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 316: "Survive the stench."

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 314: "A cause for concern."

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 309: "Taking action."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 307: "Backsliding."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 304: "Landmark progress."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 302: "We must draw the line."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 297: "Beyond the pale."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 295: "Willful disregard for the law."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 293: "Appropriate and necessary."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 290: “We’ll see, won’t we?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 288: "A turning point."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 286: "Enough is enough."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 279: "Get this done."

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

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

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

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

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

Day 276: "The principal obstacles to progress."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 274: "The same rotten core."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 272: "Untethered."

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 269: "Just looking out!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 265: "Failures."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2/ Trump directly asked the Justice Department nine times in Dec. and early Jan. to undermine the 2020 election results. According to a Senate Judiciary Committee report on Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, Trump tried replacing then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ lawyer who supported election fraud conspiracies and had indicated he would publicly pursue Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud. During a Jan. 3 Oval Office meeting, Rosen, his deputy Richard Donoghue, and another official warned Trump that all of the Justice Department’s assistant attorneys general would resign en masse if he followed through with his plan to replace Rosen with Clark. White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his top deputy, Patrick Philbin, also threatened to quit. Cipollone called Trump’s plan a “murder-suicide pact.” (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

3/ Steve Bannon refused to comply with a subpoena and will not cooperate with the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. Bannon cited Trump’s claim of executive privilege, saying “we must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege.” After Bannon informed the panel that he would not cooperate, the committee threatened to pursue criminal contempt of Congress charges against Bannon. The committee has subpoenaed documents and testimony from Bannon, Dan Scavino, Kash Patel, and Mark Meadows. The four were ordered to turn over documents related to Jan. 6 by Oct. 7 (yesterday) and to sit for interviews by Oct. 15. Trump has directed the four to ignore the subpoenas. (New York Times / CNN / CNBC / Politico)

4/ The Senate voted to temporarily raise the debt limit by $480 billion, an amount the Treasury Department estimates will allow the U.S. to continue paying its bills until Dec. 3. The bill now moves to the House, which is expected to take up the legislation early next week. The two-month patch overcame a Republican filibuster, 61-38, after 11 Senate Republicans joined with all Democrats in voting to end debate and move the bill to final passage, which required a simple majority. (Politico / New York Times / ABC News / CNBC)

5/ A federal judge blocked enforcement of the new Texas law that bans nearly all abortions in the state after about six weeks of pregnancy. “From the moment S.B. 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution,” U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman said in his decision to grant a preliminary injunction, calling the law an “offensive deprivation” of a constitutional right. In his 113-page opinion, Pitman said Texas had “contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme” by delegating enforcement of the law to private individuals, who are entitled to collect $10,000 in damages if they bring a successful lawsuit against anyone who performs abortions or “aids and abets” them. The lawsuit was brought by the Biden administration and Attorney General Merrick Garland called the order “a victory for women in Texas and for the rule of law.” Within about an hour of Pitman’s decision, Texas filed a notice appealing the decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The outcome of that appeal will likely end up at the Supreme Court within weeks. (NPR / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Associated Press)

6/ Biden restored environmental protections to national monuments that had been stripped by the Trump administration. Biden said that protecting Bears Ears National Monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts should not become “a pendulum that swings back and forth depending on who is in public office.” In 2017, Trump signed an executive order that downsized Bears Ears by 85% and cut Grand Staircase in half. Biden joked that making the changes “might be the easiest thing I’ve ever done so far as president.” (NPR / New York Times / NBC News / ABC News)

poll/ 84% of Trump voters worry about discrimination against whites and think Christianity is under attack. 38% of Biden voters agree that anti-white discrimination is a problem and that Christianity is under attack. (Business Insider)

Day 260: "The country is watching."

1/ The Senate postponed a vote to suspend the nation’s debt limit after Republicans planned to filibuster the effort for the third time in two weeks. Mitch McConnell and Republicans lawmakers continue to block debate on the legislation as part of their opposition to Biden’s economic agenda, arguing that Democrats should raise the debt limit unilaterally through reconciliation. Democrats, however, have repeatedly said that reconciliation is not an option, since it would be too complicated, time-consuming, and “risky” given the threat of a first-ever default on federal debt. Democrats need at least 10 Republicans to join them to break a filibuster on raising the debt ceiling. Schumer has said he wants Congress to pass legislation on the debt ceiling by the end of the week. (Washington Post / Reuters / CNN)

2/ Biden suggested that it’s a “real possibility” for Democrats to revise the Senate’s filibuster rules to overcome the Republican blockade on raising the debt ceiling. To invoke the “nuclear option” and change the filibuster rules, Democrats would need unity from their 50-member caucus, including Harris’ tie-breaking vote. Democrats said any “carve out” for the debt limit would apply only to the debt limit and not other measures. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, however, remain opposed to changing the Senate’s filibuster rules. Manchin called any speculation that he would support changing the filibuster “theatrics,” but added “we are not going to default as a country.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, meanwhile, warned that Oct. 18 is the deadline before the U.S. “will be out of extraordinary measures, have limited cash, and likely to exhaust it very quickly.” She added that a default could plunge the U.S. into a recession. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / The Hill / CNN)

3/ Mitch McConnell offered to allow Democrats to temporarily raise the debt ceiling, but refused to lift the GOP blockade of a long-term increase. In a statement, McConnell said Republicans would let Democrats lift the debt ceiling through November to a fixed number, rather than suspending the limit until a set date, which would give Democrats more time to pass debt limit legislation through reconciliation without any Republican votes. “This will moot Democrats’ excuses about the time crunch,” McConnell said in a statement. Senate Democrats signaled they would accept McConnell’s offer, setting up a vote as soon as this week on the short-term debt patch. White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, responded to McConnell’s proposal, saying: “We could get this done today, we don’t need to kick the can, we don’t need to go through a cumbersome process that every day brings additional risks.” (Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg / The Hill / Washington Post / CNN / Axios)

4/ Florida is the only state that hasn’t submitted a plan to the Education Department for how it’ll use federal Covid-19 relief funds for schools. The state’s plan is required before more than $2.3 billion in federal aid can be released to Florida’s schools. The Biden administration, meanwhile, ordered Arizona to stop using federal pandemic funding on a pair of grant programs only available to schools without mask mandates. (CNN / Associated Press)

5/ Trump’s top aides are expected to defy demands for documents and testimony from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The committee had issued subpoenas to Mark Meadows, Steve Bannon, Dan Scavino, and Kash Patel requesting documents by Oct. 7 and a deposition by Oct. 15. Trump and his legal team, however, have pressed the attorneys for the subpoenaed aides to defy the orders. The committee has also reportedly been unable to physically serve the subpoena to Scavino. (The Guardian / CNN)

6/ A federal judge sentenced a Jan. 6 rioter to 45 days in jail, 60 hours of community service, and $500 restitution for the damage done to the Capitol building. Matthew Mazzocco’s defense lawyer had asked for probation, while a federal prosecutor had suggested three months of home confinement. Instead, during Mazzocco’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said that if the defendant “walks away with probation and a slap on the wrist, that’s not going to deter anyone from trying what he did again.” She added: “The country is watching.” Of 11 defendants sentenced so far, Mazzocco is the first to receive a jail term when prosecutors had not asked for one. (Washington Post)

7/ Trump praised Pence for downplaying the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, saying Pence’s Fox News interview “very much destroys and discredits the Unselect Committees Witch Hunt,” which is investigating the insurrection. During his interview with Sean Hannity, Pence blamed “the media” for distracting from Biden’s “failed agenda by focusing on one day in January,” adding that “they want to use that one day to try and demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans.” A bipartisan group of former officials and former federal judges, meanwhile, asked the California bar association to investigate the conduct of John Eastman, the lawyer who outlined the legal strategy for Pence to overturn the 2020 election results by simply not counting electoral votes on Jan. 6. (The Hill / Washington Post)

poll/ 67% of Republicans say Trump should remain a major national political figure, including 44% who said they would like him to run for president in 2024. 32%, meanwhile, say they do not want Trump to remain a national political figure. (Pew Research Center)

poll/ 38% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – his lowest approval rating since taking office. 53% disapprove. (Quinnipiac)

Day 258: "Just get out of the way."

1/ Mitch McConnell demanded that Biden pressure congressional Democratic leaders into raising the debt ceiling unilaterally because Republicans will not support the effort to lift the borrowing limit. McConnell wants Democrats to use budget reconciliation to lift the debt ceiling with only 50 votes instead of the normal 60-vote threshold – the same process Democrats are using to advance Biden’s $3.5 trillion social spending package. “Since mid-July, Republicans have clearly stated that Democrats will need to raise the debt limit on their own,” McConnell wrote in a letter to Biden. “We have simply warned that since your party wishes to govern alone, it must handle the debt limit alone as well.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen previously said the government will run out of cash in about two weeks, which could cause a catastrophic debt default. Budget experts, however, say the reconciliation process would take at least two weeks to complete. (Bloomberg / Politico)

2/ Biden accused Republicans of playing “Russian roulette” with the U.S. economy by refusing to join Democrats in raising the debt ceiling. “Not only are Republicans refusing to do their job, they are threatening to use their power to prevent us from doing our job,” Biden said, blaming Mitch McConnell and Republicans for what he described as a “meteor headed to crash” the economy. “Frankly, I think it’s hypocritical, dangerous, and disgraceful. Their obstruction and irresponsibility knows no bounds.” Biden added that more than a quarter of U.S. debt – about $8 trillion – was incurred during the “reckless tax and spending policies” of the Trump administration, and that defaulting on the debt “would lead to a self-inflicted wound that takes our economy over a cliff.” Biden called on Republicans to “just get out of the way” and allow Democrats to hold a vote on the debt ceiling this week without “procedural tricks,” because “We are not expecting Republicans to do their part.” When asked whether he could guarantee the U.S. wouldn’t default on the nation’s debt, Biden answered: “No, I can’t. That’s up to Mitch McConnell.” (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Associated Press / Politico / ABC News / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC / CNN)

3/ Chuck Schumer told Senate Democrats he plans to hold a vote this week on a measure to suspend the debt limit until December 2022. “Let me be clear about the task ahead of us,” Schumer said. “We must get a bill to the President’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week, period.” Mitch McConnell, however, has vowed to block the attempt – again. Schumer threatened to cancel next week’s recess if the legislation doesn’t end up on Biden’s desk. “We do not have the luxury of waiting until October 18th,” Schumer said. “The consequences of even approaching the X Date could be disastrous for our economy and devastating to American families, raising the costs of borrowing for average Americans and hampering our economic recovery over the long-term.“ (Wall Street Journal / Politico)

4/ Democrats will try to pass both the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion investment in social programs by the end of October. The House twice delayed a vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill last week because progressive Democrats vowed to block it unless they also get a vote on the $3.5 trillion package, which Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have objected to as too costly. Manchin wants the legislation limited to $1.5 trillion. Sinema condemned last week’s delayed vote on infrastructure, calling it a “failure” and “deeply disappointing for communities across our country.” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, meanwhile, said progressives were willing to scale back some components of the legislation to reach a compromise, but that Manchin’s request to spend no more than $1.5 trillion is “not going to happen,” adding “that’s too small to get our priorities in […] Remember: What we want to deliver is child care, paid leave, climate change.” Biden told House Democrats that, after negotiations with moderates, he expects the cost to fall to between $1.9 trillion and $2.3 trillion. In a letter to Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer said he wanted to reach a final deal “within a matter of days, not weeks,” noting that Democrats would need time after that to draft the legislation and get it cleared by the Senate parliamentarian. “Not every member will get everything he or she wanted,” he added. “But at the end of the day, we will pass legislation that will dramatically improve the lives of the American people. I believe we are going to do just that in the month of October.” (New York Times / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / The Hill)

5/ The Biden administration revoked a Trump-era rule that barred health clinics that receive federal funds from advising people about ending their pregnancies. The Department of Health and Human Services said the new regulation will restore the federal family planning program to the way it ran under the Obama administration. The new rule will go into effect on Nov. 8. (Associated Press / Washington Post / Axios)

6/ The Supreme Court declined to block New York City’s requirement that public school teachers receive Covid-19 vaccinations. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state will require Covid-19 vaccines for all school children ages 12-17 once the FDA grants full approval – the first state to move forward on mandating vaccines for school children. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, meanwhile, said there’s “no chance” he will mandate the Covid-19 vaccine for students because he believes “mandates only divide us.” (USA Today / ABC News / CBS News)

7/ A whistleblower accused Facebook of contributing to election misinformation and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. While “Facebook has publicized its work to combat misinformation and violent extremism relating to the 2020 election and insurrection,” the whistleblower, Frances Haugen, said. “In reality, Facebook knew its algorithms and platforms promoted this type of harmful content, and it failed to deploy internally recommended or lasting countermeasures.” Haugen said that following the 2020 election, Facebook disbanded its civic integrity team, which was responsible for protecting the democratic process and tackling misinformation. “Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety,” she added. Haugen will testify before Congress this week. (New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / USA Today)

8/ Rudy Giuliani admitted under oath that his “evidence” of voter fraud in the 2020 election came from unvetted posts on Facebook and other social media platforms. Eric Coomer, a former Dominion Voting Systems employee, is suing the Trump campaign and others for defamation for promoting election fraud conspiracy theories that he helped “rig” the election for Biden. According to an Aug. 14 deposition, Giuliani admitted that he got some of his information about Coomer’s alleged role in the nonexistent election fraud from social media, but wasn’t sure if it was Facebook or another platform. “Those social media posts get all one to me,” Giuliani said. (Business Insider / Colorado Sun / MSNBC)

9/ Trump asked a court to force Twitter to restore his social media account while his lawsuit against the social media giant continues. Trump asked a federal district judge for a preliminary injunction, arguing that Twitter was “censoring” him by indefinitely banning him from the platform. Twitter permanently banned Trump on Jan. 8, “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” following the Jan. 6 riot, in which hundreds of Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. (Washington Post)

Day 255: "Ain’t going to happen."

1/ Biden signed a short-term spending bill to keep the government running through Dec. 3. The House initially passed a funding bill last week on a party-line vote of 220-211, which Senate Republicans then blocked on Monday because it included an extension of the debt ceiling. The Senate and House, however, finally approved the funding legislation after Democrats stripped out the provision to suspend the debt ceiling, which lawmakers still need to address before Oct. 18 in order to prevent a default on the more than $28 trillion in U.S. debt. The stopgap funding bill also provides emergency aid to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees and aid to help communities rebuild from hurricanes, wildfires, and other recent natural disasters. (Politico / New York Times / CNBC / NBC News)

2/ Biden met privately with House Democrats in an effort to salvage both the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan and the $3.5 trillion social spending and climate change package. Nancy Pelosi has twice delayed a vote this week on the $1.2 trillion plan because progressive Democrats have vowed to vote it down unless they also get a vote on the $3.5 trillion package, which two moderate Democratic senators have objected to as too costly. During the meeting, Biden told members that the vote on infrastructure “ain’t going to happen” until Democrats agree on the second bill, adding that a bill smaller than $3.5 trillion “can make historic investments.” Democratic leaders and the White House have proposed a $2.3 trillion compromise deal to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. But Manchin has insisted that he won’t support anything larger than $1.5 trillion in social spending – less than half of what progressives have sought. Sinema, meanwhile, left Washington for a “medical appointment” and scheduled fundraiser in Arizona. “We’re going to get this done,” Biden said after meeting with Democrats. But when pressed on a timeline, Biden replied: “It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t whether it’s in six minutes, six days, or six weeks – we’re going to get it done.” It was not clear when Pelosi would schedule a vote on the infrastructure bill. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / ABC News / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

3/ A federal judge questioned Texas’s defense of the nation’s most restrictive abortion law following the Justice Department’s emergency request to block the controversial law. U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman asked why the state went “to such great lengths” to create a “very unusual” law aimed at hindering judicial review if it’s “so confident in the constitutionality of the limitations on a woman’s access to abortion.” Following the nearly three-hour hearing, Pitman did not say when he would rule, but said he would give the matter “careful consideration” and “get to work” on an order. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / NPR)

4/ Brett Kavanaugh tested positive for the coronavirus. Kavanaugh has no symptoms and has been fully vaccinated since January. The Supreme Court begins its new term Monday, when it will hear oral arguments in the courtroom for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. It is not clear how Kavanaugh’s positive test might affect his participation. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

5/ An experimental Covid-19 pill reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by nearly half in a clinical trial. Merck plans to seek emergency use authorization of molnupiravir in the U.S., and has already begun producing the drug, which must be taken twice a day for five days. Earlier this year, the company agreed to supply the U.S. with around 1.7 million courses of molnupiravir if it receives emergency use authorization or full approval from the FDA. (CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

6/ A Texas judge ruled that right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is legally responsible for all damages caused by his false claims that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a “giant hoax.” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble issued default judgments against Jones and his website Infowars for not complying with court orders to provide documents and evidence supporting his claims that the shooting was a “false flag” operation carried out by “crisis actors.” A jury will now be convened to determine how much Jones owes the plaintiffs stemming from a pair of 2018 lawsuits brought against him by the families of two children killed in the 2012 massacre. (HuffPost / CNN / CNBC / Washington Post)

7/ Starting today, the U.S. Postal Service will begin slowing mail service. About 40% of first-class mail will now see slower delivery under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s restructuring plan to cut costs. Letters and other first-claim mail could take up to five days to reach their destinations instead of the previous three-day delivery standard. (CBS News / CNN / Washington Post)

poll/ 50% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president, while 49% disapprove. In August, 54% approved, and 59% in July. (Associated Press)

Day 253: "One step at a time."

