.” Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, defended his decision to give Fox News’ Tucker Carlson “exclusive” access to to 41,000 hours of Jan. 6 security footage of the Capitol attack. McCarthy and House republicans are also moving to provide defendants in Jan. 6-related cases access to the footage. (Washington Post / CNBC / ABC News / Associated Press / The Hill / Wall Street Journal)

3/ FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News that COVID-19 pandemic “most likely” started after a lab incident in Wuhan, China. The FBI’s assessment, however, is not the consensus among intelligence and scientific communities, though the Energy Department recently concluded in a “low confidence” assessment that COVID-19 most likely arose from a laboratory leak. “The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” Wray said on Fox News. “Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab.” Wray added that the Chinese government “has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate” investigations into the origin of the pandemic. (NBC News / CNN / USA Today / NPR / Axios / New York Times)

4/ The Georgia Senate Ethics Committee approved legislation to ban ballot drop boxes statewide, as well as make it easier to kick voters off the rolls through residency challenges. The bill, which was rewritten multiple times this week, was passed Tuesday night after limited debate and builds on Georgia’s 2021 election law, which allowed an unlimited number of challenges of voter eligibility, shortened the period to request an absentee ballot, and shortened the early voting period before a runoff election. The expansion of challenges to voter registrations based on names appearing on the National Change of Address database, however, might violate the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The next step would be a full vote in the Georgia Senate. (Georgia Public Broadcasting / Associated Press / NBC News)

5/ A Republican in Florida’s state Legislature proposed eliminating the Florida Democratic Party, disenfranchising some 5 million voters. “The Ultimate Cancel Act” would “immediately cancel” any party that “previously advocated for” slavery, which the Democratic Party did more than 150 years ago. All registered voters who belong to a canceled party would also be notified that their party no longer exists and have their voter registration changed to “no party affiliation.” (NBC News)

6/ Mississippi’s Republican governor signed a bill banning transgender health care for minors – the seventh state to enact restrictions on puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgery for minors. The bill also bans public funding for any institution or individual that provides such care to minors. A Republican in the Tennessee Senate, meanwhile, proposed banning gender-affirming care for low-income people, including adults, in the state. Republican lawmakers in at least five states have proposed similar bills to limit such care for adults. (NBC News / Washington Post)

Day 764: "Indifference and betrayal."

1/ Trump – who repealed an Obama-era rule that required “high-hazard” cargo trains to be equipped with an advanced braking technology – visited the site of a toxic train derailment in Ohio. “Unfortunately, as you know, in too many cases, your goodness and perseverance were met with indifference and betrayal, in some cases,” Trump said. In 2018, at the urging of railroad and industry lobbyists, the Trump administration repealed an Obama-era rule that required electronically controlled pneumatic brakes on trains hauling a certain amount of flammable liquids, such as crude oil and ethanol. While the Obama-era brake rule would not have directly applied to the train that derailed in East Palestine, rail experts said the accident would have been less severe had the train had the upgraded brakes. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, meanwhile, plans to visit the site of the train derailment on Thursday – 20 days after a 150-car train carrying oil and toxic chemicals derailed, caused a fire, and spilled toxic chemicals into the environment and community of 4,000. (Politico / Bloomberg / Associated Press / Politico / NBC News / CNN)

2/ The Biden administration issued a new immigration rule that would bar migrants from applying for asylum in the U.S. if they crossed the border illegally or failed to first apply for safe harbor in another country. The new rule would take effect on May 11 and remain in place for two years. May 11 is also the end date of the Title 42, a Trump-era pandemic emergency rule that has been used more than 2 million times to expel asylum seekers on public health grounds. (Politico / CNN / New York Times / USA Today / Washington Post)

3/ Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were subpoenaed by the special counsel overseeing the investigation into Trump’s efforts to remain in office after losing the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Jack Smith wants the couple to testify before a federal grand jury. Both Ivanka and Kushner served as senior Trump White House advisors. Smith previously issued a subpoena to Pence, who has said he will oppose the demand for his testimony, as well as Mark Meadows. (New York Times / CNBC)

4/ Kevin McCarthy provided Fox News host Tucker Carlson with exclusive access to the Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 insurrection. Carlson said he received “unfettered”access to 41,000 hours of surveillance footage, and that his producers have been looking at the video “trying to figure out what it means and how it contradicts or not the story we’ve been told for two years” about the riot. Five people died as a result of the attack, and 140 members of law enforcement were injured by the mob of Trump supporters. Democrats, meanwhile, criticized the move, calling it an “egregious security breach that endangers the hardworking women and men of the United States Capitol Police.” (Axios / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / Associated Press)

  • Fox News feared losing viewers by airing truth about election, documents show. “Newly disclosed messages and testimony from some of the biggest stars and most senior executives at Fox News revealed that they privately expressed disbelief about President Donald J. Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, even though the network continued to promote many of those lies on the air.” (Washington Post / New York Times)
  • Arizona’s top prosecutor concealed records debunking election fraud claims. “Newly released documents show how Republican Mark Brnovich publicized an incomplete account of his office’s probe of the 2020 election in Maricopa County.” (Washington Post)

poll/ 50% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said their party has a better chance of winning the White House in 2024 with Biden as their nominee. In November, 54% reported “someone else” would give the Democrats a better chance of winning. (NPR)

Day 763: "Plot twist."

1/ The U.S. formally accused Russia of committing crimes against humanity in Ukraine for “targeting civilians with death,” using rape as “a weapon of war,” stealing Ukrainian children and “reeducating” them, and targeting train stations, maternity wards, hospitals, schools, and orphanages. Biden made an unannounced visit to Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – taking a nearly 10-hour train ride from Poland to Kyiv to show his administration’s “unwavering support.” After meeting with Zelenskyy, Biden vowed that the U.S. would “not tire” in its support of Ukraine. “One year later, Kyiv stands,” Biden said. “And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands. The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you.” (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News / Politico / Washington Post)

2/ Putin suspended participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the U.S. Putin, however, said Russia will not “withdraw” completely from the New START nuclear nonproliferation agreement, but that Russia won’t allow NATO countries to inspect its nuclear arsenal. The 2011 treaty placed “verifiable limits” on the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles and deployed nuclear warheads. In his state-of-the-nation address, Putin accused the U.S. and NATO of “using Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia,” adding: “It was they who unleashed this war. We are using force to stop the war.” (Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / The Guardian)

3/ The U.S. warned that China was “considering providing lethal assistance to Russia” in its efforts in Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken cautioned Beijing against providing “material support” to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Beijing responded, saying the U.S. was “not qualified to issue any orders to China” and that the Biden administration should “stop shirking responsibility and disseminating fake news.” Chinese leader Xi Jinping, meanwhile, is expected to visit Putin in the coming months. Immediately before Russia invaded Ukraine, Moscow and Beijing issued a joint statement and declared a “no limits” partnership. (Politico / New York Times / CBS News / ABC News)

4/ The special grand jury that investigated Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results recommended indictments of multiple people on a range of charges. “It is not a short list,” the forewoman said, adding “You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science […] it is not going to be some giant plot twist.” Rudy Giuliani and 16 Republicans who were part of a fake electors scheme are known targets in the inquiry. (New York Times / Associated Press / The Hill)

5/ The EPA will take control of the cleanup of the Norfolk Southern train derailment in Ohio that released hazardous chemicals into the environment. Norfolk Southern will be required to remediate the site under a plan approved by the EPA and pay for the remediation costs. The company has two days to respond to the directive. The EPA’s response comes 18 days after the Feb. 3 train derailment. (Washington Post / NPR / Associated Press / Bloomberg / NBC News)

Day 758: "The evidence is compelling."

1/ The special grand jury investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election concluded that “one or more witnesses” committed perjury during their testimony and urged Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to “seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.” Willis will now decide whether to criminally charge Trump or his allies based, in part, on the findings by the special grand jury. Willis told a judge last month that decisions about potential prosecutions were “imminent.” The jurors also “unanimously” concluded “that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election,” rejecting Trump’s conspiracy theories after hearing “extensive testimony” from election officials, poll workers, and other experts. Witnesses were not identified in the public, five-page excerpt of the grand jury report, nor did it mention which Georgia laws – other than perjury – the jurors believe may have been violated. (Associated Press / NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNN / CNBC)

2/ The special counsel investigating Trump’s his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection subpoenaed Mark Meadows for documents and testimony. Meadows is one of Trump’s most senior officials that Jack Smith’s office has subpoenaed. Last week, Smith subpoenaed Pence. Smith also is investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving office. (CNN)

3/ The FBI conducted two planned searches at the University of Delaware as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into Biden’s handling of classified documents. The previously undisclosed searches were conducted in recent weeks, with the consent and cooperation of Biden’s legal team. The FBI removed multiple boxes from the premises, but the documents reportedly didn’t have classified markings. (CNN / CBS News / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Biden suggested that the three unidentified objects the U.S. military shot down were unrelated to the Chinese spy balloon, but that his administration still doesn’t “know exactly” what the objects were. The U.S. intelligence community’s current assessment is that the aerial objects were “most likely tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions.” Biden added that there is no evidence of a “sudden increase in number of objects in the sky.” (New York Times / CNN / Axios / Bloomberg / ABC News)

5/ The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the state’s near-total bans on abortion will remain in place while legal challenges continue. The state legislature passed two laws in 2019 that ban nearly all abortions in Kentucky with no exceptions for rape or incest. The American Civil Liberties Union has challenged the two laws on behalf of Kentucky’s two remaining clinics, which were forced to stop providing abortions in early August. The ACLU argued that the laws violate Kentucky’s state constitution, including the “right of seeking and pursuing their safety and happiness” and freedom from “absolute and arbitrary power.” In November, Kentucky voters rejected a ballot measure that would have amended the state constitution to explicitly say that there is no right to an abortion. (Politico / NPR)

6/ The president of the World Bank will resign after refusing to say whether he accepted the overwhelming scientific consensus that fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis. David Malpass, who was nominated by Trump, said he would resign in June – a year before his term ends. The departure allows Biden to install a new head of the World Bank who can implement the administration’s goal of overhauling the financial institution to focus more on fighting climate change. (Associated Press / New York Times / Axios / Washington Post / Bloomberg / The Guardian)

Day 757: "No second chances."

1/ The U.S. is track to add nearly $19 trillion in new debt over the next decade – $3 trillion more than previously forecast. The Congressional Budget Office added that the federal deficit will hit $1.4 trillion this year, and that deficits will average $2 trillion annually over the next decade, as tax receipts fail to keep pace with the rising costs of mandatory spending on programs like Medicare and Social Security. The nation’s debt currently exceeds $31 trillion. (New York Times / Politico)

2/ The U.S. could default as soon as July if the Congress doesn’t reach an agreement on lifting the debt ceiling. Although the Treasury Department is using so-called “extraordinary measures” to continue making good on federal obligations, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned that the Treasury “could run out of funds before July.” Republicans, meanwhile, have refused to raise or suspend the cap unless Democrats agree to unspecified spending cuts. Biden and the Democrats, however, have rejected negotiations on spending cuts, arguing that lawmakers should raise the debt limit without any other conditions. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated that an “economic and financial catastrophe” would ensue if Congress doesn’t act. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / CNN)

3/ The 19-year-old white supremacist who killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket was sentenced to life in prison without parole. “There can be no mercy for you, no understanding, no second chances,” Judge Susan Eagan said, telling Payton Gendron “there is no place for you or your ignorant, hateful and evil ideologies in a civilized society.” Gendron pleaded guilty in November to 15 criminal charges, including murder and first-degree domestic terrorism motivated by hate – a charge that carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole. Gendron also faces 27 federal hate crime and firearm charges, which could make him eligible for the death penalty. (Associated Press / NPR / CNN / ABC News / New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ The Justice Department closed its sex trafficking investigation into Matt Gaetz and will not charge the congressman. Federal prosecutors and the FBI began investigating Gaetz in 2020 over allegations that the congressman had violated federal law by paying for sex, including sex with a minor that he transported across state lines to engage in prostitution. Gaetz’s close friend, Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty in 2021 to six federal crimes, including sex trafficking involving a person under 18 years old, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Greenberg was sentenced to 11 years in prison. (CNN / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

5/ Federal prosecutors investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents asked a court to force one of Trump’s lawyers to answer questions before a grand jury. The Justice Department cited the “crime fraud” exception to attorney-client privilege, saying they have evidence that some of Trump’s conversations with his lawyer, Evan Corcoran, were used to carry out a crime or fraud. Although Corcoran already appeared before the grand jury, he repeatedly invoked attorney-client privilege in declining to answer certain questions. The Justice Department’s motion is seeking to compel Corcoran’s testimony. (New York Times / Politico / CNN / NBC News / Associated Press)

Day 756: "A new generation of leadership."

1/ Inflation climbed 6.4% in January, down from 6.5% in December, and well below the June peak of 9.1%. While it was the seventh straight year-over-year slowdown, the January consumer price index was still higher than expected. On a monthly basis, inflation climbed 0.5% from December – up from the previous reading of 0.1%. Economists expect inflation to fall to roughly 4% later this year. Today’s inflation reading and a recent unexpectedly strong jobs report puts the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates at their March meeting to ensure inflation continues to fall. Investors now expect the Fed to raise rates to around 5.2% by the summer, and then hold rates above 5% through the end of 2023. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News)

  • Biden named Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard to serve as the White House’s top economic advisor. Brainard will replace White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, who announced his resignation. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

2/ Pence will challenge a federal grand jury subpoena issued by the special counsel investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Pence is expected to advance a novel legal theory that the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause shields him from testifying, saying his role as president of the Senate – i.e. a member of the legislative branch – insulates him from grand jury questions. Jack Smith’s office is seeking documents and testimony from Pence about the Jan. 6 insurrection, when Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted the certification of Biden’s election victory – a process that Pence was presiding over in the Senate at the time. (Politico / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

3/ South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill prohibiting gender-affirming care for transgender minors. The law will ban the prescription of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender-affirming surgery for transgender people under the age of 18 in the state. Health care providers who violate the new law risk civil lawsuits and losing their professional or occupational licenses. (CNN / Associated Press)

4/ The Florida legislature expanded a program used to fly migrants to Democratic-led cities and states. Gov. Ron DeSantis can now relocate migrants from any state in the country – not just from Florida – to blue states that have sanctuary policies in place. The measure, passed both Republican-led chambers along party lines during a special session, formally creates the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program under the state’s Division of Emergency Management. It now goes to DeSantis for his signature. (NBC News)

5/ Gov. Ron DeSantis wanted to ban weapons from a campaign event but suggested that the city take responsibility for the firearms ban. DeSantis has been a vocal supporter of gun rights. In an October email, the city-run Tampa Convention Center’s safety and security manager wrote: “DeSantis/his campaign will not tell their attendees they are not permitted to carry because of the political optics,” adding: “Basically it sounds like they want us to say it’s our policy to disallow firearms within the event space if anyone asks.” (Washington Post)

6/ Nikki Haley announced that she will run for president, saying “It’s time for a new generation of leadership.” Haley is the first Republican to challenge Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination. (Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times / CBS News)

7/ Trump reportedly wants to expand the use of the death penalty and bring back death by firing squad, by hanging, and by guillotine if re-elected. Trump has also suggested televising footage of executions. “The [former] president believes this would help put the fear of God into violent criminals,” one source said. “He wanted to do some of these [things] when he was in office, but for whatever reasons didn’t have the chance.” (Rolling Stone)

Day 755: "A growing wave of violence and trauma."

1/ The U.S. shot down three “unidentified object” flying over Alaska, Canada, and Michigan – the fourth such downing in eight days. Pentagon and intelligence officials said they couldn’t confirm whether the objects were a balloon, but said they were traveling at an altitude – about 20,000 feet – that made it a potential threat to civilian aircraft. The Chinese spy balloon that drifted over the U.S. flew at 60,000 feet, which didn’t pose a danger to aircraft. Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Northern Command, said: “I’m not going to categorize them as balloons. We’re calling them objects for a reason. I’m not able to categorize how they stay aloft.” After the briefing, a defense official clarified that there was “no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns.” The Pentagon later said the unidentified flying object shot down in Canadian airspace appeared to be a “small, metallic balloon with a tethered payload below it.” The Biden administration, meanwhile, announced the formation of an interagency group to address the unidentified objects flying over North American skies. (Associated Press / CNN / ABC News / NBC News / New York Times)

2/ A Georgia judge ruled that portions of a Fulton County grand jury’s investigation into Trump and his allies’ actions after the 2020 election be made public. In an eight-page ruling, Judge Robert McBurney ordered the report’s introduction and conclusion, as well as the section where jurors expressed concern “that some witnesses may have lied under oath during their testimony,” to be made public on Thursday. Those witnesses are not identified. Recommendations on who should or should not be prosecuted will also remain secret to protect their due process rights. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said last month that decisions on whether to bring charges were “imminent.” (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The special counsel investigating Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol subpoenaed Pence for documents and testimony. Jack Smith’s office wants Pence to testify about his interactions with Trump leading up to the 2020 election and the day of the attack on the Capitol. Trump’s lawyers, however, are expected to fight Pence’s subpoena on executive privilege grounds. (CNN / NBC News / NPR)

4/ Trump’s legal team turned over more materials with classified markings, including a laptop belonging to an aide who works for Save America PAC. The Trump aide had previously copied those same pages onto a thumb drive and laptop, apparently not realizing they were classified. The laptop and the thumb drive were turned over to investigators in January. Trump’s attorneys also handed over an empty folder marked “Classified Evening Briefing.” One of Trump’s lawyers, Tim Parlatore, said the empty classified folder was in Trump’s bedroom because Trump used it block the blue light from his landline telephone. The FBI, meanwhile, removed one document with classified markings from Pence’s Indiana home, and six “additional pages without such markings that were not discovered in the initial review” were also removed. (CNN / NBC News)

5/ Trump’s 2020 campaign hired a research firm to prove Trump’s electoral-fraud claims. Berkeley Research Group was hired to study 2020 election results in six states and look for fraud or irregularities to highlight in public and in the courts. The findings, however, were never released because the research contradicted some of Trump’s theories, such as his baseless allegations about rigged voting machines and large numbers of dead people voting, and the firm couldn’t prove that Trump was the rightful winner of the election. (Washington Post)

6/ CDC researchers reported that teen girls in the U.S. are “engulfed in a growing wave of violence and trauma,” showing increases in rape, suicidal thoughts, and record levels of feeling sad or hopeless. Nearly 15% of teen girls reported that they were forced to have sex – an increase of 27% and the first increase since the CDC began tracking it; 30% of teen girls said they have seriously considered suicide — up nearly 60% over the past 10 years; and 57% of teen girls said they felt “persistently sad or hopeless” – double the rate of boys and the highest in a decade. The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey is done every two years and is based on data collected from a nationally representative sample of students in public and private high schools. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Bloomberg)

Day 751: "Brazen."

1/ The Chinese spy balloon carried antennas and sensors for collecting intelligence and communications. The Pentagon, State Department, and FBI said China’s military-led spy balloon program was part of an effort to surveil “more than 40 countries across five continents.” While still in the air, American U-2 flybys captured high-resolution images of the Chinese balloon showed is was equipped with “multiple antennas to include an array likely capable of collecting and geolocating communications,” which were “clearly for intelligence surveillance and inconsistent with the equipment on board weather balloons.” The manufacturer of the balloon has a direct relationship with the Chinese military. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

2/ The House passed a resolution condemning China for its “brazen violation of United States sovereignty.” The resolution passed 419-0, after House Republicans initially tried but failed to symbolically rebuke Biden’s response to the balloon. The measure also calls on the Biden administration to provide additional briefings to members of Congress surrounding the balloon’s entry into U.S. airspace and decision-making process around downing the balloon. (Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Politico)

3/ Russia suggested that its U.S. relations are in a state of “unprecedented crisis.” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov argued that the U.S. supplying Ukraine with weapons leaves no room for diplomacy and “has driven them into a deadlock.” Ryabkov also blamed the U.S. for the explosions that damaged the Nord Stream pipelines, threatening of unspecified “consequences” from Moscow for the “disgusting crime.” An investigation into the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline ruptures detected explosive residue and concluded the cause was “grievous sabotage.” (Associated Press / Bloomberg)

4/ North Korea displayed nearly a dozen advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles – reportedly enough to overwhelm U.S. missile defense systems. Images from state-run media show North Korea’s military parading at least 11 Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missiles down the streets of Pyongyang. The weapon is North Korea’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile and has the potential to reach the continental U.S. Pyongyang, however, hasn’t been able to demonstrate the warhead’s ability to survive reentry. A nuclear policy expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace suggested that eleven ICBMs could be enough to overwhelm the 44 ground-based interceptors the U.S. can launch from Alaska and California to destroy an oncoming ICBM in flight. (Politico / Reuters / CNN / Washington Post / ABC News / New York Times)

5/ The Supreme Court discussed, but failed to agree an ethics code of conduct. Although the nine justices say they voluntarily comply with the same guidelines that apply to other federal judges, internal discussions about adopting a formal code of ethics date back at least to 2019 and have failed to produce agreement. The justices have maintained that they can’t be bound by all of the rules that apply to lower court judges because of the unique role the Constitution assigns the Supreme Court. (Washington Post / CNN)

Day 750: "You don't belong."

1/ Biden’s address to Congress highlighted his accomplishments on job growth, infrastructure, climate, drug price cuts for seniors, and consumer protections in his first two years in the White House. In his first State of the Union address to a divided Congress, Biden challenged the new House Republican majority to work with him, repeatedly saying “Let’s finish the job” while calling on lawmakers to pass policing reform, immigration legislation, codify abortion rights, and to cap the price of insulin. Republicans, however, heckled Biden over drugs entering the country and when he accused them of threatening Social Security and Medicare. Biden was also met with boos after he pointed out that 25% of the U.S. national debt was added under Trump’s tenure. “They’re the facts, check it out,” Biden replied. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / NPR / CNBC)

2/ Hakeem Jeffries suggested that Republicans who heckled Biden during the State of the Union address are unfit to serve in Congress. During his speech, Biden accused Republicans of holding the “economy hostage” over the debt ceiling while pushing to end entitlement programs. “Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans – some Republicans – want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.” Marjorie Taylor Greene, nevertheless, began calling Biden a “liar” from the back row over the reference to Rick Scott’s plan that “all federal legislation sunsets in 5 years.” (Medicare and Social Security were created through federal legislation and would seemingly need to be reauthorized every five years). Biden replied: “So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now, right?” Following the speech, Jeffries tweeted: “President Biden delivered a compelling speech outlining a vision to make life better for everyday Americans. And his dignity presented a stark contrast with the right-wing extremists who are unfit to serve.” (The Hill / Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times / Politico)

3/ Mitt Romney told George Santos “you don’t belong here” before Biden’s State of the Union address. Romney said he criticized Santos for “trying to shake hands […] given the fact that he’s under ethics investigation,” adding: “He should be sitting in the back row and staying quiet instead of parading in front of the president and people coming into the room.” Santos faces multiple investigations over his campaign finances and repeated lies about his resume and biography. Santos, meanwhile, said that Romney’s comments were “reprehensible” and “it wasn’t very Mormon of him.” (CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

4/ The Labor Department’s internal watchdog identified “at least $191 billion” in misspent pandemic unemployment benefits. The new estimate is nearly $30 billion more than the $163 billion that the government had identified last year. Federal officials, however, said they can’t accurately compute the total amount of federal pandemic aid subject to fraud and abuse. (Washington Post / Politico)

5/ The U.S. intelligence community said China’s spy balloon was part of a global surveillance program designed to collect information about the military capabilities of countries around the world. The Pentagon said that in recent years Chinese surveillance balloons have been spotted over Latin America, South America, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Europe, collecting information on military assets of emerging strategic interest to China. Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said that the State Department has shared this information with dozens of countries. “We’re doing so because the United States was not the only target of this broader program, which has violated the sovereignty of countries across five continents.” (New York Times / Washington Post)

poll/ 35% of Americans say they are better off now than they were a year ago, while 50% are worse off. Since 1976, the only other time half or more of Americans to say they were worse off was during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009. (Gallup)

Day 749: "It’s going to be bumpy."