1/ The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on a short-term spending bill to avert a shutdown and keep the government funded through Dec. 3. Democrats and Republicans, however, disagree on language in the House-passed measure regarding Afghan refugee benefits and funding for Israel’s Iron Dome. Congress must pass a funding bill before midnight Thursday to avoid a shutdown. The short-term government funding bill does not address raising the debt ceiling to prevent a first-ever default. (Politico / CNBC / Washington Post / CBS News)

2/ The House passed a standalone bill to lift the debt ceiling, which Senate Republicans are expected to reject. On Monday, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have funded the government into Dec., and suspended the debt ceiling until Dec. 2022. A group of moderate House Democrats, meanwhile, threatened to oppose the standalone measure, saying it was a pointless political maneuver with Senate Republicans firmly opposed. “We have a responsibility to uphold, to lift up, the full faith and credit of the United States of America — that’s what we have to do,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters. She noted that lawmakers had already voted to raise the debt limit last week, when the House passed the spending bill, adding: “If they’re concerned about how it might be in an ad, it’s already in an ad.” (CNBC / Politico / New York Times)

3/ Biden canceled a trip to Chicago to promote Covid-19 vaccinations in order to try and broker a compromise with two moderate Democratic senators threatening to sink his economic agenda. In a series of private meetings at the White House, Biden met with Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin in an attempt to salvage the two infrastructure bills. So far, Sinema or Manchin are unwilling to agree to the topline cost of the proposed $3.5 trillion education, climate, healthcare, and tax plan until the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package first passes the House. Manchin released a statement that suggests an agreement on the budget reconciliation package wasn’t close, saying: “I cannot – and will not – support trillions in spending or an all or nothing approach that ignores the brutal fiscal reality our nation faces.” The planned vote on the $1 trillion infrastructure package, however, was already moved from Monday to Thursday after it became clear that there was no House-Senate agreement on the $3.5 trillion bill, which House progressives are demanding that the Senate pass before they’ll support the infrastructure proposal. White House press secretary Jen Psaki described the meetings as “constructive” and that they “agreed that we are at a pivotal moment [and] need to continue to work to finalize the path forward.” Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, held out the possibility that the House could delay Thursday’s vote on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, accusing moderate Senate Democrats of “completely” disrupting the timeline for approving Biden’s economic agenda. She added: “We take it one step at a time.” (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / The Hill)

4/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection issued 11 subpoenas to organizers of the pro-Trump rally outside the White House that turned into the riot. The committee is seeking documents and testimony as part of its investigation into the insurrection at the Capitol, communications between Trump White House associates and organizers of the “Stop the Steal” rally, as well as Trump’s actions before, during and after the riot. The subpoenas announced today come a week after the committee issued subpoenas targeting former Defense Department official Kash Patel and adviser Steve Bannon. (Washington Post / Axios / ABC News)

5/ Trump plans to sue to block the release of his White House records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Trump is expected to cite executive privilege to block both his White House records, as well as to prevent Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino, Steve Bannon, and Kash Patel from testifying to the select committee. While Biden holds final authority over whether to shield specific documents, Trump can then file lawsuits in an attempt to block their release. (The Guardian)

6/ Trump lost a legal effort to enforce a nondisclosure agreement against Omarosa Manigault Newman, who wrote a tell-all book about working in his administration. Trump had filed the lawsuit against Manigault Newman, a former White House aide and “Apprentice” star, claiming she violated a nondisclosure agreement she had signed during the 2016 campaign to not reveal private or confidential information about his family, business, or personal life. An arbitrator, however, said that the nondisclosure agreement was “invalid under New York contract law,” and that the terms of the NDA “pertaining to confidential information and non-disparagement are vague and unenforceable.” (New York Times / CNBC)

7/ A former Trump White House press secretary accused Trump of abusing his staff, placating Putin, and making sexual comments about a young, female press aide. Among the many allegations in her new book, Stephanie Grisham recounts a meeting between Trump and Putin during the Group of 20 summit in Osaka in 2019 where Trump told Putin: “Okay, I’m going to act a little tougher with you for a few minutes. But it’s for the cameras, and after they leave, we’ll talk. You understand.” Grisham also writes that Trump once called her from Air Force One to inform her that his penis was neither small nor shaped like a toadstool, as Stormy Daniels had alleged in her 2018 book. After serving as press secretary where she never held a televised briefing with reporters, Grisham worked in Melania Trump’s office. (New York Times / Washington Post)

8/ A Trump donor accused one of Trump’s longtime top aides of repeatedly groping her and making unwanted sexual comments at a Las Vegas charity event last week. Trashelle Odom said Corey Lewandowski “repeatedly touched me inappropriately, said vile and disgusting things to me, stalked me, and made me feel violated and fearful.” She added that “Corey bragged multiple times about how powerful he is, and how he can get anyone elected, inferring he was the reason Trump became President.” Four first-hand witnesses at the event corroborated Odom’s allegations. Odom’s husband, John Odom, said that he wanted “accountability now” from Lewandowski and that they are exploring their legal options “to make sure he cannot harm anyone else.” Separately, South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem dismissed a conservative media outlet’s claim that she is having an extramarital affair with Lewandowski, calling the rumors “total garbage and a disgusting lie.” (Politico / Washington Post)

poll/ 51% of Texas voters say Gov. Greg Abbott does not deserve to be reelected. 36% of Texas voters disapprove of Abbott’s handling of the situation at the Mexican border, 50% disapprove of his response to the coronavirus, and 53% disapprove of how he’s handled the issue of abortion. (Quinnipiac)

Day 251: "An unnecessary, avoidable disaster."

1/ Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed bill to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, setting up a possible government shutdown this week and a federal debt default next month. The 48-50 party-line vote – to fund the government through Dec. 3, 2021 and suspend the debt limit through Dec. 16, 2022 – fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation to the floor. Republicans refused to back the debt limit increase as a form of protest of the Democrats’ plan to spend $3.5 trillion on education, child care, healthcare, and climate change – which would be paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy. “After today there will be no doubt about which party is working to solve the problems that face our country and which party is accelerating us toward unnecessary, avoidable disaster,” Chuck Schumer said, calling it “one of the most reckless, one of the most irresponsible votes” he’s taken in the Senate. “Republicans will solidify themselves for a long time as the party of default.” Lawmakers have until midnight Thursday to approve funding for the government or a shutdown will be triggered. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, meanwhile, has notified Congress that they have until mid-October to act before the federal government can no longer pay its bills. (New York Times / NBC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Bloomberg / CNN)

2/ The House will vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday, which the Senate passed last month. Nancy Pelosi committed to a vote this week on the proposal to improve the country’s physical infrastructure after a group of moderate Democrats threatened to vote against a second, larger social policy and climate change bill, which Democrats are pursuing through budget reconciliation. House progressives, however, have warned that they will not vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan bill until the House and the Senate has passed the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which provides investments in education, health, child care, paid leave, and climate programs. That package, however, has yet to be completed. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, meanwhile, warned that there are 60 Democrats who would vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill if the vote is held before the $3.5 trillion plan is finalized and adopted. That leaves Pelosi and her leadership team with three days to satisfy both the moderate and progressive factions of the party. “In order to move forward, we have to build consensus,” Pelosi said, adding: “I’m never bringing to the floor a bill that doesn’t have the votes.” (New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)

3/ The Biden administration proposed a federal rule that would modify DACA in an effort to “preserve and fortify” it against future legal challenges after a federal judge in Houston ruled in July that the program was illegal. The proposed rule relies on the Obama administration DACA guidelines and embraces the “consistent judgment” that immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors should not be a priority for deportation. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in the statement that “only Congress can provide permanent protection” for Dreamers. Trump tried to terminate the program in 2017, which the Supreme Court blocked. As of March 31, there were 616,030 DACA recipients. (CBS News / NBC News / CNN / Associated Press)

4/ The FBI reported that murder and manslaughter rose nearly 30% in 2020 — the biggest one-year increase on record. About 77% of murders were committed with a firearm – the highest share ever reported. Overall, however, crime in the U.S. is still below the historic highs reached in the early 1990s. (Washington Post / New York Times)

poll/ 40% of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing – a record low. 54% express “a great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the judicial branch of the federal government – from 67% in 2020. (Gallup / CNN)

notable/ In counties where Trump received at least 70% of the vote, the coronavirus has killed about 47 out of every 100,000 people since the end of June. In counties where Trump won less than 32% of the vote, the number is about 10 out of 100,000. (New York Times)

Day 248: "Delays and excuses."

1/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol subpoenaed four of Trump’s closest advisers, including Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon. The panel also issued subpoenas to Dan Scavino and Kash Patel. The subpoenas compel the four to produce documents relevant to the deadly attack by Oct. 7, and then sit for a deposition the following week. The committee said it was seeking information about Trump’s actions leading up to and during the riot. In a statement, Trump called the panel the “Unselect Committee” and promised to “fight the Subpoenas on Executive Privilege and other grounds, for the good of our Country.” (NPR / New York Times / Politico)

2/ Biden will not invoke executive privilege to shield Trump White House records from the House’s Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. The decision would likely set up a legal fight with Trump citing “executive privilege” in an effort to block the information requests. White House spokesman Michael Gwin said Biden is “deeply committed to ensuring that something like [Jan. 6] can never happen again and he supports a thorough investigation into what occurred,” adding that “the events of Jan. 6th were a dark stain on our country’s history, and they represented an attack on the foundations of our constitution and democracy in a way that few other events have.” The National Archives has identified hundreds of pages of relevant documents, which will be sent to Biden and Trump lawyers. (Associated Press / Washington Post / CNN / Politico)

3/ The hand recount of Maricopa County’s 2020 vote – ordered and financed by Republicans – confirmed that Biden won and the election was not “stolen” from Trump. The draft report from Cyber Ninjas found that Trump received 261 fewer votes than the county’s official election results, and that there was less than a 1,000-vote difference between the county’s count and the recount. Biden won Arizona by roughly 10,500 votes. The recount took nearly six months and cost almost $6 million. Trump, meanwhile, issued a statement claiming the report “uncovered significant and undeniable evidence of FRAUD!” (AZ Central / NPR / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / The Hill / Washington Post)

4/ A New York judge ordered the Trump Organization to submit a report by Sept. 30 on its efforts to preserve, collect, and produce documents in response to subpoenas issued by the New York Attorney General. “For more than a year now, the Trump Organization has failed to adequately respond to our subpoenas, hiding behind procedural delays and excuses,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. Judge Arthur Engoron stipulated that if James isn’t satisfied with the Trump Organization’s efforts to comply with the subpoenas, a third party will be hired to conduct a review of the company’s records and respond to the subpoena. Engoron’s order was dated Sept. 2 and unsealed Friday. (CNN / Bloomberg)

5/ The FDA authorized coronavirus booster shots of Pfizer’s vaccine for people over 65, as well as those at risk of serious illness due to frequent exposure to the coronavirus at their jobs. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, meanwhile, overruled her agency’s advisory panel, adding a recommendation for boosters for people who are considered high risk due to where they work, such as nurses, teachers, and grocery store employees. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices had largely mirrored the FDA authorization in recommending boosters for people 65 and older, nursing home residents, and those with an underlying medical conditions six months after completing their second shot. The CDC panel, however, declined to recommend a booster for people at risk of illness because of their job. With Walensky’s sign-off, the White House could begin promoting and rolling out a plan that would make booster shots available for millions of Americans at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and other sites that offer the Pfizer vaccine. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / ABC News / New York Times)

6/ The House passed legislation that would create a statutory right for health care professionals to provide abortions amid threats to Roe v. Wade from a Texas law banning most abortions. The Women’s Health Protection Act would essentially codify Roe v. Wade, guaranteeing the right to abortion before viability. The legislation, however, now faces an evenly split Senate, where Democrats would need at least 10 Republicans to support the bill for it to advance to a final vote. (NBC News / Washington Post / CNBC / USA Today)

7/ The U.S. special envoy to Haiti resigned in protest of what he called an “inhumane, counterproductive” decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees. Daniel Foote accused the Biden administration of conducting a “deeply flawed” policy of returning migrants to Haiti – the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country – despite the deteriorating political and humanitarian conditions there. White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, said Foote “had ample opportunity to raise concerns about migration during his tenure. He never once did so.” (Washington Post / CNN)

Day 246: "Playing with fire."

1/ The House passed legislation to fund the government through Dec. 3 and extend the debt limit until after the 2022 elections in a party-line vote with no Republicans supporting the bill. The fiscal package is needed to avoid a government shutdown and a first-ever default on U.S. debt. The bill now heads to the Senate, where Mitch McConnell has vowed that Republicans won’t support raising the debt ceiling. Without 10 Republicans in support, the bill would fail to advance past the 60-vote filibuster threshold. “This is playing with fire. Playing games with the debt ceiling is playing with fire and putting it on the back of the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. Failure to raise the debt ceiling could cost the U.S. economy 6 million jobs, wipe out $15 trillion in household wealth, send the unemployment rate to roughly 9% from around 5%, and plunge the country into an immediate recession, according to the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. Congress has to pass a funding plan by Sept. 30 to prevent a shutdown, while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned congressional leaders that the debt ceiling must be raised or suspended by some time in October, when the U.S. will exhaust all of its options to pay its bills. (NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC)

2/ Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas vowed to complete an investigation into the treatment of Haitian immigrants at the Texas-Mexico border after videos showed mounted Border Patrol agents running down migrants and using their reins as whips. Mayorkas told the House Homeland Security Committee that an undisclosed number of agents have already been placed on administrative duty. House Democrats, meanwhile, demanded that Customs and Border Protection officials brief the Oversight Committee this week about agent conduct, direction they received from supervisors, and disciplinary action being taken. (USA Today / New York Times)

3/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent hundreds of state-owned vehicles to the southern border to form a “steel wall” to block migrants from crossing the border. Nearly 15,000 Haitians have taken refuge under the border bridge in Del Rio, Tex. while trying to seek asylum. “We effectively […] regained control of the border,” Abbott said. (Washington Post / Axios)

4/ An attorney who worked with Trump’s legal team tried to convince Pence that he could overturn the 2020 presidential election results. In a two-page memo, John Eastman laid out a six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election for Trump, which included throwing out the results from seven states. Under Eastman’s scheme, Pence could then declare Trump the winner with more Electoral College votes, at 232 votes to 222. Eastman and Trump proposed the plan to Pence on Jan. 4 in the Oval Office. A separate internal memo – issued two weeks after the 2020 election – show that the Trump campaign knew the election conspiracy theories pushed by pro-Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell were baseless and false. The Trump campaign’s communications staff, however, remained silent. (CNN / New York Times / The Hill)

5/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection will move “straight to subpoena” some “recalcitrant” witnesses. Rep. Adam Schiff said the panel will make requests “where we think they’ll be complied with,” but will skip the “time-consuming steps” of giving potential witnesses weeks to voluntarily comply. The Democratic chairman of the House Select Committee said the panel could start issuing subpoenas to companies and individuals “within a week.” (Politico / CNBC / CNN)

6/ Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against his niece, the New York Times, and three of its reporters, claiming they conspired in an “insidious plot” to obtain his tax returns for a Pulitzer-winning story that detailed his undisclosed finances. The Trump lawsuit alleges that the Times convinced Mary Trump to “smuggle records out of her attorney’s office and turn them over to the Times” in violation of a confidentiality agreement she signed in 2001. The October 2018 article reported that Trump “participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud,” which allowed him to receive over $413 million from his father, Fred Trump Sr., while significantly reducing taxes. In a statement, Mary Trump called her uncle desperate and said, “I think he is a loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can.” (Daily Beast / NBC News / New York Times / CNN / NPR / Washington Post)

poll/ Biden’s job approval rating fell six percentage points to 43% – the lowest of his presidency. 53% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s job performance. (Gallup)

poll/ 62% of Iowans disapprove of Biden’s job performance – a 12 percentage point drop in approval from June. 31% Iowans approve of how Biden is handling his job, while 7% are not sure. (Des Moines Register)

Day 244: "Irreparable harm."

1/ House Democrats plan to combine a short-term government spending bill with the suspension of the debt limit in an effort to avert a government shutdown. The stopgap funding bill would last through Dec. 3, 2021, and the debt ceiling would be suspended through Dec. 2022. Mitch McConnell, however, reiterated that Republicans “will not support legislation that raises the debt limit.” The Republican threat is in protest of the Democrats decision to pursue trillions in new spending to overhaul federal healthcare, education, climate, immigration, and tax laws. McConnell called it “an effort to exploit this terrible yet temporary pandemic as a trojan horse for permanent socialism.” Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, warned that “a reckless Republican-forced default could plunge the country into a recession.” Congress has until the end of September to ratify a new spending agreement or risk a shutdown. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen previously warned that, under current conditions, the department will reach its borrowing limit some time in October, which would cause “irreparable harm” to the U.S. economy. The House is expected to vote on the package this week. (Wall Street Journal / The Hill / Politico / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN)

2/ The Senate’s parliamentarian blocked the Democrats’ plan to use the $3.5 trillion social and climate package to provide a path to citizenship for an estimated 8 million immigrants. Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian, ruled that the proposal is “by any standard a broad, new immigration policy” and that “changing the law to clear the way to (Legal Permanent Resident) status is tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact.” In a three-page memo to senators, MacDonough noted that under Senate rules, provisions are not allowed in such bills if their budget effect is “merely incidental” to their overall policy impact. (Associated Press / New York Times / Politico / CNN)

3/ More than 675,000 people in the U.S. have died of Covid-19, surpassing the country’s 1918 influenza pandemic death toll. The U.S. accounts for about 14% of total Covid-19 deaths globally despite the widespread availability of vaccines. Roughly 25.3% of eligible Americans (those 12 years and older) remain unvaccinated – or about 72 million people. (CNN / Bloomberg)

4/ The U.S. will lift travel restrictions on foreign visitors fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Starting in November, international travelers will be allowed to enter the U.S. if they can show proof of vaccination before boarding the plane and that they have tested negative for the virus within three days of their flight. The move rolls back a blanket ban on travel for non-U.S. citizens imposed by the Trump administration. (NPR / CBS News / New York Times / CNN)

5/ The Biden administration began deporting Haitian migrants from a Texas border city where about 14,000 migrants had gathered under and around a bridge after crossing into the U.S. from Mexico. More than 320 migrants arrived in Port-au-Prince on three flights Sunday, and the Department of Homeland Security is expected to run five to eight flights a day to deter Haitians who are overwhelming Del Rio, Texas. Customs and Border Protection also plans to have at least 400 agents and officers in the Del Rio area and is prepared to send more. (Washington Post / Business Insider / Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / New York Times)

6/ The Supreme Court will hear arguments Dec. 1 on Mississippi’s restrictive abortion law, which bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The case has been blocked by lower courts because it directly violated Roe v. Wade’s protections for pre-viability abortions. The 1973 ruling established that a woman has the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy in the first six months of pregnancy, when the fetus cannot survive outside the womb. The justices said they wanted to hear arguments on whether all bans of pre-viability abortions are unconstitutional. A ruling is expected next year. Earlier this month, the justices allowed Texas to move forward with its near-total abortion ban. (Politico / NPR / CNBC / CNN)

poll/ 70% of Americans disapprove of the restrictive Texas abortion law that allows “private citizens to use lawsuits to enforce this law rather than having government prosecutors handle these cases.” 81% say they disapprove of giving $10,000 to “private citizens who successfully file suits against those who perform or assist a woman with getting an abortion.” Meanwhile, 54% disagree with the Supreme Court allowing the Texas law to go into effect, while 39% agree with the court. (Monmouth University)

Day 241: "A catastrophic pathway."