1/ A federal judge suggested that the federal right to abortion might be protected by the Constitution’s 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said while the Supreme Court concluded that the 14th Amendment included no right to abortion, the question of whether the 13th Amendment provided a textual basis for the right to abortion went unexplored. In a pending criminal case against several anti-abortion activists, Kollar-Kotelly asked prosecutors and defense lawyers to address “whether the scope of Dobbs is in fact confined to the Fourteenth Amendment” and “whether, if so, any other provision of the Constitution could confer a right to abortion as an original matter […] such that Dobbs may or may not be the final pronouncement on the issue, leaving an open question.” (Politico / CNBC / The Hill)

2/ More than 3 million people in the U.S. were forced to evacuate their homes in the past year because of natural disasters worsened by a changing climate – about 1.4% of the U.S. adult population. While most displacements were short term, census figures show that roughly 16% of displaced adults never returned home, and 12% were displaced for more than six months. (E&E News / Politico)

3/ Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said “the process of getting inflation down has begun,” but is going to take time and interest rates may need to keep rising. Powell’s remarks followed the government’s jobs report that employers added 517,000 jobs in January – nearly double December’s gain – while unemployment fell to 3.4%, the lowest rate since 1969. Powell said the U.S. labor market remains “extraordinarily strong,” but the process of bringing inflation down to the Fed’s goal of 2% “is likely to take quite a bit of time. It’s not going to be, we don’t think, smooth. It’s probably going to be bumpy.” (Associated Press / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / CNN / New York Times)

4/ Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address tonight. He’s expected to address the economy and infrastructure, including the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure act, and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Biden is also expected to address raising the debt ceiling, which House Republicans have refused to raise without cuts to federal spending. Biden, who turned 80 in November, will be the oldest president to ever deliver a State of the Union address. (Associated Press / Politico / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NPR)

  • How to watch Biden’s State of the Union address. Biden’s speech is scheduled for 9 p.m. EST and will be broadcast by the major television networks and cable news TV channels. (Associated Press)

Day 748: "Our plan is working."

1/ The FBI arrested two people and charged them with conspiracy to attack the electrical substations around Baltimore and “completely destroy” the city. Sarah Clendaniel and Brandon Russell planned to use firearms to “inflict maximum harm on the power grid,” according to the FBI. The plot was reportedly driven by ethnically or racially motivated extremist beliefs. Russell is the founder of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen. Clendaniel and Russell met while incarcerated at separate prisons: Russell for possessing bombmaking materials and Clendaniel for robbing convenience stores with a machete. If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. (NPR / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times)

2/ The U.S. shot down the Chinese surveillance balloon off the Carolina coast Saturday, about a week after it was spotted crossing the U.S. The Navy and Coast Guard are trying to recover the surveillance equipment the balloon was carrying. The Chinese foreign ministry declared its “strong discontent and protest” at Biden’s decision to shoot down the balloon, claiming that it was a civilian aircraft that had accidentally blown into the U.S. The chair of the House Intelligence Committee, meanwhile, criticized the Biden administration for lacking a sense of “urgency” and that the ballon “never should have been allowed to complete its mission.” During the Trump administration, however, at least three suspected Chinese spy balloons flew over the continental U.S. undetected, which weren’t discovered until after the Trump administration had already left. (NBC News / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Politico / New York Times)

3/ Jim Jordan issued subpoenas to the heads of the Justice Department, FBI, and Department of Education seeking documents related to local school board meetings. The House Judiciary chairman said the request is part of the committee’s investigation into whether a 2021 Justice Department memo addressing threats against school officials was used to label parents as domestic terrorists. The FBI has never charged a single parent in connection with the memo. Nevertheless, Jordan requested that Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to turn over all documents about how they “used federal counterterrorism resources against American parents” by March 1. (Politico / CNN / NBC News / The Hill)

4/ Some Supreme Court justices often use personal email accounts for work. Court employees reportedly said they were nervous about confronting the justices about using secure servers to transmit sensitive information. Despite the court calling the leak of a draft opinion reversing Roe v. Wade a “grave assault” on the court’s legitimacy, three former court employees said that “burn bags” meant to ensure the safe destruction of sensitive materials were often left open and unattended in hallways. (CNN)

5/ The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a 53-year low at 3.4%. Employers, meanwhile, added 517,000 jobs in January – far higher than the 187,000 estimated. Biden called the jobs report “strikingly good news,” adding: “our plan is working because of the grit and resolve of the American worker.” (Associated Press / New York Times / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 41% of Americans say they’re not as well off financially as they were when Biden took office – the most since 1986. (ABC News)

poll/ 33% of Americans rate the current economy as “good,” compared to 66% who rate it as “bad.” 62% expect the economy to be slowing or in a recession next year, while 38% say the economy will be growing or at least holding steady. (CBS News)

poll/ 67% of Americans expect inflation to rise over the next six months; 48% predict the market will fall; 41% expect unemployment will rise; and 43% say gross domestic product will fall. (Gallup)

poll/ 68% of Americans said they have little or no confidence in Biden, and 70% said the same for Democrats in Congress. 71%, however, said they lack confidence in Kevin McCarthy and 72% said they have little faith in Republicans in Congress. (ABC News)

poll/ 62% of Americans think Biden has accomplished “not very much” or “little or nothing” during his time in office, while 36% say he’s accomplished “a great deal” or “a good amount.” (Washington Post)

poll/ 58% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning independents said they would prefer someone other than Biden as their nominee in 2024. 49% of Republican and Republican-leaning independents say they’d prefer someone other than Trump as their nominee. (Washington Post)

Day 744: "An absolute fool."

1/ The FBI plans to search Pence‘s Indiana home for classified material in the coming days. Last month, Pence’s lawyers said they had found several classified documents at his home and turned them over to authorities. The investigation into classified documents that Trump took to Mar-a-Lago, meanwhile, has escalated for more than a year to include a criminal investigation into possible obstruction, among other potential crimes, which special counsel Jack Smith is overseeing. (Wall Street Journal)

2/ House Republicans removed Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee for making what Kevin McCarthy described as “repeated antisemitic and anti-American remarks.” After entering Congress in 2019, Omar angered both Democrats and Republicans for suggesting on Twitter that Israel’s political allies in the U.S. were motivated by money rather than principle, saying: “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” In a party-line vote, the resolution condemns Omar for using an antisemitic trope connecting Jews to money and disapproved of Omar equating “atrocities” by the U.S. military to those committed by terrorist groups like the Taliban and Hamas. Omar, a refugee from Somalia and one of the first Muslim women to serve in the House, has apologized for her comments. Democrats, meanwhile, criticized the push to oust Omar, arguing it amounts to an act of political retribution after Democrats stripped Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar of their assignments last term for violent rhetoric and posts. (Washington Post / CNN / Associated Press / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Mitch McConnell removed Rick Scott from the Senate Commerce Committee as retribution for trying to replace him as leader of the GOP conference. McConnell also removed Mike Lee from the committee, who supported Scott’s effort to oust McConnell. (The Hill / CNN)

4/ Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment and declined to answer questions more than 400 times during an August deposition as part of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices. About a month later, James filed a lawsuit against Trump, three of his children, and executives of his business, accusing them of a long-running scheme to inflate the value of their properties. “This whole thing is very unfair,” Trump said in the deposition video. “Anyone in my position not taking the Fifth Amendment would be a fool, an absolute fool,” adding that on the advice of counsel, “I respectfully decline to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.” (CBS News / CNN / ABC News)

5/ Hunter Biden’s lawyers demanded that state and federal prosecutors open criminal investigations into who accessed and disseminated his personal data, and threatened Fox News’ Tucker Carlson with a defamation lawsuit for allegedly failing to correct false statements. Hunter’s lawyers allege that Trump’s allies broke the law in an effort to “weaponize” the personal data of Joe Biden‘s son during the 2020 election. It’s the first time Biden and his legal team have publicly addressed the reports that his personal data was found on a laptop left at a Delaware repair shop and shared by Republican operatives before the 2020 presidential election. A letter sent to the Justice Department’s National Security Division asked for an investigation into “individuals for whom there is considerable reason to believe violated various federal laws in accessing, copying, manipulating, and/or disseminating Mr. Biden’s personal computer data,” including Rudy Giuliani, who was Trump’s lawyer at the time, former computer repair shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac, Stephen Bannon, and their attorney Robert Costello. Biden’s lawyers wrote a similar letter to the Delaware attorney general’s office, requesting a probe into the same people, alleging they violated “various Delaware laws” in accessing Biden’s information from what Trump has called “the laptop from hell.” (Washington Post / NBC News / CBS News / Wall Street Journal / Axios)

6/ A federal judge ruled that a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of a man shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse can proceed. Rittenhouse was acquitted in 2021 of homicide charges after the then 17-year-old shot three men with an AR-style rifle at an August 2020 protest for racial justice in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing two: Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. Huber’s father, John Huber, filed a civil suit over his son’s death. Rittenhouse has maintained he acted in self-defense. (Associated Press / Washington Post / Rolling Stone)

Day 743: "A distraction."

1/ The FBI conducted a “planned search” of Biden’s beach house in Delaware, but found no documents with classified markings. Biden’s lawyer said the FBI did take some materials and handwritten notes that appeared to relate to his tenure as vice president. It’s the third known time that federal agents have searched properties associated with Biden for classified material. The FBI previously searched Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, as well as his Washington office of the Penn Biden Center in mid-November after Biden’s attorneys first discovered classified material in a locked closet. (CNN / ABC News / Washington Post / Politico / NPR / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Bloomberg / NBC News)

2/ The College Board revised its framework for an Advanced Placement African American studies course following criticism from Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had threatened to ban the class in Florida. The College Board removed the names of several Black authors associated with critical race theory, and topics such as Black Lives Matter, slavery reparations, and queer theory from the formal curriculum. Instead, the topics are suggested for end-of-the-year student research projects that are “not a required part of the course framework that is formally adopted by states.” The College Board said the revisions were based on input from teachers running the pilot classes, as well as experts in the field, which includes 300 professors of African American studies across the U.S., and that “no states or districts have seen the official framework that is released, much less provided feedback on it.” Today is the start of Black History Month. (New York Times / NPR / NBC News)

3/ George Santos will temporarily step down from his two congressional committees amid multiple investigations into his campaign finances and other issues, including lying about his resume and family background. Santos told colleagues he will step down from the House Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee because “he’s a distraction.” The FBI, meanwhile, is investigating Santos’ role in an alleged GoFundMe scheme involving a disabled U.S. Navy veteran’s dying service dog. 78% of voters in Santos’s congressional district want him to resign, as well as 59% of New York voters. (Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press)

4/ The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter-point, its eighth-consecutive hike, but the smallest since last March. “Inflation has eased somewhat but remains elevated,” the committee said in a statement, adding that rate hikes will be “ongoing” even at the risk of lost jobs. The Fed’s policy rate now sits between 4.5% and 4.75% – the highest since October 2007. (Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Bloomberg / CNBC / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Politico)

5/ Biden will end the Covid-19 national and public health emergencies in May, formally restructuring the federal response to treat the coronavirus as an endemic. The public health emergency provided many Americans with free Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, as well as enhanced social safety net benefits. More than 500 on average people in the U.S. are dying from Covid-19 each day – about twice the number of deaths per day during a bad flu season. House Republicans, meanwhile, passed legislation to repeal vaccine mandates and declare the pandemic over. (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN)

Day 741: "Reasonable and responsible."

1/ A sixth Memphis police officer “has been relieved of duty” for his involvement in the beating and subsequent death of Tyre Nichols by police officers. Five Black officers have been fired by the department and charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with Nichols’s death. The sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, has been suspended from duty and has not been charged. Hemphill is white. Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was stopped by police on Jan. 7 for an alleged traffic violation. Videos show police officers kicking Nichols in the head, pepper-spraying him, hitting him repeatedly with a baton, and using a Taser on him after he was pulled over purportedly for reckless driving. Nichols appeared subdued and defenseless, and showed no signs of fighting back in the videos of the incident. He died three days later. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Biden and Kevin McCarthy will meet Wednesday to discuss a “reasonable and responsible way” to lift the debt ceiling and avert a U.S. default. The Biden administration has argued that Congress has a “Constitutional obligation to prevent a national default” and should pass a debt limit increase without conditions attached – like Congress did three times during Trump’s tenure. McCarthy and Republicans, meanwhile, want to cut government spending, including to Social Security and Medicare benefits, in exchange for raising the borrowing cap. (Politico / CNN / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

3/ The Supreme Court didn’t disclose its longstanding financial ties with the person tasked with independently validating the investigation into the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. The court consulted with former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to assess the investigation, which failed to identify who was responsible for the unprecedented leak. Chertoff concluded that the probe was a thorough one and that he “cannot identify any additional useful investigative measures.” The court, however, has paid Chertoff’s consulting firm at least $1 million to improve the justices’ security. The exact amount couldn’t be determined because the Supreme Court isn’t covered by federal public disclosure rules. While all nine justices were interviewed as part of the court’s internal investigation into who leaked a draft of the opinion, the justices weren’t required to sign sworn affidavits attesting that they weren’t involved. (CNN)

4/ The Biden administration proposed ending a Trump-era exemption that allowed employer-provided health plans to exclude coverage of birth control on moral grounds. While the proposed rule would leave in place the existing religious exemption for employers with objections, it would create an independent pathway for individuals to access contraceptive services without charge. Doctors or facilities that provide contraception in this way would then be reimbursed by an insurer on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, which would then receive a credit on the user fee it pays the government. In 2018, the Trump administration allowed some employers to deny insurance coverage for contraception to their employees on religious or moral grounds. (CNN / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Trump, calling Ron DeSantis “very disloyal,” claimed that the Florida governor is “trying to rewrite history” about the state’s Covid-19 response. Trump said DeSantis had “changed his tune a lot” about vaccines and even “promoted the vaccine as much as anyone.” Trump added that “Florida was closed for a long period of time.” The WHO, meanwhile, said Covid-19 remains a global health emergency, though the crisis “may be approaching an inflection point.” (CNN / Politico / CNBC)

Day 737: "The fight of our lives."

1/ The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annualized rate in the fourth quarter last year, beating expectations despite high interest rates and fears of a recession. For the year overall, GDP grew 2.1% after growing 5.7% in 2021. Most economists, however, think the slowing economy will slide into at least a mild recession by midyear, triggered in part by the highest borrowing costs in decades. (CNBC / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Politico / Associated Press / Bloomberg / CBS News)

2/ Adam Schiff announced that he is running for U.S. Senate in 2024, seeking to replace Dianne Feinstein. Schiff has served in the House since 2001. “We’re in the fight of our lives for the future of our country,” Schiff said. “Our democracy is under assault from MAGA extremists, who care only about gaining power and keeping it. And our economy is simply not working for millions of Americans, who are working harder than ever just to get by.” The 89-year-old Feinstein, meanwhile, won’t announce her 2024 intentions until next year, saying “I need a little bit of time, so it’s not this year.” (Washington Post / Los Angeles times / KQED / NBC News / Politico / Raw Story New York Times)

3/ The Biden administration banned mining for 20 years in the watershed upstream from Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The plan closes over 350 square miles to mineral and geothermal leasing critical to a proposed copper and nickel mine the Trump administration had tried to greenlight. A 20-year moratorium is the longest amount of time the Interior Department can sequester the land without congressional approval. (Washington Post / New York Times / CBS News)

4/ The FBI seized the computer infrastructure used by a ransomware gang, which extorted more than $100 million from more than 1,500 victims worldwide, including hospitals, schools, and others. The Justice Department said it used a court order to seize two back-end servers belonging to the Hive ransomware group in Los Angeles, and took control of the group’s website. The FBI said it gained access to Hive’s computer networks in July and acquired decryption keys the bureau could pass to victims to decrypt their systems, which prevented more than $130 million in ransom payments. (Politico / CNN / NBC News)

5/ Florida students threatened to sue Gov. Ron DeSantis over his administration’s decision to reject an Advanced Placement African American studies course. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing three Florida AP honors high school students, accused DeSantis of violating federal and state constitutions by refusing to permit the course, adding that DeSantis “cannot exterminate our culture.” Florida Education Department, meanwhile, contends that the class is “contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.” (Washington Post / Axios)

poll/ 73% of Americans say House Republican leaders haven’t paid enough attention to the country’s most important problems. 67% disapprove of Republican leadership in Congress. (CNN)

Day 736: "Integrity matters."

1/ Kevin McCarthy blocked Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee in retribution for the Democratic-led House stripping Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar of their committee assignments in 2021 for embracing violence against Democratic members of Congress. McCarthy accused Schiff of lying when he served as chairman of the panel and “severely undermined its primary national security and oversight missions – ultimately leaving our nation less safe.”McCarthy also argued that Swalwell was unfit to serve on the committee because he was targeted by a suspected Chinese spy as part of an influence campaign in 2014, before he served on the intelligence panel. There’s no evidence of wrongdoing in relation to the allegation against Swalwell. Nevertheless, McCarthy said he made the decision “because integrity matters to me.” (Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

2/ A former senior FBI counterintelligence official in New York was arrested over his ties to a Russian oligarch. Federal prosecutors charged Charles McGonigal with violating U.S. sanctions, conspiracy, and money laundering for working in 2021 with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was sanctioned for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. From August 2017 through his retirement in September 2018, McGonigal allegedly concealed his relationship with Deripaska from the FBI while secretly taking cash payments of more than $225,000 and trying to get Deripaska removed from a U.S. sanctions list. (Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / NBC News / Associated Press / NPR / CNBC / CNN)

  • Perhaps related: On October 4, 2016, FBI Director James Comey named McGonigal as the special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the New York Field Office. Weeks later, on October 31, the FBI concluded that their investigation into Russian collusion, finding no link between Trump and the Russian government. This was 8 days before the Trump-Clinton election.

3/ About a dozen classified documents were found at Pence’s Indiana home. Like Biden, Pence turned them over to the FBI. While Pence has repeatedly said he didn’t have classified documents in his possession, his representative to the National Archives said a “small number of documents” with classified markings were “inadvertently boxed and transported” to Pence’s home at the end of Trump’s administration. FBI investigators, meanwhile, found six additional classified documents while conducting a search of Biden’s Delaware home. Those six items are in addition to materials previously found at Biden’s Wilmington residence and in his private office. (CNN / New York Times / CNN / Politico)

4/ The U.S. has seen at least 39 mass shootings so far this month and more than 60 people have been killed. In the deadliest shooting of 2023 so far, 11 people were killed and nine other injured when a gunman opened fire in a dance studio as people celebrated the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California. (NBC News / CBS News / New York Times)

5/ The Biden administration will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, following agreement with Germany to deliver 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks. European allies will also send enough tanks to assemble two Leopard tank battalions — equivalent to at least 70 tanks. Biden said the tanks would “enhance the Ukrainians’ capacity to defend its territory, adding that “there is no offensive threat to Russia. If Russian troops return to Russia, where they belong, this war would be over today.” (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Politico)

6/ The Doomsday Clock moved up to 90 seconds to midnight. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set the clock 10 seconds closer than last year due in part to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and threats of nuclear war, the threats of climate change, and concerns about more pandemics caused by humans. “We are sending a message that the situation is becoming more urgent,” Bulletin President Rachel Bronson said. “Crises are more likely to happen and have broader consequences and longer standing effects.” (USA Today / Associated Press)

7/ Facebook will reinstate Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts “in coming weeks” following a two-year suspension for inciting violence in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. “However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses,” the company said. Nick Clegg, the company’s president, global affairs, added: “We’ve always believed that Americans should be able to hear from the people who want to lead the country. We don’t want to stand in the way of that.” (Axios / CNN / CNBC)

Day 730: "Breach of trust."

1/ The Supreme Court cannot identify the person who leaked a draft of the opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, which the court has called “one of the worst breaches of trust in its history.” Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley conducted 126 formal interviews of 97 employees, but “was unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.” Curley said 82 employees had access to copies of the draft opinion. The court also said it could not rule out that the opinion was inadvertently disclosed, “for example, by being left in a public space either inside or outside the building,” but also “the Court’s IT experts cannot absolutely rule out a hack.” (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / CNN / Associated Press / NPR)

2/ The U.S. reached its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, forcing the Treasury Department to begin resorting to “extraordinary measures” to pay the bills. With no deal in sight to raise the artificial debt ceiling, the Treasury Department suspended certain federal investments to prevent a default that would cause “irreparable harm” to the economy. The accounting measures will preserve the nation’s ability to meet financial obligations until at least June 5. House Republicans have said they will not raise the borrowing limit unless Biden agrees to cuts in federal spending, including potentially to Social Security and Medicare. Biden and the Democrats, meanwhile, have said they will not negotiate and that it’s inappropriate to attach conditions to raising the limit. “I respectfully urge Congress to act promptly to protect the full faith and credit of the United States,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote to Kevin McCarthy. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC / Associated Press / NBC News)

3/ The State Department will allow private citizens to financially sponsor the resettlement of refugees in the U.S. The pilot program, called “Welcome Corps,” will initially enlist 10,000 Americans, who will be able to sponsor up to 5,000 refugees. Groups of at least five people will be required to raise an initial $2,275 per refugee to help support them during their first three months in the country. Since 1980, the refugee program has been managed by nine federally funded nonprofits, which resettled at least 65,000 refugees a year. Trump, however, set the admissions ceiling at 15,000 refugees in his final year and gutted the refugee admissions infrastructure both in the U.S. and abroad. (Associated Press / CBS News / Politico / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NPR)

4/ A federal judge declined to dismiss the contempt of Congress charges against Peter Navarro for defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 Committee. The former Trump White House adviser will now go to trial at the end of the month for refusing to testify and refusing to provide documents. He faces a maximum sentence of a year in prison on each contempt of Congress charge if convicted. (Politico / CNN)

Day 729: "Distorted."

1/ George Santos reportedly scammed a disabled veteran out of $3,000 by using a fake animal charity to raise money for the veteran’s service dog’s cancer treatment. In May 2016, a veterinary technician connected U.S. Navy veteran Richard Osthoff with someone named Anthony Devolder, who ran a pet charity called “Friends of Pets United,” to set up a GoFundMe for his service dog Sapphire. Anthony Devolder, however, is an alias that Santos used for years before entering politics in 2020. After raising $3,000 for Sapphire’s lifesaving surgery, Osthoff says “Devolder” made excuses and became uncooperative before disappearing with the funds. Sapphire died Jan. 15, 2017. When asked for a comment, Santos replied: “Fake. No clue who this is.” (Patch.com / Semafor / CNN)

2/ Immigration records contradict George Santos’s claim that his mother died on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City. Fatima Devolder applied for a U.S. visa in February 2003. She had not been in the U.S. since 1999. She died Dec. 23, 2016, after which Santos solicited donations to pay for her funeral. Nevertheless, Santos’s campaign website claimed “George’s mother was in her office in the South Tower on Sept. 11, 2001 […] She survived the tragic events on September 11th, but she passed away a few years later when she lost her battle to cancer.” Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, insisted that he “always had a few questions” about George Santos’s resume, but “the voters made the decision, and he has a right to serve here.” In early 2021 a Santos aide was caught impersonating McCarthy’s chief of staff while soliciting campaign contributions. (Forward / Washington Post / ABC News)

3/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected an AP African-American Studies course on the grounds that it violates state laws against the teaching of critical race theory. On Jan. 12, Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation informed the College Board, which runs the SAT test and the Advanced Placement (AP) program, that “as presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” adding: “in the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion.” Florida’s Stop WOKE Act was signed into law last April and set new rules banning critical race theory, an academic framework for examining systemic racism. (Daily Beast / National Review)

4/ Ron DeSantis called on the Republican-controlled Legislature to permanently ban Covid-19 health measures, like mask mandates and vaccine requirements. The proposal, dubbed “Prescribe Freedom,” would indefinitely extend existing bans DeSantis signed in 2021, which imposed fines on businesses requiring Covid-19 vaccinations, prohibited mask requirements in schools, and banned vaccine mandates as a condition to travel. The coronavirus has killed more than 84,000 people in Florida. (NBC News / Politico / CNN / The Hill / USA Today)

5/ Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign asked Facebook to reinstate his account, arguing that his ban has “dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse” and that a continued ban would be a “deliberate effort by a private company to silence Mr. Trump’s political voice.” Trump was initially banned indefinitely from Facebook on Jan. 7, 2021 after the attack on the Capitol by his supporters. The House impeached Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection. Facebook later shortened the suspension to two years and said it would assess whether the risk to public safety had subsided enough to restore his account. (NBC News / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

6/ Parts of Greenland are now hotter than at any time in the past 1,000 years and that the decade between 2001 and 2011 was the warmest in the entire period. Scientists reported that through 2011, the ice sheet in central-north Greenland was on average 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than it was during the 20th century, and that the rate of melting has increased with these changes. Greenland’s melting ice sheet is “a massive contributor to global sea level rise” and if carbon emissions continue unmitigated, the ice sheet is projected to contribute up to 19 inches of global sea level rise by 2100. In total, Greenland holds enough ice that it could lift global sea levels by roughly 24 feet if it all melted. (Washington Post / Nature / CNN / USA Today)

Day 728: "Be prepared."

1/ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen notified Congress that the U.S. will hit the debt ceiling Thursday. The debt limit is the maximum that the federal government is allowed to borrow to fulfill its financial obligations. Beginning Jan. 19, the Treasury Department will resort to “extraordinary measures” to avoid a potentially catastrophic default, which will enable “the government to meet its obligations for only a limited amount of time.” Those measures, however, will only delay a default until early June. Yellen urged lawmakers to “act in a timely matter” to increase or suspend the debt limit, saying the “failure to meet the government’s obligations would cause irreparable harm to the US economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability.” Kevin McCarthy called on Democrats to negotiate with Republicans over a fiscal plan that includes an increase in the federal debt limit. Biden and congressional Democrats, however, have said they will not offer any concessions or negotiate on raising the debt ceiling, saying it should be raised without conditions. (CNN / Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg / NPR)

2/ Biden’s aides found five additional pages of classified material at his personal residence in Delaware. The discovery came hours after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate why classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president have been found at both his home and the office he used at a Washington think tank. Last week, the White House disclosed that classified Obama-era documents were found in Biden’s possession on four separate occasions. In total, around 20 documents have been and immediately turned over to the National Archives or Justice Department. (New York Times / Politico / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / CNBC)

3/ House Republicans demanded two years of visitor logs from Biden’s Delaware home and all other information related to the recently discovered classified documents. “We have a lot of questions,” James Comer said, chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, calling the matter “troubling.” Comer, referring to Biden’s home as a “crime scene” even though he acknowledged that he doesn’t know whether any laws were actually broken, said the matter had raised questions about whether Biden had “jeopardized our national security.” Comer, however, refused to explain why he wants to investigate the 20-ish classified documents that Biden voluntarily turned over, but not the roughly 300 classified documents — including some at the top secret level – that were retrieved from Trump only after the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. The White House and the Secret Service, meanwhile, said they do not maintain visitor logs for Biden’s personal home in Delaware, “like every President across decades of modern history.” (Associated Press / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

4/ A failed Republican candidate for the New Mexico House was arrested for orchestrating a series of shootings targeting Democratic state officials. Albuquerque police arrested Solomon Peña, who paid four other men to shoot at the Albuquerque-area homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators. Investigators believe Peña was present for at least one of the shootings. Peña lost the November election to incumbent Miguel Garcia and has repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged. (Albuquerque Journal / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News)

5/ Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar received committee assignments after being removed from their committees in 2021 over violent social media posts. The House voted in February 2021 to remove Greene from her committee assignments for her embrace of conspiracy theories and past endorsement for executing Democratic politicians before being elected to Congress. Gosar was also removed from his two committees after he posted an animated video that depicted him killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking Biden. Greene will now be seated on the Homeland Security Committee and Gosar will be seated on the House Natural Resources Committee. Greene, Gosar, and Lauren Boebert will also be seated on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. “Joe Biden, be prepared,” Greene said in a statement. “We are going to uncover every corrupt business dealing, every foreign entanglement, every abuse of power.” Scandal-plagued George Santos also received a seat on the House Committee on Small Business, despite calls from his own party to resign. (NBC News / Washington Post / CNN)

Day 723: "Sensitive matters."

1/ Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the classified government records discovered at Biden’s private home and office. Biden said he was “cooperating fully and completely” with the Justice Department investigation into how classified information and government records from his time as vice president were stored. Federal law enforcement officials have interviewed multiple aides who worked for Biden in the final days of the Obama administration. Garland announced the appointment of former U.S. attorney Robert Hur after it was reported that a second batch of documents with classified markings were discovered in a space used by Biden since the Obama administration. “The extraordinary circumstances here require the appointment of a special counsel for this matter,” Garland said. “This appointment underscores for the public the department’s commitment to independence and accountability, and particularly sensitive matters and to making decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.” Republicans on the House Oversight Committee, meanwhile, said that the appointment of a special counsel would not stop them from investigating Biden’s “mishandling of classified documents.” Biden said he was surprised to learn that classified documents were found at a private office he previously used, adding that his lawyers voluntarily and immediately contacted the National Archives to return the documents. Trump, meanwhile, intentionally didn’t return his documents after being repeatedly asked by the National Archives to do so, forcing a standoff for months that led to a subpoena and FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. (CNN / Associated Press / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg / CNBC)

2/ Kevin McCarthy suggested that the House would consider expunging one or both Trump impeachments. While McCarthy wasn’t explicit, he said “I would understand why members would want to bring that forward,” adding “and we’d look at it.” McCarthy also expressed sympathy for the things Trump “went through” as president. Trump was impeached twice: in 2019, for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, and in 2021, for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection. (Washington Post)

3/ Kevin McCarthy defended George Santos despite the freshman lawmaker admitting to lying about his background and multiple probes into his financial disclosures, campaign finances, and legal issues. “A lot of people here” have fabricated parts of their resumes, McCarthy claimed. Santos, meanwhile, has refused bipartisan calls for his resignation. “I wish well all of their opinions, but I was elected by 142,000 people,” Santos said. “Until those same 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me, uh, we’ll find out in two years.” (Axios / CNN / NBC News)

  • Efforts to elect George Santos may have run afoul of campaign finance rules. “The Federal Election Commission said it had no evidence that RedStone Strategies was registered as a political group, and there do not appear to be any records documenting its donors, contributions or spending.” (New York Times)

  • George Santos was paid for work at company accused of Ponzi scheme later than previously known. “Santos received payments as recently as April 2021 from a financial services company accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a “classic Ponzi scheme,” according to a court-appointed lawyer reviewing the firm’s assets.” (Washington Post)

4/ U.S. inflation fell to 6.5% in December compared with a year earlier – a sixth straight monthly decline. The annual inflation rate declined from 7.1% in November and a four-decade high of 9.1% in June. On a month-to-month basis, inflation fell by 0.1% in December. The Federal Reserve aims for 2% inflation on average. Cooling inflation puts the Fed on track to reduce the size of its interest-rate increases to a quarter-percentage-point starting in February. The central bank’s current benchmark rate is 4.3% after holding rates near zero for two years following the coronavirus pandemic. (Associated Press / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / New York Times / NBC News)

5/ Alabama’s attorney general suggested that a pregnant person could be prosecuted for taking abortion pills despite the Biden administration expanding access to the drugs. Alabama’s near-total abortion ban, which took effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, exempts abortion seekers from prosecution and instead targets providers. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall nevertheless suggested that the state could still prosecute pregnant people under a 2006 state chemical endangerment law used to protect children from exposure to illicit drugs. Chemical endangerment is a felony in Alabama. Prosecutors have since extended the law to apply to pregnant people who take any drugs while pregnant or exposed their fetuses to drugs, essentially treating a fetus as a distinct person, regardless of their level of development. (Washington Post / 1819 News / AL.com / The Hill / CBS News)

6/ Republican legislators in Virginia introduced a bill to count a pregnant person’s fetus as a passenger in the car pool lane on highways, advancing so-called personhood laws that seek to protect the rights of the unborn through unconventional means. The legislation would require a pregnant person to have their pregnancy “certified” with the state Transportation Department, which would then be “linked” to automated toll collection devices in vehicles. Republicans in Texas introduced a similar measure last year. (NBC News)

Day 722: "MAGA extremists have hijacked the Republican Party."

1/ House Republicans approved the formation of the Weaponization of the Federal Government select committee to investigate any federal agency for perceived wrongdoing against conservatives, including the FBI, IRS, and the intelligence community. The subcommittee, approved on a party-line 221-211 vote and chaired by Jim Jordan, pledged to probe “ongoing criminal investigations” at the Justice Department despite the department’s long-standing practice of not providing information about ongoing investigations. The panel also has authority to obtain highly classified information typically only shared with the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats, meanwhile, likened the panel to Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee, which harassed Americans suspected of being sympathetic to communism or socialism, saying: “This committee is nothing more than a deranged ploy by the MAGA extremists who have hijacked the Republican Party and now want to use taxpayer money to push their far-right conspiracy nonsense.” (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / ABC News)

2/ Republicans on the House Oversight Committee asked the Treasury Department for suspicious activity reports related to financial transactions by the Biden family. Committee Chair James Comer requested the bank activity reports for Hunter Biden, President Biden’s brother James Biden, and several other Biden family associates and their related companies. Comer is also seeking the public testimony from three former Twitter executives about the company’s 2020 decision to temporarily suppress a story about Hunter Biden and his laptop. “Now that Democrats no longer have one-party rule in Washington, oversight and accountability are coming,” Comer said, adding that “there’s a very good possibility” that Hunter Biden will eventually receive a subpoena. (Bloomberg / Associated Press / New York Times / Politico / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

3/ House Republicans filed articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his handling of immigration and the border. Pat Fallon, a Texas Republican, accused Mayorkas of “high crimes and misdemeanors” as homeland security secretary, claiming he failed to maintain “operational control over the border,” “willfully provided perjurious, false, and misleading testimony to Congress” and “knowingly slandered his own hardworking Border Patrol agents and mislead the general public.” As House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy called on Mayorkas to resign in November, saying he had failed to secure the southern border. The articles were referred to the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jim Jordan. (NBC News / ABC News)

4/ George Santos refused to resign despite top New York Republican officials demanding he step down over the multiple inquiries into his finances, campaign spending, and fabrications about his background. Chairman Joseph Cairo Jr. of the Nassau County Republican Committee said Santos’s campaign was “a campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication,” adding that Santos “disgraced the House of Representatives, and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople.” Santos, meanwhile, said he has no plans to resign, saying he was elected to “serve the people […] not the party & politicians.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / CNN)

5/ The Supreme Court allowed New York to enforce a gun control law that places restrictions on carrying a concealed gun while legal challenges play out. The law requires people seeking gun licenses to show that they have “good moral character,” provide a list of social media accounts from the past three years, and bans guns from “sensitive place,” like health care settings, churches, and parks. Nevertheless, six Gun Owners of America members challenged the law, claiming it violates their constitutional right to keep and bear arms and flouts the court’s decision in June to strike down a law that required people seeking a license to carry a concealed handgun in public to demonstrate that they had a “proper cause.” The Uvalde school police chief, meanwhile, told investigators that he didn’t try to stop the gunman, who killed 19 children and two teachers, because “there’s probably going to be some deceased in there, but we don’t need any more from out here.” Pete Arredondo’s decision to not confront the gunman effectively left everyone in Classrooms 111 and 112 for dead, and was one of many times he did not follow the protocol for an active shooter. (New York Times / CNN / Politico / Bloomberg / CNN)

Day 721: "Damage assessment."

1/ House Republicans pushed through a rules package for the new Congress over concerns about the concessions Kevin McCarthy made to 20 far-right conservatives in order to secure his job. The rules packages passed 220-213, with one Republican joining the Democrats in unified opposition. Aside from the standard rules on decorum, the package includes a provision allowing lawmakers to reduce or eliminate federal agency programs, and reduce the salaries of individual federal employees. Another rule, known as “cut-go,” would require any new spending to be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget. While Democrats opposed the rules, they were more concerned about what other “back-room deals” McCarthy had agreed to in exchange for votes from the House Freedom Caucus. Meanwhile, a “secret three-page addendum” that only some House Republicans have see contains “the most controversial concessions” that McCarthy made to secure the speaker’s gavel. Anyway, after adopting rules, House Republicans used their first legislative vote on repealing more than $70 billion — or nearly 90% — in new funding for the IRS to customer service, taxpayer assistance, and criminal investigations. The bill, however, is unlikely to pass the Senate. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Axios)

2/ In effort to equate it to the 320 classified documents the FBI seized from Trump’s residence, House Republicans requested a national security “damage assessment” of the 10 potentially classified documents found in Biden’s private office from his time as vice president. The Biden documents, which included intelligence memos and briefing materials on Ukraine, Iran, and the UK, were found on Nov. 2, 2022, in a “locked closet” in his Washington office space. The National Archives took custody of the documents the next day, and Attorney General Merrick Garland assigned the U.S. attorney in Chicago to investigate the matter. In contrast, Trump refused to turn over hundreds of classified documents to the National Archives for months, which led to the Archives referring the matter to the Justice Department, which led to the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, where 33 boxes and containers were removed that are now under investigation by the Justice Department. Some of the documents found at Mar-a-Lago had some of the country’s highest security classification markings. Nevertheless, incoming House Intelligence Chair Mike Turner sent a request to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, claiming that Biden’s retention of the documents, dated between 2013 and 2016, put him in “potential violation of laws protecting national security, including the Espionage Act and Presidential Records Act.” (Politico / Associated Press / CNN)

3/ Two House Democrats filed an official complaint with the House Committee on Ethics about George Santos, saying he misled voters about “his ethnicity, his religion, his education, and his employment and professional history, among other things.” Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman requested that the bipartisan committee investigate whether Santos, who admitted to lying about his background, broke the law when he filed “complete and accurate” financial disclosures. Separately, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Santos had run a “straw donor campaign” that helped him evade campaign finance limits. Republicans, meanwhile, have largely been silent on the matter, saying it was being addressed “internally.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

4/ Former Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in jail for multiple tax crimes he committed at the company over more than 15 years. Weisselberg pleaded guilty last August to 15 felonies in a deal with prosecutors, which required him to testify truthfully at the trial of the Trump Organization, pay $2 million in back taxes, interest and penalties, and waive any right to appeal. Weisselberg will leave the firm after he completes his sentence. He will still receive his $500,000 annual bonus. (Bloomberg / New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

5/ The Education Department proposed new federal student loan payment rules that would reduce the monthly bills for some borrowers and completely pause payments for others. Under the proposal, borrowers who make less than roughly $30,600 annually (or a family of four who makes less than about $62,400) wouldn’t have to make monthly payments on their federal student loans. The changes would also cut monthly payments in half for borrowers who make more than those annual amounts. The Biden administration estimates that the new income-driven repayment plan would save borrowers nearly $2,000 a year. (NPR / CNBC / Axios / Wall Street Journal)

6/ The last eight years were the eight warmest on record. The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that 2022 was the fifth-warmest year on record. Europe, meanwhile, had its hottest summer ever in 2022. The world is now 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.1 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than pre-industrial levels. Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, most countries agreed to limit warming to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. (New York Times / CNN / Reuters)

Day 720: "A direct and foreseeable consequence."

1/ The Georgia special grand jury investigating “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections” in the state by Trump and his allies has completed its work. After eight months of investigation, the special grand jury submitted its report on its findings to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who will decide whether to seek criminal indictments from a regular grand jury. While the grand jury’s recommendations were not made public, including whether criminal charges should be filed, the grand jury “voted to recommend that its report be published.” A hearing will be held on Jan. 24 to determine whether it will be made public. Willis has informed nearly 20 people that they may face criminal charges as a result of the investigation. Trump lost Georgia by less than 12,000 votes in 2020. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Associated Press / Bloomberg / CNBC)

2/ Trump and two Jan. 6 rioters were sued over the death of a U.S. Capitol Police officer. According to the lawsuit, Brian Sicknick, who was part of a police line guarding the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, was attacked with chemical spray. He suffered from two strokes and died the next day. The lawsuit claims that Trump instigated the attack by Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios, saying Sicknick’s death were “a direct and foreseeable consequence” of Trump’s “words and conduct” that day. In September, Khater and Tanios both pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement with pepper spray during the breach. The suit seeks at least $10 million in damages from each of the three defendants. (NPR)

3/ Kevin McCarthy was elected House speaker on the 15th round of voting, which followed four days of defeats, a series of concessions to ultraconservative Republicans, a confrontation with Matt Gaetz on the floor, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee being physically restrained from attacking Gaetz, and Trump calling two Republican lawmakers who refused to back McCarthy. To win the gavel, McCarthy agreed (among other things) to allow any one member to call a vote to remove him as speaker; gave the House Freedom Caucus three of the nine seats on the House Rules Committee; create a select committee on the “weaponization of the federal government”; require raising the debt ceiling to be accompanied with spending cuts; and vote individually on 12 appropriation bills, rather than one omnibus spending bill. The final tally was 216 for McCarthy and 212 for Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, and six Republicans voting “present.” Trump’s call into the chamber came on the two-year anniversary of the insurrection by his supporters to block congressional certification of Biden’s electoral win. (Politico / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / USA Today / Axios)

4/ Newly sworn-in Congressman George Santos violated campaign finance law, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission. Santos, who has admitted to “embellishing” his biography, was accused of masking the source of his campaign’s funding, misrepresenting his campaign’s spending, and using campaign resources for personal expenses, including for an apartment rental. The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center alleged that Santos “purported to loan his campaign $705,000 during the 2022 election. But it is far from clear how he could have done so with his own funds, because financial disclosure reports indicate that Santos had only $55,000 to his name in 2020.” Dozens of expenses on Santos’ campaign finance reports are listed as costing $199.99 – one penny below the $200 threshold for which receipts or itemized details are required by the FEC. (CBS News / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

5/ The Justice Department is reviewing roughly 10 classified documents found in the office space of Biden’s vice-presidential office in Washington. Attorney General Merrick Garland assigned the U.S. attorney in Chicago to review the classified documents, which were found on November 2 by Biden’s personal attorneys in a “locked closet” at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. Special counsel to the president Richard Sauber said the attorneys alerted the White House Counsel’s office, who notified the National Archives, which took custody of the documents the next day. Special counsel Jack Smith, meanwhile, is investigating Trump for potentially mishandling at least 325 classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. (CBS News / Associated Press / CNN / Reuters)

Day 716: "The Republicans haven't been serious about this."

1/ The Biden administration expanded its use of a Trump-era Covid-19 immigration policy to immediately turn away migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela crossing the border from Mexico illegally to claim asylum. As part of the new immigration rules, the Biden administration will allow up to 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to legally apply for entry each month, as long as a U.S. sponsor applies for them first. “The failure to pass and fund this comprehensive plan has increased the challenges that we’re seeing at the Southwest border,” Biden said. “The Republicans haven’t been serious about this at all.” Last month, the Supreme Court allowed Title 42 to remain in effect while a legal challenge by 19 Republican state attorneys general played out. In November, a federal judge ruled that Title 42 was unlawful, and scheduled the policy to expire on Dec. 21. (NBC News / New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

2/ The Federal Trade Commission proposed banning noncompete clauses in employment contracts, which limit workers from switching jobs or start competing businesses. Under the proposed rule, it would be illegal for companies to enter into or enforce noncompete contracts with employees or independent contractors. The rule would also require companies to rescind existing noncompete clauses and inform workers that they are void. Some 30 million people – about 1 in 5 workers – are bound by noncompete restrictions. If enacted, the FTC estimates that is would raise wages by $300 billion a year. “The freedom to change jobs is core to economic liberty and to a competitive, thriving economy,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan said. “Noncompetes block workers from freely switching jobs, depriving them of higher wages and better working conditions, and depriving businesses of a talent pool that they need to build and expand.” (Associated Press / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / Axios / Bloomberg)

3/ Kevin McCarthy lost his 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th bids for House speaker. In what has become the longest speaker contest in 164 years, McCarthy has started to make concessions he previously ruled out to a group of 20 Republicans lawmakers who have continued to block his bid for the speaker’s gavel. McCarthy agreed to allow for one member to force a vote to oust the speaker – down from a previous threshold of five and a change that the McCarthy had said he wouldn’t accept – and to put more members of the House Freedom Caucus on the House Rules Committee, which controls the legislation that reaches the floor. Until a speaker is chosen, the House cannot pass laws or swear in its members. (CNN / Politico / NBC News / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NPR / Bloomberg)

4/ About 204,000 people applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week – down from the previous week’s total by 19,000 and below the pre-pandemic weekly average of 218,000. Companies, meanwhile, added 235,000 jobs in December – well above economists’ expectations of 150,000 and the 127,000 reported for November. (CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

5/ The Federal Reserve said it expects interest rates to remain high for “some time” as it tries to bring down inflation.Officials warned of “an unwarranted easing in financial conditions, especially if driven by a misperception by the public of the committee’s reaction function, would complicate the committee’s effort to restore price stability” – meaning market rallies threaten to hinder their ability to bring inflation down to their 2% target. Starting from near zero in March, the Fed raised interest rates to a target range of 4.25% to 4.5%, its highest level in 15 years. Officials project that rates will rise to a level above 5% in 2023 and hold it there until some time in 2024. No officials said they expected to cut rates in 2023. (New York Times / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

6/ The U.S. and Germany will send Ukraine armored combat vehicles and an additional Patriot air defense system. The U.S. is sending about 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, a tracked armored combat vehicle that carries a turret-mounted machine gun, as well as a second missile defense system. Germany will provide 40 of its Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle. (Politico / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

Day 715: "Not my problem."

1/ House Republicans, despite being in the majority, were unable to elect a speaker – again – as Kevin McCarthy lost his 4th, 5th, and 6th bids for the gavel. A day after McCarthy lost his first three votes for speaker, Trump urged Republicans to vote for McCarthy, warning them to “NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT.” Biden, meanwhile, called the House Republicans’ inability to elect a speaker “embarrassing,” saying it’s “not a good look” for the country, but also “not my problem.” McCarthy received 201 votes in all three votes today, short of the 218 typically needed to win, as 20 conservative Republicans instead supported Byron Donalds. Yesterday, the group supported Jim Jordan. The Democrats, meanwhile, have remained united behind their leader, Hakeem Jeffries, who will make history as the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress whenever the House elects a new speaker and 118th Congress convenes. The House adjourned until 8 p.m. Eastern to allow more time for Republicans to negotiate with the holdouts. A seventh vote could take place when lawmakers return tonight. The Speaker of the House is second in the U.S. presidential line of succession, after the vice president. (Associated Press / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NPR / NBC News / Washington Post / Axios / CNN / CNBC / Bloomberg / Politico)

  • Behind the humiliation of Kevin McCarthy. “The GOP has gone from being a disciplined party of limited government to a party of anti-government protest to, now, a party of performative verbiage.” (New Yorker)

  • House shitshow has a message for America: GOP can’t govern and doesn’t want to. “As Kevin McCarthy reaps the whirlwind, let’s hope voters understand this chaos was never really about Donald Trump.” (Salon)

  • Kevin McCarthy’s loyalty to Trump got him nothing. “The once-presumptive House leader has been through three embarrassing rounds of voting, with more to come.” (The Atlantic)

  • “Circular firing squad” derails GOP in new Congress. “Senate Republicans see chaos across the Capitol as an ominous sign as the party tries to regroup for 2024.” (Politico)

2/ The FDA expanded access to the abortion pill mifepristone, allowing brick-and-mortar and mail-order pharmacies to stock and dispense the drug. For more than 20 years, mifepristone could only be dispensed by a few mail-order pharmacies or specialty offices and clinics. Under the new policy, patients will still need a prescription, but now any pharmacy that agrees to accept those prescriptions and become a certified provider can dispense the pills in its stores and by mail order, depending on their state’s laws. However, more than a dozen states have near-total abortion bans or restrictions that would make it illegal or difficult for pharmacies to provide abortion pills. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the FDA temporarily suspended its long-standing requirement that women pick up the medicine in person, and later permanently lifted the in-person requirement altogether. (New York Times / Politico / NPR / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The WHO warned that the coronavirus Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 “is the most transmissible form of Omicron to date.” XBB.1.5 was first detected in the U.S. and went from being present in 4% of sequenced cases U.S. to 40% in just a few weeks – it’s most common variant circulating in the country. XBB.1.5 has since spread to at least 29 countries. (Politico / CNN / CNBC)

Day 714: "We better come together."