1/ An FDA advisory panel rejected a plan to offer Pfizer Covid-19 boosters shots for everyone 16 and older. Members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 16 to 2 against approving the booster shot after scrutinizing new data from Israel and questioning whether the data justified boosters for the general population when the current vaccines still offer robust protection against severe Covid-19 disease and hospitalization. The panel, however, recommended booster shots for older Americans and other high-risk groups. The votes are non-binding and the FDA is expected make a final decision on boosters by early next week. An outside advisory panel to the CDC, meanwhile, has scheduled a two-day meeting next week to discuss plans to distribute booster shots in the U.S. (New York Times / CNBC / Associated Press / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Politico / Wall Street Journal / ABC News / CNN)

2/ The United Nations warned that the global average temperature is on track to rise 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. “The world is on a catastrophic pathway,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said. Based on the most recent commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions from 191 countries, if implemented, would result in a 16% increase by 2030 compared with 2010 levels. The latest scientific research suggests that greenhouse gas emissions need to decrease by at least 25% by 2030 to avert the worst impacts of global warming. Guterres warned “there is high risk of failure.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The Pentagon admitted that the Aug. 29 drone strike in Kabul, which killed 10 civilians, including 7 children, was “a tragic mistake.” Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, apologized for the error, saying the decision was made in an “earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport.” The car was believed to have been carrying explosives in its trunk. “We now assess it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K,” McKenzie said. (Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC / CNN / New York Times)

4/ The U.S. Capitol Police withdrew a request for 100 armed National Guard members to be on standby for a rally at the Capitol in support of the rioters charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Instead, Guard members will be armed with batons and accompanied by armed police in a support capacity. A fence, meanwhile, has been erected around the Capitol. The “Justice for J6” rally, organized by former Trump campaign strategist Matt Braynard, supposedly wants to “bring awareness and attention to the unjust and unethical treatment of nonviolent Jan. 6 political prisoners.” About 60 people have been denied bail and remain in pretrial custody out of the more than 600 charged in the deadly riot. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press)

poll/ 59% of Americans blame white supremacist groups, Trump (56%), and conservative media that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (55%) for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. 34% of Americans agree that “Trump is a true patriot,” while 63% disagree, including 49% who completely disagree. (Public Religion Research Institute)

poll/ 44% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance – the lowest level of his presidency. 50% disapproved, and the rest were not sure. (Reuters)

Day 239: "Democracy can be sloppy."

1/ The Justice Department asked a federal judge to block enforcement of a new Texas law that effectively bans almost all abortions. The Justice Department argued that the state adopted the law, which took effect this month after the Supreme Court refused to block its enforcement, “gravely and irreparably impaired women’s ability to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion across the State.” The 45-page emergency motion comes after the Biden administration sued Texas last week, asserting that the law – which allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps a woman terminate her pregnancy – was passed in “open defiance of the Constitution.” (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Reuters)

2/ The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called China twice in the final months of the Trump administration to reassure them that Trump had no plans to attack China, according to “Peril,” a new book by the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. “Things may look unsteady,” Gen. Mark Milley told his counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of China, on Jan. 8 – two days after Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol to try to stop the certification of his election loss. “But that’s the nature of democracy, General Li. We are 100% steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.” Milley was also reportedly so concerned that Trump could “go rogue” that he convened a secret meeting later that day with senior military officials to remind them that “the strict procedures are explicitly designed to avoid inadvertent mistakes or accident or nefarious, unintentional, illegal, immoral, unethical launching of the world’s most dangerous weapons.” He added: “And I’m part of that procedure.” Following the revelations, Trump called for “Dumbass” Milley to be “arrested” for “treason.” The White House, meanwhile, said Biden has “complete confidence” in Milley. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

3/ A federal judge denied Trump’s request to stop E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against him from moving forward. The ruling allows for the case to proceed as an appeals court weighs whether Trump is immune from the suit. Carroll alleges Trump assaulted her in the Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1995 or 1996 and then defamed her by calling her a liar when she went public with her claims in 2019. Trump and the Justice Department have argued Trump can’t be sued because the comments were made while he was president. (Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC)

4/ The number of Americans living in poverty fell to a record low last year due to the pandemic relief aid Congress enacted. The U.S. Census Bureau reported poverty fell to 9.1% in 2020 – the lowest rate on record – from 11.8% in 2019. The Census Bureau estimated that the direct checks lifted 11.7 million people out of poverty last year, while unemployment benefits and food assistance prevented an additional 10.3 million people from falling into poverty. (Reuters / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ 1 in 500 Americans have died from Covid-19 in the 19 months since the nation’s first reported coronavirus infection. As of Tuesday night, 663,913 total people in the U.S. had died of Covid-19. The country averaged 1,805 new Covid-19 deaths each day over the past week. About 62% of Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine – last among the world’s seven wealthiest democracies. (CNN / Washington Post)

6/ The FDA declined to endorse Pfizer’s Covid-19 booster shot, saying the vaccines currently approved provide sufficient protection against severe disease and death from Covid-19 without the need of additional doses. The FDA vaccine advisory committee is scheduled to review the report on Friday and recommend whether or not the agency should approve Pfizer’s application for a coronavirus booster shot. The Biden administration, meanwhile, wants to begin offering booster shots to the general public starting next week, pending authorization from the FDA. The U.S. has purchased a combined one billion doses from Pfizer and Moderna. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Politico / CNBC)

poll/ 68% of Americans say the recent rise in Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. was preventable, while 24% say it was not preventable. 51% disapprove of Biden’s plan to mandate Covid-19 vaccines, while 48% approve. (Quinnipiac)

poll/ 56% of Americans feel that democracy in the U.S. is under attack, 37% say it’s being tested, and 6% American democracy is not in danger. 51% say it’s likely that elected officials will successfully overturn the results of a future election because their party didn’t win, while 49% say that is unlikely. (CNN)

poll/ 42% of Americans approve the job Biden is doing as president, while 50% disapprove. (Quinnipiac)

Day 237: "There's no way."

1/ House Democrats outlined their proposed tax increases on corporations and wealthy people to help offset the costs of Biden’s $3.5 trillion economic plan. The House Ways and Means Committee plan calls for raising the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from 21%, a 3-percentage-point surcharge on individual income above $5 million, and raising the capital gains tax from 20% to 25%. White House spokesman Andrew Bates said the proposal “meets two core goals the President laid out at the beginning of this process: it does not raise taxes on Americans earning under $400,000 and it repeals the core elements of the Trump tax giveaways for the wealthy and corporations that have done nothing to strengthen our country’s economic health.” (Wall Street Journal / Politico / CNBC / Bloomberg)

2/ Joe Manchin – again – said he will not support the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package to expand the nation’s social safety net, which includes investments in climate change, health care, taxes, and education. “I cannot support $3.5 trillion,” Manchin said, citing his opposition to the proposed increase in the corporate tax rate. Chuck Schumer “will not have my vote on the 3.5,” Manchin said, adding “there’s no way” Congress can meet the Sept. 27 deadline set by Nancy Pelosi for passage. Manchin added: “It’s going to be $1, $1.5 [trillion]. We don’t know where it’s going to be. It’s not going to be at $3.5 [trillion], I can assure you.” Democrats need all 50 votes to pass the budget reconciliation package. Kyrsten Sinema, another moderate Democrat, has also expressed concern over the cost of the bill. (CNN / ABC News / Associated Press / USA Today / Bloomberg / Politico / NBC News)

3/ A group of leading U.S. and international scientists suggested that Covid-19 vaccine booster shots are “not appropriate at this stage in the pandemic.” The international group of scientists, which include some at the FDA and the WHO, concluded that “boosting” the vaccinated population doesn’t outweigh the benefit of using those doses to immunize the billions of unvaccinated people worldwide. “None of the studies has provided credible evidence of substantially declining protection against severe disease,” the authors wrote, noting there could be side-effects if boosters are introduced too soon or too broadly. The group did, however, say that booster shots may eventually be needed for the general population if vaccine-induced immunity wanes or a new variant emerges that can evade the body’s immune response. Several recent studies published by the CDC suggest that the vaccines hold steady against severe illness, including the Delta variant. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has proposed administering vaccine boosters eight months after the initial shots starting Sept. 20. A committee of FDA advisers is scheduled to meet on Friday to review the data. (New York Times / CNBC / Bloomberg / Politico)

4/ The U.S. ranks last among the world’s seven wealthiest democracies in Covid-19 vaccination rate. About 62% of Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Canada leads the G7 countries in vaccination rates, with almost 75% of its population at least partially vaccinated, followed by France (73%), Italy (72%), UK (71%), Germany (66%), and Japan (63%). The U.S. ranks sixth out of the Group of 7 nations, however, for fully vaccinated people – about 53%. (New York Times)

5/ George W. Bush compared the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters to international extremists, warning that they are “children of the same foul spirit.” In a speech marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Bush said the U.S. has seen “growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within.” Bush added that “it is our continuing duty to confront them.” Trump, meanwhile, called Bush “a failed and uninspiring [president]” who shouldn’t be “lecturing” Americans about the threat posed by domestic terrorism. Separately, Capitol Police plan to install temporary fencing around the Capitol ahead of a planned right-wing rally on Sept. 18. The “Justice for J6” rally is being organized by a former Trump campaign staffer in support of the jailed Jan. 6 rioters. (CNN / Washington Post / CBS News)

6/ Capitol Police arrested a man armed with multiple knives, a bayonet, and a machete near the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington. Donald Craighead told Capitol Police he was “on patrol” and began talking about white supremacist ideology and other rhetoric pertaining to white supremacy. His pickup truck also had a swastika and other White supremacist symbols painted on it. (ABC News / CNN)

poll/ 51% of Americans support coronavirus vaccination mandates for everyday activities, while 49% call vaccination mandates an unacceptable infringement on personal rights. (CNN)

Day 234: "Your refusal has cost all of us."

1/ The Justice Department sued Texas over its restrictive new abortion law, saying it was enacted “in open defiance of the Constitution.” The new anti-abortion law – the nation’s most restrictive – bans the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy and deputizes private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman terminate her pregnancy. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Texas law’s “unprecedented” design seeks “to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible.” The Justice Department is seeking a preliminary injunction to prohibit enforcement of the Texas law while litigation continues, as well as a permanent order that the Texas ban is invalid and unenforceable. “It is settled constitutional law that ‘a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,’” the lawsuit said. “But Texas has done just that.” Last week, the Supreme Court declined to block the Texas law, known as Senate Bill 8, but didn’t rule on whether it was constitutional. The law took effect Sept. 1, effectively ending most abortions in the state, with no exceptions for rape or incest. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg / CNBC)

  • Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer criticized the court’s refusal to block the Texas abortion statute, saying the unsigned opinion last week “was very, very, very wrong — I’ll add one more very.” (NBC News / Washington Post)

2/ Biden ordered all businesses with more than 100 employees to require their workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face weekly testing. Biden also signed an executive order mandating vaccines for federal workers and contractors without an option for regular testing. “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said, appealing to the roughly 80 million Americans who are eligible for shots but remain unvaccinated. “Your refusal has cost all of us.” The new requirements could apply to as many as 100 million Americans – about two-thirds of the American workforce. Businesses that ignore the mandate could face up to $14,000 per violation. Republican governors and the RNC, meanwhile, threatened to sue the administration over the vaccine mandates for businesses and federal workers. Biden replied: “Have at it.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNBC / CNN / Axios)

3/ Unvaccinated people are about 11 times more likely to die of Covid-19, according to three studies from the CDC. The reports also found that people who were not fully vaccinated this spring and summer were 4.5 times more likely to become infected and 10 times more likely to be hospitalized. The CDC also found that all three vaccines remained effective at protecting most people against hospitalization and death, but efficacy dropped from 91% to 78% when the Delta variant became the dominant strain of the virus. (New York Times / Washington Post / Axios)

4/ A Florida appeals court reinstated the state’s ban on school mask mandates while a legal challenge makes its way through the courts. In July, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning mask mandates in public schools and threatened consequences for districts that defy the order. Last month, a circuit court judge ruled that the state exceeded its authority by blocking mask mandates in schools in a case brought by a group of parents. Miami-Dade County Public Schools – the fourth largest district in the U.S. – is among the 13 of Florida’s 67 districts that had imposed mask requirements in defiance of the governor’s order. In response, the Florida Board of Education imposed funding cuts for school board members in two districts that imposed mask mandates. Biden, meanwhile, accused Republican governors fighting mask mandates and other Covid-19 precautions in schools of being “cavalier with the health of these kids,” adding “We’re playing for real here. This isn’t a game.” (CNN / Reuters / Bloomberg / Politico / NBC News / New York Times / CBS News)

5/ The Biden administration appealed a Texas court ruling that called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program unlawful. In July, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the 2012 DACA program violated the Administrative Procedures Act and ordered the Biden administration to stop approving new DACA applications. The decision, however, left intact the program’s benefits for the more than 600,000 active DACA recipients otherwise unable to obtain legal status after being brought to the U.S. as children. Currently, there are more than 55,000 first-time DACA applications pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services pending the Justice Department appeal. (CNN / Axios / The Hill)

poll/ 49% of Americans disapprove of how Biden is handling his job as president, while 39% approve – a drop of six points in the last week. (YouGov)

Day 232: "All options."

1/ Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department is exploring “all options” to challenge Texas’s restrictive abortion law, days after the Supreme Court refused to block a statute that bans the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. “We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services,” Garland said. “The department will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack.” Garland added that the Justice Department would “protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons” under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, a 1994 law that guarantees access for people seeking access to reproductive health clinics. A United Nations human rights group condemned the Texas anti-abortion law, calling it “structural sex and gender-based discrimination at its worst.” (New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian)

2/ The U.S. surpassed more than 40 million total cases of the coronavirus – about a fifth of the global total. Covid-19 deaths in the U.S., meanwhile, have climbed to a seven-day average of about 1,500 a day. In early July, the seven-day average of daily deaths was in the low 200s. (New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ An estimated 7.5 million people lost all of their jobless benefits after three federal pandemic unemployment programs expired. Another 3 million more people lost a $300-per-week federal supplement to their state unemployment benefits. (Washington Post / New York Times)

4/ More than 32% of Americans live in a county that experienced a weather disaster in the last three months. Another 64% of Americans live in a place that experienced a multi-day heat wave. (Washington Post)

5/ Biden asked Congress for $30 billion to address “urgent” extreme weather recovery efforts and help fund the resettlement of tens of thousands of Afghans. The White House wants $24 billion in additional funding to help recovery efforts for wildfires and hurricanes, and $6.4 billion for Afghan refugee aid as part of its short-term budgetary request to Congress to keep the government running past Sept. 30. (NBC News / CNN / NPR)

6/ The Biden administration outlined a plan for solar energy to supply 45% of the nation’s electricity by 2050. Solar currently accounts for about 3% of U.S. electricity supply. The ambitious plan requires the nation’s solar capacity to double annually through 2025 and then double again by 2030. The Solar Futures Study from the Department of Energy also shows that by 2035, solar has the potential to power all American homes and employ as many as 1.5 million people — without raising electricity costs for consumers. (New York Times / CNN / CNBC / NBC News)

7/ Chuck Schumer rejected Joe Manchin’s call for a “strategic pause” on Biden’s $3.5 trillion tax and spending package. “We’re moving full speed ahead,” Schumer said. “We want to keep going forward. We think getting this done is so important for the American people.” Manchin, meanwhile, has privately warned the White House and congressional leaders that he’ll support about $1.5 trillion of the $3.5 trillion plan. (Politico / Axios)

8/ An internal Capitol Police memo warned of potential violence at an upcoming pro-Trump rally to support the insurrectionists charged in the Jan. 6 riots. The “Justice for J6” rally organizers argue that the hundreds of people charged in the insurrection are political prisoners. Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, accused those of planning to participate in the rally of “coming back to praise the people who were out to kill” during the Jan. 6 attack by a pro-Trump mob. The rally is scheduled for Sept. 18 outside the Capitol. (CNN / Washington Post)

9/ The Biden administration told 11 officials appointed by Trump to military service academy advisory boards to resign or be dismissed. The officials asked to resign include Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, and H.R. McMaster. They were appointed to the advisory boards of the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and West Point respectively. (CNN / Politico)

Day 227: "Almost un-American."

1/ Joe Manchin demanded that Democrats “pause” on advancing Biden’s $3.5 trillion tax and spending package, saying a “significantly” smaller plan is needed because of rising inflation, soaring federal debt, and the coronavirus pandemic. Manchin – the linchpin vote in the evenly divided Senate – said he won’t agree to the $3.5 trillion plan “or anywhere near that level of additional spending” without fully assessing the effects on the economy. “Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding,” Manchin said, “Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget reconciliation legislation.” House leaders have already set a Sept. 15 deadline for their reconciliation bill with a vote planned before the end of Sept. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, agreed to hold a vote on Biden’s roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan by Sept. 27. House liberals, however, have warned that they won’t support the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the Senate first approves the $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / The Hill)

2/ The acting commissioner of the FDA and CDC director asked the White House to scale back the Covid-19 vaccine booster plan for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The FDA said it needed more time to collect and review all the necessary data on safety and efficacy. The Pfizer process, however, remains on track, but may need to be limited to high risk groups, such as nursing home residents, healthcare workers, and people over 65. Last month, the Biden administration recommended that people who had been vaccinated for at least eight months should get a booster starting Sept. 20. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

3/ The House and Senate Judiciary committees plan to hold hearings to examine Texas’ six-week abortion ban and the Supreme Court procedure that allowed it to take effect this week. The hearing will examine the Supreme Court’s use of the so-called “shadow docket,” a controversial, expedited process for emergency actions taken by the court that often result in late-night decisions issued with minimal or no written opinions. On Wednesday, the court ruled 5 to 4 to leave in place the Texas law that bars most abortions in the state. There were no oral arguments before the justices and the majority opinion was an unsigned single paragraph. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s three liberal justices in dissenting. Biden, meanwhile, denounced Texas’s new abortion law, calling it “almost un-American” and that the ban creates a “vigilante system” because it empowers private citizens to police the ban. The House plans to take up the Women’s Health Protection Act when lawmakers return on Sept. 20, which would establish the legal right to abortion nationwide and prevent states from putting medically unnecessary restrictions on the procedures. The bill, however, faces steep odds of passage in the Senate. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC)

4/ Biden ordered the declassification and release of documents related to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The executive order directs the Justice Department and other agencies to review classified documents related to the FBI’s investigations and sets specific timelines for their public, declassified release over the next six months. Some material will be released as early as next week’s 20th anniversary. (NBC News / Washington Post)

5/ The economy added 235,000 jobs in August – weaker-than-expected growth. The economy added roughly 1 million jobs in both June and July. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% from 5.4%. Biden, meanwhile, called the economic recovery “strong” but blamed the “impact of the Delta variant” for the sluggish growth of U.S. jobs. (CNBC / Politico)

poll/ 77% of Americans support Biden’s decision to end the war in Afghanistan, but 52% disapprove of the way the withdrawal was handled. 26% support the how the withdrawal was handled. (Washington Post)

poll/ 44% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president while 51% disapprove. In late June, 50% approved while and 42% disapproved. Only Trump (37%) and Ford (37%) had lower approval ratings at this point in their terms since the Truman administration. (ABC News)

Day 225: "Catastrophic."