1/ The House adjourned without a speaker because Kevin McCarthy failed to win a majority in three rounds of voting and 20 Republicans rejected his candidacy. Until a speaker is elected, the 118th Congress can’t swear in members or perform actual work, like consider legislation or create committee assignments. A nominee needs a majority of the House to win the speakership – 218 votes with all members present and participating – and voting will continue until someone gets a majority. In the third round of voting, McCarthy received 202 votes and Jim Jordan received 20. Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries received 212 Democratic votes. Before the third round of voting, Jordan called on Republicans to unite behind McCarthy, saying: “We better come together. I think Kevin McCarthy is the right guy to lead us. I really do.” McCarthy, however, lost support from one GOP lawmaker on the third ballot. McCarthy, meanwhile, acknowledged that voting “could” last for days and vowed to press ahead, saying: “we stay in until we win.” The speaker vote hasn’t gone to a second ballot since 1923, and of the 14 multiple ballot-elections for House speaker, 13 occurred before the Civil War. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Politico / NPR / Associated Press / NBC News / ABC News)

2/ New York Republican George Santos – who admitted to making up his resume – is set to be sworn in as a member of the House as Brazilian authorities say they plan to reopen a 15-year-old fraud charge against Santos, now that they know where he is. The House, however, can’t swear in new members until a speaker is elected. Santos has admitted to what he calls “resume embellishment” about his education, work experience, and heritage, including a claim that his grandparents survived the Holocaust. The Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office, meanwhile, allege that Santos spent $700 at a clothing store in 2008 using a stolen checkbook and a false name. Although Santos admitted in a post on social media to stealing the checkbook of a man his mother was caring for, the Representative-elect now asserts that he is not a criminal “here or in Brazil.” While Democrats have demanded that Santos resign, Republican congressional leaders, including Kevin McCarthy, have been silent. (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

3/ House Republicans plan to limit the ethics office’s ability to investigate lawmakers. The Office of Congressional Ethics is a nonpartisan, independent body tasked with investigating complaints of misconduct about sitting members and staff. House Republicans, however, plan to place term limits on the eight-person OCE board, require the approval of four board members for new hires, and allow the House Ethics Committee to take complaints directly from the public. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

4/ Six years of Trump’s federal tax returns were released last week. Trump received income from more than a dozen countries during his time in office and paid little in federal income taxes the first and last year of his presidency, claiming large losses that he carried forward to reduce or practically eliminate his tax burden. Trump paid $641,931 in federal income taxes in 2015 – the year he began his presidential campaign – he paid $750 in 2016 and 2017, and nearly $1 million in 2018. In 2019, Trump paid $133,445 and nothing in 2020. The documents also appear to show that Trump violated his campaign promise to donate his $400,000 salary for each year that he served as president. In 2020, Trump reported $0 in charitable giving. (CNN / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / Associated Press)

Day 708: "A cruel, dangerous, and shameful stunt."

1/ The Supreme Court temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s plans to end a Trump-era immigration policy used to quickly expel millions of asylum seekers at the southern border. In November, a federal judge ruled that Title 42 was unlawful, and scheduled the policy to expire on Dec. 21. The Supreme Court, however, paused that ruling, and said the policy would remain in place while a legal challenge by 19 Republican state attorneys general played out. Title 42 has been used to expel about 2.5 million migrants since being implemented in March 2020. (Washington Post / Politico / NPR / Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times / CNN)

2/ The Jan. 6 Committee released its final report and concluded that Trump criminally engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 presidential election, failed to act to stop his supporters from attacking the Capitol, and recommended that he be barred from holding office again. “The central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed,” the 814-page report reads. “None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.” The release of the full report comes three days after the committee referred Trump to the Justice Department for potential prosecution for inciting an insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., obstruction of an act of Congress, and another federal crime. Over the course of its 18-month investigation, the panel interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and reviewed more than one million pages of documents, which were obtained after issuing more than 100 subpoenas. Trump, meanwhile, claimed that the committee “did not produce a single shred of evidence.” (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / NPR / CNBC / CNN)

3/ The House passed a $1.7 trillion bill to fund the federal government through next fall and avert a shutdown. Overall, the legislation provides $772.5 billion for non-defense discretionary programs, $858 billion in defense funding, and nearly $45 billion in assistance to Ukraine. It also overhauls federal election law to try to prevent another Jan. 6. Biden is expected to sign the measure in the coming days. (New York Times / USA Today / Politico / CNBC / NBC News)

4/ Millions of Americans will lose Medicaid coverage starting in April after the omnibus spending bill changed the healthcare program’s enrollment rules. An estimated 1 in 5 people currently in the program will lose Medicaid coverage – about 15 million to 18 million people. When the Trump administration first declared the coronavirus pandemic a public health emergency, it barred states from kicking people off Medicaid, and states agreed to pause beneficiaries’ eligibility verifications under the 2020 Covid-19 relief bill. As a result, enrollment in Medicaid swelled by 20 million, to nearly 84 million people. The new spending bill would allow states to kick people off Medicaid starting April 1. The federal government will also wind down the enhanced funding given to states for the added enrollees over the next year. (CBS News / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Texas bused about 130 migrants to Harris’ residence in Washington on Christmas Eve in 18 degree weather – the coldest Christmas Eve on record for Washington. The three buses, which included babies and young children, were chartered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Since April, Abbott’s office has bused more than 15,000 people to Washington, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The White House accused Abbott of having “abandoned children on the side of the road in below freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve without coordinating with any Federal or local authorities,” calling it “a cruel, dangerous, and shameful stunt.” (NBC News / New York Times / Associated Press / CNN)

Day 701: "Asleep at the wheel."

1/ The Biden administration announced a new $1.85 billion military assistance package for Ukraine to counter the Russia’s invasion. The announcement came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Washington to meet with Biden – his first international trip since Russia invaded his country 10 months ago. The security package includes the Patriot air defense missile system – the most advanced air defense weapon in the U.S. arsenal. “We will support Ukraine pursuing a just peace,” Biden told Zelenskyy in the Oval Office, adding that Putin was trying to “use winter as a weapon” in the ongoing war. Zelensky is also scheduled to address a joint meeting of Congress as lawmakers work to pass a $1.7 trillion spending package, which includes $44.9 billion in assistance for Ukraine. Putin, meanwhile, said Russia has “no limitations” on military spending for the war in Ukraine. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / NPR / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Axios / CNN)

2/ The House Ways and Means Committee voted to make six years of Trump’s tax returns public. A 29-page summary report shows that Trump reported millions in earnings between 2015 and 2020, but paid little or nothing in federal income taxes. In 2016 and 2017, Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes. Trump paid a combined $1.1 million in 2018 and 2019. And, in 2020, he paid nothing. In April 2019, House Democrats formally requested six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns from the IRS to review the effectiveness of the presidential audit program. (New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The IRS failed to audit Trump during his first two years in office despite a “mandatory” program that requires annual audits of a president’s tax returns. During Trump’s time in office, the IRS opened one “mandatory” audit – for his 2016 tax return – which didn’t take place until 2019 and wasn’t completed while he was still in office. The House Ways and Means Committee said the IRS presidential audit program was “dormant, at best,” during Trump’s term. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, meanwhile, said the IRS “was asleep at the wheel.” (CNN / NPR / New York Times / CNBC)

4/ A former White House aide to Trump told the Jan. 6 Committee that he witnessed Trump “tearing” documents. According to audio from Nick Luna’s deposition, Trump would sometimes tear up notes when he was finished with them. Luna’s testimony follows previous reports that Trump ripped up documents and tried to flush them down the White House toilet. Federal law requires that presidential records are preserved and handed over to the National Archives. Luna also testified that Mark Meadows had instructed him to not enter the room during a meeting with state Republican legislators who wanted to overturn the 2020 presidential election. (CBS News)

5/ The Jan. 6 Committee said it has evidence that the top ethics attorney in the Trump White House advised Cassidy Hutchinson to give misleading testimony. Stefan Passantino, who represented Hutchinson, allegedly urged the former White House aide to pretend to not recall details that she did and to refrain from talking about issues that could cast Trump in a negative light. The committee also said someone had promised Hutchinson a job, which disappeared after she cooperated with the committee. Before her public testimony, Hutchinson replaced Passantino as her lawyer, who was being paid Trump’s Save America PAC. Passantino, meanwhile, took a leave of absence from his law firm Tuesday. (CNN / New York Times)

Day 700: "A new political weapon."

1/ The Jan. 6 Committee is cooperating with the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump. After Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith as special counsel last month, Smith requested the evidence that committee compiled over its 18-month investigation. The committee has nearly 1,200 witness interview transcripts, which it began sending to Smith’s team last week. The committee also sent the Justice Department all of Mark Meadows’ text messages and related evidence. (Punchbowl News)

2/ Congressional leaders reached an agreement on a $1.7 trillion spending package to fund the government through September. The so-called omnibus, which runs for 4,155 pages, would provide $858 billion in defense funding, $772.5 billion for non-defense discretionary programs, $44.9 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine, and about $40 billion in emergency funds to help communities recover from hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts. The package increases the Justice Department budget by $212.1 million “to further support prosecutions related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and domestic terrorism cases.” The legislation also includes an overhaul of the Electoral Count Act, which Trump tried to use to overturn the 2020 election. Congress needs to complete passage of the funding measure ahead of a midnight Friday deadline or face a partial government shutdown going into the Christmas holiday. Any senator, however, could hold up that deal in exchange for amendments or concessions. (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Politico / Axios)

3/ The U.S. Postal Service will buy at least 66,000 electric delivery trucks by 2028 as part of a push to transform its delivery fleet. The Postal Service will spend $9.6 billion on the vehicles, including $3 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act, and all new vehicles acquired from 2026 through 2028 are expected to be 100% electric. The USPS currently has more than 220,000 old vehicles in its fleet. (Washington Post / CBS News / CNN / CNBC)

4/ The Supreme Court blocked a pandemic-era border policy from ending this week. Chief Justice John Roberts put a lower court ruling to end the Trump-era policy on a temporary hold in response to an emergency request by 19 Republican-led states to keep the policy in place. Title 42 has been used more than 2 million times during the pandemic to expel asylum-seeking migrants. (NBC News / Politico)

Notably Next/ The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote this afternoon on whether to publicly release Trump’s tax returns. The committee tried to obtain six years’ worth of Trump’s tax returns in 2019, after Democrats retook the House majority. Unlike his predecessors, Trump never released his tax returns to the public, falsely claiming that he couldn’t release them while under “routine audit” by the IRS. In 2020, it was reported that Trump had paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, and another $750 in 2017. The tax data covered more than two decades and show that Trump had paid no income tax in 10 of the 15 years before he ran for president. Before the committee’s meeting, the committee’s top Republican called any release of Trump’s tax records a “dangerous new political weapon” that “even Democrats will come to regret.” (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

Day 699: "This can never happen again."

1/ The Jan. 6 Committee formally accused Trump of inciting an insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and obstructing Congress’ Jan. 6 joint session, and unanimously voted to refer the crimes to the Justice Department for prosecution. “That evidence has led to an overriding and straight-forward conclusion: the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed,” the committee wrote in its final report. “None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.” It’s the first time in American history that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution. Trump was also the first president in American history to be impeached twice. In addition to Trump’s criminal referrals, the panel referred Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, and Kenneth Chesebro for prosecution. None of the committee’s referrals, however, compel the Justice Department to act. The panel also referred four Republicans – Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, and Andy Biggs – to the House Ethics Committee for ignoring the its subpoenas. “Faith in our system is the foundation of American democracy. If the faith is broken, so is our democracy,” Chairman Bennie Thompson said. “Donald Trump broke that faith. He lost the 2020 election and knew it, but he chose to try to stay in office through a multi-part scheme.” Thompson added: “This can never happen again.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / NBC News / CNN / NPR)

  • ✏️ Trump faces a week of headaches on Jan. 6 and his taxes. “The House panel investigating the Capitol attack is set to release its report and may back criminal charges against the former president, while a separate committee could decide to release his tax returns. (New York Times)

  • ✏️ How Trump jettisoned restraints at Mar-a-Lago and prompted legal peril. “Trump transplanted the chaos and norm flouting of his White House into his post-presidential life, leading to a criminal investigation into his handling of classified documents that presents potential legal peril.” (Washington Post)

2/ The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to make six years of Trump’s tax records public. Following a three-year court fight for the tax returns – which other presidents have routinely made public since the 1970s – the committee obtained Trump’s returns from the Treasury Department last month. The tax returns cover 2015 through 2020. The panel needs a simple majority vote to release Trump’s returns, and Democrats hold 25 of the committee’s 42 seats. (NBC News / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Bloomberg)

3/ A federal appeals court rejected an effort by 19 Republican-led states to keep a Trump-era border policy in place, which allowed border agents to expel migrants for public health reasons during the coronavirus pandemic before they could go through the asylum application process. The states, however, filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court to keep Title 42 in place. More than 2.4 million people have been expelled since the policy’s implementation in 2020. The public health measure is set to expire on Wednesday after a federal judge ruled in November that the policy was illegal. (Washington Post / USA Today / CNN / Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Senate gave final approval to an $858 billion defense spending bill, which increases the Pentagon’s budget by 8%, authorizes a 4.6% pay raise for military service members, and repeals the coronavirus vaccine mandate for troops. The bill is about $45 billion more than Biden’s budget request, and roughly 10% more than last year’s National Defense Authorization Act. It now heads to Biden for his expected signature. (New York Times / USA Today / CBS News)

5/ The national average for gasoline dropped to $3.14 a gallon – the lowest since July 2021. In June, prices spiked to an all-time record of $5.02 a gallon. (CNN)

6/ Nearly half of 18-to-29-year-olds live at home with their parents – a rate not seen since the end of the Great Depression. According to a new report, the rising number of young adults living at home has been “driven by financial concerns (i.e. rental costs) as well as other sociological factors (e.g. higher penetration of higher education and increasingly delayed age for marriage).” The top reasons for living at home were a desire to save money (51%) and inability to afford rent (39%). Interest rates, meanwhile, are at a 15-year high, mortgage rates are at their highest levels since 2001, and interest rates on credit cards are at their highest level since 1985. (Quartz / Bloomberg)

poll/ 65% of Americans say the country is on the wrong track and not headed in the right direction. From a list of issues, 35% of respondents ranked inflation/the economy is their top priority. “Threats to democracy” ranked second, at 12%, and immigration third at 10%. (USA Today)

Day 695: "Clear and convincing."

1/ The Biden administration restarted its free Covid-19 test program as cases have increased roughly 55% since Thanksgiving. Households can order four free tests at covidtests.gov. The program was paused in September after distributing over 600 million tests, which put the administration on pace to deplete its stockpile before winter without new funding from Congress. (Politico / NPR / New York Times / Associated Press)

2/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis asked the state’s Supreme Court to convene a grand jury to “investigate crimes and wrongdoing committed against Floridians” related to Covid-19 vaccines. DeSantis provided no specifics about what wrongdoing a grand jury would investigate, but suggested that pharmaceutical companies needed to provide more data so independent researchers can study the side effects from vaccines. DeSantis also shared plans to establish Public Health Integrity Committee to counter CDC guidance, baselessly claiming that “anything they put out, you just assume, at this point, that it’s not worth the paper that it’s printed on.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, meanwhile, said he “doesn’t have a clue” what DeSantis hopes to accomplish. (CNN / The Hill / CNBC / Politico)

3/ An attorney disciplinary committee recommended that Rudy Giuliani be disbarred in Washington, DC. The three-person committee concluded that there was “clear and convincing evidence” that Giuliani acted unethically when he filed a lawsuit to block certification of the results in the 2020 presidential election. The committee’s findings, however, are “preliminary and nonbinding.” Giuliani’s law license has already been suspended in New York for making “demonstrably false and misleading statements” in his effort to reverse the 2020 election. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN)

4/ A campaign organized by oil and gas industry groups gathered enough signatures to overturn a California law that banned new oil and gas wells near homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 978,000 California residents have signed the Stop the Energy Shutdown petition – enough for a referendum aimed at stopping the new California law that set minimum distances between new oil wells and certain areas. Roughly 623,000 qualifying signatures are needed to put the measure on the 2024 ballot. Separately, California’s public utilities commission will vote on a proposal to reduce residential rooftop-solar incentives by about 75%. The proposal would change the existing “net metering” policy, which credits solar owners the full retail electricity price for excess power, to a lower rate for surplus power. (Associated Press / Bloomberg / NPR / Reuters)

poll/ 31% of voters hold a favorable view of Trump – his lowest favorability rating in more than seven years. 59%, meanwhile, have an unfavorable opinion of the twice-impeached former president. (Quinnipiac)

Day 694: "That time is now."

1/ The House is expected to pass a temporary spending measure tonight that would fund the government through through Dec. 23 and avert a shutdown. The weeklong stopgap bill will give Congress more time to finalize the full-year spending package, called an omnibus, which would fund the federal government through the 2023 fiscal year, ending Sept. 30. The omnibus measure is expected to total around $1.7 trillion. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by half a point – the highest level in 15 years – and signaled that rates still have a “ways to go.” The 50 basis points hike, which increases rates to a range of 4.25-4.5%, is smaller than the previous four 75 basis-point increases, and comes after the latest figures showed inflation running at its slowest annual rate in nearly a year. “We made less progress than expected on inflation,” Chair Jerome Powell said, adding “it’s good to see progress, but let’s just understand we have a long ways to go to get better price stability.” The Fed, however, now expects to raise rates as high as 5.1% next year before cutting rates to 4.1% in 2024 – a higher level than previously indicated. Inflation, meanwhile, is expected to end 2022 at 5.6% and fall to 3.1% next year. (Associated Press / NPR / Politico / Bloomberg / CNBC / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ The Republican congressman who suggested that Trump declare martial law in a text message to Mark Meadows said his only regret is that he misspelled the word “martial.” On Jan. 17, 2021, Ralph Norman urged Meadows to have Trump declare “Marshall Law” to prevent Biden from taking office. When asked about his text message, Norman replied: “Well, I misspelled ‘martial’.” The White House, meanwhile, accused Norman of pushing “MAGA conspiracy theories” and “violent rhetoric.” (HuffPost / The Guardian / Mediaite)

4/ The Trump Organization was found to have been “willfully disobeying” four grand jury subpoenas and three court orders during a criminal contempt trial held in secret last year. In December 2021, a New York judge found the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corp in criminal contempt for failing to respond to multiple grand jury subpoenas for documents in a timely fashion. “There comes a time when a court must enforce its authority,” New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan wrote. “In this matter, that time is now.” He imposed a $4,000 fine. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Associated Press / CNN)

5/ Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the Department of Public Safety for a list of transgender individuals in the state. In June, Paxton’s office requested information on Texans who changed their gender on state documents within the past two years. The department concluded that the data could not be “accurately produced” and didn’t provide any information to Paxton’s office. (Washington Post)

Day 693: "Point of no return."

1/ Biden signed into law a bipartisan bill that codifies same-sex and interracial marriages. The landmark legislation replaces the Defense of Marriage Act – which defined marriage as between a man and a woman – with the Respect for Marriage Act, which prohibits states from denying the validity of out-of-state marriages based on sex, race or ethnicity. The legislation, however, doesn’t require states to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. “The road to this moment has been long, but those who believe in equality and justice, you never gave up,” Biden said, adding: “We got it done. We’re going to continue the work ahead. I promise you.” (NPR / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Mark Meadows discussed plans for overturning the 2020 election with at least 34 Republican members of Congress. The exchanges took place over text message, which were turned over to the Jan. 6 committee. In total, Meadows received at least 364 messages from Republican members of Congress related to overturning the 2020 election. He sent at least 95 messages of his own. In one example, Ralph Norman texted Meadows three days before Biden was set to take office, urging him to have Trump declare martial law, saying “we are at a point of no return” and “Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!” (Talking Points Memo)

3/ Special counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed election officials in Nevada, New Mexico, and Georgia for all communications involving Trump, his campaign, lawyers, aides or allies from June 1, 2020, through January 20, 2021. Smith subpoenaed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for his testimony before a grand jury on Dec. 29 or, alternatively, Raffensperger can turn over all of the subpoenaed records to the FBI. In a Jan. 2 phone call, Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to win Georgia. Smith also sent the subpoenas to the New Mexico secretary of state’s office, as well as the Clark County, Nevada, elections division. Similar requests were previously sent to officials in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona. Smith was appointed last month to oversee both the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation, as well as the Mar-a-Lago classified documents investigation. (Associated Press / CNN / Bloomberg)

4/ The Jan. 6 committee will hold its final public meeting on Monday and will vote on whether to refer any individuals to the Justice Department for prosecution. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, said the committee will consider referrals covering five or six “subject matter areas.” The panel’s full report will be released on December 21. The House Oversight Committee, meanwhile, asked the National Archives to determine whether Trump retained any additional presidential records at his storage facility in Florida. At least two classified items were recently found at the storage unit. (CNN / Bloomberg)

5/ Inflation rose less than expected in November, with the consumer price index increasing 7.1% from a year ago — the lowest reading since the end of 2021. Inflation peaked at 9.1% in June. On a month-to-month basis, prices rose 0.1% in November – down from 0.4% in October. Inflation, however, remains well-above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target despite the central bank raising interest rates from just above zero early this year to about 4%. The Fed is expected to raise rates by a half-point tomorrow, after four straight three-quarter-point increases. (Politico / CNBC / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Axios)

Day 692: "Chaos."

1/ A federal judge declined to hold Trump or his office in contempt of court for failing to comply with a grand jury subpoena demanding he return all classified documents. The Justice Department had asked U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell to hold Trump’s office in contempt after his lawyers discovered at least two more classified documents in a storage unit in Florida. Judge Howell, however, left it to the Justice Department and Trump’s team to resolve the dispute themselves about whether Trump might have more classified documents at his properties after more than a year. (ABC News / CNN / Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times)

2/ The Republican candidate who lost Arizona’s governor race filed a lawsuit challenging the certification of the election and is asking the court to declare her the winner. While Arizona’s election results were certified last week, Kari Lake nevertheless asked the Maricopa County Superior Court to either declare her the winner or throw out the election results and require the county to conduct a new election. Lake claims that ballot printer and tabulator failures on Election Day were intentional by election officials, which “created chaos” with “oppressively long lines” that disproportionately depressed voter turnout for Republican voters. Lake claims that the alleged misconduct by election officials therefore “nullifies” the results and that their actions “wrongfully” led to the state naming Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs as the winner. Lake’s candidacy was centered on the false conspiratorial claims that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from Trump. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN)

3/ Arizona’s conservative Democratic senator announced she will leave the Democratic Party and register as an independent. Kyrsten Sinema called the decision a “natural extension” to “reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington.” Sinema’s announcement comes days after Democrats reached a 51-49 majority in the Senate. The Senate, however, will still functionally be a 51-49 chamber, meaning Democrats will have the votes to control Senate committees, retain subpoena power, and judicial and executive branch nominees. Sinema will also keep her committee assignments. (CNN / Politico / New York Times / NBC News)

4/ House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy could lose the election for the next speaker of the House, despite Republicans flipping the chamber in the midterms. McCarthy needs to earn 218 votes to become House speaker, and Republicans will start the 118th Congress with 222 seats. However, at least six Republicans have said they won’t vote for McCarthy, leaving him two shy of a majority. If McCarthy loses more than four GOP votes on Jan. 3, the House will keep voting until someone wins a majority of support from the lawmakers in attendance who are not voting “present.” The last time a vote for speaker had to go to multiple ballots was in 1923. (CNN / FiveThirtyEight / USA Today)

5/ Scientists successfully produced a fusion reaction for the first time that generated more energy than it consumed. While still at least a decade away from commercial use, the technology offers the promise of unlimited, cheap, and carbon-free electricity. The Department of Energy is expected to officially announce the “major scientific breakthrough” Tuesday. (CNN / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times)

6/ The Keystone oil pipeline system was shut down after a pipe ruptured, spilling enough oil to become the largest onshore crude pipeline spill in nine years. An estimated 14,000 barrels of oil spilled into a creek in Kansas. Since 2010, the Keystone pipeline has leaked almost 26,000 barrels of crude on U.S. land. (Associated Press / Bloomberg / New York Times)

poll/ A majority of Americans don’t want either Biden or Trump to run for president in 2024. 70% of Americans say Biden should not run for a second term, while 19% support another run. 61%, meanwhile, say Trump should not seek the presidency, compared with 30% who believe he should. (CNBC)

Day 688: "Hope and dignity."