1/ Texas enacted the nation’s the most restrictive abortion ban after the Supreme Court failed to rule on an emergency request from Texas abortion clinics. The law, known as Senate Bill 8, prohibits doctors from performing abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women are even aware that they are pregnant. The law makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape, and also deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs the procedure or “aids and abets” it. Individuals found to have violated the law would have to pay $10,000 to the person who successfully brings a suit. In an emergency request to the court, abortion providers wrote that the law “would immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas, barring care for at least 85% of Texas abortion patients (those who are six weeks pregnant or greater) and likely forcing many abortion clinics ultimately to close.” Biden called the ban “extreme,” saying it “blatantly violates” a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion, as affirmed by Roe v. Wade. He added that his administration was “deeply committed” to a woman’s right to have an abortion and pledged to “protect and defend” that right. The Supreme Court, however, is still expected to act on the Texas law, though there is no timeline. In May, the court agreed to review Mississippi’s ban on the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which directly challenges Roe v. Wade. Arguments are expected later this year, with a ruling in 2022. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / Politico / NBC News)

2/ Texas Republicans passed new restrictions on the state’s voting process, overcoming a six-week walkout by Democrats to send the measure to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who plans to sign the bill into law. The legislation adds new ID requirements for vote by mail, creates new criminal and civil penalties for poll workers, empowers partisan poll watchers, and bans drive-through and 24-hour voting options. Texas and 17 other states have passed more than 30 bills this year aimed at restricting voting. (New York Times / NPR / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened telecommunication companies that a future “Republican majority will not forget” if they cooperate with the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot at the Capitol. The comment follows the committee asked 35 companies to save records relevant to the attack – something McCarthy claimed “would put every American with a phone or computer in the crosshairs of a surveillance state run by Democratic politicians.” McCarthy added that complying with the request would be a “violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States.” He did not, however, cite which law prohibits the companies from complying with the committee’s request. (Politico / The Hill / CNN)

4/ The Florida Department of Health changed the way it reported Covid-19 death data to the CDC as cases ballooned in August, giving the appearance that the pandemic was in decline. Until three weeks ago, Florida counted deaths by the date they were recorded, but on Aug. 10, the state began counting new deaths by the date the person died. Using the old methodology – a common method used by most states – Florida death data would have shown an average of 262 daily deaths. Instead, Florida showed 46 “new deaths” per day over the previous seven days. (Miami Herald)

5/ At least 15.1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been thrown away in the U.S. since March 1. According to CDC data, pharmacies and state governments have discarded doses for a number of reasons, including cracked vials, errors diluting the vaccine, freezer malfunctions, more doses in a vial than people who want them, among other things. Walgreens reported that it wasted nearly 2.6 million doses, CVS reported 2.3 million wasted doses, Walmart reported 1.6 million, and Rite Aid reported 1.1 million. Health departments in Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma each reported more than 200,000 wasted doses. (NBC News)

Day 223: "The forever war."

1/ The U.S. completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, effectively ending the longest war in American history and fulfilling Biden’s pledge to end what he called the “forever war.” The evacuation operation at Kabul’s international airport also ended. Control of the airport was left in the hands of the Taliban. More than 2,400 U.S. troops were killed, including 13 in the past week, during the 20-year war that George W. Bush launched to overthrow the Taliban, who had harbored the al Qaeda terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said a number of American citizens in “the very low hundreds” were left behind, and that he believes they will still be able to leave the country. The U.S., however, is not expected to have any further diplomatic or military presence in the country. (Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

2/ The U.S. averaged more than 100,000 Covid-19 hospitalizations a day over the last week – the highest seven-day average since mid-January when nearly 140,000 people were hospitalized. (New York Times)

3/ The Education Department opened five civil rights investigations into statewide school mask bans in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. The department’s Office for Civil Rights will examine whether the policies in the five Republican-led states violate the rights of students with disabilities. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona accused the states of “putting politics over the health and education of the students they took an oath to serve,” calling the policies “simply unacceptable.” (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / Associated Press)

4/ The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 riot plans to ask telecommunications companies to preserve the phone records of several Republican lawmakers who participated in the “Stop the Steal” rally, which served as a prelude to the Capitol insurrection. The list is reportedly still evolving, but currently includes Reps. Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Jody Hice, and Scott Perry. Last week, the committee demanded records from federal officials and Trump allies and staffers, including some of Trump’s family members. (CNN / NBC News)

Day 220: "The mission will go on."

1/ The death toll from the bombing attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan rose to 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, a number that could increase as authorities examine fragmented remains. Thursday’s bombing — blamed on Afghanistan’s offshoot of the Islamic State group, an enemy of both the Taliban and the West — marked one of the most lethal terror attacks the country has seen. The U.S. said it was the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan since 2011. (Associated Press / CNN)

2/ Biden vowed to complete the U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan and hunt down ISIS leaders after the attack in Kabul. “We will rescue Americans, we will get our Afghan allies, and the mission will go on,” Biden said from the White House. “America will not be intimidated.” (CNBC)

3/ Seven Capitol Police officers are suing Trump and members of far-right extremist groups and political organizations of plotting to disrupt the peaceful transition of power during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. The suit, which took a broad view of the riot’s origins, was the latest effort to hold former President Donald J. Trump accountable for the Capitol attack. (New York Times / CNBC)

4/ The Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s COVID-related eviction moratorium in an eight-page, unsigned opinion. The decision puts hundreds of thousands of tenants at risk of losing shelter, while the administration struggles to speed the flow of billions of dollars in federal funding to people who are behind in rent because of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated economic hardship. (CNN / New York Times)

5/ A Florida judge blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order banning mask mandates. Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper ruled that DeSantis overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order banning such mandates. (Associated Press)

Day 218: "Communications within."

1/ Roughly 89% of the funds from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program have not been distributed, according to the Treasury Department. Just $1.7 billion of the $46.5 billion in funds intended to prevent eviction were disbursed as of July. Meanwhile, the White House is bracing for a Supreme Court decision that could strike down its eviction moratorium. (New York Times)

2/ The Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration must comply with a ruling ordering it to restart Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program for asylum seekers. Under the program, thousands of asylum seekers were sent to wait outside U.S. territory while their claims were processed in immigration courts. (Washington Post)

3/ The House committee investigating the Capitol riot requested documents from several U.S. agencies related to the attack, signaling that they intend to conduct a sprawling investigative effort. The committee demanded records related to at least 30 members of Trump’s inner circle and plans to seek executive branch records related to the attack and its run-up — including “communications within and among the White House and Executive Branch agencies” on and before Jan. 6. (CNN / CNBC / Politico)

4/ The Secret Service warned Capitol Police about violent threats the day before the Jan. 6 attack. The documents shed further light on the intelligence failures by the Capitol Police in the days before the riot. Capitol Police were warned that their officers could face violence at the hands of supporters of former President Trump. (Politico)

5/ Biden received an inconclusive classified intelligence report on the origin of COVID-19. The report could not confirm whether the pathogen jumped from an animal to a human as part of a natural process, or escaped from a lab in central China. The intelligence community will seek within days to declassify elements of the report for potential public release, officials said. (Washington Post)

6/ The FCC proposed a $5.1 million fine against conservative activists for making unlawful robocalls that made false claims about mail-in voting. The calls lied about mail voting in the run-up to the 2020 election. It is the largest robocall fine ever proposed by the FCC for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. (NBC News / Associated Press)

Day 216: "Updated guidance."

1/ The FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, clearing the path to more vaccine mandates at hospitals, colleges, corporations and other organizations across the country. The vaccine is now officially approved for all people 16 and older, making it the first to move beyond emergency-use status in the United States. (New York Times / CNBC)

2/ The Pentagon will require all military personnel to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is “prepared to issue updated guidance requiring all service members to be vaccinated,” according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby. A timeline for when service members must receive the shot will be provided in the coming days. (The Hill)

3/ New York City will require all public school teachers and staff to get vaccinated. About 148,000 school employees — and contractors who work in schools — will have to get at least a first dose by Sept. 27, according to an announcement from the mayor and the city health and education departments. (Associated Press)

4/ The House committee investigating the Capitol riot plans to seek phone records from the day in question, including from members of Congress. The committee is poised to send notices to various telecommunications companies requesting that they preserve the phone records of several people, the first step in an investigatory process that could eventually lead to witness testimony. (CNN)

5/ Democrats plan to vote to advance Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget package. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to move the bill in tandem with the Senate-passed infrastructure legislation is threatened by a rebellion by moderate Democrats, who have insisted that the $550 billion infrastructure bill get a speedy vote and be signed into law before they consider the larger piece. (NBC News)

Day 213: "Strategic ambiguity."

1/ A North Carolina man who claimed to have a bomb in a pickup truck near the U.S. Capitol surrendered to law enforcement after an hours-long standoff on Thursday. The standoff was resolved peacefully after roughly five hours of negotiations, ending when Floyd Ray Roseberry crawled out of the truck and was taken into police custody. (Associated Press / CNBC / CNN)

2/ Trump’s deal with the Taliban is drawing ire from his former allies. The former president and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, are attacking President Biden over Afghanistan even as their own policy faces harsh criticism. (New York Times)

3/ Rep. Lauren Boebert pushed to loosen drilling rules but failed to disclose her husband’s income from energy consulting. Boebert’s husband made nearly $1 million from energy consulting in the last two years, the Colorado Republican belatedly disclosed this week. (Washington Post)

4/ Republican Rep. Diana Harshbarger failed to properly disclose more than 700 stock trades worth as much as $10.9 million in violation of federal transparency law. Harshbarger and her husband’s delayed disclosures involve trades in stocks of companies like Facebook, Walmart, Apple, and Lockheed Martin. (Business Insider)

5/ The FBI says it hasn’t found much evidence that the U.S. Capitol insurrection was coordinated. Though federal officials have arrested more than 570 alleged participants, the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Trump. (Reuters)

6/ The White House is backtracking after Biden appeared to say the U.S. would defend Taiwan against China. A senior Biden administration official said U.S. policy on Taiwan had not changed after Biden appeared to suggest the U.S. would defend the island if it were attacked, a deviation from a long-held U.S. position of “strategic ambiguity.” (The Guardian)

poll/ 62% of Americans say the Afghanistan war was not worth fighting. 65% percent say they are extremely or very concerned about the dangers posed by domestic extremist groups, compared with 50% who are concerned about extremists from foreign countries. (Associated Press)

Day 211: "A flood of bloodshed."

1/ A Texas school district made face masks part of its dress code in order to get around Gov. Abbott’s anti-mask mandate order. Several school districts in Texas have sought to require masks amid an increase in COVID-19 cases. Gov. Greg Abbott has tried to ban mask mandates. (NBC News)

2/ The Biden administration will use a federal civil rights office to deter states from banning universal masking in classrooms. The move, using the federal Department of Education’s civil rights enforcement authority, escalates the administration’s fight with Republican governors who are blocking local school districts from requiring masks to protect against the coronavirus. (New York Times)

3/ The Biden administration announced that it will require nursing home staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition for those facilities to continue receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding. The new mandate, in the form of a forthcoming regulation to be issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, could take effect as soon as next month. (Associated Press / CNN)

4/ The U.S. will advise most Americans to get booster vaccine shots eight months after they received their original dose. Nursing home residents and health care workers will most likely be the first to get booster shots, as soon as September, followed by other older people who were vaccinated last winter. The additional doses will be available to people eight months after they received their second dose. (New York Times / NBC News)

5/ Afghan President Ashraf Ghani resurfaced in the UAE after fleeing Afghanistan, according to the Emirati government. Ghani left Afghanistan on Sunday evening with no announcement or clear reporting on where he was going. As the Taliban entered the presidential palace and declared the war “over,” Ghani said he fled to prevent “a flood of bloodshed.” (CNBC)

6/ Federal officials pressed GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert over her apparent personal use of campaign funds. A letter from the Federal Election Commission to the treasurer of Boebert’s 2022 reelection campaign inquired about four Venmo payments totaling more than $6,000. (CNBC)

7/ The New York Attorney General says the NRA must be dissolved after failing to clean up misconduct. In a court filing, AG Letitia James said the National Rifle Association hasn’t cleaned up rampant financial and managerial misconduct as it claimed over the past year, illustrating the need for the gun-rights group to be dissolved. (Bloomberg)

poll/ 81% of voters surveyed support requiring every voter to show a photo ID to cast a ballot. Support for voter ID laws rose by 4 percentage points from March to July, and it increased by 13 percentage points among Black voters surveyed. (Honest Elections Project)

Day 209: "Crisis of confidence."

1/ Biden said he stands behind his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan after the Taliban regained control over the country. During an address from the White House, Biden said the U.S. mission in Afghanistan was always “narrowly focused on counterterrorism, not counterinsurgency or nation-building.” Biden also said he did not move to evacuate people sooner to avoid a “crisis of confidence.” (Axios / NPR / Washington Post)

2/ U.S. military commanders hid fatal flaws with the Afghan army and police forces for more than a decade. Those fears, rarely expressed in public, were ultimately borne out by the sudden collapse this month of the Afghan security forces, whose wholesale and unconditional surrender to the Taliban will go down as perhaps the worst debacle in the history of proxy warfare. (Washington Post)

3/ The Biden administration is implementing the largest permanent increase in food stamps in the program’s history. The jump in benefits comes after a revision of the initiative’s nutrition standards that supporters say will reduce hunger and better reflect how Americans eat. (New York Times)

4/ Texas COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 400% in the last month. As of Aug. 15, the state has reported around 2.8 million confirmed cases in 254 counties and 515,585 probable cases in 230 counties since the pandemic began. (Texas Tribune)

5/ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is looking to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a broader $3.5 trillion budget framework simultaneously. The plan to tie the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the budget resolution comes after a group of nine moderate Democrats told her last week they wouldn’t vote for a budget resolution until the bipartisan infrastructure plan passes the House and is signed into law. (CBS News)

Day 206: Moderates.

1/ New intelligence reports indicate Russia is making fresh efforts to interfere in the 2022 election. The Biden administration is receiving regular intelligence reports indicating Russian efforts to interfere in US elections are evolving and ongoing, current and former officials say, and in fact, never stopped, despite President Joe Biden’s warnings to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the summer and a new round of sanctions imposed in the spring. (CNN)

2/ The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Indiana University’s vaccination requirement. Eight students asked the court for an emergency order, arguing that the risks of vaccination outweigh potential benefits for those in their age group. (NBC News)

3/ The U.S. reported nearly 1 million vaccinations in the past day, the most since early July. About 918,000 were administered on Friday, according to Cyrus Shapar, the White House’s COVID-19 data director. The number includes 576,000 people getting their first dose of the vaccine. (The Hill)

4/ The Former U.S. attorney in Atlanta says Trump wanted to fire him for not backing his election fraud claims. Byung J. Pak, who resigned abruptly on Jan. 4, told senators on Wednesday that he had done so after learning that the president planned to fire him, according to a person familiar with his testimony. (New York Times)

5/ Nine House moderates say they won’t back a budget vote until the infrastructure bill passes. The letter from nine Democrats, enough to block passage, threatens their party’s two-track plan to pass both a $3.5 trillion social policy budget blueprint and an infrastructure bill. (New York Times)

Day 204: "A badge of honor."

1/ The Senate passed a $3.5 trillion budget plan that includes a sweeping expansion of the social safety net. The 92-page blueprint, which would expand Medicaid, provide free preschool and community college, and fund climate change programs, passed along party lines. The blueprint sets in motion a perilous legislative process aimed at creating the largest expansion of the federal safety net in nearly six decades. (New York Times / Politico)

2/ Cuomo announced his resignation in an effort to head off a likely impeachment after a devastating report found he sexually harassed 11 women. “Wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that state government should be doing,” the three-term governor of New York said in a video address. “And I cannot be the cause of that.” (Washington Post)

3/ The federal government sent ventilators to Florida even as Gov. Ron DeSantis says he’s unaware of the shipment. A health administration official confirms the Strategic National Stockpile sent 200 ventilators and 100 high-flow nasal cannula kits to the state of Florida “earlier this week.” (CNN)

4/ California is the first state to require teachers and school staff to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to regular testing in order to return to school. Gov. Gavin Newsom cited the surging delta variant, which has challenged plans for the opening of school this fall. Data, he said, shows the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. (Washington Post)

5/ The Texas House speaker signed arrest warrants for the state Democrats who broke quorum over impending GOP voting restrictions. The move followed approval of a House motion to send for absent members, which enabled Phelan to issue the warrants. The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday also stayed a trial court judge’s ruling that would have protected absent Democrats from arrest. (Washington Post)

6/ A federal judge says Trump’s accountants must turn over his tax records to the House of Representatives. A federal judge in Washington ruled that Trump must disclose certain financial records held by his accounting firm Mazars in response to a subpoena from congressional Democrats. The judge approved a subpoena for Trump’s records covering 2017 and 2018, but turned down most of the panel’s request for similar information dating back to 2011. (Politico / Bloomberg)

7/ Biden nominated Damian Williams to be the next U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. The selection is part of a slate of nominations for top law enforcement posts in the country, including for three offices that tend to investigate the Justice Department’s most prominent cases. (New York Times)

8/ YouTube suspended Sen. Rand Paul over a video that falsely claims masks are ineffective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The suspension was “a badge of honor,” Paul tweeted. (NBC News)

Day 202: "Force protection and readiness."

1/ The Pentagon will require all members of the U.S. military to get the COVID vaccine by September 15. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the mid-September deadline could be accelerated if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise. “Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a key force protection and readiness issue,” Gen. Mark Milley wrote. (Associated Press)

2/ A Texas judge blocked the arrest of Democratic legislators who fled the state to stop the GOP from imposing new voting restrictions. State District Judge Brad Urrutia, a Democrat, signed a temporary restraining order late Sunday in a case newly filed by 19 Texas House Democrats against Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan, both Republicans, who have called for arrests to restore a quorum in the House. (Texas Tribune / Washington Post)

3/ Senate Democrats unveiled a budget resolution that includes $3.5 trillion in spending boosts and tax breaks aimed at strengthening social and environmental programs. The measure lays the groundwork for separate legislation later this year that over a decade would pour mountains of federal resources into Democrats’ top priorities. Included would be more money for health care, education, family services and environmental programs and tax breaks for families, with much of it paid for with tax increases on the rich and corporations. (Associated Press / Politico)

4/ Trump’s former acting attorney general testified about Trump’s efforts to subvert the 2020 election. Jeffrey Rosen had a two-hour meeting with the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general and provided closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday. (New York Times)

5/ A top aide to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned in the wake of the state attorney general’s report on Cuomo’s sexual harassment. The departure of Melissa DeRosa, who held the title of secretary to the governor, is considered a huge blow to Cuomo. The investigation into allegations of harassment by the New York governor also detailed DeRosa’s role in an effort to discredit one of Cuomo’s accusers. (Washington Post)

Day 199: Extended.

1/ The Biden administration is considering withholding federal funds, among other measures, in order to spur vaccinations. The moves, if adopted, would amount to a dramatic escalation in the effort to vaccinate the roughly 90 million Americans who are eligible for shots but remain unvaccinated. (Washington Post)

2/ The Biden administration extended the freeze on federal student-loan payments through January 2022. The pandemic relief, which suspends monthly loan payments and interest for 42 million Americans, had been set to expire at the end of September. The administration said this is the last time it will extend the freeze. (Bloomberg / Politico / The Hill)

3/ Nearly 1,800 victims’ relatives, first responders and survivors of 9/11 are calling on Biden to refrain from attending any memorials unless he upholds his pledge to declassify U.S. government evidence that they believe may show a link between Saudi Arabian leaders and the attacks. (NBC News)

4/ A woman who accused NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo of groping her last year has filed a criminal complaint with the Albany County sheriff’s department. The complaint from the woman, an executive assistant whose name has not been publicized, increases the possibility that Cuomo could face criminal charges. (New York Times)

5/ The select committee investigating the 1/6 insurrection is weighing whether to pursue call logs from the Trump White House on the day of the riot. If they pursue the logs, Biden would ultimately have to determine whether the records should be covered by executive privilege or qualify as essential evidence for the ongoing probe. (CNN)

Day 197: "Unwelcome and nonconsensual touching."

1/ The FDA plans to fully approve the Pfizer vaccine by the start of next month. Giving final approval to the Pfizer vaccine — rather than relying on the emergency authorization granted late last year — could help increase inoculation rates at a moment when the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus is sharply driving up the number of new cases. (New York Times)

2/ New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, according to a report by state Attorney General Letitia James’ office. The investigation found that Cuomo engaged in “unwelcome and nonconsensual touching,” and made comments of a “suggestive” sexual nature to current and former state employees, as well as a number of women outside of state government. Joe Biden and the entire NY Democratic congressional delegation have called on Cuomo to resign. (CNN / The Hill)

3/ The State Department is investigating the whereabouts of a $5,800 bottle of whiskey the Japanese government gave to Mike Pompeo in 2019. It’s unclear whether Pompeo ever received the gift, as he was traveling in Saudi Arabia on June 24, 2019, the day that Japanese officials gave it to the State Department. (New York Times)

4/ Los Angeles is considering requiring vaccine proof at restaurants, gyms, and indoor sporting events. The mandate would require eligible individuals to demonstrate that they’ve received at least one vaccination dose to visit indoor places such as restaurants, bars, retail stores, gyms, spas, movie theaters, stadiums and concert venues. If passed, the measure would be the widest-ranging vaccination verification effort in the city to date. (Los Angeles Times)

5/ Trump is trying to block the Treasury Department from handing over his tax returns to Congress. Lawyers for Trump said the stated reason for seeing the returns, to examine how the IRS audits presidents, is simply a pretext for wanting to look for something embarrassing. (NBC News)

6/ Mexico plans to sue U.S.-based gunmakers over the flow of arms across the southern border. Mexico claims that lax controls over weapons sales are fueling arms-trafficking and violence. (Washington Post)

Day 195: "Flu-like symptoms."

1/ A third police officer who responded to the U.S. Capitol insurrection has died by suicide, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. Officer Gunther Hashida was found dead in his residence on Thursday, July 29. This is the third known suicide of an officer who responded to the Capitol during the attack, and it is the second known suicide by a D.C. officer specifically. (CNN)

2/ Lindsey Graham tested positive for COVID-19 and has had “flu-like symptoms,” despite being vaccinated. Graham announced Monday that he now has only “mild symptoms” and is very glad he had been vaccinated because “without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now.” Graham, before he got his results, was in the Senate on Monday morning, according to people who talked to him. He was wearing a mask at the time. (CNN / Reuters)

3/ House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joked that “it will be hard not to hit” Nancy Pelosi with the gavel if he becomes House speaker. “I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It will be hard not to hit her with it,” McCarthy said at a Saturday night event. Democrats are calling on McCarthy to apologize. (CNN / Washington Post)

4/ Jihadists are flooding the pro-Trump social network with propaganda. GETTR, the new platform started by members of the former president’s inner circle, is awash with beheading videos and extremist content. (Politico)

5/ Senators unveiled the final details of the $1 trillion infrastructure proposal. The more than 2,700-page bipartisan bill was finalized Sunday night, and it includes money for roads, transit systems and high-speed internet access. It’s the first phase of President Biden’s infrastructure plan. (NPR)

6/ The Treasury Department plans to invoke “extraordinary measures” after Congress missed the deadline to increase the debt-ceiling. The Treasury Department will begin conducting emergency cash-conservation steps to avoid busting the U.S. debt ceiling. Economists say those so-called extraordinary measures will allow the Treasury to pay off the government’s bills without issuing new debt for up to three months. (CNBC)

poll/ 40% Americans say the COVID situation is getting better, down from 89% in June. 45% say it’s getting worse. Most Americans now expect COVID disruption to persist through end of 2021 or later. (Gallup)

Day 192: "Leave the rest to me."

1/ Trump pressed his Justice Department to claim that the 2020 election results were corrupt. Trump pressed top Justice Department officials late last year to declare that the election was corrupt even though they had found no instances of widespread fraud. “Leave the rest to me,” and to congressional allies, the former president is said to have told top law enforcement officials. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

2/ The Department of Justice ruled that the IRS must release Trump’s tax returns to Congress. Trump has refused for years to voluntarily disclose his income tax returns. Congress can now see them, the Justice Department said. (CNBC / The Hill)

3/ Trump said the Capitol police officers who spoke to Congress are “pussies.” Trump has expressed anger that the officers blamed him for the riot he clearly inspired and speculated they were being used as pawns by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (Daily Beast)

4/ The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must “acknowledge the war has changed.” The document captures the struggle of the nation’s top public health agency to persuade the public to embrace vaccination and prevention measures, including mask-wearing, as cases surge across the United States and new research suggests vaccinated people can spread the virus. (Washington Post)

5/ Biden ordered the military to move toward mandatory COVID vaccinations. Biden said making the vaccines mandatory is important because troops often serve in places where vaccination rates are low. (Military.com)

Day 190: "Moron."

1/ The White House and a bipartisan group of senators agreed on Wednesday on a far-reaching $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Democrats set an evening vote to advance it, paving the way for action on a crucial piece of President Biden’s agenda. According to a fact sheet released Wednesday afternoon by the White House, the resulting bill would provide about $550 billion in new federal money for roads, bridges, rail, transit, water and other physical infrastructure programs. (New York Times / CNN / NPR)

2/ Trump tried and failed to sabotage the Biden infrastructure deal. Those close to the former president say he remains miffed that Senate Republicans didn’t move a bill when he was in office. Though he has increasingly sought to undermine negotiations, Trump’s efforts to derail any infrastructure package have, so far, mostly been met with a shrug on Capitol Hill. (Politico)

3/ Four police officers delivered emotional testimony on Tuesday during the first hearing of the House select committee on the 1/6 insurrection. The officers recounted the physical and verbal abuse they endured defending the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 from a mob of Trump supporters. The officers urged members of the panel to probe the role that Trump played on Jan. 6, with Officer Dunn comparing the former president to someone who hired a “hit man.” (Washington Post)

4/ Biden will announce a vaccination requirement for all federal government employees and contractors on Thursday. All federal employees and contractors will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing and mitigation requirements. (CNN)

5/ The CDC is urging vaccinated people in COVID hot spots to resume wearing masks indoors. Health officials are also calling for all teachers, staffers and students in schools to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status. CDC director Rochelle Walensky expressed disappointment and dismay that the summer surge in cases, driven by the delta variant’s startling transmissibility and low vaccination rates in many areas, had forced her agency’s hand. (Washington Post / NBC News)

6/ Nancy Pelosi said Kevin McCarthy is a “moron” for opposing a mask mandate in the House. Brian Monahan, the Capitol physician, instituted a new mask mandate for the lower chamber late Tuesday night in response to a spike in infections from the delta variant of the coronavirus. When asked about McCarthy’s comments opposing the mandate, Pelosi said, “He’s such a moron.” (The Hill)

poll/ Approval of the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to 49% after reaching a 10-year high of 58% a year ago. (Gallup)

Day 188: Mandate.

1/ The VA issued a vaccine mandate for all health care workers, the first federal agency to do so. Employees who provide direct patient care have eight weeks to get inoculated against COVID-19 or face penalties, including possible removal. (New York Times)

2/ Biden said the long-term effects of COVID-19 can be considered a disability under federal civil rights laws. The administration’s announcement of the new policy was timed to coincide with the 31st anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. (Washington Post)

3/ Democrats moved to elevate Liz Cheney’s role on the Jan. 6 commission by giving her prime a speaking slot on Tuesday. The Wyoming Republican will be one of two members of the nine member panel to deliver an opening statement at the committee’s first public hearing Tuesday. (Washington Post)

4/ Biden and the Iraqi prime minister plan to announce the end of U.S. combat missions in Iraq. Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi are meeting in the Oval Office on Monday and plan to make the announcement afterward. (NBC News)

5/ Michigan Republicans will return COVID relief funds that they used to pay their own bonuses. Six commissioners voted to pay themselves $65,000 in total, stoking outcry. (The Guardian)

6/ Trump urged Senate Republicans to abandon talks on a bipartisan infrastructure deal until after the midterm elections or when the GOP retakes majorities in Congress. (The Hill)

poll/ Biden’s average approval rating has been at around 53% for six months. Over the course of Biden’s first six months in office, his approval rating has never risen above 55% or fallen below 51% in an average of polls. It was 53% in April and 54% in May. (CNN)

Day 185: "The unvaccinated folks."

1/ Trump’s PAC collected $75 million this year, but so far the group has not put money into pushing for the 2020 ballot reviews he touts. Even as he assiduously tracks attempts by his allies to cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election, the former president has been uninterested in personally bankrolling the effort in Arizona or to push for similar endeavors in other states, according to people familiar with the finances. Instead, the Save America leadership PAC — which has few limits on how it can spend its money — has paid for some of the former president’s travel, legal costs and staff, along with other expenses. (Washington Post)

2/ Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey blamed “the unvaccinated folks” for the rise in COVID-19 cases in her state, a remarkable plea at a time when many GOP leaders are refusing to urge people to get vaccinated even as COVID-19 cases surge in many parts of the country. Alabama is the least vaccinated state in the country, with roughly 33.9% of residents fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CNN / Washington Post)

3/ Trump ally Tom Barrack strikes a $250 million bail deal to get out of jail. A federal magistrate judge on Friday ordered Tom Barrack, a longtime associate of Trump who was indicted earlier this week on charges of illegal foreign lobbying, released from jail pending trial, freeing him on a bail package that includes a $250 million bond secured by $5 million in cash. The judge also ordered Barrack to wear a GPS location monitoring bracelet, barred him from transferring any funds overseas, and restricted his travel to parts of Southern California and New York. (CNN)

4/ The conservative House Freedom Caucus urged Kevin McCarthy to try remove Nancy Pelosi from her position as Speaker of the House. In a letter Friday, the far-right group asked McCarthy to file and bring up a privileged motion by July 31 “to vacate the chair and end Nancy Pelosi’s authoritarian reign as Speaker of the House.” The motion is all but guaranteed to fail in the Democratic House, but it signals a stewing anger on the right towards the speaker. (Politico)

5/ Biden is expected to nominate Caroline Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to Australia. Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, served as ambassador to Japan during the Obama administration. She is a longtime friend, ally and donor to Biden who endorsed the President’s candidacy early in the campaign and spoke last summer at the Democratic convention. (CNN)

6/ Lawyers for the state of Mississippi urged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. The state is appealing lower court rulings that struck down a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The court agreed in May to hear the case, which will be argued in the fall, most likely in November or December. (NBC News)

Day 183: "Extremely enthusiastic."

1/ Nancy Pelosi rejected two of the five GOP members who were selected to serve on the 1/6 committee. House Speaker Pelosi on Wednesday rejected the appointment of Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana, both of whom objected to the certification of the November 2020 election in the House, to serve on the commission. In response, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled the remaining three GOP members. (CNN / The Hill / Washington Post / Politico)

2/ Trump’s longtime friend and ally Thomas Barrack was accused of trying to use his influence to help the United Arab Emirates. The billionaire businessman was arrested Tuesday in California and charged with violating foreign lobbying laws, obstructing justice and making false statements, officials said. (Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC)

3/ Ted Cruz is blocking diplomats from being confirmed for reasons that have nothing to do with their qualifications. An extraordinary effort by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to block nominees from being confirmed to vital jobs in the State Department is creating hurdles for the Biden administration and hindering U.S. diplomacy, according to Democrats and Republicans who spoke to CNN. (CNN)

4/ U.S. life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II, public health officials said Wednesday. The decrease for both Black Americans and Hispanic Americans was even worse: three years. The drop spelled out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic, which health officials said is responsible for close to 74% of the overall life expectancy decline. (Associated Press)

5/ Senate Republicans blocked a vote Wednesday to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, as they push for more time to strike a deal with Democrats and write the legislation. The vote was 49-51, short of the 60 votes needed to advance the measure. (CNN / Politico)

poll/ 48% of Democratic voters are “very” or “extremely” enthusiastic about the midterms, down 5 percentage points since April. A third of Republican voters said they’re “extremely enthusiastic” about the midterms. (Morning Consult)

poll/ 33% of Black adults and 43% of White adults say race relations in the United States are good. 40% of Black adults say race relations will eventually work out, down 14 points. U.S. adults’ positive ratings of relations between Black and White Americans are at their lowest point in more than two decades of measurement. (Gallup)

Day 181: Repatriated.

1/ Attorney General Merrick Garland formally prohibited the seizure of reporters’ records. Reversing years of department policy, Garland formally prohibited federal prosecutors from seizing the records of journalists in leak investigations, with limited exceptions. (Associated Press)

2/ The U.S. formally accused China of hacking Microsoft. The Biden administration is also organizing a broad group of allies to condemn Beijing for cyberattacks around the world, but will stop short of taking concrete punitive steps. (New York Times)

3/ One of the U.S. Capitol rioters was convicted of a felony and sentenced to 8 months in prison. Paul Hodgkins, a 38-year-old Floridian, is now the first Capitol rioter convicted of a felony to be sentenced. He pleaded guilty to breaching the Senate chamber during the U.S. Capitol insurrection and was sentenced on Monday in a closely watched case that could influence how hundreds of other rioters charged with the same felony are punished. (CNN / NBC News)

4/ The Biden Administration transferred its first detainee from Guantánamo Bay and repatriated him to Morocco. The Biden team picked up where the Obama administration left off with the repatriation of a Moroccan man, reducing the island prison’s population to 39. (New York Times)

5/ The Department of Justice says it won’t prosecute ex-Trump Commerce chief Wilbur Ross for misleading Congress on a Census question about citizenship status. Ross “misrepresented the full rationale for the reinstatement of the citizenship question” during appearances before House committees in 2018, the Commerce Department inspector general found. (NBC News)

6/ Trump’s business made $2.4 billion during the four years he served as president. Forbes estimates the pandemic helped wipe about $200 million off Trump’s top line last year. (Forbes)

Day 178: "I've got it covered."

1/ Arizona county election officials have identified fewer than 200 cases of potential voter fraud out of more than 3 million ballots cast in last year’s presidential election, undercutting former President Trump’s claims of a stolen election as his allies continue a disputed ballot review in the state’s most populous county. (Associated Press)

2/ A federal judge in Texas ruled that DACA is unlawful. The program has shielded hundreds of thousands of undocumented young adults from deportation, and the decision throws into question yet again the fate of immigrants known as Dreamers. The judge said Obama exceeded his authority when he created the program by executive order in 2012, but that he would not order that the program be immediately vacated. (New York Times)

3/ Sen. Joe Manchin said he wouldn’t carve out an exemption to the chamber’s filibuster rule for voting rights legislation, effectively dashing chances that Democrats could maneuver around Republican opposition to overhauling the nation’s elections laws. The West Virginia Democrat made the remarks after meeting with a group of Texas House Democrats who left the state to stall a vote on Republican-backed legislation that they say would restrict voting. (Bloomberg)

4/ A witness directly implicated Trump in a tax fraud scheme. A witness in the New York investigation against the Trump Organization has told prosecutors that Trump personally guaranteed he would cover school costs for the family members of two employees in lieu of a raise — directly implicating the former president in an ongoing criminal tax fraud case. Jennifer Weisselberg, ex-daughter-in-law of Allen Weisselberg, allegedly relayed to prosecutors that Trump turned to her and said: “Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered.” (Daily Beast)

5/ Biden selected Jane Hartley as ambassador to U.K.. The White House had considered such figures as Mike Bloomberg and Colin Powell to be ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, one of the plum posts in the American diplomatic corps. (Washington Post)

6/ Former Sen. Tom Udall is Biden’s pick as ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. The two-term lawmaker was one of four choices named Friday. (Politico)

7/ Matt Gaetz’s campaign paid $25K to a Manhattan criminal defense lawyer who represented Jeffrey Epstein, new records show. Gaetz paid criminal defense attorney Marc Fernich $25K in June, records show. Fernich lists Jeffrey Epstein among his “notable clients.” (Business Insider)

poll/ Less than half of Republicans, 45%, are confident in the institution of science, compared with 72% in 1975. At the same time, Democratic confidence in science has increased from 67% to 79%. (Gallup)

Day 176: "Conversations with folks."