1/ The House passed legislation to enshrine federal protections for marriages of same-sex and interracial couples. The 258-169 vote sends the Respect for Marriage Act to Biden. The Senate passed the same bill last week by a vote of 61-36. The House initially took up the legislation after the Supreme Court’s decision in June that overturned the federal right to an abortion and Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion that the Court should reconsider some past rulings, including its decision on same-sex marriage. Following the vote, Biden called the legislation a “critical step to ensure that Americans have the right to marry the person they love,” adding that it provides “hope and dignity to millions of young people across this country who can grow up knowing that their government will recognize and respect the families they build.” (Associated press / NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / Politico / Bloomberg)

2/ The Justice Department asked a federal judge to hold Trump and his team in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena to return classified documents in his possession. The judge hasn’t held a hearing or ruled on the request, yet. The request came after months of frustration from the Justice Department, which first issued a subpoena in May for any classified documents. While Trump’s lawyers certified that all classified documents had been returned, the FBI seized more than 100 classified documents during its court-authorized search warrant of Mar-a-Lago in August. Trump’s lawyers, meanwhile, recently found at least two classified documents in a Florida storage unit. (Washington Post / CNN)

3/ The Jan. 6 committee is reportedly considering criminal referrals for Trump and at least four others. While the committee hasn’t officially decided who to refer to the Justice Department for prosecution, the panel is considering referrals for Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, and Rudy Giuliani. The committee is expected to reach a decision on criminal referrals when members meet virtually on Sunday. (CNN / Politico)

4/ Michael Flynn appeared before an Atlanta-area special grand jury investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results. Flynn’s appearance came after a Florida judged ordered him to testify, calling him a “necessary and material witness” in the grand jury investigation. (Washington Post / CNN)

5/ The House passed an $858 billion bill to fund the Defense Department, which includes a provision that lifts the Pentagon’s Covid-19 vaccine requirement for active duty service members. The legislation increase the Pentagon’s budget by $45 billion over Biden’s request. The measure now heads to the Senate, where the support of at least 10 Republicans is needed. (CNN / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / New York Times)

6/ WNBA star Brittney Griner was released from Russian detention in a prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is known as the “Merchant of Death.” Nine months ago, Griner was detained at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said they found vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage, which is illegal in Russia. She was sentenced in August to 9.5 years in prison for drug smuggling and sent to a penal colony. (NBC News / Politico / CBS News)

poll/ 43% of Americans approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president, while 55% disapprove. (Associated Press)

Day 687: "Big consequences."

1/ The Supreme Court appeared split on whether state legislators can set voting rules for federal elections without oversight from state courts. The justices are considering a once-fringe legal idea being pressed by North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders called the “independent state legislature” theory, which argues that an interpretation of the Constitution’s Elections Clause leaves no room for state courts to review election laws. If the justices were to side with the North Carolina Republicans, state lawmakers would have largely unchecked power to set election rules, including reshaping congressional districts through partisan gerrymandering, determining voter eligibility, and mail-in ballot requirements. Justice Elena Kagan called the independent state legislature argument “a theory with big consequences.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Politico)

2/ Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia’s Senate runoff election. Warnock’s victory gives Democrats a 51-49 Senate majority. Starting in January, Democrats will have full power to send legislation to the Senate floor, have subpoena power, and vote on Biden’s nominees to judicial and executive positions. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / NPR / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ Trump’s lawyers found at least two classified documents in a Florida storage unit where the General Services Administration had shipped Trump’s belongings after he left the White House. Trump hired a search team after a federal judge pressured Trump’s lawyers to search more carefully for any remaining documents. The team searched Trump Tower, the Bedminster golf club, an office in Florida, and the Florida storage unit. The documents were turned over to the FBI and no other documents with classified markings were found during the search of four of Trump’s properties. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Associated Press)

Day 686: "A culture of fraud and deception."

1/ The Trump organization was found guilty on all 17 counts of criminal tax fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records, and other financial crimes. The verdict is the culmination of a three-year investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and the two entities – the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corp. – face a total of more than $1.6 million in fines. The case was built around testimony from the Trump Organization’s former finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty in August to 15 counts including tax fraud, conspiracy and grand larceny. In his testimony, Weisselberg detailed how he and the company’s comptroller, Jeffrey McConney, cheated state and federal tax authorities over a 15-year period by paying executives with “off the books” compensation, such as apartments and luxury cars. Prosecutors described the Trump Organization as a “culture of fraud and deception,” saying Trump sanctioned the tax-free benefits and personally signed some checks for private-school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren. Trump, however, wasn’t charged. Trump and his children and his company also face a civil suit filed by the New York attorney general accusing them of “staggering” fraud. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Bloomberg / Axios)

2/ The Jan. 6 committee will make criminal referrals to the Justice Department. Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters that the committee has “made decisions on criminal referrals,” but did not disclose how many or who the targets will be, or whether Trump will be among them. “At this point, there’ll be a separate document coming from me to DOJ,” Thompson said. When asked whether the committee believes any witnesses had perjured themselves, Thompson replied: “That’s part of the discussion.” The Justice Department has been pursuing its own criminal investigation and could act regardless of what referrals the panel makes. (CNN / New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

3/ The Justice Department sent grand jury subpoenas to officials in Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin for all communications with Trump, his campaign, and his aides and allies. The requests are the first known subpoenas issued by special counsel Jack Smith, who Attorney General Merrick Garland tapped to oversee the Jan. 6 Capitol attack case and the criminal probe of Trump’s mishandling of classified documents. The three states were central to Trump’s failed plan to stay in power following the 2020 election. (Washington Post / Politico)

4/ Trump’s political action committee is paying the legal bills for key witnesses in the Justice Department’s investigation into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left office. Trump’s Save America PAC has paid Brand Woodward Law more than $120,000 to represent Kash Patel, who has testified in front of the grand jury, as well as Walt Nauta, a Trump valet who told FBI agents that Trump had instructed him to move boxes at Mar-a-Lago. Brand Woodward also represents Trump’s longtime adviser Dan Scavino and at least one other personal aide who has testified in front of the grand jury. (Washington Post)

5/ Trump failed to disclose a $19.8 million loan from a foreign creditor while running for president in 2016. Documents obtained by the New York attorney general’s office show that Trump had a previously unreported liability to South Korean company Daewoo when he took office in January 2017. Daewoo was the only South Korean company allowed to operate in North Korea during the 1990s. The loan was reported on the Trump Organization’s internal documents. The non-disclosure is not necessarily illegal because government disclosure laws require presidential candidates and presidents to list personal debts. The debt, however, still could have posed a conflict of interest given Trump’s frequent boasting about his close relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un while president. (Forbes / The Guardian / The Independent)

Day 685: "Sensitive and high-profile."

1/ Early turnout in Georgia’s Senate runoff between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker has broke daily voting records three times since polls opened. Ahead of the Tuesday runoff, more than 1.85 million Georgians have voted early, including more than 76,000 who didn’t turn out in the general election. Although Democrats have already secured control of the Senate, the party is seeking an outright majority instead of a 50-50 split and power-sharing agreement that’s currently in place. Polls indicate that Warnock is leading Walker by a margin of 52% to 48%. (NBC News / ABC News / Politico / CNN / Bloomberg)

2/ The Supreme Court seemed sympathetic to an evangelical Christian graphic designer in Colorado who doesn’t want to create wedding websites for same-sex couples despite the state’s anti-discrimination law. The case concerns Lorie Smith, who wants to create customized wedding websites the tell the stories of heterosexual couples “through God’s lens.” Smith claims that the state’s law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation is a violation of her First Amendment right because it forces her to provide services to gay and lesbian couples and engage in speech she doesn’t agree with. The conservative justices have viewed the case through the lens of free speech and suggested that Smith, who sees themselves as artists, could not be forced to create speech that violates her religious belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman. (NPR / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg)

3/ Chinese government-linked hackers stole at least $20 million in U.S. Covid relief benefits. The Secret Service accused the Chengdu-based hacking group known as APT41 of defrauding Covid-related unemployment insurance funds and Small Business Administration loan money in more than a dozen states. The theft of taxpayer funds by APT41 is the first time the Secret Service has publicly connected pandemic fraud tied to foreign, state-sponsored cybercriminals. The agency says it has seized over $1.4 billion in stolen funds since 2020. (NBC News / CNN)

4/ The Manhattan district attorney hired a former Justice Department official who led the New York attorney general’s civil inquiry into Trump and the Trump Organization. Alvin Bragg said that Matthew Colangelo will work on the office’s “most sensitive and high-profile white-collar investigations.” In addition to working on the New York attorney general’s investigation of the Trump Organization, Colangelo also served as acting associate attorney general at the Justice Department. Colangelo led dozens of lawsuits against the Trump administration, as well as oversaw an investigation into Trump’s charity, which caused the organization to dissolve. Bragg took office in January, and despite the departure of two of his most senior prosecutors in February, he’s said his office’s investigation of Trump is ongoing. (New York Times / Bloomberg)

5/ Trump, falsely citing “massive fraud” in his 2020 loss to Biden, called for the “termination” of the Constitution and “all rules” to declare himself the “RIGHTFUL WINNER.” Despite only a handful of Republican lawmakers condemning his assertions, the twice-impeached former president denied he actually wanted to “‘terminate’ the Constitution” two days later. Trump’s rant on his personal social network came after the release of internal Twitter emails showing deliberations over the company’s decision in 2020 to block links to a New York Post article that described emails found on Hunter Biden’s laptop. “Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation and should be universally condemned,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement, adding: “You cannot only love America when you win.” (CNN / Politico / The Hill / Washington Post / Axios / New York Times)

Day 681: "A complete doomsday scenario."

1/ The Supreme Court agreed to an expedited review of the Biden administration’s plan to cancel student-loan debt, announcing that it will hear full oral arguments in February. A final ruling is expected by June. In the meantime, the court said the plan – which would cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for more than 40 million borrowers – remains blocked. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued that injunction in November in response to a legal challenge by six Republican-led states, who claim that the program was an unlawful exercise of presidential authority and would affect state revenues and tax receipts. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Bloomberg / New York Times / NBC News / CNN)

2/ The Senate passed legislation that would force a labor agreement between freight railroad companies and their workers, averting a potential Dec. 9 national rail strike. In a separate vote the Senate rejected a proposal to add seven days of paid sick leave to the deal. Under the tentative agreement, which several unions had rejected it because it lacked paid leave time, rail workers will receive a roughly 24% pay increase by 2024, more schedule flexibility, and one paid personal day. The legislation now goes to Biden. It was the first time since the 1990s that Congress has used its power to regulate interstate commerce to intervene in a national rail labor dispute. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Axios / NBC News / Politico / CNBC)

3/ The latest projections from the Bureau of Reclamation show that by July water levels at Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir, could fall to the point that the dam no longer has enough water to generate hydroelectricity for 4.5 million people. Lake Powell is currently a quarter of its original size with water levels having fallen 170 feet amid the warming climate and historic drought. If water levels drop another 38 feet, the surface would approach the tops of eight underwater openings, which allow the Colorado River water to pass through to the Glen Canyon Dam. This is known as “minimum power pool” status, and in addition to being unable to produce power, the dam would have limited ability to pass water downstream to the cities and farms in Arizona, Nevada, and California. The Glen Canyon Dam already generates about 40% less power than it originally did, and the Colorado River is the region’s most important waterway, serving roughly 1 in 10 Americans. “A complete doomsday scenario,” the deputy power manager at Glen Canyon Dam said. (Washington Post)

4/ The House Ways and Means Committee received six years of Trump’s returns from the Treasury. The committee first asked for Trump’s returns three years ago, but the Treasury Department, however, refused to comply with the request while Trump was in office. Trump then sued to block the release of the records. The committee declined to say if they would release any of the returns publicly. (CNN / CNBC / Bloomberg)

5/ A federal appeals court halted the special master review of thousands of documents seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The decision allows the Justice Department to continue its investigation into the mishandling of classified government documents. (Washington Post / Axios / CNN / CNBC)

6/ Kevin McCarthy demanded that the Jan. 6 committee chairman preserve all records and transcripts from the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol. McCarthy also vowed that Republicans would hold their own hearings into “why the Capitol complex was not secure” on the day a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol seeking to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral win. (Washington Post / Politico)

Day 680: "Until the job is done."

1/ House Democrats elected Hakeem Jeffries to lead their caucus – the first Black person to lead a major political party in Congress. Jeffries succeeds Nancy Pelosi, who has led the Democrats for two decades and announced earlier this month that she would remain in Congress, but not run for the leadership post. Also elected to lead House Democrats in the next session of Congress include Katherine Clark as whip, and Pete Aguilar as the chairman of the party caucus, in charge of messaging. (NPR / Associated Press / New York Times)

2/ The House voted to force a labor contract between rail workers and rail companies, which tens of thousands of union workers had voted down because it didn’t include paid sick leave, which they currently don’t receive. In addition to the bill to codify the tentative contract agreement reached earlier this year, the House voted to add seven paid sick days to the contract. The Senate, however, still needs to consider both of the bills, making it possible that the labor contract could be imposed without the sick leave addition. Without congressional action or an agreement between unions and rail companies, a nationwide freight rail strike could begin as early as December 9, which would cost the U.S. an estimated $2 billion per day. (NPR / Associated Press / Politico / New York Times / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Jerome Powell indicated that the Federal Reserve could begin to slow its interest rate increases, but will probably keep borrowing costs higher for longer than previously expected. The Fed has lifted interest rates from near-zero to a range of 3.75 to 4% since March. At each of its last four meetings alone, the central bank has increased rates by an unprecedented 0.75 basis-points aimed at combating high inflation – its the most aggressive action since the 1980s. The Fed is on track to raise interest rates by a half percentage point at its December meeting, and markets now expect rates to eclipse 5% next year. “It is likely that restoring price stability will require holding policy at a restrictive level for some time,” Powell said. “History cautions strongly against prematurely loosening policy. We will stay the course until the job is done.” (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / New York Times / CNN)

4/ The age of first-time homebuyers in the U.S. is getting older as prices rise, mortgage rates increase, and inventory decreases. First-time buyers made up 26% of the market from July 2021 to June 2022, down from 34% last year – the lowest share of first-time buyers since the data collection began. The median age of home buyers in the U.S. is now 53 – the highest on record. While millennials saw the largest increases in homeownership between 2019 and 2021 due to pandemic relief and historically low mortgage rates, 27% of millennials lived in a home they owned at age 25-34, compared with 40% or more for previous generations. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage, meanwhile, has more than doubled in the past year. Mortgage rates, however, have dropped slightly for a third straight week after topping 7% last month. (Washington Post / The Hill / CNBC)

5/ NASA canceled a planned satellite to monitor greenhouse gas emissions in Earth’s atmosphere because the project got too costly. The Geostationary Carbon Observatory mission was supposed to be a low-cost satellite to monitor carbon dioxide and methane over North and South America with a price tag around $166 million. NASA, however, estimates that the mission will now cost more than $600 million, which would “have a detrimental impact on NASA’s Earth Science portfolio.” (Associated Press / NASA)

6/ Lawmakers plan to add $45 billion to the defense budget. The Senate and House Armed Services committees have reportedly come to a “compromise” to set the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act budget at $847 billion. Last year, Biden asked for $753 billion but was granted an NDAA worth about $778 billion. If Congress moves ahead with the increase, it would be the second year in a row that lawmakers have endorsed a national defense budget that is tens of billions more than Biden requested. Last year, Biden asked for about $744 billion but was given about $768 billion – $24 billion more than he had requested. (Politico)

Day 679: "Today is a very good day."

1/ The Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act to codify federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. While the legislation doesn’t force states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, it does require states to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were performed, and protect current same-sex unions. The bill also repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. “For millions and millions of Americans, today is a very good day,” Chuck Schumer said prior to the vote. “An important day. A day that’s been a long time coming.” The bill’s passage sends it back to the House for another vote and then to Biden for his signature. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Politico / NPR / NBC News / CNN)

2/ Congressional leaders vowed to pass legislation “ASAP” to avert a nationwide rail strike, saying they agree with Biden that a railroad strike in the coming weeks would put the economy “at risk.” A rail strike could happen as early as December 9. “I am calling on Congress to pass legislation immediately to adopt the Tentative Agreement between railroad workers and operators – without any modifications or delay – to avert a potentially crippling national rail shutdown,” Biden said in a statement. In September, the White House helped broker a tentative deal, but members of the largest unions rejected the proposal because it didn’t address scheduling and paid time-off issues. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NPR / Politico / CNN)

3/ A federal jury convicted Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes of seditious conspiracy for plotting to forcefully disrupt the transfer of power after the 2020 election. Kelly Meggs, who ran the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers at the time of the Jan. 6 attack, was also convicted of seditious conspiracy and other felonies. Seditious conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. (Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press / New York Times / Axios / CNN)

4/ Mark Meadows was ordered to testify to the grand jury investigating Trump’s effort to overturn the election in Georgia. Meadows had asked the state supreme court to block a subpoena for testimony, arguing that his appearance before the grand jury was barred by executive privilege. “We have reviewed the arguments raised by [Meadows] and find them to be manifestly without merit,” the justices wrote in a brief opinion. (Politico / CNBC)

5/ Kevin McCarthy disavowed the white nationalist Nick Fuentes, but declined to criticize Trump for having dinner with him. “The president can have meetings with who he wants,” McCarthy said. “I don’t think anybody, though, should have a meeting with Nick Fuentes,” adding: “The president didn’t know who he was.” Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, suggested that Trump is “highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States” after dining with a white supremacist and Holocaust denier. (New York Times / Business Insider / CNBC / Bloomberg / NBC News / Axios)

Day 678: "Persistent and lethal."

1/ Biden renewed his call for a ban on assault weapons following mass shootings at a Walmart in Virginia and a LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado, saying: “The idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no social redeeming values. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturer.” Democrats, however, don’t have the 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster to advance an assault weapons ban bill, which the House passed in July. The window to enact legislation is also closing, as Republicans are set to take a majority in the House in January. (ABC News / Washington Post / CNN / The Hill)

2/ The FBI and Homeland Security have failed to address domestic terrorism, according to a report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Since 2019, both Homeland Security and the FBI have repeatedly identified domestic terrorism – specifically white supremacist violence – as “the most persistent and lethal terrorist threat to the homeland.” The federal government, however, has continued to disproportionately allocate resources to international terrorist threats instead, according to the three-year investigation. “DHS and FBI’s inability to provide comprehensive data on the domestic terrorist threat creates serious concerns that they are not effectively prioritizing our counterterrorism resources to address the rising domestic terrorist threat,” the committee’s chairman said in a statement. (Salon / Yahoo News)

3/ Trump had dinner with white nationalist and antisemite Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago last week. Fuentes is a far-right activist who frequently promotes racist and antisemitic conspiracy theories. Also at the dinner was Kanye West (who now goes by Ye), who recently lost endorsements deals after making a series of antisemitic remarks. Fuentes is reportedly helping Ye with his second presidential campaign. Following the dinner, Ye posted a video claiming that Trump “is really impressed with Fuentes.” In a statement, the White House said: “Bigotry, hate, and antisemitism have absolutely no place in America – including at Mar-A-Lago. Holocaust denial is repugnant and dangerous, and it must be forcefully condemned.” Democratic National Committee added: “If it was any other party, breaking bread with Nick Fuentes would be instantly disqualifying for Trump.” Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, have largely remained silent following Trump’s dinner with an antisemitic rapper and white nationalist activist. Trump has also repeatedly refused to disavow Fuentes. (Politico / ABC News / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Axios / Bloomberg / The Guardian)

4/ The Justice Department is seeking to question Pence about Trump’s efforts to disrupt the transfer of power after the 2020 election. Pence is reportedly open to considering the request, but it’s unclear if Trump will attempt to assert executive privilege to block any potential testimony. Pence’s chief of staff and chief counsel have already testified to the grand jury investigating the matter. Separately, Kellyanne Conway voluntarily met with the Jan. 6 committee and spoke on the record. (New York Times / Politico / CNN / CNBC / NBC News)

5/ The Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the state’s six-week ban on abortions. A lower court ruling last week had put the ban on hold, calling it “unconstitutional.” In a one-page order, the justices put the lower court ruling on hold while they consider an appeal by the Georgia’s attorney general. (NPR / CNN)

6/ The Biden administration eased some oil sanctions against Venezuela and the Treasury Department granted Chevron a “limited” license to pump and export oil from the South American country. The six-month license stipulates that any oil produced can only be exported to the U.S., and that profits from the sale of energy would be directed to paying down debt owed to Chevron, rather than going to the state-run oil company, PDVSA. Chevron is the only remaining active U.S. oil company in Venezuela but has been barred by sanctions from operations there. A senior Biden official, meanwhile, claimed that easing sanctions – which began 15 years ago on grounds of drug trafficking, corruption, and human rights abuses – was not about adding supply to the global oil market to ease high energy prices exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but rather about restoring democracy to Venezuela. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Politico / Bloomberg)

Day 672: "Quickly approaching the end."

1/ The Supreme Court rejected Trump’s legal effort to block the release of his tax returns to Congress. Republicans, however, are expected to end the committee’s investigation when they take control of the House on Jan. 3, 2023. The order comes after a federal appeals court ruled that the Ways and Means Committee had the right to obtain six years of Trump’s tax records, which Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked. The chief lawyer for the House had urged the Supreme Court not to intervene, saying: “Delaying Treasury from providing the requested tax information would leave the Committee and Congress as a whole little or no time to complete their legislative work during this Congress, which is quickly approaching its end.” The committee first sought the tax returns from the IRS in 2019. (CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / NBC News / Axios / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Biden administration will extend the pause on federal student loan payments through June 30, 2023. The extension, which began in March 2020 to help people who were struggling financially due to the Covid-19 pandemic, comes as the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan remains blocked by federal courts. Federal student loan bills had been scheduled to resume in January. “We’re extending the payment pause because it would be deeply unfair to ask borrowers to pay a debt that they wouldn’t have to pay, were it not for the baseless lawsuits brought by Republican officials and special interests,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. (CNBC / Axios / CNN / Bloomberg)

3/ Members of the largest railroad unions rejected a tentative labor contract brokered by the White House. Four of the 12 rail unions have now rejected the proposed contract, which the Biden administration had negotiated in September to avert a strike before the midterm elections. At issue are attendance policies that penalize workers for taking time off when they are sick or for personal time, as well as grueling, unpredictable schedules. Both sides have agreed to a cooling-off period until early December. Roughly 40% of freight moves by rail in the U.S. A national rail strike, which could happen as early as Dec. 5, could cost the economy more than $2 billion per day. (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

4/ Lindsey Graham testified before the Fulton County special grand jury investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election. Graham’s testimony came after a monthslong legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court, which declined to block the subpoena requiring him to appear. Prosecutors in Fulton County to question Graham about calls he made to Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, in the weeks after the 2020 election, as well as his interactions with the Trump campaign, and other issues related to the election. Graham reportedly testified for “just over two hours and answered all questions.” (Washington Post / Axios / CNN)

Day 671: "Bad things."

1/ A gunman killed five people and injured 18 others at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, which occurs annually on Nov. 20 to honor victims of anti-trans violence. Anderson Lee Aldrich faces five murder charges and five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the shooting has “the trappings” of a hate crime. A year and a half before he was arrested, Aldrich allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb. Despite the incident forcing neighbors to evacuate while the bomb squad and crisis negotiators talked him into surrendering, there is no record of anyone trying to trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law, which would have allowed the seizure of Aldrich’s weapons and ammo. 57% of American, meanwhile, say they want stricter gun laws – down from 66% in June. (Associated Press / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times)

2/ Diplomats from nearly 200 countries failed to reach an agreement to phase out fossil fuels, but agreed to set up a “loss and damage” fund to help vulnerable countries cope with climate change disasters. The meeting, known as COP27, ended with an agreement that reaffirmed the goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but didn’t address the root cause of the climate crisis: greenhouse gas emissions. More than 80 other countries wanted language that would have called for a “phase-down” of all fossil fuels, which would have gone beyond the deal in Glasgow that called for a “phase-down” of coal only. The effort to phase out all fossil fuels, however, was “stonewalled by a number of large emitters and oil producers,” including China, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. (CNN / Vox / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

3/ Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee two Justice Department criminal investigations into Trump: his handling of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago and his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. Garland named Jack Smith as special counsel, saying Trump’s presidential candidacy and Biden’s intention to run for reelection were “extraordinary circumstances” that necessitated a “special prosecutor to independently manage an investigation and prosecution.” Smith was previously the chief of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, overseeing public corruption and elections-related investigations. Trump, meanwhile, called Smith’s appointment “unfair,” claiming that the independent prosecutor “want[s] to do bad things to the greatest movement in the history of our country, but in particular, bad things to me.” (Wall Street Journal / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / CNBC)

4/ The Jan. 6 committee plans to release “all the evidence” it has collected “within a month” – before the panel ends when Republicans take control of the House in January. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, added “the evidence is there” to make a criminal referral against Trump. (CBS News / ABC News)

5/ The Manhattan district attorney’s office has restarted its long-running criminal investigation into Trump and the $130,000 hush money Michael Cohen paid to Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 presidential election. District Attorney Alvin Bragg is reportedly revisiting whether Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, could be pressured into cooperating with the probe. Weisselberg recently pleaded guilty to unrelated tax fraud charges in a criminal case involving the Trump Organization. The potential charges are related to insurance fraud and unrelated to the hush money payment. (New York Times)

6/ Chief Twit reinstated Trump’s Twitter account after posting a poll asking the platform’s users, bots, and fake accounts if the former president’s permanent ban for inciting the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol should be reversed. Elon Musk, who has spent months complaining about Twitter’s problem with bot and fake accounts, claimed “the people have spoken” after more than 15 million votes were logged. The “yes” vote won, with 51.8%. Trump, meanwhile, said he sees “a lot of problems at Twitter” and poured cold water on the idea of returning to the platform, saying, “I don’t see any reason for it.” (New York Times / Bloomberg / NPR / Reuters / Associated Press)

Day 667: "A new generation of leaders."

1/ Nancy Pelosi will not seek a Democratic leadership role in the next Congress after Republicans take control of the House. “For me the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,” Pelosi said a day after Republicans officially won control of the House. “And I am grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.” Pelosi is the first and only woman to hold the top position in the House and will continue to serve as a member of the House. “I have enjoyed working with three presidents,” Pelosi, who has served as House speaker under four different presidents, added. House Democrats are scheduled to vote on their leaders on Nov. 30. Hakeem Jeffries is considered Pelosi’s heir apparent. If elected, Jeffries would become the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress. (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / Politico / Associated Press / ABC News / Wall Street Journal / CNN / HuffPost)

2/ The Biden administration will ask the Supreme Court to revive its student loan debt relief program. Earlier this week, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a nationwide injunction temporarily barring the program. Separately, the Justice Department is asking the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay a decision by a Texas judge that ruled Biden’s debt relief program was “an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power and must be vacated.” The filing says the judge “lacked jurisdiction to enter an order.” (Politico / CNBC)

3/ The Jan. 6 committee interviewed the lead Secret Service agent in Trump’s motorcade on the day of the insurrection. Robert Engel was driving the car when Trump tried to grab the car’s steering wheel after being told he was headed back to the White House because it wasn’t safe to go to the Capitol, according to former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified before the committee in June. Hutchinson said Tony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff, had told her this story of Trump being “irate.” Pence, meanwhile, said he would not testify before the committee, because Congress “has no right to my testimony.” Pence added that it would establish a “terrible precedent for the Congress to summon a vice president of the United States to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House.” (CNN / Reuters)

4/ Michael Flynn was ordered to testify before a special grand jury investigating whether Trump and his allies tried to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. In mid-December 2020, Flynn suggested that Trump “could take military capabilities,” put them in swing states, and “basically re-run an election in each of those states.” Flynn, Trump, attorney Sidney Powell, and others met at the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, to discuss “invoking martial law, seizing voting machines, and appointing Powell as special counsel to investigate the 2020 election.” Flynn must testify before the panel on Nov. 22. (NBC News)

5/ The Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer testified that he committed tax crimes and that the company stopped several illegal tax practices after Trump became president. Allen Weisselberg testified that senior employees received their bonuses via 1099 income, a tax form intended for self-employed individuals, which allowed the company to avoid payroll taxes. Executives could then open tax-deferred retirement accounts that only self-employed people qualify for. In addition, the company is accused of giving executives off-the-books perks including apartments, luxury cars, and private school tuition. Weisselberg testified that he carried out the scheme for his own benefit and that the Trump family was not involved in the schemes. Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 criminal counts in August. Under the deal, he will serve five months in jail if he testifies truthfully. (Bloomberg / Politico / CNN / CBS News)

Day 666: "The gravest threat to our civilization."

1/ Trump — the twice-impeached former president who tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election, encouraged a deadly insurrection at the Capitol, and is the subject of multiple criminal investigations — filed to run for president for a third consecutive time. “In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said from Mar-a-Lago despite some Republicans blaming him for the party’s disappointing midterm election results. “We are a nation in decline. We are a failing nation for millions of Americans,” Trump said, adding that the “gravest threat to our civilization” was what he called the weaponization of the Justice Department and the FBI. Trump enters the race facing multiple ongoing civil and criminal investigations in multiple states related to tax fraud, his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and the mishandling of classified documents stored at Mar-a-Lago. (Politico / Associated Press / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

2/ The Senate advanced bipartisan legislation to protect same-sex marriage. In a 62-37 vote, 12 Republicans voted with all Democrats to end debate on the bill and advance the Respect for Marriage Act, which would enshrine same-sex marriage protections into federal law. The bill also repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as one man and one woman and allowed states to decline to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. In May, 71% of Americans said they supported legal same-sex marriage – up from 27% in 1996. A final Senate vote could happen this week, which would send the amended version to the House for another vote before it would head to Biden to be signed into law. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

3/ A judge overturned Georgia’s six-week abortion ban, ruling that key parts of the law “were plainly unconstitutional when drafted, voted upon, and enacted.” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney noted that because the law was enacted before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the ban must be evaluated using a 2019 lens. As a result, abortions will — for the first time since July — be legal in Georgia, up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, effective immediately. The Georgia attorney general’s office immediately filed an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court. (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNN)

4/ A federal judge struck down a Trump-era policy used to expel more than 1 million migrants at the nation’s Southern border. The Trump administration first issued the Title 42 policy in 2020 at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic to stop the “introduction” of contagious diseases in the U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan said the order was “arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act,” arguing that the policy had little proven benefit to public health and hasn’t been updated to align with the present state of the pandemic and availability of vaccines and treatment options. The order will go into effect on Dec. 21. (Politico / Washington Post / CBS News / CNN)

5/ The Biden administration warned of a “historically large increase” in federal student loan delinquency and defaults without its forgiveness plan. The Education Department stopped accepting applications for its student loan forgiveness plan last week after a judge in Texas called the policy “unconstitutional” and struck it down. Approximately 18 million borrowers are eligible to have their federal student loans discharged in their entirety under the program. These same borrowers are most in jeopardy of defaulting. About 60% of borrowers who qualified for forbearance haven’t made a single payment since August 2020. Payments, however, are set to resume Jan. 1, 2023, unless Biden extends the pause on repayments. (CNBC / Axios / Bloomberg)

Day 665: "Managing risk."

1/ Kevin McCarthy won the Republican nomination for speaker with 188 votes from the caucus in a secret-ballot vote. Assuming that Republicans take control of the chamber, McCarthy will need to win at least 218 votes on the House floor in January to earn the speaker’s gavel. Republicans are currently one seat short of the majority in the House with 13 races still uncalled, including four in which the Republican candidates lead. In the Senate, Rick Scott said he plans to challenge Mitch McConnell for minority leader. McConnell, however, is expected to retain support from the majority of his conference. Trump, meanwhile, is expected to announce a third consecutive presidential campaign tonight from Mar-a-Lago. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Bloomberg / Axios / Washington Post / Associated Press)

2/ The director of the CIA warned his Russian counterpart against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The National Security Council said Bill Burns’ meeting was part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. to “communicate with Russia on managing risk” and was not in any way to negotiate or to discuss any settlement of the war in Ukraine. National security adviser Jake Sullivan has also been in touch with his Russian counterparts about the consequences should Russia use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. Russia, meanwhile, launched roughly 100 missiles aimed primarily at Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure. Two Russian missiles, however, missed Ukraine entirely and landed about four miles north in Poland. (New York Times / CNN / Associated Press / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The Customs and Border Protection commissioner resigned after a standoff with Biden’s Homeland Security secretary. Chris Magnus initially refused to step down after both Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, and the department’s deputy secretary asked him to resign. CBP staff reportedly had lost confidence in him. Magnus served in the job for less than a year. (New York Times / Politico / NPR / Washington Post)

4/ Federal prosecutors closed their investigation in whether Rudy Giuliani violated U.S. lobbying laws while doing business in Ukraine and no criminal charges will be brought. After more than two years, prosecutors wrote that “based on information currently available to the government, criminal charges are not forthcoming.” (New York Times / CNN / CNBC)

5/ U.S. intelligence reports that the United Arab Emirates attempted to steered U.S. foreign policy in its favor through a series of legal and illegal activities. The classified report reveals that the UAE spent more than $154 million on lobbyists since 2016 to exploit the vulnerabilities in American governance, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars on donations to American universities and think tanks. In one exploit, the UAE hired three former U.S. intelligence and military officials to surveil dissidents, politicians, journalists, and U.S. companies, as well as break into computers in the U.S. and other countries. (Washington Post)

Day 664: "Simply by saying so."

1/ Democrats won the Senate while Republicans appear on track for a narrow majority in the House. As of Monday morning, 20 House seats remain uncalled, with 212 seats projected for Republicans and 203 for Democrats. To retain the House majority, Democrats would have to win 15 of the last 20 seats. Biden told reporters: “I think we’re going to get very close in the House […] but I don’t think we’re going to make it.” Meanwhile, in the Senate, Democratic incumbents Mark Kelly and Catherine Cortez Masto won re-election in Arizona and Nevada, respectively. The two victories mean Democrats will not only be able to unilaterally confirm Biden’s judges and executive branch nominees for two more years, but they have the chance to expand their Senate majority with a win in Georgia’s Senate run-off election next month. Biden, however, said that Democrats still lack the votes needed to codify abortion rights into law. (Politico / NBC News / CNBC / New York Times / NPR)

2/ A federal appeals court blocked Biden’s student loan forgiveness program while it considers a lawsuit brought by six Republican states to end the policy, which argued they were harmed by a freeze on the collection of student loan payments and interest. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited the potential “irreversible impact” of allowing debt forgiveness for about 40 million borrower to proceed “as compared to the lack of harm an injunction would presently impose.” The court had temporarily blocked the debt relief program in October. The appeals court decision comes days after a federal judge in Texas blocked the program and declared it “unlawful.” U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman, who was appointed by Trump, wrote: “In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government.” About 26 million people had applied for debt relief and 16 million people had already had their relief approved. The government, however, is blocked from discharging any debt while the court considers the lawsuit to end the policy. The Education Department, meanwhile, is no longer accepting applications for debt relief because of the court orders. (Axios / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CBS News / NPR / Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / CNBC)

3/ Trump sued the Jan. 6 committee to avoid cooperating with its subpoena for documents and his testimony. Trump was subpoenaed by the committee in October and was scheduled to be deposed on Nov. 14 – a day before his “big announcement,” where he is widely expected to announce the launch of his 2024 presidential campaign. Trump is challenging the legitimacy of the committee and claims he should be immune from testimony about the time he was president. (CNN / CNBC)

  • The Supreme Court refused to block a Jan. 6 committee subpoena for the phone records of Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party and a Trump ally. The vote was 7-to-2, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting, without explanation. (New York Times / NPR / Politico / NBC News)

4/ Trump claimed in a court filing that the highly sensitive national security documents he took to Mar-a-Lago were his “personal” property because he said so. The Justice Department, however, said that Trump cannot deem the records personal “simply by saying so,” and accused him of engaging in a “shell game” to shield documents from criminal investigators. The DOJ added that if the records were “personal,” then there’s no basis to shield them from investigators. (Politico / CNN / New York Times / CNBC)

5/ Officials from six nations spent more than $750,000 at Trump’s hotel in Washington while they were trying to influence U.S. foreign policy in 2017 and 2018, according to a report by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The spending in the records included more than $250,000 by Malaysia, more than $280,000 by Qatar, more than $90,000 by Saudi Arabia, and more than $74,000 by the United Arab Emirates. The records also show a total of $65,139 in charges by the American Turkish Council, a nonprofit group with ties to the Turkish government, as well as $19,370 in spending by a delegation from the Embassy of China. (New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Axios)

Day 660: "Not at all angry."

1/ Control of Congress continues to hang in the balance two days after the 2022 midterm elections. Republicans are on track to take a narrow House majority, needing 9 more seats with 37 more races still up for grabs. Meanwhile, three Senate races remain uncalled: Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, which is headed for a Dec. 6 runoff. Democrats currently have a slight lead in Arizona, while Republicans maintain a slim advantage in Nevada. Some analysts say they expect the outstanding vote in both of those races to favor the Democratic candidates. Meanwhile, at a Democratic National Committee event, Biden said that, nationally, there were “a lot of concerns about whether democracy would meet the test.” He added: “It did.” Trump’s allies, meanwhile, are pushing him to delay his planned presidential announcement, while Paul Ryan called Trump “a drag on our ticket.” Trump, however, claims he’s “not at all angry” about the midterms. (New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / Politico / NPR / Washington Post)

2/ The consumer price index increased 7.7% from a year ago – down from 8.2% in September and June’s 9.1% rate. While that’s the lowest rate of inflation since January, inflation remains near a 40-year high and well above the Fed’s 2% target. The inflation report leaves the Federal Reserve on track to raise rates by 0.50 percentage points in December after four consecutive hikes of 0.75 percentage points. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / Politico / CBS News / ABC News)

3/ Home prices rose in 98% of metro markets from July through September despite mortgage rates rising to their highest level in 20 years. Nationwide, prices for an existing, median single-family home rose by 8.6% from last year to $398,500. Median prices were up 10% or more in 46% of cities. Home sales, however, have dropped for eight straight months through September. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.08% last week. A year ago, the 30-year fixed rate stood at 2.98%. (National Association of Realtors / Wall Street Journal / CNN / The Hill)

4/ The IRS urged the Supreme Court to allow the release of Trump’s tax returns to a House committee. Nine days ago, Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked the IRS from transferring six years of Trump’s returns to the House Ways and Means Committee while the court considered Trump’s request for a longer delay. In a legal brief, the IRS and Treasury said Trump’s request for the delay “cannot satisfy the demanding standard for that extraordinary relief.” The committee, which has been seeking the documents since 2019, told the court that further delays would leave the committee “little or no time to complete their legislative work during this Congress, which is quickly approaching its end.” (Bloomberg / CNBC)

Day 659: "A good day for democracy."

1/ Senate control hinges on three states, while Republicans have picked up fewer seats than predicted in the House. Republicans, however, are still poised to win a narrow majority in one if not both houses of Congress. In the Senate, Democrat John Fetterman flipped a key seat in Pennsylvania, while Republican Ron Johnson secured reelection in Wisconsin. Democrats currently control 48 seats to the Republicans 49, meaning whoever wins two of the three elections in Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada will control the Senate. In the House, Republicans are expected to win the five seats they needed to take control, but a large number of the most competitive races remain uncalled. In midterm elections since World War II, the president’s party has almost always lost seats, but Democrats seem to have avoided the so-called “red wave” that some strategists predicted was going to be fueled by record inflation and economic woes. Only three times since World War II has inflation been as high as it is today heading into the midterms, and in all three cases the president’s party lost between 15 and 48 seats in the House. “It was a good day for democracy,” Biden said. “And I think it was a good day for America.” (Politico / Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / CNN / NBC News / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / MSNBC / ABC News)

  • Takeaways from the 2022 midterm elections: New York Times / NPR / CNN / NBC News / Politico

  • The candidates who made history in the midterms: the first female governors in Arkansas, Massachusetts, and New York; the first Black person to be elected governor of Maryland; the nation’s first openly lesbian governor in Massachusetts; the first openly LGBTQ person to represent Vermont in Congress; the first member of Gen Z to be elected to Congress. (Washington Post / NPR)

2/ Georgia’s Senate race is headed to a runoff after neither candidate cleared the 50% threshold needed to win outright. The runoff between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker will take place on Dec. 6, with the Senate majority potentially at stake for a second straight election cycle. With more than 95% of ballots counted on Wednesday afternoon, Warnock had 49.4% of the vote to Walker’s 48.5%. About 35,000 votes separated the two candidates. Georgia law requires a runoff if no candidate clears 50%. (Politico / Axios / Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NPR)

3/ Voters in California, Michigan, and Vermont enshrined abortion rights in their state’s constitution in the first nationwide election since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Voters in Kentucky – where abortion is currently banned – rejected a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution to say that it does not “secure or protect a right” to abortion or the funding of abortion. Kentucky is the second state in the post-Roe era to reject an anti-abortion ballot measure. In August, Kansas voters rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have allowed the legislature to ban abortions. (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Axios / CNN / CNBC)

4/ Democrats flipped governorships in two states, while Republican governors Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott, and Brian Kemp all easily won reelection. As of Wednesday afternoon, gubernatorial contests in Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona remain uncalled. Thirty-six states states voted to elect governors last night. (Politico / Wall Street Journal / FiveThirtyEight)

5/ Trump was reportedly “fuming” at Mar-a-Lago last night after at least 14 of his endorsed candidates were projected to lose in their races. Trump was particularly upset as Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano both lost their elections in Pennsylvania. Out of 39 competitive races in which Trump endorsed a candidate, his candidates won 12 races and lost 11, with 16 still undecided as of Wednesday afternoon. Prior to any races being called last night, Trump send an email blast boasting of “unprecedented successes.” Later, however, Trump acknowledged that the results were “somewhat disappointing.” (CNBC / Forbes / ABC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Axios)

Day 658: "The things Americans value most are at risk."

1/ Polls opened across the country today with control of Congress at stake in the first national election since the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Republicans are favored to regain control of the House, where all 435 House seats are up for grabs. Control of the Senate, which is currently split 50-50, will likely be decided a handful of races in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire, and North Carolina despite 35 seats up for election this cycle. As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly 45 million ballots had been cast nationwide. While the earliest polls close at 6 p.m. Eastern today, we probably won’t know all the results of the midterm elections for days – or weeks – after voting concludes. (Washington Post / Associated Press / CNN / New York Times)

2/ Voting rights advocates monitoring polling sites across the country reported no major concerns with ballots, long lines, or voter intimidation so far. One early issue, however, occurred in Maricopa County – Arizona’s most populous county – where about 1 in 5 polling locations were experiencing a technical problem with their ballot tabulator machines in the first hours of voting. Despite election officials resolving the issue and assuring voters that their ballots would still be counted, Arizona Republicans nevertheless seized on the glitch and claimed it was evidence of widespread voter fraud. (Associated Press / Washington Post / CNN / NPR / NBC News / Bloomberg / New York Times)

3/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to allow Justice Department election monitors to go inside polling locations, saying the government’s involvement would be “counterproductive” and “potentially undermine confidence in the election.” Brad McVay, the chief counsel for the Florida Department of State, said the federal officials were not included on a list of people allowed inside polling places under Florida law. On Monday, the Justice Department announced that it would send monitors to 64 jurisdictions nationwide. Federal monitors, however, need local permission to observe activity inside election sites. (Washington Post / CNN)

4/ The effects of climate change are already “far-reaching and worsening” throughout every region of the U.S., according to a draft of the National Climate Assessment. The U.S. has warmed 68% faster than Earth as a whole over the past 50 years, the report finds, noting “the things Americans value most are at risk.” While the U.S. cut greenhouse gas emissions by 12% from 2007- 2019, emissions need to drop by over 6% every year to meet the Biden administration’s climate goal of net-zero by 2050. (Washington Post / New York Times / Axios / CNBC)

Day 657: "Chronicle of chaos."

1/ Earth is on track to see its 5th or 6th warmest year on record in 2022, with global average temperatures currently running about 1.15°C above the preindustrial average. “We just had the 8 warmest years on record,” the World Meteorological Organization said, calling its latest State of the Global Climate report a “chronicle of climate chaos.” The agency noted that “the warming continues” with accelerating sea level rise, record-breaking glacier melting, and extreme weather. Temperatures in Europe have increased at an average rate of 0.5 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 30 years – more than twice the global average. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Axios / CBS News)

2/ U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called for the creation of a “climate solidarity pact” between rich and poor nations to meet the Paris Agreement’s target and limit the severity of global warming. Earth is losing “the fight of our lives,” Guterres said in opening remarks at the annual U.N. climate conference, known as COP27. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish.” The Guterres called for China and the U.S. – the world’s two biggest polluters – to cooperate, saying they have a “particular responsibility to join efforts to make this pact a reality. This is our only hope of meeting our climate goals.” (NPR / Axios / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Axios)

3/ More than 41 million pre-election ballots have been cast across 47 states, but Republicans in at least three battleground states have sued to disqualify thousands of mail ballots. In Pennsylvania, thousands of ballots have been set aside because the voter neglected to put a date on the outer envelope. While in Michigan, the Republican nominee for secretary of state filed a lawsuit seeking to toss absentee ballots not requested in person by Detroit voters. And in Wisconsin, some mail ballots won’t be counted if the required witness address is not complete. Pre-election voting, however, has been ahead of 2018 levels in states where data is available for the last three cycles. (CNN / Washington Post)

4/ A Russian oligarch known as “Vladimir Putin’s chef” admitted that Russia had interfered in U.S. elections and would continue to do so. “Gentlemen, we have interfered, are interfering and will interfere. Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said. In 2018, special counsel Robert Mueller charged Prigozhin with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. for his role in financing the Internet Research Agency, a “troll factory” in St. Petersburg that used social media to spread fake news during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Researchers, meanwhile, have identified a series of new Russian information operations attempting to influence the U.S. election by criticizing Biden and other Democrats for supporting Ukraine’s resistance to the Russia. (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN)

5/ Trump is reportedly planning to announce his 2024 presidential campaign before Thanksgiving. Two people from Trump’s inner circle said he has specifically discussed a Nov. 14 announcement. The Justice Department, meanwhile, is weighing whether a Trump candidacy would create the need for a special counsel to oversee the investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his mishandling of national security documents he took to Mar-a-Lago. Some Republicans aides and strategists say they expect Attorney General Merrick Garland to indict Trump in the next 60 to 90 days. (Axios / CNN)

Day 653: "A defining moment."

1/ Biden called the midterms “a defining moment” for democracy as the “ultra MAGA” are trying to “succeed where they failed” in subverting the 2020 elections with threats of political violence and voter intimidation. “We can’t take democracy for granted any longer,” Biden said from Union Station in Washington, steps from the U.S. Capitol where a mob attempted to interrupt the certification of the 2020 election. Biden condemned Trump and other Republicans for encouraging political violence, voter intimidation, and “the Big Lie,” calling it “unprecedented,” “unlawful,” and “un-American” to “love your country only when you win.” Biden, arguing that Trump had undercut the rule of law, said: “American democracy is under attack because the defeated former president of the United States refuses to accept the results of the 2020 election.” Biden added that Trump “refuses to accept the will of the people. He refuses to accept the fact that he lost. He has abused his power and put the loyalty to himself before loyalty to the Constitution and he’s made a Big Lie an article of faith for the MAGA Republicans, a minority of that party.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News / CNN)

2/ Obama warned that “democracy as we know it may not survive” if Republicans win in Arizona. “That’s not an exaggeration,” Obama added. “That is a fact.” In Arizona, all but one of the 13 GOP nominees for federal or state office have denied or questioned the results of the 2020 election. If the GOP ticket were to win in Arizona, it would mean “election deniers serving as your governor, as your senator, as your secretary of state, as your attorney general.” (Washington Post)

3/ Some House Republicans have embraced plans to reduce federal spending on Social Security and Medicare if they take control of the House and Senate. The Republican leaders claim that cutting benefits are necessary to rein in government spending. Their proposals include raising the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare to 70 from 67, and increasing the premiums for health coverage. “They’re coming after your Social Security and Medicare in a big way,” Biden said, holding up a Republican plan that would also require Congress to reauthorize safety net programs every five years. “It goes out of existence if Congress doesn’t vote to keep it,” said Biden, calling the proposal “so outrageous you might not even believe it.” (New York Times / Axios / CNBC)

4/ America’s billionaires have spent a record $880 million on the 2022 midterm elections so far – most of their spending has been in favor of Republicans, three to two. Spending on state and federal races during this cycle, meanwhile, have already passed the inflation-adjusted record of $7.1 billion in 2018 and are projected to exceed $16.7 billion in total. The top 1% of donors, measured by income, have contributed about 38% of the total spent. (OpenSecrets / New York Times / CNBC / Bloomberg)

5/ The Justice Department granted immunity to a Trump aide in exchange for his grand jury testimony in the Mar-a-Lago case. Kash Patel appeared before the grand jury last month and refused to answer questions from prosecutors by repeatedly invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. A federal judge, however, granted Patel immunity from prosecution on any information he provides to the investigation and compelled him to testify. Prosecutors had argued that there was no reason that Patel would be prosecuted based on the kinds of questions they were asking. Patel’s grand jury appearance hasn’t yet been scheduled. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNN / NBC News / ABC News)

poll/ 36% of Americans say inflation is the most urgent issue facing the country today – up 9 percentage points since late August. Abortion is the second most urgent issue at 10%, with no other issue reaching double digits. (Quinnipiac)

poll/ 84% of the Republican voters report a great deal of interest in the midterm elections. 68% of Democrats, meanwhile, say they’re interested in the elections. Overall, 82% of registered voters nationally say they definitely plan to vote this year. (NPR)

poll/ 53% of Republicans said they would “very likely” vote for a candidate who thought the 2020 election was stolen – which it was not. 39% of Republicans also said their preferred candidate should “definitely” concede if they were declared the loser in their race. (NPR)

poll/ 56% of Americans believe the Republican and Democratic parties do such a poor job that a third major party is needed. 61% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, while 57% have an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party. Overall, 27% of Americans say they have an unfavorable view of both both parties. In 1994, 6% of Americans felt that way. (CNBC)

Day 652: "The path to chaos."