1/ Senate Democrats revealed a $3.5 trillion plan to invest in health care, climate change, and more. The measure, which would include money to address climate change, expand Medicare and fulfill other Democratic priorities, is intended to deliver on President Biden’s economic proposal. “If we pass this, this is the most profound change to help American families in generations,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. (NBC News / New York Times / Politico)

2/ Vice President Harris suggested that she has discussed filibuster changes with senators. With a major voting bill stalled, the vice president told NPR that she won’t negotiate changes to Senate rules publicly, “but I’m certainly having conversations with folks.” (NPR)

3/ Trump said whoever “leaked” information about his time in the White House bunker last year should be “executed,” according to a new book. Then-President Trump told a number of his advisers in 2020 that whoever leaked the information had committed treason and should be executed for sharing details about the episode with members of the press. (CNN)

4/ The Justice Department attempted to seize Washington Post reporters’ email data one day before former AG Bill Barr left office. Newly unsealed court files shed more light on a contentious leak investigation. (New York Times)

5/ Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he will propose the federal decriminalization of marijuana. Schumer will offer draft legislation to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances and begin regulating and taxing it. (New York Times)

6/ Tennessee abandoned its vaccine outreach to minors — not just for COVID-19. Tennessee halted all outreach to minors for all vaccines amid pressure from Republican lawmakers. A state vaccine expert was also fired. (The Tennessean)

Day 174: "Speculation and conjecture."

1/ Texas Democrats plan to flee the state in an effort to block GOP-backed voting restrictions. The Texas lawmakers will head to D.C., risking arrest by leaving the state during the special legislative session. The move would be an attempt to become national symbols in the fight for voting rights, as Republicans in the state move ahead with a bill that would impose new limits on casting a ballot. (Texas Tribune / NBC News / New York Times)

2/ Trump lawyers might be penalized over a Michigan election lawsuit. The lawsuit alleging widespread fraud was voluntarily dropped after a judge in December found nothing but “speculation and conjecture.” (NBC News)

3/ Republicans are pushing to ban what they call “discrimination” against unvaccinated people. Legislation being introduced in states across the country would protect the civil rights of people who refuse to be vaccinated. (Axios)

4/ The EPA approved the use of toxic chemicals for fracking a decade ago, according to new files. The compounds can form PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” which have been linked to cancer and birth defects. The EPA approvals in 2011 came despite the agency’s own concerns about toxicity. (New York Times)

5/ The FDA is expected to announce a new warning about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine related to a rare autoimmune disorder. About 100 preliminary reports of Guillain-Barré have been detected after 12.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were administered, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. (Washington Post / New York Times)

6/ Biden backed Trump’s rejection of China’s claim to the South China Sea. The Biden administration on Sunday upheld a Trump-era rejection of nearly all of China’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea. Biden also warned China that any attack on the Philippines in the flashpoint region would draw a U.S. response under a mutual defense treaty. (Associated Press)

Day 171: "Any necessary action."

1/ Biden told Putin the U.S. will take “any necessary action” after the latest massive ransomware attack. The White House says Biden has warned Putin that the United States would hold Moscow responsible for cyberattacks originating from Russia even if they cannot be directly linked to the Kremlin. (Washington Post)

2/ Michigan’s attorney general will launch an investigation into those who have allegedly peddled disinformation about the state’s Nov. 3 election for their own financial gain. The inquiry follows a recommendation in a GOP-led investigation into the election after the report found no evidence of widespread fraud. (Detroit Free Press)

3/ Biden nominated Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as the U.S. ambassador to India. Garcetti would step down as L.A. mayor after Senate confirmation. Denise Bauer, a former ambassador to Belgium and prominent Biden donor, will be nominated ambassador to France. (Los Angeles Times / Washington Post)

4/ The C.D.C. issued new school guidance with an emphasis on full reopening. The guidance acknowledges that many students have suffered from months of virtual learning and urges schools to fully reopen in the fall, even if they cannot take all of the steps the agency recommends to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (New York Times)

5/ Biden signed an executive order to promote competition throughout the U.S. economy, in the most ambitious effort in generations to reduce the stranglehold of monopolies and concentrated markets in major industries. The order takes aim at monopolies in agriculture, airlines, broadband and banking. (Politico)

6/ The Department of Education urged Biden to extend student loan relief. The White House has not yet made a final decision on how and when to restart federal student loan payments, which have been frozen since March 2020. (Politico)

Day 169: "A lot of good things."

1/ Trump sued Google, Facebook, and Twitter. He filed a class action lawsuit seeking “punitive damages” to represent broader complaints about social media policies. (Axios / Associated Press / Washington Post / BBC)

2/ Trump told his chief of staff in 2018 that Hitler “did a lot of good things,” according to a new book by Michael Bender. The remarks shocked John Kelly, Bender reports, detailing the former president’s “stunning disregard for history.” (The Guardian)

3/ Weeks after her visit to the Holocaust Museum, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene made a new Nazi-era comparison in opposing the latest COVID-19 vaccination push. The Georgia Republican used the phrase “medical brown shirts” to describe officials and volunteers who are encouraging all Americans to get vaccinated. (Washington Post)

4/ Russian hackers are accused of breaching a contractor for the Republican National Committee last week, around the same time that Russian cyber-criminals launched the single largest global ransomware attack on record. The attack occurred weeks after a U.S.-Russian summit. (New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News)

5/ Rep. Mo Brooks says he can’t be sued for inciting the Capitol riot because he is a federal employee. The Alabama Republican said he acted as member of Congress when he gave a fiery speech with Trump on Jan. 6 urging the crowd to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. (Washington Post)

6/ Republican Sen. Ron Johnson mouthed that climate change is “bullshit” during a GOP luncheon. Johnson insisted again last week that he is not a climate change denier, but video of him at a GOP event weeks earlier shows him telling the Republican group that it is “bullshit.” (CNN)

7/ Rep. Matt Gaetz’s associate Joel Greenberg asked for a 90-day sentencing delay due to his cooperation with prosecutors. A lawyer for Greenberg, a key figure in a federal probe involving Gaetz, asked a judge to delay the former county tax collector’s sentencing date by 90 days. The lawyer cited Greenberg’s continued cooperation with federal prosecutors. (CNBC)

8/ The FBI infiltrated a group whose members wanted to test homemade bombs, surveil the Capitol, and secede from the U.S. Court records show the FBI infiltrated a “Bible study” group in Virginia that, after the January 6 riot, had members discussing surveilling the U.S. Capitol and their wish to secede from the U.S. Investigators closely followed one member’s plans to build and test Molotov cocktails. (CNN)

poll/ Americans’ life ratings are at a record high. An estimated 59.2% of U.S. adults rate their lives well enough to be categorized as “thriving” exceeding the previous record-high estimate of 57.3% from 2017. (Gallup)

Day 164: "An affront to our shared humanity."

1/ The U.S. military vacated Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years. The base was the epicenter of the U.S. military’s counterterrorism campaign in Afghanistan, with fighter jets, drones, and cargo planes taking off from the twin runways day and night. The airfield was handed over to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force, effectively ending America’s longest foreign war. The U.S., however, will continue to pay nearly $4 billion annually until 2024 to finance the Afghan security forces. (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ Attorney General Merrick Garland suspended federal executions, saying he said serious concerns about the arbitrariness of capital punishment, its disparate impact on people of color, and “the troubling number of exonerations” in death penalty cases. Garland ordered a review of whether the drug approved for federal executions poses risks of pain and suffering, as well as the decision made late last year to allow other methods of execution besides lethal injection, including electrocution and firing squad. In 2019 – after 17 years without executions – then-Attorney General William Barr directed federal prison officials to begin executing 13 people on death row. (NBC News / Politico / Washington Post)

3/ Biden endorsed major changes to the military justice system that would remove investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases from the chain of command. The military justice system would instead hand sexual harassment and assault cases off to independent military lawyers. An independent review of how the military deals with sexual assault found that commanders need training in how to prevent what an official calls “daily acts of demeaning language and sexual harassment.” In a statement, Biden backed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s decision to work with Congress on overhauling the system, saying “sexual assault is an abuse of power and an affront to our shared humanity. And sexual assault in the military is doubly damaging because it also shreds the unity and cohesion that is essential to the functioning of the U.S. military and to our national defense. Yet for as long as we have abhorred this scourge, the statistics and the stories have grown worse.” Biden, however, stopped short of backing a congressional effort to strip commanders of oversight of all major crimes. (New York Times / NPR / USA Today / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in June – the largest number of jobs added in a month since last August. Biden responded to the June jobs numbers, saying the American Rescue Plan relief bill was “proving to the naysayers and the doubters that they were wrong.” He added: “Our economy is on the move, and we have Covid-19 on the run.” The unemployment rate, meanwhile, ticked up to 5.9% from 5.8%. (Washington Post / CNBC)

5/ About 11% of people in the U.S. have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine – nearly 15 million people. Second doses are considered missed if more than 42 days has passed since the initial jab. (Washington Post)

poll/ 59% of Americans believe crime is an “extremely” or “very” serious problem in the U.S. 17% say crime in their area is extremely or very serious, up from 10% last fall. (Washington Post)

poll/ 56% of Americans say ensuring access to voting is more important than tamping down on voter fraud. Among Democrats, 85% said voting access was more important, while 72% of Republicans said making sure no one votes who isn’t eligible was more important. (NPR)

poll/ 67% of Americans believe democracy in the U.S. is under threat, while 29% say democracy in the U.S. is alive and well. (PBS NewsHour)

Day 163: "Sweeping and audacious."

1/ The Supreme Court upheld a pair of restrictive election laws in Arizona, overturning a lower court ruling that found the laws discriminated against minority voters. The Arizona laws invalidate ballots that are cast in the wrong precinct, and ban the practice known as “ballot harvesting,” in which third-party community groups or campaigns collect and return other people’s ballots. Democrats argued that the data showed the restrictions disproportionately affected voters of color, which would be a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said the law requires “equal openness” to the voting process and that a “mere inconvenience cannot be enough to demonstrate a violation” of the law. (NPR / ABC News / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Axios)

2/ The Manhattan district attorney’s office charged the Trump Organization with a 15-year-long “scheme to defraud” the government and charged its chief financial officer with grand larceny and tax fraud. Allen Weisselberg allegedly avoided paying taxes on $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation, including apartment rent, car payments, and school tuition. In all, 15 criminal charges were filed against Weisselberg, including counts of conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records. Grand larceny in the second degree carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. “To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme,” Carey Dunne said, general counsel for the district attorney. Dunne added that the scheme to get “secret pay raises” while not paying taxes was “orchestrated by the most senior executives.” The Trump Organization, meanwhile, issued a statement, claiming that Weisselberg was being used as a “pawn in a scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president.” Weisselberg pleaded not guilty, as did an attorney on the Trump Organization’s behalf. Trump himself was not charged. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

3/ 130 countries endorsed setting a 15% global minimum corporate tax rate. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said the agreement on taxing global companies in countries where their goods or services are sold, even if they have no physical presence there, would generate an estimated $150 billion in additional tax revenue each year. “Multinational corporations will no longer be able to pit countries against one another in a bid to push tax rates down and protect their profits at the expense of public revenue,” Biden said. “They will no longer be able to avoid paying their fair share by hiding profits generated in the United States, or any other country, in lower-tax jurisdictions. This will level the playing field and make America more competitive.” (Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times)

4/ Nancy Pelosi appointed Republican Rep. Liz Cheney to the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In May, House Republicans removed Cheney from her leadership role because of her vote to impeach Trump and her continued criticism of Trump’s repeated lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, threatened to strip any Republican member of their committee assignments if they accept an offer to serve on the committee. (CNN / CNBC / Axios)

5/ The Supreme Court struck down a California law that required charities and nonprofits to disclose their top donors. Under the law, the tax-exempt groups were required to report the names and addresses of all donors who gave more than $5,000 or 2% of the organization’s total donations. Conservative groups challenged the state’s disclosure requirements, saying the information was protected under the First Amendment’s freedom of association and that the disclosure could lead to harassment. California, meanwhile, said the state attorney general needed the information to investigate complaints of charitable fraud and self-dealing. (NPR / Washington Post / CNN / New York Times)

Day 162: "A more stable and secure world."

1/ The House voted to establish a 13-member committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. “That day, Jan. 6, was one of the darkest days in American history,” Nancy Pelosi said before the vote. The mob sought “to block the certification of an election and the peaceful transfer of power that is the cornerstone of our democracy.” The vote was 222-190, with two Republicans voting in favor. Pelosi will select eight of the 13 members herself, including its chairman. The remaining five will be appointed “after consultation with the minority leader,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy. The committee will also have the power to subpoena witnesses and documents. (Bloomberg / Politico / Washington Post / NBC News)

2/ The Supreme Court denied a challenge to the pandemic-related federal eviction moratorium. The court’s order means the CDC moratorium on evictions, which prohibits landlords from evicting certain tenants who fail to pay rent during the Covid-19 pandemic, will remain in place until July 31. John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh joined with the court’s three liberals to keep the moratorium in place. (CNN / Politico)

3/ The Manhattan district attorney’s office is expected to charge the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer with tax-related crimes on Thursday. The charges reportedly involve non-monetary fringe benefits the Trump Organization gave to top executives, such as the use of apartments, cars, and school tuition. (Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / NBC News)

4/ Bill Cosby was released from prison after his sexual assault conviction was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Cosby was convicted on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018 for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004. He served nearly three years of a three- to 10-year sentence. The state Supreme Court concluded that Cosby’s prosecution should never have occurred because of a non-prosecution deal Cosby made with former Montgomery County prosecutor Bruce Castor, who agreed not to criminally prosecute Cosby if he gave a deposition in the civil case brought against him by the woman he drugged and sexually assaulted. Castor is the same lawyer who represented Trump during his second impeachment trial. (Philadelphia Inquirer / ABC News / Associated Press / NBC News)

5/ The architect of the decades-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is dead. Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of Defense under both Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, was 88. Rumsfeld never expressed regret for the decision to invade Iraq, which cost the U.S. $700 billion and 4,400 American lives, insisting instead that “ridding the region of Saddam [Hussein’s] brutal regime has created a more stable and secure world.” In 2004, human rights groups and a bipartisan Senate committee said Rumsfeld should face criminal charges for his decisions that had led to the abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay. (New York Times / NPR / Politico / Washington Post / Reuters)

Day 161: "Take the win."

1/ Joe Manchin agreed to support the use of budget reconciliation to pass a broader tax and social spending bill. Manchin said he believes a Democratic-only infrastructure bill “can be done,” but hasn’t agreed on how big it will be, adding that it shouldn’t be linked to the separate bipartisan agreement. Manchin’s comments, however, come as the Progressive Caucus told the White House and party leaders that they would withhold their support for the bipartisan infrastructure bill if the bigger, broader tax and social spending package wasn’t passed in tandem. Manchin, meanwhile, urged progressive Democrats to “take the win” on the bipartisan agreement. (The Hill / Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg / Business Insider)

2/ Maricopa County will replace all of the voting equipment that was turned over to contractors hired by the Republican-controlled state Senate to conduct its audit of 2020 presidential election results. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said that because the equipment had been placed “under the control of persons not certified to handle election equipment,” the County would “not use the subpoenaed election equipment in any future election” because it “could pose a risk to free and fair elections.” The potential cost to taxpayers is unknown. The county is currently half way through a $6.1 million lease with Dominion Voting Systems for the equipment. Meanwhile, 49% of Arizona voters say they oppose the recount effort, while 46% support the audit. (Arizona Republic / CNN / The Hill / Politico)

3/ The House will vote to remove statues honoring Confederate and other white supremacist leaders from public display in the Capitol. The legislation would also remove a bust of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision that said Black people weren’t entitled to U.S. citizenship. Under the measure, Taney’s bust would be replaced with one of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice. The legislation, however, faces challenges in the evenly divided Senate where it would need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. A similar bill passed the House last year, but didn’t advance in the then Republican-controlled Senate. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / CBS News)

4/ Trump Organization attorneys met with New York prosecutors to argue why Trump’s company should not be criminally charged. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has convened a grand jury and prosecutors have reportedly been considering criminal charges against Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, as well as against the organization as an entity. Trump’s personal lawyer, however, has said that Vance does not currently plan to charge the Trump Organization with crimes related to “hush money” payments or real estate value manipulations. Ronald Fischetti said Vance’s team was considering charges against the Trump Organization and individual employees related to alleged failures to pay taxes on corporate benefits and perks. Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law, meanwhile, said she is prepared to testify before the grand jury as part of the investigation into Trump’s company. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN)

5/ The Justice Department is investigating Rudy Giuliani over possible foreign lobbying for Turkish interests. In 2017, Trump and Giuliani pressured then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to persuade the Justice Department to drop money-laundering charges against Giuliani’s client Reza Zarrab, a Turkey-based, Iranian-born businessman. Giuliani also urged Trump to extradite a Turkish cleric living in exile in the U.S., who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused of inciting a coup. The inquiry is separate from the criminal probe into Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine. (Bloomberg / ABC News)

Day 160: "Not my intent."

1/ Biden walked back his threat to veto the bipartisan infrastructure deal if lawmakers don’t also pass the rest of his infrastructure proposals – which include tax increases, climate policy, health care provisions, and investments in child care – through budget reconciliation, which would bypass the 60-vote filibuster threshold. In a statement, Biden said it “was certainly not my intent” to create the impression he was threatening to veto “the very plan I had just agreed to.” He added: “Our bipartisan agreement does not preclude Republicans from attempting to defeat my Families Plan; likewise, they should have no objections to my devoted efforts to pass that Families Plan and other proposals in tandem.” Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, continued to pressure Biden and congressional Democrats to further weaken the link between the bipartisan infrastructure deal and the spending bill, warning that Biden and his party want to “hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process.” Biden “has appropriately de-linked a potential bipartisan infrastructure bill from the massive, unrelated tax-and-spend plans that Democrats want to pursue on a partisan basis,” McConnell said, adding that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi should follow suit and that Biden should “make sure they follow his lead.” Pelosi, however, has said she would not take up either proposal in the House until both get through the Senate, and Schumer plans to have the Senate vote on both measures next month. (Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg / CBS News / CNBC)

2/ Nancy Pelosi introduced legislation to create a select committee to probe the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The House is expected to vote on it Wednesday. (Washington Post)

3/ Biden ordered airstrikes Sunday against “facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups” near the border between Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon said the militias were using the facilities to launch drone attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. The Biden administration called the strikes an act of “self-defense.” (Associated Press / Reuters)

4/ The Supreme Court rejected a Virginia school board’s appeal to reinstate its transgender bathroom ban, which prohibited transgender students from using the restroom and locker room facilities that reflect their gender identity. The Supreme Court left in place lower court rulings that found the policy unconstitutional. (CBS News / ABC News / Politico / NBC News)

5/ Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that federal laws against the sale and cultivation of marijuana may no longer make sense. As the court declined to hear the appeal of a Colorado medical marijuana dispensary that was denied federal tax breaks, Thomas, one of the court’s most conservative justices, wrote that the “prohibition […] of marijuana may no longer be necessary or proper to support the federal government’s piecemeal approach.” Thomas added that “the federal government’s current approach is a half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana.” (NBC News / CNBC)

6/ A federal judge dismissed antitrust lawsuits brought against Facebook by the FTC and a coalition of 48 state attorneys general. The cases accused Facebook of creating a monopoly over social networking by buying nascent rivals, like Instagram and WhatsApp, to limit competition, as well as stifling would-be competitors by cutting off their access to its data and systems. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said the lawsuits were “legally insufficient” and didn’t provide evidence to prove that Facebook was a monopoly. The White House, meanwhile, is crafting an executive order aimed at using federal power to actively promote competition throughout the U.S. economy. (NPR / New York Times / Associated Press / Politico)

Day 157: "Particular cruelty."