1/ The Federal Reserve approved a fourth consecutive 0.75-point interest rate increase to combat inflation, despite concern about the risks of triggering a recession and putting millions out of work. The Fed has now raised rates six times this year, pushing its target range for the benchmark federal funds rate to between 3.75% and 4% – its highest level since Jan. 2008. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell added that the “ultimate level of interest rates will be higher than previously expected,” but that “at some point” it would be appropriate to slow the pace of increases. The Federal Open Market Committee said that “ongoing increases” will still be needed to bring rates to a level that are “sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2% over time.” (NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / CNBC / ABC News / Associated Press)

2/ The Biden administration will provide $13.5 billion in funds to help low- and moderate-income Americans lower their energy costs this winter. The Department of Health and Human Services will provide $4.5 billion through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help cut heating costs, while the Energy Department will allocate $9 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funds for energy efficiency upgrades to 1.6 million low-income households. Last year, LIHEAP helped 5.3 million U.S. households with heating, cooling, and weatherization. (CNBC / ABC News / The Hill)

3/ A federal judge issued a restraining ordered against a group that’s been accused of “intimidation and harassment” of voters casting ballots at drop boxes in Arizona. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Liburdi said members of Clean Elections USA are barred from taking photos, filming, following, speaking to or yelling at anyone within 75 feet of a ballot drop box or the entrance to a building that houses one. The order also prohibits the group from “openly” carrying weapons or “visibly wear body armor” within 250 feet of drop boxes. Last week, the League of Women Voters sued the group, saying that its actions amounted to “time-tested methods of voter intimidation.” (NBC News / Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times)

4/ Trump’s attorneys saw Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as their “only chance” for overturning the results of the 2020 election, according to emails disclosed to congressional investigators. “We want to frame things so that Thomas could be the one to issue some sort of stay or other circuit justice opinion saying Georgia is in legitimate doubt,” Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro wrote in a Dec. 31, 2020, email to Trump’s legal team. Chesebro argued that Thomas would “end up being key” to overturning then-President-elect Biden’s win, contending that Thomas would be “our only chance to get a favorable judicial opinion by Jan. 6, which might hold up the Georgia count in Congress.” Later that day, attorney John Eastman replied: “I think I agree with this.” The messages were part of a batch of eight emails that a federal judge in California ordered released to the Jan. 6 committee. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ The Jan. 6 committee is reportedly “in discussions” with Trump’s attorneys about him testifying under oath. Liz Cheney’s comments came after Trump’s team formally agreed to accept the committee’s subpoena seeking documents and testimony. The subpoena requires that Trump turn over documents by Friday, Nov. 4. He’s also required to appear for one or more days of deposition beginning around Nov. 14. Trump has reportedly told advisers he’d be open to a live appearance before the panel. Cheney, however, said “This is not a situation where the committee is going to put itself at the mercy of Donald Trump in terms of his efforts to create a circus.” (CNN / ABC News)

6/ Biden is set to deliver a speech tonight about the threats to American democracy by election deniers running for office “who seek to undermine faith in voting and democracy.” In prepared remarks, Biden plans to warn that candidates running for office who won’t commit to accepting the results of the elections are putting America on “the path to chaos.” The 7 p.m. ET speech comes six days before the Nov. 8 midterms – the first national election since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. (Axios / CNN / New York Times / Bloomberg / ABC News)

Day 651: "Mega-MAGA."

1/ Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked a House committee from accessing Trump’s tax records. On Monday, Trump asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the case, claiming the Ways and Means Committee doesn’t have a valid legislative purpose for obtaining his tax documents. Lower courts, however, have ruled that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns and rejected Trump’s claims that it was overstepping. Roberts said the case would remain on hold until the Supreme Court acts. He asked the committee to respond by noon on Nov. 10. (New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / CNN / Associated Press / NBC News)

2/ The Supreme Court refused to block a Georgia grand jury subpoena seeking Lindsey Graham’s testimony about efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state. Graham had asked the Supreme Court to block the subpoena, claiming that his efforts in Georgia were part of his official legislative duties and therefore shielded from questioning. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, however, wrote in a petition seeking to compel his testimony that Graham made two calls to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after the election and asked about “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump.” The court’s order was a paragraph long with no noted dissents. Graham’s testimony is currently scheduled for Nov. 17. (CNN / USA Today / CBS News / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / Politico)

  • A federal judge rejected Mark Meadows challenge to a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee, concluding that the former White House chief of staff was constitutionally barred from bringing it in the first place. Meadows, however, will likely appeal the ruling, effectively putting his testimony out of reach for the committee, which is slated to dissolve at the end of the year. (Politico / USA Today)

3/ The Justice Department said “vigilante ballot security efforts” in Arizona “raise serious concerns of voter intimidation” and likely violate the federal Voting Rights Act. The statement from the Justice Department comes days after a federal judge refused to stop a group of activists from gathering at and around ballot drop boxes to monitor voters in Maricopa County. The League of Women Voters alleged that several organizations planned “widespread campaigns to surveil and intimidate Arizona voters at ballot drop boxes and baselessly accuse them” of voter fraud. The so-called activists claim they’re watching for purported voter fraud, but election officials have reported that people in tactical gear and masks, including some with guns, have been watching over the drop boxes, taking photos and videos, and intimidating voters. (Washington Post / Associated Press / Axios / CNN)

4/ Twitter limited employee access to content moderation tools used to enforce its misinformation and civic integrity policies ahead of the midterm elections. Most of the people who work in Twitter’s Trust and Safety organization are currently unable penalize accounts that break rules around misleading information, offensive posts, or hate speech – many of the same policies that Trump routinely violated during the 2020 elections. (Bloomberg / NBC News)

5/ Biden warned that Republicans will put entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare, at risk if they take control of Congress. With a week until Election Day, Biden used a speech in Florida to assail what he called “mega-MAGA” Republicans, who proposed legislation to sunset all federal programs after five years, which would require a vote to keep programs like Social Security and Medicare intact. Biden contrasted the parties’ visions for the country, noting “this ain’t your father’s Republican Party” and that no Republicans voted for the Inflation Reduction Act, which included provisions to lower health care premiums and prescription drug costs. About 21% of the people in Florida are over the age of 65 – the second highest of any state. (CNN / Washington Post / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

Day 650: "Hellscape."

1/ Federal prosecutors charged the man accused of breaking into Nancy Pelosi’s home with attempted kidnapping and assault. David DePape broke into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home through a glass door Friday morning, attacked her husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer, and shouted “Where’s Nancy?” DePape told police he was going to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and wanted to “break her knee caps” to send a message to other Democrats. Nancy Pelosi was in Washington at the time. DePape brought with him a roll of tape, white rope, zip ties, two hammers, rubber gloves, and other items. He had posted memes and conspiracy theories on Facebook about Covid-19 vaccines, the 2020 election and the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, as well as blogged about QAnon and other bigoted and fringe topics. DePape is also facing state charges of attempted murder and other felonies. The attempted kidnapping charge carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, and up to 30 years for assaulting an immediate member of a federal official’s family and inflicting a serious injury with a dangerous weapon. Paul underwent surgery for a fractured skull and serious injuries to his hands and right arm. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / CNN / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

2/ Elon Musk tweeted and deleted a baseless anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory about the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband. Three days after purchasing Twitter, Musk responded to a tweet by Hillary Clinton assailing the Republican Party for spreading “hate and deranged conspiracy theories” that she said encouraged the man who attacked Paul Pelosi. Musk replied that “There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye” and then shared a link to an article from the Santa Monica Observer – an outlet that has repeatedly published fake stories, including that Clinton had died in the Sept. 11 attacks and that Democrats had been using a body double. The article alleges that Paul Pelosi was drunk and in a fight with a male prostitute. Musk’s tweet was later deleted after receiving immediate and widespread backlash. Days earlier, Musk pledged to advertisers that Twitter wouldn’t become a “free-for-all hellscape” under his leadership. Trump Jr., meanwhile, retweeted a proposed “Paul Pelosi” Halloween costume featuring men’s underwear and a hammer, saying “The Internet remains undefeated.” (New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN / Axios)

3/ The Jan. 6 committee obtained eight emails from late 2020 that a judge described as evidence that Trump and his lawyer John Eastman “more likely than not” committed crimes. Last week, U.S. District Court Judge David Carter ordered Eastman, the architect of Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election, to deliver the emails to the committee. Eastman had argued that the emails should be shielded from the Jan. 6 committee, citing privileges for attorney-client communications or legal work product. Among the documents is an email that Carter said showed Trump signed legal documents attesting to voter fraud data that he knew was erroneous, communications between Trump attorneys that indicate they knew details they submitted to courts to challenge the election were false, as well as emails discussing filing lawsuits as a way to hold off congressional certification of Trump’s electoral loss. (Politico / CNN)

4/ Trump filed an emergency application asking the Supreme Court to temporary block Congress from obtaining his past tax returns. The tax records are set to be turned over to the House Ways and Means Committee this week if the court doesn’t act. In 2019, the House Ways and Means committee requested Trump’s tax returns, citing a federal law that gives the panel the authority to see any taxpayer’s documents. The Trump administration, however, refused to let the Treasury Department turn over the records. Since then, lower courts have ruled that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns, rejecting Trump’s claims that it was overstepping. (CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / CNBC)

poll/ 49% of voters say the economy is extremely important to their vote for Congress. 42% of voters say abortion is extremely important to them, followed by crime (40%), gun policy (38%), and immigration (37%). Climate change is the least important issue at 28%. (Gallup)

Day 646: "The great stagnation."

1/ The U.S. economy grew in the third quarter, marking its first increase in 2022 after two straight quarters of decline. GDP, a sum of all the goods and services produced from July through September, increased at a 2.6% annualized pace for the period. However, the inflation-adjusted GDP last quarter was about the same as where it was at the end of 2021. The Commerce Department also reported that consumer spending – which makes up more than two-thirds of the economy – grew but at a slower pace than in the prior quarter, and investments in residential housing fell at an annual rate of about 26%. The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, has raised interest rates five times this year and is set to do so again next week and in December as inflation remains near a 40-year high. (Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / NPR / CNN)

2/ Mortgage rates topped 7% for the first time in 20 years and is “leading to greater stagnation in the housing market.” A year ago the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged just over 3%. Mortgage applications, meanwhile, fell 42% from a year earlier despite home prices falling at a record pace. The Case-Shiller home price index showed that single-family home prices decline 2.6 percentage points from July to August – the largest decline in the history of the index, which debuted in 1987. Prices, however, are still up 13% compared to a year ago. Sales of newly built homes dropped nearly 11% in September from August – the fourth time in 2022 that new-home sales fell by 10% or more from the prior month. “As inflation endures, consumers are seeing higher costs at every turn, causing further declines in consumer confidence this month,” Freddie Mac said. “In fact, many potential homebuyers are choosing to wait and see where the housing market will end up, pushing demand and home prices further downward.” (NBC News / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Americans die younger in conservative states, while states with more liberal policies are associated with lower mortality rates. Researchers analyzed mortality rates for all causes of death in all 50 states from 1999 to 2019 among adults aged 25 to 64. The study found that states with more liberal policies related to education, health care, gun safety, labor, economic taxes, and tobacco taxes were associated with lower mortality rates among people aged 25 to 64. The analysis simulated changing state policies to fully liberal could have saved more than 171,000 lives in 2019, while changing them to fully conservative may have cost over 217,000 lives. (USA Today / The Guardian / The Hill)

4/ More than 100 lawsuits have already been filed to challenge the Nov. 8 midterm elections that are still 12 days away. The legal challenges, reportedly largely organized by the Republican National Committee and its allies, have targeted mail-in voting rules, early voting, voter access, voting machines, voting registration, how mismarked absentee ballots are counted, and access for partisan poll watchers. The Democrats, meanwhile, have focused their legal efforts on voting access and helping those denied a chance to vote. Meanwhile in Arizona, two people armed with handguns and wearing tactical military gear and face masks showed up at a ballot drop box during early voting last week. (Associated Press / Bloomberg)

poll/ 40% of 18-to-29-year-olds said they will “definitely” vote in the Nov. 8 midterm elections – on pace to match or exceed the record-breaking 2018 youth turnout in a midterm election. Young voters also prefer Democratic control of Congress 57% to 31%, while 12% remain undecided. (Harvard Youth Poll)

Day 645: "More bad news for the planet."

1/ Earth’s on track to warm above 2 degrees Celsius and global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are “nowhere near the scale” needed, according to a new report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under the current, combined climate pledges from the 193 Parties under the Paris Agreement, global temperatures are on track to rise to 2.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages by the end of the century – a full degree higher than the goal set out in the climate pact, which aimed to limit warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius. The U.N. said that while countries are “bending the curve of global greenhouse gas emissions downward,” the efforts “remain insufficient” and “to keep this goal alive, national governments need to strengthen their climate action plans now and implement them in the next eight years.” (NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg / CNBC)

2/ The World Meteorological Organization warned that atmospheric carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide levels are accelerating and that 2020 and 2021 were the largest increases since record keeping began in 1983. “More bad news for the planet,” the WMO said in a statement. (Washington Post / NPR)

3/ A South Carolina judge ordered Mark Meadows to testify before the Georgia grand jury investigating Trump and his allies efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said her inquiry is examining “the multistate, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.” Willis had to petition a judge in South Carolina to compel Meadows to comply with the subpoena because he doesn’t live in Georgia. Willis noted that Meadows traveled to Georgia where an audit of the state’s election was underway and participated in the telephone call Trump made on Jan. 2, 2021 to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to “find” 11,780 votes that would enable Trump to defeat Biden in the state. South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Edward Miller ruled that Meadows must comply with a subpoena as his testimony is “material and necessary to the investigation and that the state of Georgia is assuring not to cause undue hardship to him.” Meadows plans to appeal the ruling. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / Associated Press)

4/ Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said the leak of his draft opinion eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years made some justices “targets for assassination,” complaining that the leak was a “grave betrayal of trust.” In his majority opinion to end Roe v. Wade, Alito wrote that the 1973 ruling was “egregiously wrong” and that there is no constitutional right to seek an abortion for any reason. When asked about criticism that the Supreme Court has strayed too far from public sentiment and become partisan when it overturns precedent, Alito pushed back, saying: “To say that the court is exhibiting a lack of integrity is something quite different. That goes to character, not to a disagreement with the result or the reasoning.” Alito also took issue with those who have questioned the legitimacy of the court, saying it “crosses an important line when they say that the court is acting in a way that is illegitimate. I don’t think anybody in a position of authority should make that claim lightly. That’s not just ordinary criticism. That’s something very different.” Alito’s remarks came during an event at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. (Washington Post / CBS News / CNBC)

poll/ 65% of registered Republican voters don’t believe Biden was elected legitimately. 22% believe in the legitimacy of Biden’s election. Overall, 60% of registered voters believe Biden’s election was legitimate and 33% do not. (NBC News)

Day 644: "Serious mistake."

1/ Biden warned Russia against using nuclear or radioactive weapons in Ukraine after Moscow’s unfounded accusation that Kyiv was planning to use a “dirty bomb” on its own soil and blame Russia for it. Diplomats from the U.S., France, and Britain called the claim “transparently false” in a rare joint statement, suggesting that the Kremlin could be planning a so-called “false flag” operation. “Let me just say, Russia would be making an incredibly serious mistake were it to use a tactical nuclear weapon,” Biden said. Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator, meanwhile, said that Russian forces occupying the nation’s largest nuclear power plant were engaged in secret work at a site where spent fuel is stored, which suggests “they are preparing a terrorist act using nuclear materials and radioactive waste stored.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN)

2/ Progressive House Democrats retracted a letter written four months ago but released Monday that urged Biden to directly negotiate with Putin to end the war in Ukraine. Representative Pramila Jayapal claimed the letter – which called on the Biden administration to “seek a realistic framework for a cease-fire,” and to “pursue every diplomatic avenue to support such a solution that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine” – was “released by staff without vetting.” It was originally drafted and signed in June. Congress has committed more than $60 billion in security and humanitarian aid for Ukraine since Russia invaded in February. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN)

3/ An estimated 4.6 million people in the U.S. will be ineligible to vote during this year’s midterm elections due to prior felony convictions – roughly 2% of the voting age population in the country. There are currently 11 states that deny voting rights to people even after they’ve completed their full sentences, including parole and probation. Further, “1 in 19 African-Americans of voting age is disenfranchised, a rate 3.5 times that of non-African Americans.” (NPR)

4/ Roughly 5% of all plastic products are recycled in America and the vast majority ends up in landfills, according to a report from Greenpeace. The report estimates that the U.S. reprocessed about 2.4 million tons of plastic waste in 2021 out 51 million tons produced, and that no plastic packaging in America meets the threshold to be called “recyclable” according to standards set by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastic Economy Initiative. Plastic must have a recycling rate of 30% to reach that standard. The rate of plastic recycling in the U.S. is also expected to drop further as “the industry plans to triple plastic production by 2050.” The report concludes that “plastic recycling is a failed concept.” (NPR / HuffPost)

5/ More than 80% of the continental U.S. is experiencing unusually dry conditions or drought – the largest proportion since NOAA began tracking 20 years ago. Record-low water levels on the Mississippi River are making it difficult to move cargo by barges, while the drought across the Mississippi Basin is allowing salt water to enter from the Gulf of Mexico, which could contaminate drinking water. In the West, the 22-year megadrought is now considered the driest in at least 1,200 years, and a recent study found that 42% of the drought is attributable to human-caused climate change. Last week, the National Weather Service projected another warm and dry winter for California, which follows the state’s three driest years on record. (Politico / Washington Post)

poll/ 62% of Americans say the federal government isn’t doing enough to fight climate change. While Congress approved in August the largest investment in climate spending in history, 49% of Americans say it won’t make much of a difference on climate change, 33% say it will help, and 14% think it will do more to hurt it. (Associated Press)

Day 643: "Appalling and unacceptable."

1/ Fourth- and eighth-graders in most states and across almost all demographic groups fell behind in reading and had the largest ever decline in math in the first National Assessment of Educational Progress since the pandemic began. The average math score for the fourth grade was 5 points lower than in 2019, and 8 points below the 2019 mark for the eighth grade. The share of eighth grade math students deemed proficient dropped from 34% to 26%, and 38% of eighth graders failed to grasp basic math concepts. No state or large urban district showed improvements in math. Reading scores, meanwhile, declined in more than half the states, dropping to 1992 levels. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona described the scores in both subjects as “appalling and unacceptable,” added “Let me be very clear: These results are not acceptable.” (Associated Press / Chalkbeat / CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

2/ A federal appeals court temporarily blocked Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay while it considers a motion from six Republican-led states to block the program. Last week, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected a similar effort from a Wisconsin taxpayer group. Nearly 22 million people — more than half of qualifying borrowers — have signed up since the application portal went live. (NPR / Associated Press / CNN)

3/ Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily blocked Lindsey Graham from having to testify before a Georgia grand jury investigating efforts to overturn Trump’s election loss. The order, which is an “administrative stay,” comes after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously turned down Graham’s request to block the subpoena and affirmed the lower court’s decision that he must testify. Graham claims he is protected by the Constitution’s speech-or-debate clause, which shields legislators from certain law enforcement action for conduct connected to their legislative duties. Graham’s petition went to Thomas because he is the justice designated to hear emergency requests from the 11th Circuit. Democrats, meanwhile, have demanded that Thomas recuse himself from any cases related to the 2020 election because his wife had encouraged Trump White House officials and state legislators to overturn Biden’s victories in swing states. (CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN / Axios)

4/ The Jan. 6 committee formally subpoenaed Trump, demanding his testimony before the panel dissolves at the end of the year. The subpoena requires Trump to turn over documents by Nov. 4 and to appear for one or several days of deposition under oath beginning on Nov. 14. Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, suggested that Trump isn’t “man enough to show up” to testify, added: “I don’t think his lawyers will want him to show up because he has to testify under oath.” In a letter accompanying the subpoena, the committee wrote about its “overwhelming evidence” that shows Trump “personally orchestrated” the effort to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election, including false allegations of widespread voter fraud, “attempting to corrupt” the Justice Department, and pressuring state officials, members of Congress, and Pence to change the results. “In short, you were at the center of the first and only effort by any U.S. President to overturn an election and obstruct the peaceful transition of power, ultimately culminating in a bloody attack on our own Capitol and on the Congress itself,” they wrote said. It’s the second time in modern U.S. history that a president has been issued a congressional subpoena. (Associated Press / Politico / New York Times / ABC News / CBS News / CNN)

  • A judge has sentenced Steve Bannon to four months in prision and a $6,500 fine for criminal contempt of Congress. “U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, said Bannon inappropriately defied the House’s select committee on a matter of significant national interest, and even after roadblocks to his testimony had been removed.” (Politico / NPR)

5/ Classified documents recovered by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home included U.S. secrets about Iran and China. At least one of the documents described Iran’s missile program. Other documents reportedly described highly sensitive intelligence work aimed at China. The documents about Iran and China are considered among the most sensitive the FBI has recovered to date. (Washington Post)

poll/ 80% of Americans believe that their opposing political party poses a threat that, if not stopped, will destroy America. Nevertheless, nearly two-thirds of Americans would still vote along party lines even if their candidate had a moral failing that wasn’t consistent with their own values. (NBC News)

Day 639: "Democracy is working well."

1/ Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected a challenge to Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. The challenge came from the Brown County Taxpayers Association in Wisconsin. Barrett, however, dismissed the case for lack of standing, ruling that paying taxes didn’t give the group grounds to challenge the action taken by the federal government in this instance. (CNBC / Axios / CNN / New York Times)

2/ A federal appeals court ordered Lindsey Graham to appear before a Georgia grand jury investigating Trump for criminal interference in the state’s 2020 presidential election. Graham had asked the court to block a subpoena from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, claiming that a sitting senator is shielded from such investigations. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, denied Graham’s request and upheld a lower-court ruling that he may be questioned about certain topics, saying “Senator Graham has failed to demonstrate that he is likely to succeed on the merits of his appeal.” Graham is now expected to ask the Supreme Court to block the subpoena. Separately, former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and former Senator Kelly Loeffler provided testimony to the grand jury in recent months. (Washington Post / CNBC / CNN)

poll/ 49% of Americans say they want Republicans in control of Congress, while 45% said they prefer Democrats in control. (Monmouth University Poll)

poll/ 60% of Americans say Trump should have to testify before the Jan. 6 committee. If Trump does testify, 77% said it should be done in public. (Washington Post)

poll/ 59% of voters say they believe outside politics influence the Justice Department’s decision to prosecute federal crimes, while 21% said little to no external politics influenced DOJ’s decisions, and 20% said they didn’t know or had no opinion at all. (Politico)

poll/ 9% of Americans think democracy is working “extremely” or “very well,” while 52% say it’s not working well and 37% say it’s working somewhat well. (Associated Press)

Day 638: "A conspiracy to defraud the United States."