1/ The Justice Department filed a federal lawsuit against Georgia, alleging that the restrictions from its new voting law purposefully discriminate against Black Americans. Georgia’s Election Integrity Act, which was passed the Republican-led state legislature on a party-line vote and signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in late March, changed how voters can cast their votes, imposed new limits on the use of absentee ballots, made it a crime for outside groups to provide food and water to voters waiting at polling stations, and handed greater control over election administration to the state legislature. “Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section Two of the Voting Rights Act,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. Kristen Clarke, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said several of the law’s provisions “were passed with a discriminatory purpose” that would disproportionately “push more Black voters to in-person voting where they will be more likely than white voters to confront long lines.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)

2/ Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison for murdering George Floyd. Chauvin was convicted in April on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He faced up to four decades in prison – prosecutors had asked for 30 years – and could get out on parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years. Judge Peter Cahill went beyond the 12 1/2-year sentence prescribed under state guidelines, citing “your abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty” shown to Floyd. Separately, Chauvin and the three other former officers present for Floyd’s murder are also facing federal civil rights charges. (Associated Press / NPR / Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The bipartisan infrastructure deal is now in jeopardy after Republicans complained they were “blindsided by Biden’s efforts to simultaneously pursue both the bipartisan deal and a package of Democratic priorities that can pass via reconciliation without GOP support. Yesterday – when Biden announced the bipartisan infrastructure deal – he said that if this “is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” adding that the deal is contingent upon it passing “in tandem” with a broader package of priorities. Several of the 11 Republicans who signed off on the bipartisan deal were described as “stunned,” “floored,” and “frustrated” that Biden later put conditions on accepting their deal, privately warning that they could walk away and torpedo the $1.2 trillion deal. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said senators shouldn’t be surprised by the two-track strategy, saying “That hasn’t been a secret, [Biden] hasn’t said it quietly, he hasn’t even whispered it.” Sen. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, claimed that Biden duped the GOP senators who negotiated the deal, saying “most Republicans could not have known” about the two-track strategy. “There’s no way. You look like a fucking idiot now.” (Politico / Associated Press / The Hill / CNN / Business Insider)

4/ The Manhattan district attorney’s office informed Trump’s lawyers that it is considering criminal charges against the Trump Organization. Cyrus Vance Jr. could announce charges against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, as soon as next week in connection with fringe benefits Weisselberg received from the company. Investigators have also been probing Matthew Calamari – Trump’s Trump bodyguard who’s now the company’s chief operating officer – over whether he received tax-free fringe benefits from the company. It would be unusual to indict a company only for failing to pay taxes on fringe benefits. (New York Times / NBC News)

5/ Nearly all Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. now are among people who weren’t vaccinated. About 63% of eligible Americans 12 and older have received at least one dose, and 53% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. “Breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 853,000 Covid-19 hospitalizations – about 0.1%. (Associated Press)

6/ The House voted to repeal a Trump-era rule that rolled back regulations of methane emissions from oil and gas industries. The final vote was 229-191 and now heads to Biden’s desk for his signature. The Senate passed the resolution at the end of April under the Congressional Review Act. (CNN / Washington Post)

poll/ 41% of Americans ages 18-34 have a positive view of socialism – up from 39% in 2019. 49% of Americans ages 18-34, meanwhile, have a positive view of capitalism – down from 58% in 2019. (Axios)

Day 156: "Root causes."

1/ Biden agreed to a bipartisan infrastructure deal after meeting with a group of senators at the White House. “We have a deal,” Biden said, endorsing the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan by a group of 10 senators. Under the framework, the bipartisan package would include about $579 billion in new spending to overhaul the nation’s transportation, electric utilities, water, and broadband infrastructure. The Senate, meanwhile, has started to work on a budget resolution that would allow Democrats to pass a second, much larger package of spending and tax increases unilaterally. Chuck Schumer said the Senate will simultaneously move forward with both the bipartisan agreement and the reconciliation bill. Nancy Pelosi told House Democratic leaders that the House won’t take up the bipartisan agreement until the Senate approves a package through reconciliation. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Politico / CNN / NBC News / CNBC)

2/ The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff pushed back against suggestions from a Republican congressman that the military was becoming too “woke” for teaching critical race theory at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Gen. Mark Milley called the accusations from Rep. Michael Waltz “offensive,” saying that studying institutional racism could be useful in understanding what “caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America” during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Milley added that military university graduates should be “open-minded and be widely read,” adding: “I’ve read Mao Zedong. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding — having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?” The exchange came at a House Armed Services Committee hearing to discuss the 2022 Defense Department budget. (New York Times / Reuters / NPR)

3/ Rudy Giuliani was temporarily barred from practicing law in New York and faces disbarment for making “demonstrably false and misleading statements” while helping Trump challenge to the 2020 election results. The New York State appellate court temporarily suspended Giuliani’s law license, saying Giuliani represented an “immediate threat” to the public and had “directly inflamed” the tensions that led to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. “The seriousness of respondent’s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated,” the court said. “This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden.” (New York Times / USA Today)

4/ The Department of Homeland Security is reportedly concerned about the conspiracy theory that Trump will be reinstated as president in August. In a private briefing with the House Committee on Homeland Security, the department’s top counterterrorism official told members that it was monitoring discussion of the topic among online extremist communities and that the department was concerned the false narrative that the election was rigged would trigger violence. Trump, meanwhile, has been telling acquaintances he expects to be reinstated as president by the end of the summer. (Politico)

5/ Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of a select committee to examine the January 6 attack on the Capitol, saying “It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day, and ensure that an attack of that kind cannot happen.” Pelosi said the investigation would take “two paths”: looking at the “root causes” of the attack, and the failures in security of the Capitol. Last month, Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an independent, bipartisan commission. (CBS News / Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / The Guardian)

6/ The Biden administration extended the national moratorium on evictions to help millions of tenants unable to make rent payments during the coronavirus pandemic. The nationwide ban on evictions was scheduled to expire on June 30, but Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, extended the moratorium until July 31. The CDC said “this is intended to be the final extension of the moratorium.” (New York Times / Associated Press)

Day 155: "Pursuit of truth."

1/ Nancy Pelosi plans to appoint a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol after Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an independent, bipartisan commission. While Pelosi has not formally announced the committee, she suggested during a House Steering and Policy Committee meeting that she would move forward with plans to form an independent panel modeled after the 9/11 Commission in “pursuit of truth.” The House passed legislation last month to establish a bipartisan commission, but Senate Republicans filibustered the bill. (Politico / CNN)

2/ Biden’s Justice Department could end up defending Trump in lawsuits seeking to hold him accountable for the Jan. 6 attack, including one filed by two U.S. Capitol Police and one filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell, which alleges that Trump incited the riot in an effort to stop Congress from certifying Biden as the election winner. In an unrelated defamation case against Trump by author E. Jean Carroll, who contends that Trump raped her 25 years ago and then lied about it while in office, the Biden DOJ argued that presidents enjoy immunity for their comments while in office, including the right to a defense by government lawyers. The Biden Justice Department, meanwhile, declined to comment on whether it would use the same legal rationale of presidential immunity as the basis for intervening in other lawsuits Trump faces. (Reuters / Vanity Fair)

3/ Attorney General Merrick Garland backed away from a comprehensive review of actions by the Trump Justice Department, calling it “a complicated question.” Garland noted, however, that the department’s independent inspector general was already investigating related issues, including leak hunts, attempts to overturn the election, and whether Trump had improperly used the department’s powers to investigate and prosecute. (New York Times)

4/ Four Saudi operatives who killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi received paramilitary training in the U.S. a year before. The training of the Saudi Royal Guard was approved by the State Department and provided by Tier 1 Group, an Arkansas-based security company, under a license first issued in 2014, which continued through at least the first year of Trump’s term. Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered in 2018 after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The CIA concluded that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed the operation. Trump later bragged that he protected the prince from Congress after ordering the assassination of Khashoggi. (New York Times)

5/ A Navy counterterrorism training document suggests that socialism is a “terrorist ideology.” A section of the training document, titled “Introduction to Terrorism/Terrorist Operations,” groups anarchists, socialists, and neo-nazis into the same “political terrorist” ideological category. The training document is designed for masters-at-arms, the Navy’s internal police. (The Intercept)

6/ Roughly 900 Secret Service employees tested positive for the coronavirus since March 2020. More than half – 477 – were responsible for protecting Trump and Pence, as well as their families and other government officials. More than 11% of Secret Service employees were infected. (Associated Press / Washington Post)

7/ Biden will replace the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Supreme Court ruled that Biden had the authority to replace the agency’s director, Mark Calabria, who was appointed by Trump. (Bloomberg / New York Times / NBC News)

8/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation requiring the state’s public colleges and universities to survey students, faculty, and staff about their political views. As part of his push against the “indoctrination” of students, DeSantis threatened to cut funding from state universities that he determines doesn’t promote “intellectual diversity.” DeSantis also signed two other education bills mandating new civics and “patriotism” education requirements in K-12 schools, including teaching about the “evils” of communist and totalitarian governments. (Tampa Bay Times / Business Insider)

9/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed a bill that would require schools teach children about domestic violence and child abuse. Abbott said the “bill fails to recognize the right of parents to opt their children out of the instruction.” Abbott also vetoed a bill that would have banned the use of heavy chains to tether dogs outside and leave them without drinkable water, adequate shade or shelter. (Texas Tribune / The Hill / The Guardian)

Day 154: "Our great democracy."

1/ Senate Republicans blocked debate on the For the People Act, an amended version of the voting rights legislation that passed the House in March. The vote to start debate on the voting legislation, failed 50-50 on party lines — 10 votes short of the supermajority needed to advance the bill and begin open debate in the Senate. Mitch McConnell called the bill, which would expand early voting, end partisan gerrymandering, make it easier to vote by mail, and make Election Day a federal holiday, a “partisan power grab.” Hours before the vote – and after weeks of saying he would vote against election reform unless it had bipartisan support – Sen. Joe Manchin finally agreed to vote to begin debate on the legislation in a show of unity against the GOP move, saying he reached a compromise with the other members of his party “to ensure every eligible voter is able to cast their ballot and participate in our great democracy.” Republicans, however, were unwilling to even debate voting rights. Earlier in the day, Biden urged the Senate to pass the voting rights bill, saying “we can’t sit idly by while democracy is in peril — here, in America. We need to protect the sacred right to vote and ensure ‘We the People’ choose our leaders, the very foundation on which our democracy rests.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki added that “this fight is not over, no matter the outcome today, it’s going to continue.” (Politico / Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

2/ Sen. Kyrsten Sinema defended her opposition to nixing the 60-vote legislative filibuster, saying “we will lose much more than we gain.” In an op-ed, Sinema – choosing to defend the filibuster over democracy – argued that eliminating the legislative filibuster would weaken “democracy’s guardrails” by “cementing uncertainty, deepening divisions and further eroding Americans’ confidence in our government.” Sinema also warned that a majority-rule Senate would lead to “ricochet” legislating, suggesting that Republicans would roll back any Democratic policy gains. Joe Manchin has also said he opposes getting rid of the filibuster. Following the failed vote on the For the People Act, Manchin was asked about the possibility of reforming the filibuster. He laughed and replied: “No guys, listen, I think you all know where I stand on the filibuster.” (Washington Post / The Hill / New York Magazine)

3/ The White House does not expect to meet Biden’s goal of having 70% of all adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4. The U.S., however, has hit the vaccination target among adults ages 30 and older, and is expected to reach that threshold for those 27 and older by Independence Day. More than 175 million Americans have received at least one shot, and more than 150 million Americans are fully vaccinated. About one-third of Americans say they have no immediate plan to get vaccinated. (NBC News / CBS News / New York Times)

4/ The highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant is spreading in under-vaccinated pockets and will likely become the predominant strain in the U.S. within weeks, according to a new analysis. The variant, first identified in India, accounts for at least 14% of all new infections in the U.S. and studies suggest it’s around 60% more transmissible than the original strain that emerged from Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Dr. Anthony Fauci called the Delta variant the “greatest threat” to the nation’s attempt to eliminate Covid-19. (Bloomberg / NPR / CNBC)

5/ Trump asked aides in 2019 to look at what the Justice Department and the FCC could do to punish “Saturday Night Live” and other late-night shows for mocking him. After watching a rerun of SNL in March 2019, Trump tweeted that the episode was “not funny/no talent” that kept “knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of ‘the other side.’” He then asked: “Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this?” According to people familiar with the matter, Trump then asked advisers and lawyers about what the FCC, the courts systems, and the Department of Justice could do to investigate the shows. Trump reportedly had to be repeatedly advised that the shows are satire, a form of protected speech. (Daily Beast / Business Insider)

poll/ 43% of Iowans approve of the job Biden is doing as president, with 52% disapproving. (Des Moines Register)

poll/ 26% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing – down 10 points from March. (Gallup)

Day 153: "The path of progress."

1/ Nearly 10 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid during the coronavirus pandemic. Roughly 80 million people are now covered by Medicaid – nearly a quarter of the entire U.S. population. Federal health officials attributed the boost in enrollment to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, approved by Congress in March 2020. That law gave states extra federal money to help cover Medicaid costs as long as the states didn’t remove any enrollees until after the coronavirus public health emergency was declared over. (Washington Post / The Hill / New York Times)

2/ The Biden administration is weighing whether to end a Trump-era policy that directed border officials to immediately expel the majority of immigrants crossing the border. The policy, known as Title 42, allows border agents to turn away migrants before they have the opportunity to seek asylum and was established through the CDC to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in holding facilities. The White House is considering ending family expulsions as early as July 31. (Axios)

3/ Officials in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have reportedly grown frustrated by the lack of cooperation from the Trump Organization’s CFO. Allen Weisselberg is a key figure in prosecutors’ efforts to indict Trump due to his central role in nearly every aspect of the Trump Organization. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s investigators have been pressing Weisselberg to provide evidence implicating Trump as they scrutinize Trump’s business practices before he was president, including whether he inflated the value of assets to obtain bank loans and deflated the value of those same assets for tax breaks. Officials also believe Weisselberg continues to regularly speak with Trump. (Washington Post)

4/ The U.S. is preparing more sanctions against Russia in response to the poisoning of Aleksei Navalny. Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said the timing of the sanctions or what they would include would come “as soon as we develop the packages to ensure that we’re getting the right targets.” Biden imposed sanctions on Russia for the poisoning and imprisonment of Navalny, which were directed at Putin and the oligarchs who support him. (New York Times)

5/ The Biden administration will make gender confirmation surgery available to transgender veterans through Veterans Affairs health care coverage. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said that “for far too long, and for far too many,” respect and care “were not the norm for our LGBTQ+ community and our veterans,” adding that is why the VA is “determined to continue down that path. The path of progress.” The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates there are approximately 134,000 transgender veterans. (CNN)

6/ Trump suggested sending Americans infected with Covid-19 to Guantanamo Bay in an effort to suppress the number of cases on U.S. soil. During a February 2020 meeting as administration officials were discussing whether to bring infected Americans home for care, Trump reportedly asked: “Don’t we have an island that we own?” and “What about Guantánamo?” Trump brought it up a second time, saying “We import goods,” “We are not going to import a virus.” Aides eventually scuttled the idea of quarantining Americans on the same base where the U.S. holds terrorism suspects. (Washington Post)

7/ Joe Manchin told an electric utility trade group that the Biden administration’s pledge to cut carbon emissions is too “aggressive.” Manchin, whose home state is a major coal producer, defended coal-fired power plants at Edison Electric Institute’s 2021 conference, arguing that coal is being “singled out by environmentalists” as a polluter. “This is a global climate,” Manchin said. “Some of our environmental friends […] they make [us] believe we are polluting the whole climate.” The Biden administration, meanwhile, has set a goal to cut carbon emissions in half from 2005 levels by 2030, with a 2035 goal for the nation’s electric utilities to convert to 100% clean power. Manchin, however, told EEI that “I’ve always been very, very cautious about” transitioning to a net zero economy, adding that “you cannot eliminate your way there, [but] you can innovate your way there.” (HEATED / Utility Drive / RTO Insider)

poll/ 80% of Americans support requiring a photo ID to vote, while 18% oppose the idea. 71% support making in-person early voting easier, while 16% say it should be made harder. And, 50% said voting by mail should be made easier, while 39% saying it should be made harder. (Monmouth University)

Day 149: "This is a big fucking deal."