1/ Putin declared martial law in the four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine that it doesn’t entirely control. The move follows Moscow’s internationally condemned staged referendums and illegal annexation last month. Speaking to his Security Council by video feed, Putin said the martial law order was necessary because the Ukrainian government refused to accept the sham referendums, which he claimed was “the will of the people.” Russian forces, however, have repeatedly lost ground to the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the annexed territories. The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense council warned that Putin’s order was “preparation for the mass deportation of the Ukrainian population to depressed areas of [Russia] in order to change the ethnic composition of the occupied territory.” Biden added that Putin’s slowed military invasion has put the Russian leader in an “incredibly difficult position” that may lead him to “brutalize individual citizens in Ukraine, Ukrainian citizens, to try to intimidate them into capitulating.” (Associated Press / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / Axios)

  • White House taking every step possible to avoid direct Biden-Putin encounter at next month’s G-20 summit in Indonesia. “U.S. officials have ruled out a formal meeting and are taking steps to ensure that the American president does not encounter his Russian counterpart in a hallway or even in a leaders’ group photo.” (Politico)

2/ Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of planning to seize Taiwan on a “much faster timeline” than previously thought. “There has been a change in the approach from Beijing toward Taiwan in recent years,” Blinken said, adding that China had made a “fundamental decision that the status quo was no longer acceptable, and that Beijing was determined to pursue reunification on a much faster timeline.” Chinese President Xi Jinping, meanwhile, used a widely-watched speech to say the “wheels of history are rolling on towards China’s reunification” with Taiwan. Xi added: “We reserve the option of taking all measures necessary.” China has refrained from publicly criticizing Russia’s war in Ukraine, and while China and Russia do not have a formal alliance, the two countries have a so-called “no limits” partnership. (Washington Post / Bloomberg)

3/ Mortgage applications dropped to a 25-year low as mortgage rates reached a 20-year high. New single-family home construction and permit applications for single-family dwellings fell last month. Homebuilder sentiment also fell to its lowest level since the early days of the pandemic. Meanwhile, 52% of Americans have considered holding second jobs to pay their living expenses as inflation hit a four-decade high in September. (CNBC / The Hill / CNN / Bloomberg)

4/ A Wisconsin taxpayers group asked the Supreme Court to block Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. The Brown County Taxpayers Association filed the request for emergency relief, arguing that the Biden administration had overstepped its executive powers, circumvented Congress, and that the program would cost taxpayers more than the $400 billion that the Congressional Budget Office estimated. The request was filed to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who is likely to refer the matter to the full court. The Biden administration has been sued by at least seven states and two organizations over the plan, which began accepting applications for debt relief on Monday. (CNN / NBC News / Axios)

5/ Trump appeared for a deposition as part of the defamation lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, who Trump described as “not my type” when he denied her allegation that he had raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman nearly three decades ago. Trump had tried for three years to delay the defamation case and avoid the deposition, but a federal judge ordered to appear under oath and answer questions, saying he “should not be able to run out the clock.” (CNN / ABC News / NBC News / New York Times)

6/ A federal judge ordered John Eastman to turn over four emails to the Jan. 6 committee because they are related to an attempted crime. Eastman the lawyer who promoted the legal theory that Pence could block or delay the Electoral College certification to overturn Biden’s victory. U.S. District Court Judge David Carter wrote in an 18-page opinion that Eastman’s emails “show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public.” Trump and his lawyers alleged in a Dec. 4 filing in Georgia that Fulton County had improperly counted more than 10,000 votes of dead people, felons, and unregistered voters. On Dec. 31, Eastman emailed the other Trump lawyers that the numbers filed in state court were not accurate. Trump, however, signed the legal documents knowing the evidence of election fraud was false. “The Court finds that these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States,” Carter wrote. (Politico / CNBC / CNN / The Hill)

Day 637: "Where's the beef?"

1/ Biden pledged to codify Roe v. Wade into law if Democrats retain control of Congress in the November midterm elections. In a speech at a Democratic National Committee, Biden promised that the first bill he sends to Congress next year would be legislation to restore abortion rights under Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that the Supreme Court overruled in June. “If you care about the right to choose, you got to vote,” Biden said, adding: “If Republicans get their way with a national ban, it won’t matter where you live in America.” While Biden has repeatedly advocated for changing the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster requirement to protect a woman’s right to an abortion and a broader constitutional right to privacy, at least two Democrats — Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — have said they oppose the move. Earlier this year, Biden promised to codify Roe v. Wade if voters elected two more Democrats to the Senate. (Politico / CNN / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / Axios)

  • A covert abortion network rises after Roe. “Amid legal and medical risks, a growing army of activists is funneling pills from Mexico into states that have banned abortion.” (Washington Post)

2/ The Interior Department announced the first-ever lease sale for offshore wind development in the Pacific Ocean. The Dec. 6 sale will target five areas in the Pacific Ocean off central and northern California, which could produce over 4.5 gigawatts of energy when fully developed – enough to power more than 1.5 million homes. The Biden administration is aiming to develop 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 using traditional technology – enough to power 10 million homes – as well as an additional 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind, which could power another 5 million homes. (Axios / CNN / Associated Press)

3/ The Biden administration plans to release 10 million to 15 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to keep gasoline prices from climbing. In March, the White House said it planned to release 180 million barrels of crude oil into the market throughout the year. There are about 15 million barrels remaining since the program was put into effect. The national average price was $3.87 a gallon. (Blomberg / Politico)

4/ The primary source for the Trump-Russia dossier was acquitted of four counts of lying to the FBI about where he got his information for the 2016 “Steele dossier.” In 2019, Attorney General William Barr asked John Durham to review the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign in 2016. Since then, Durham has lost both cases that have gone to trial as part of his investigation. The trial against Igor Danchenko, the analyst who was a primary source for the Steele dossier, is expected to be the special counsel’s last prosecution. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

5/ The special master reviewing documents seized from Mar-a-Lago warned Trump’s lawyers that there was a “certain incongruity” to their executive privilege claims that at least one document was both Trump’s personal property and government property. “It’s a little perplexing as I go through the log,” Judge Raymond Dearie said of the documents over which Trump is seeking to claim privilege. “What’s the expression — ‘Where’s the beef?’ I need some beef.” Dearie, who is reviewing the documents to determine which ones the Justice Department can use in its criminal investigation, said that neither side has provided him with enough facts to make recommendations about Trump’s claims that certain documents were protected by either attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. “I don’t want to be dealing with nonsense objections, nonsense assertions,” Dearie said. (Bloomberg / CNN)

poll/ 19% of voters said recent disagreements with family or friends over political issues have hurt their relationship, and 48% of voters said a person’s political views reflect whether they are a good person. (New York Times)

poll/ 64% of voters say the country is moving in the wrong direction, naming the economy (26%) and inflation (18%) as the most important problem facing the country today. 24% see the U.S. as on the right track. (New York Times)

poll/ 65% of voters say the economy is getting worse, and 68% say the Biden administration could be doing more to combat inflation. (CBS News)

poll/ 70% of voters say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. today, and 64% are pessimistic about the state of politics in the country. (AP-NORC)

Day 636: "A game changer."

1/ The Biden administration launched the online application for student loan forgiveness. The plan is expected to provide debt relief to as many as 43 million borrowers. “This is a game changer for millions of Americans,” Biden said. The application can be found at studentaid.gov, and qualifying borrowers have until Dec. 31. to fill out the online form to receive up to $20,000 in federal student debt cancelation. During a test of the Education Department’s student debt relief portal this weekend, more than 8 million Americans signed up to have some of their student loans forgiven. The Education Department holds $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. (CNN / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNBC / New York Times)

2/ The U.S. is forecast to “100%” enter a recession in the coming 12 months, according to a new economics model projections. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates five times so far this year in an effort to bring down persistently high inflation, and is expected to again next month. While the chances of a recession within 12 months have reached 100% under the model, the odds of a recession within 11 months have also increased to 73% – up from 30%. The 10-month probability rose to 25% from 0%. In a separate survey, economists put the probability of a recession over the next 12 months at 63% – up from 49% in July’s survey. It’s the first time the probability has been above 50% since July 2020. The Biden administration, meanwhile, suggested that the U.S. is “better positioned than most other countries” to mitigate inflation, which rose 8.2% year-over-year in September. Bernie Sanders, however, accused the Fed of “hurting” the U.S., saying it’s “wrong” to deal with inflation by “lowering wages and increasing unemployment.” Regardless, Biden has repeatedly said the U.S. will avoid a recession, but any downturn would be “very slight.” [Editor’s note: Hey there, this is a friendly reminder that WTFJHT is free, but supported entirely by your financial contributions. So, if you find yourself relying on WTFJHT, please consider investing in the continued production of this newsletter/blog/podcast. Become a member today.] (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Politico / ABC News)

3/ The Trump Organization charged the Secret Service more than five times the recommended government rate for hotel stays at Trump properties while protecting the Trump family, according to the House Oversight Committee. The committee found that Trump’s company charged the Secret Service “exorbitant” and “excessive nightly rates on dozens of trips” – as high as $1,185 per night – despite claims by Eric Trump and the Trump Organization that federal employees traveling with him would stay at the properties “for free” or “at cost.” In total, U.S. taxpayers paid Trump’s company at least $1.4 million for Secret Service agents’ stays. (Washington Post / CNN / Politico / NBC News)

4/ The Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to end the special master review of documents seized during an FBI search of Trump’s Florida estate. In a filing to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers for the DOJ argued that the case didn’t present the “exceptional circumstances” necessary for a judge to interfere with a criminal investigation, and that Judge Aileen Cannon had “erred in ordering a special-master review” in the case. The appeals court ruled in Justice Department’s favor on a narrower issue in the case last month, allowing the department to resume using about 100 documents marked classified as part of its criminal investigation. (New York Times / Politico / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN / Associated Press)

5/ The Jan. 6 committee asked the Secret Service for records of all contacts between its agents and members of the far-right Oath Keepers group prior to and on the day of the attack. During court testimony, members of the group, including leader Stewart Rhodes, claimed to be in contact with Secret Service agents prior to rallies for Trump after the 2020 election. Additionally, a Secret Service official confirmed that the agency’s protective intelligence division had reached out to the Oath Keepers in advance of protests in D.C. in November and December, as well as the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally. Members of the Oath Keepers are currently on trial for charges relating to the Capitol attack, including seditious conspiracy. (Washington Post / NBC News / CNN)

6/ The Justice Department recommended that Steve Bannon be sentenced to six months in jail and a $200,000 fine after he defied a subpoena to testify before the Jan. 6 committee. A jury found Bannon guilty in July on two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify and provide documents to the committee. Bannon “has pursued a bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt” from “the moment” he was served the subpoena, the Justice Department wrote in a sentencing memorandum. He is set to be sentenced Friday. He would be the first person to be incarcerated for contempt of Congress in more than a half-century. Trump, meanwhile, won’t say whether he’ll comply with the committee’s subpoena for testimony. (Politico / Washington Post / NPR / CNN / CNBC)

poll/ 49% of likely voters said they plan to vote a Republican in this year’s election for Congress. 45% said they planned to vote for a Democrat. The margin of error in this survey is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. (New York Times)

Day 632: "A question about accountability."

1/ The Jan. 6 committee voted unanimously to subpoena Trump, demanding documents and his testimony under oath. “This is a question about accountability to the American people,” the panel’s chair, Bennie Thompson, said ahead of the vote. “He must be accountable. He is required to answer for his actions.” In the committee’s ninth public hearing, the panel focused on Trump’s “staggering betrayal” of his oath of office and his efforts to reverse the 2020 election, including his role in events that led to the violence at the Capitol. Before voting to subpoena Trump, the committee revealed new evidence that Secret Service agents in charge of assessing the risks of the Jan. 6, 2021, protest had expressed concerns about the rally more than a week before, were aware that many in the crowd would have weapons, and that Trump’s supporters planned to go to the Capitol threatening violence, including that Pence would be “‘a dead man walking if he doesn’t do the right thing.’” One agent described the morning of Jan. 6 as the “calm before the storm.” The panel also disclosed an email that Trump’s election night speech to falsely declare victory was part of a “premeditated plan.” The committee also revealed that Trump secretly ordered all U.S. troops withdrawn from Afghanistan and Somalia days after losing reelection to leave the problem to “the next guy.” The order was signed but was never carried out, which the committee says is evidence that Trump knew he had lost the election. The panel’s vice chairwoman, Liz Cheney, added that the committee “may ultimately decide” to make a series of criminal referrals to the Justice Department. The subpoena will expire at the end of this congressional term, which is Jan. 3, 2023. If Trump refuses to comply with the subpoena, the committee could vote to hold him in criminal contempt of Congress. If they do, it will then go to the full House for a vote. (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / NPR / CNN / Bloomberg / ABC News)

2/ The Supreme Court rejected Trump’s request to intervene in the Justice Department’s investigation of classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. The one-sentence order turned aside an emergency request from Trump, who had asked the Supreme Court to allow special master Raymond Dearie to review the classified documents taken during the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. In response, the Justice Department told the court that allowing Dearie to review the classified documents would “irreparably injure” government, arguing that Trump legally had “no plausible claims” to ownership of the classified government material. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier ruled that 103 of the seized documents, which were marked as classified, should be exempt from Dearie’s review. (CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Axios)

3/ Security camera footage shows a Trump aide moving boxes out of a storage room at Mar-a-Lago before and after the Justice Department issued a subpoena in May demanding the return of classified documents. The Justice Department has interviewed Walt Nauta several times but is not formally cooperating with the investigation. Separately, but perhaps related, a Trump employee told the FBI about moving boxes – at the specific direction of Trump – out of a basement storage room at Mar-a-Lago after Trump received a subpoena for classified documents. It’s not clear whether that employee was Nauta. It’s also unclear if the boxes that were moved were among the material later retrieved by the FBI. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

4/ New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a judge to stop Trump from transferring his business assets to a new holding company amid a pending civil lawsuit accusing him, Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and the Trump Organization of widespread fraud. On Sept. 21, the same day that James sued Trump and the other defendants, Trump’s lawyers registered a new company in Delaware, called “Trump Organization II LLC.” James asked the court to freeze the Trump Organization’s New York assets and install an independent monitor over concerns that Trump “may be seeking to move assets out of state” to avoid accountability. (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg / CNBC / Axios)

5/ The Consumer Price Index, a measure of what consumers pay for goods and services, increased 8.2% from a year ago. While the reading was down from 8.3% in August and 9.1% in June – which was the highest inflation rate in four decades – prices still climbed 0.4% in September compared to August’s 0.1%. Economists had forecast a 0.2% gain. The core inflation, which excludes food and energy, increased 6.6% from a year ago – the highest level since 1982. From a month earlier, the measure is up 0.6%. Economists had expected a 0.4% monthly rise. The inflation report puts pressure on the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates by another 0.75 percentage point at its November meeting. The Fed has hiked interest rates 3 full percentage points since March. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / ABC News / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Axios)

6/ Mortgage rates jumped to their highest level in more than 20 years. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate hit 6.92% this week. The last time the 30-year rate was this high was in April 2002. A year ago, the average rate was 3.05%. (CNN / Wall Street Journal / Money)

Day 631: "Inexcusable."

1/ The FDA authorized updated coronavirus booster shots for children as young as 5. The CDC, which recommends how vaccines are used, signed off hours later. The reformulated boosters are bivalent, meaning they contain a combination of components that target the original coronavirus strain and the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which make up about 80% of the virus circulating in the U.S. (New York Times / CNBC / Associated Press / Washington Post)

  • “We are in trouble”: Study raises alarm about impacts of long covid. (Washington Post)

2/ Biden said the prospect of a “slight recession” is possible but that he doesn’t “anticipate it” despite inflation expected to return to a 40-year high and the Federal Reserve promising to continue raising interest rates until inflation cools. The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy, is projected to rise 0.4% in September from August and 6.5% from a year earlier – matching the rate seen in March that was the highest since 1982. In response, the Fed has raised its benchmark rate five times this year to a range between 3% and 3.25% today from near zero. It’s the most rapid pace of rate increases since the early 1980s to fight inflation running near 40-year highs. (CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / Bloomberg)

3/ More than 2,600 federal officials reported stock investments in companies while those companies lobbied their agencies for favorable policies. During both Republican and Democratic administrations from 2016 through 2021, more than one in five senior federal employees across 50 federal agencies reported owning or trading stocks that stood to rise or fall with decisions their agencies made. Further, more than 60 officials at five agencies, including the FTC and the Justice Department, reported trading stock in companies shortly before their departments announced regulatory enforcement actions against those companies. (Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Jan. 6 committee will share new video footage and internal Secret Service emails that show Trump ratcheted up the conflict at the Capitol, despite being warned of escalating violence. The committee’s hearing on Thursday is expected to corroborate its key findings about Trump and the Jan. 6 insurrection: that Trump sought to rile up his supporters to block the certification of Biden’s electoral victory; used his speech near the Ellipse to encourage his supporters to “fight like hell” knowing some were armed; directed them to march on the Capitol; and then refused to call off the take. Since its last hearing in July, the committee has interviewed more members of Trump’s cabinet, received Secret Service communications, and interviewed Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The committee’s final report is likely in December. (Washington Post / CNN / Associated Press)

5/ A federal judge rejected Trump’s attempt to delay his deposition in a defamation suit by a woman who claims he raped her in the 1990s. Trump’s deposition is now scheduled for Oct. 19. Judge Lewis Kaplan also denied Trump’s request to substitute the U.S. government into the case as a defendant – replacing him – on the grounds that the alleged defamation of New York columnist E. Jean Carroll occurred while he was president. Carroll brought the libel case three years ago, after Trump repeatedly denied her rape allegations and described her as “not my type.” Kaplan also noted that Trump’s efforts to delay the lawsuit and his production of “virtually” no documents was “inexcusable.” (CNBC / Politico / CNN / Washington Post / Associated Press)

6/ Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was ordered to pay nearly $1 billion in damages to the families of eight victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, where 20 children and six educators were killed. Within hours of the shooting, Jones called it a hoax staged by “crisis actors” following a script written by the government to build support for gun control. During his testimony, Jones acknowledged he had been wrong about Sandy Hook and admitted that the shooting was “100 percent real.” In August, a jury ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of a first grader killed at Sandy Hook. Jones also faces a third trial, in a lawsuit filed by the parents of another child killed in the shooting. Infowars and its parent company Free Speech Systems, however, have filed for bankruptcy protection. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / ABC News / New York Times)

poll/ 50% of voters say the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has made them more motivated to vote – up 13 percentage points from May. (KFF Health Tracking Poll)

poll/ 46% of Americans call their personal financial situation poor – up from 37% in March. (Associated Press)

poll/ 22% of Americans rate the country’s current economic conditions as good, with 41% calling conditions somewhat poor, and 37% saying they’re very poor. (CNN)

Day 630: "The worst is yet to come."

1/ The International Monetary Fund warned that the world economy was headed for “stormy waters” and “the worst is yet to come.” The IMF’s World Economic Outlook report forecasts that global growth will slow to 2.7% in 2023, compared with projected growth of 3.2% this year. Aside from the global financial crisis and the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is “the weakest growth profile since 2001.” The report added that “for many people 2023 will feel like a recession.” (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / CNBC)

2/ The Biden administration suggested that the U.S. needs to “re-evaluate” its relationship with Saudi Arabia following the decision by the OPEC+ oil cartel to cut oil production by 2 million barrels. Days before the decision, U.S. officials urged their counterparts in Saudi Arabia and other big Gulf producers to delay the decision for another month, warning that cutting production would be viewed as siding with Russia in the Ukraine war. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, meanwhile, called on the Biden administration to “immediately freeze” U.S. cooperation with Saudi Arabia. And, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Biden would “work with Congress to think through what that relationship ought to look like going forward.” Chuck Schumer added that several legislative responses are under consideration, including a halt to arms sales and a new antitrust measure. (New York Times / Politico / NBC News / CNN / ABC News / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

3/ Biden pledged to “continue providing Ukraine with the support needed to defend itself, including advanced air defense systems.” The commitment follows Russia’s decision to launch 84 cruise missiles against targets across Ukraine on Monday, which G-7 leaders have called “indiscriminate attacks” against civilians that amount to “war crimes.” Putin claimed the strikes were in response to what he described as acts of “terrorism” and other alleged “crimes” by Kyiv. (CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

4/ The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to reject Trump’s appeal over classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. Trump had asked the Supreme Court to allow the special master reviewing the seized documents access to those marked as classified. The Justice Department, however, called the records “extraordinarily sensitive” and that Trump has no “plausible” claims of ownership over these sensitive government materials. They added that allowing the special master access to those records “would jeopardize national security ‘even by the judge alone, in chambers’” and “irreparably injure” the government. Separately, the Justice Department told Trump’s lawyers recently that they believe Trump still has government documents he took when he left the White House. (CNN / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Axios)

  • A lawyer for former president Donald Trump who signed a letter stating that a “diligent search” for classified records had been conducted and that all such documents had been given back to the government has spoken with the FBI. Christina Bobb signed a letter in June certifying that “based upon the information that has been provided to me,” Trump had returned all classified records sought by the government. The Aug. 8 search of Trump’s home turned up additional records. (NBC News / Associated Press)

5/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard may have violated the state’s program for transporting undocumented individuals. The program was launched in July to “facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state,” and documents released by DeSantis’ office show that the transportation department sought a vendor to “implement and manage a program to relocate out of the State of Florida foreign nationals who are not lawfully present in the United States.” On Sept. 14, however, two planes picked up 48 migrants in San Antonio – not Florida. The planes made a brief stop in Crestview, Fla. and then proceeded to Martha’s Vineyard later that day. (CNN / Washington Post / Politico)

poll/ 51% of voters say climate change is important in their vote in the midterms. Among Democrats, 79% say climate change will be important in their vote, compared with 46% of independents and 27% of Republicans. (Washington Post)

Day 625: "Historic fragility."

1/ Biden pardoned anyone convicted of marijuana possession under federal law and urged governors to do the same. Biden also said his administration would review whether marijuana should continue to be listed as a Schedule 1 drug like heroin and LSD, saying that “makes no sense.” The pardons will clear about 6,500 people who were convicted on federal charges of simple possession from 1992 to 2021, as well as thousands more who were convicted under a Washington, D.C. code. (CNBC / New York Times / CNN / NBC News / Washington Post)

2/ A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of large parts of New York’s gun law. In a 53-page order, Judge Glenn Suddaby ruled that multiple provisions in the state’s new law are unconstitutional, including the restrictions on the ability to carry a gun in “sensitive places,” such as Times Square, the subway, libraries, public playgrounds, and zoos. State Attorney General Letitia James said her office would appeal the decision, adding that “common-sense gun control regulations help save lives.” (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN / NBC News / Politico)

3/ Biden said the U.S. is eyeing “alternatives” to oil from OPEC Plus countries as gasoline prices begin the climb again. After a roughly 100-day decline, gas prices in the U.S. rose nearly 3 cents a gallon to $3.83 a gallon – the biggest one-day hike in nearly four months. OPEC Plus announced yesterday that it would reduce its production by two million barrels a day to raise oil prices. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has reportedly discussed easing sanctions on Venezuela to allow Chevron to resume pumping oil there. The National Security Council, however, said there are no plans to change its sanctions policy toward Venezuela unless President Nicolas Maduro’s government “restores democracy” in the country. Venezuela has been under economic and oil sanctions since 2019, when the U.S. and dozens of its allies declared that opposition leader Juan Guaidó was Venezuela’s legitimate president. (New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Federal Reserve said inflation has remained “stubbornly persistent” and that its benchmark interest rate will probably be at 4.5% to 4.75% by next spring or “until we are confident that inflation is firmly on the path toward our 2% goal.” The Fed raised its benchmark rate by three-quarters of a percentage point in September for a third time in a row, bringing it to 3% to 3.25%. The International Monetary Fund, meanwhile, warned that the “risks of recession are rising” globally and that “things are more likely to get worse before it gets better.” Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, said “multiple shocks, among them a senseless war, changed the economic picture completely,” calling the current economic environment a “period of historic fragility.” (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times / Associated Press)

5/ Initial unemployment claims increased by 29,000 to 219,000 last week – inline with the 2019 prepandemic average of 218,000. The Labor Department will release its latest employment report Friday, and economists estimate that payrolls increased by about 275,000 in September. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.7%. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC)

6/ Covid-19 boosters could prevent about 90,000 U.S. deaths this winter if more people would get their booster by the end of the year. A new analysis suggests that if booster vaccinations continue at their current pace, the nation could see a peak of more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths per day this winter. The resea