1/ The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act for the third time, dismissing an effort by Texas and 17 other Republican-led states that challenged the entirety of the 2010 healthcare law. The group argued that the ACA’s individual mandate requiring most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty became unconstitutional after Congress got rid of the penalty in the 2017 tax cut package. They claimed that the entire law, which provides healthcare coverage for about 31 million Americans, should fall – including protections for people with preexisting conditions – because the individual mandate was central to the ACA. In a 7 to 2 vote, the court said the group of states failed to show how they suffered the sort of direct injury that gave them legal standing to bring the case. The court, however, didn’t actually rule on whether the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but suggested it would be difficult for any challengers to try again on the same legal theory. In a tweet, Biden called the decision a “big win for the American people,” adding that “with millions of people relying on the Affordable Care Act for coverage, it remains, as ever, a BFD” – a reference to the 2010 ACA signing ceremony where Biden turned to Obama and said: “This is a big fucking deal.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / NPR / Politico / NBC News / CNN)

2/ Mitch McConnell rejected Joe Manchin’s voting rights compromise offer, which focused on expanding early voting, requiring voter ID, ending partisan gerrymandering in federal elections, having at least 15 consecutive days of early voting, and making Election Day a public holiday. McConnell’s pledge all but guarantees that Republicans will filibuster the voting bill that Chuck Schumer plans to send to the floor Tuesday. The bill will need 60 votes to proceed over a filibuster. (Politico / Axios / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

3/ The Biden administration will invest $3.2 billion to advance the development of antiviral pills to treat Covid-19 and other viruses. The Antiviral Program for Pandemics will speed up clinical trials and fund the research and production of oral antiviral drugs that could be taken at home. (NBC News / CNBC / Washington Post)

4/ The Education Department canceled more than $500 million in federal student loan debt for 18,000 borrowers who were defrauded by the now-defunct, for-profit ITT Technical Institute. The college chain closed in 2016 after making exaggerated claims about its graduates’ employment and earnings prospects after graduation. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)

5/ The House voted to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. The 2002 authorization was repeatedly applied beyond its original intent despite the Iraq War ending nearly a decade ago. Chuck Schumer said he will also put the authorization to a vote this year. Earlier this week, Biden said he supports repealing the authorization. Mitch McConnell, however, said he did not support repealing the authorization, calling it “reckless.” The bill would need the support of at least 10 Republican senators to pass. (Politico / New York Times)

6/ Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S. The bill unanimously passed the Senate, but 14 Republicans in the House voted against the proposal. Harris also signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in her capacity as President of the Senate. The law goes into effect immediately, making Friday (tomorrow) the first federal Juneteenth holiday in American history. [Editor’s note: In observance of Juneteenth, there will be no WTFJHT update tomorrow (June 18). As a reminder, WTFJHT publishes Monday-Friday, except on federal and market holidays, including some other random days, like Biden’s and WTFJHT’s birthdays.] (Reuters / New York Times / Washington Post)

7/ A Florida GOP congressional candidate threatened his Republican opponent with “a Russian and Ukrainian hit squad” that would make her “disappear.” During a 30-minute call that was secretly recorded, William Braddock repeatedly warned a conservative activist not support Anna Paulina Luna in the Republican primary for a Tampa Bay-area congressional seat. Braddock called Luna “a fucking speed bump in the road. She’s a dead squirrel you run over every day when you leave the neighborhood.” In the recording, Braddock added: “I really don’t want to have to end anybody’s life […] But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done.” (Politico / Washington Post)

Day 148: "A partisan circus."

1/ After blocking major voting rights legislation for weeks, Sen. Joe Manchin finally outlined a list of changes he wants in a bid for a compromise. Manchin – the only Senate Democrat who is not sponsoring the For the People Act – has opposed the For the People Act, saying it’s too partisan and arguing that changes to voting laws should have bipartisan support. Republicans, however, have uniformly opposed the For the People Act. Manchin’s compromise proposal includes making Election Day a public holiday, providing at least 15 consecutive days of early voting, automatic voter registration through state departments of motor vehicles, and a requirement that states send mail-in absentee ballots to eligible voters if they are unable to vote in person. The proposal also includes voter identification requirements, which Democrats are generally are opposed to. Manchin also reaffirmed that he has not changed his views against eliminating the filibuster, meaning the Manchin version of the election bill would have no chance of passage without 10 Republicans supporting support the legislation. (Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg / The Intercept)

2/ The Senate unanimously passed a measure to make Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery in Texas, a federal holiday. The bill now heads to the House, where it is likely to be approved. In July 2020, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson blocked the bill, saying a federal day off would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. (Washington Post / CNN)

3/ The Education Department issued new guidance that the rights of transgender and gay students are protected at school by Title IX, a reversal of the Trump-era guidance that gay and transgender students are not protected by any federal laws. “The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination – and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections. I’m proud to have directed the Office for Civil Rights to enforce Title IX to protect all students from all forms of sex discrimination,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. “Today, the Department makes clear that all students – including LGBTQ+ students – deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination.” (New York Times / CNN / USA Today)

4/ The Justice Department reversed a Trump-era immigration ruling that limited the possibility of asylum protections in the U.S. for women fleeing from domestic violence in other countries, and some victims of gang violence. Attorney General Merrick Garland vacated the 2018 decision by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions that ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to victims of “private violence,” like domestic violence or gangs. (NPR / New York Times)

5/ A federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s temporary suspension of new oil and gas drilling leases on public lands. Judge Terry Doughty said that the power to pause the offshore oil and gas leases “lies solely with Congress” because it was the legislative branch that originally made federal lands and waters available for leasing. The Interior Department said it would “comply with the decision,” suggesting that lease sales to drill in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico will likely resume for now. In January, Biden signed an executive order that temporarily banned new drilling leases on federal lands and waters, saying he wanted to pause new leases while the Interior Department reviewed the program. (NBC News / New York Times)

6/ The House Judiciary Committee opened an investigation into efforts by the Trump Justice Department to seize data from members of Congress, journalists, and the then-White House counsel. The Department of Justice’s inspector general has also opened a separate inquiry into the data seizures. In the Senate, Democratic leaders have called for former Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, criticized the inquiries as unnecessary and accused Democrats of embarking on “politically motivated investigations,” saying “There is no need for a partisan circus here in Congress.” (NPR / The Guardian)

7/ The FBI told the House Oversight Committee that it is pursuing “hundreds of investigations” related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. FBI Director Christopher Wray called the effort “one of the most far-reaching and extensive” investigations in the bureau’s history. (New York Times)

8/ Twenty-one House Republicans voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the officers who responded to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The final vote in the House was 406-21 – nearly doubled the number of Republicans who voted against the initial legislation in March. (CNN / Washington Post)

9/ Biden and Putin described their first in-person summit as “constructive” and “good, positive.” Biden spoke to reporters after meeting for just under four hours, saying he pressed Putin over alleged hacking, human rights abuses, and more. “I did what I came to do,” Biden said, adding: “The bottom line is I told President Putin that we need to have some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by.” In a separate, sequential news conference, Putin denied Russia’s involvement in the recent cyberattacks against U.S. institutions, saying the U.S. is the biggest offender, while blaming the U.S. for the deterioration in the U.S.-Russia relationship. Putin added that “there has been no hostility” between the two leaders. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico)

Day 147: "Trust the plan."

1/ The number of confirmed U.S. deaths from Covid-19 surpassed 600,000 – 15 months since the onset of the pandemic. The U.S. Covid-19 death toll is more than 200 times higher than the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, and higher than the number of American soldiers killed in combat during the Vietnam War, World War I, and World War II combined. The U.S., however, is now averaging 375 deaths per day – down from more than 3,000 per day in January and reaching their lowest point since March 2020 – due to the availability of effective vaccines. More than half of the U.S. population has received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine and 43% of the population is fully vaccinated. The White House, meanwhile, plans to host a July 4th “independence from virus” bash as the CDC declared the so-called delta variant, which was first detected in India, a “variant of concern.” The delta variant accounts for 9.9% of cases in the U.S. (ABC News / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / NBC News / NPR / CNN / Axios)

2/ A National Institutes of Health study suggests that the coronavirus may have been circulating in the U.S. as early as Dec. 24, 2019 – weeks before the first confirmed infection in the country. Nine people who had donated blood between Jan. 2 and March 18, 2020, tested positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, according to the NIH report. (Washington Post / New York Times)

3/ The FBI warned lawmakers that QAnon “digital soldiers” could be compelled to shift “towards engaging in real-world violence” as they come to “no longer ‘trust the plan.’” Instead of abandoning the conspiracy theory after QAnon predictions failed to materialize, a FBI threat assessment concludes that followers might seek to harm “perceived members of the ‘cabal’ such as Democrats and other political opposition” as they take control of the movement. “The participation of some domestic violent extremists who are also self-identified QAnon adherents in the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on 6 January underscores how the current environment likely will continue to act as a catalyst for some to begin accepting the legitimacy of violent action,” the unclassified FBI assessment says. (CNN / New York Times)

4/ The White House released a national strategy devoted to addressing domestic terrorism. The 32-page strategy calls for increased funding for the Justice Department and FBI to hire analysts, investigators, and prosecutors; improving information-sharing between the federal government and state and local partners as well as with social media companies; and addressing the long-term drivers of domestic terrorism, such as systemic racism. “We cannot ignore this threat or wish it away,” Biden said in the document’s introduction. “Preventing domestic terrorism and reducing the factors that fuel it demand a multifaceted response across the federal government and beyond.” (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Trump pressured top Justice Department officials to challenge his election loss to Biden, and investigate debunked conspiracy theories and baseless claims of voter fraud. According to emails sent between December 2020 and early January, Trump and his aides – including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows – pressured then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to investigate unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election had been stolen. The documents, released by the House Oversight Committee, also detail how an hour before Trump announced that William Barr would be stepping down as attorney general, Trump and his staff began pressuring Rosen – Barr’s eventual replacement – to embrace Trump’s claims of voter fraud and have the Justice Department investigate them. The House Oversight and Reform Committee have asked Meadows and several former Justice Department officials to testify about efforts to advance unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud. (New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Bloomberg / Associated Press / Politico / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Axios / CNBC)

6/ A federal judge will allow the Justice Department to keep secret part of the memo used to back then-Attorney General William Barr’s decision not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. Judge Amy Berman Jackson previously ordered the Justice Department to release the entire memo used in March 2019 to justify not charging Trump, accusing Barr of misleading the court about Robert Mueller’s findings in the Russia investigation. While Attorney General Merrick Garland has already released Section I of the memo, the Justice Department asked to appeal the release of the memo’s Section II. Jackson agreed to allow the Justice Department to keep Section II secret while they appeal. (CNN)

7/ The Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals in a 53-44 vote. Jackson is the first Black woman confirmed to an appellate court in a decade and is one of five Black female circuit court judges currently serving. She fills the vacancy left by Attorney General Merrick Garland, who served on the bench for 24 years. Jackson is considered a top contender to be appointed to the Supreme Court. (Washington Post / ABC News)

Day 146: "Accountability."

1/ Biden reaffirmed NATO’s Article 5 – the central tenet of collective defense – calling it “a sacred obligation,” adding that the alliance is “critically important for U.S. interests.” The comments were a sharp contrast to Trump, who once declined to endorse Article 5 and called the alliance “obsolete.” NATO leaders, meanwhile, in a summit statement said China’s growing military and “assertive behavior” was “presenting challenges,” accusing the Chinese of working to undermine global order with “systemic challenges to the rules-based international order.” Separately, Biden said the U.S. would “respond in kind” if Putin “chooses not to cooperate” on cybersecurity. (New York Times / ABC News / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Washington Post)

2/ The Trump Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for information about an account that belonged to the sitting White House counsel, and then barred the company from telling him about it. Donald McGahn and his wife received disclosures from Apple last month that their accounts were subpoenaed by the Justice Department in February 2018. It’s not clear what the FBI was investigating, but the Justice Department appears to have accessed McGahn’s information around the same time it was reported that Trump had ordered McGahn the previous June to have Robert Mueller fired. McGahn, however, threatened to quit and Trump backed down. The seizure of McGahn’s records also happened the same month the Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for data related to the leaks of information about the Russia inquiry, which included more than 12 people connected to the House Intelligence Committee, including two of its Democratic members. Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, called on former attorneys general William Barr and Jeff Sessions, as well as Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general at the time, to testify under oath in the House about what they knew. (New York Times / Associated Press / CNN / Politico)

3/ Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he was not aware of a subpoena that targeted Democratic members of Congress. At the time of the subpoena, Jeff Sessions was recused from the Russia probe, meaning the leak investigation would have fallen under Rosenstein. Jeff Sessions has also told people he does not recall approving a subpoena for lawmakers’ data in a leak case. And, former Attorney General William Barr, who took office a year after the subpoena was issued, said he does not recall discussing a probe for lawmakers’ data during his time leading the department, adding that he “never discussed the leak cases with Trump.” (CNN / Politico / Washington Post)

4/ Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department will tighten its rules around seizing information about members of Congress and their aides and vowed “strict accountability” for officials who let politics affect their work. Garland said his deputy, Lisa Monaco, will review and update the department’s existing policies “for obtaining records of the legislative branch,” noting that “we must ensure that full weight is accorded to separation-of-powers concerns moving forward.” The announcement came as John Demers, a Trump-era official who leads the Justice Department’s National Security Division, which oversees leak investigations, said he’ll resign at the end of next week. Garland will also meet with executives from CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post to discuss the Trump administration’s leak investigation that involved seeking reporter records from all three media outlets. (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN)

5/ Mitch McConnell threatened to block any Supreme Court nominee put forward by Biden during the 2024 election cycle if Republicans regain control of the Senate next year. McConnell suggested that if he became majority leader again, he would give a Biden Supreme Court nominee in 2023 “a fair shot at a hearing” if the person was “not a radical, but a normal mainstream mainstream liberal.” McConnell, however, admitted that the prospects were “highly unlikely,” adding “we’d have to wait and see what happens.” (The Hill / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg)

poll/ 52% of Americans trust Biden to negotiate on the country’s behalf with other world leaders, and 49% trust him to negotiate with Putin specifically. 57% of Americans have confidence in Biden to do the right thing regarding world affairs. (ABC News)

Day 143: "A gross abuse of power."

1/ Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged to double the size of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division staff to protect every American’s right to vote. “There are plenty of things up for debate in America, but the right of all eligible Americans to vote is not one of them,” Garland said, calling the expansion of voting rights as a “central pillar” to American democracy. Garland added that the Justice Department will “do everything in its power to prevent election fraud, and if found to vigorously prosecute” but will also scrutinize “new laws that seek to curb voter access.” The additional trial attorneys will be hired over the next the next 30 days. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / Axios)

2/ The Trump Justice Department secretly subpoenaed Apple for the metadata of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as their current and former staff, and family members, including a minor. The records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized, including Rep. Adam B. Schiff, then the panel’s ranking Democrat and now its chairman, and Rep. Eric Swalwell. Trump administration prosecutors, looking for the sources behind news stories about contacts between Trump associates and Russia, subpoenaed Apple in 2017 and early 2018, which included a gag order, seeking the metadata for more than 100 accounts as part of the investigation to determine who was leaking classified information. The data obtained, however, did not tie the committee to the leaks of classified information about Russia. The gag order was renewed three times before it expired this year and Apple notified at least 12 people in May connected to the panel of subpoenas. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

3/ The Justice Department’s inspector general opened an investigation into the Trump administration’s secret seizure of data from Apple belonging to at least two Democratic lawmakers, their staff, and family members. Michael Horowitz said the review “will examine the Department’s compliance with applicable DOJ policies and procedures, and whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations.” Horowitz added that the investigation would also look into the use of subpoenas to obtain journalists’ phone records, as well as “other legal authorities [used] to obtain communication records […] in connection with recent investigations of alleged unauthorized disclosures of information to the media by government officials.” Separately, Senate Democratic leaders demanded that former attorneys general William Barr and Jeff Sessions testify under oath about the secret subpoenas of Rep. Adam B. Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, calling it “a gross abuse of power and an assault on the separation of powers.” The senators threatened to subpoena Barr and Sessions if they don’t appear voluntarily. The Biden administration, meanwhile, called the “behavior” of Trump’s attorneys general “appalling.” (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / Bloomberg / USA Today / CNN / Associated Press / NBC News)

4/ The Biden administration will “repeal or replace” a rule allowing roads and development in more than half of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. The move revives protections originally put in place in 2001 by Clinton, which Trump stripped three months before leaving office. (Washington Post)

5/ A bipartisan group of senators said they reached an agreement on the framework for an infrastructure deal. The deal reportedly includes $579 billion in new spending and would “be fully paid for and not include tax increases.” The overall proposal would spend $974 billion over five years and about $1.2 trillion if it continued over eight years. Lawmakers in both parties sounded skeptical that the proposal, which expected to address a narrow range of physical infrastructure projects, can get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

Day 142: "Point of no return."

1/ The Interior Department’s inspector general concluded that U.S. Park Police did not clear the park outside the White House of protesters on June 1, 2020, so Trump could walk to a nearby church for a photo op. Mark Greenblatt instead found that Park Police had the authority to clear the park and surrounding areas so that a contractor could install anti-scale fencing and did not know that Trump would be leaving the White House and crossing Lafayette Park until “mid-to late afternoon” on June 1 – hours after the contractor had arrived to begin installation. Park Police officials said the plan to clear the area was in place before a 2 p.m. meeting that included then-Attorney General William Barr, who “did not mention a potential presidential visit to the park,” according to the report. Barr, however, did urge officials to speed up the clearing process after Trump decided to walk through the area around 6:10 p.m. (NPR / Politico / NBC News / CBS News / ABC News / CNBC / USA Today)

2/ Former White House counsel Don McGahn testified behind closed doors last week about Trump’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation. In a transcript of the interview with members of the House Judiciary Committee, McGahn described Trump’s efforts to get him to tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Robert Mueller over Trump’s claim that Mueller had a conflict of interest. McGahn refused to go along with Trump’s effort to fire Mueller, believing it could “cause this to spiral out of control.” McGahn also acknowledged that Trump told then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he should resign for having recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said “McGahn’s testimony gives us a fresh look at how dangerously close President Trump brought us to, in Mr. McGahn’s words, the ‘point of no return.’” (New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

3/ The U.S. reportedly lost more than $400 billion to fraudulent unemployment claims over the past year. The bulk of the money – representing as much as 50% of all unemployment money – likely ended in the hands of foreign crime syndicates in China, Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere. (Axios)

4/ The Trump Justice Department continued to pursued a CNN reporter’s records for half a year after a federal judge said the argument for access to internal emails was “speculative” and “unanchored in any facts.” The Trump administration also put CNN general counsel David Vigilante under a gag order prohibiting him from sharing any details about the Justice Department’s effort to obtain two months’ of CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr’s 2017 email logs. The pursuit for Starr’s records began in July 2020 under then-Attorney General William Barr. (CNN)

5/ The Keystone XL oil pipeline project was canceled after Biden revoked a key permit. TC Energy, the Canadian company behind the project, said it terminated the $9 billion project after Canadian officials failed to persuade Biden to reverse his cancellation of the permit. Keystone XL was expected to carry 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands crude to Nebraska. (NBC News / Associated Press / CNN)

poll/ 75% of respondents from 12 nations said they were confident that Biden would “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” compared with 17% for Trump last year. 62% of respondents said they have a favorable view of the U.S. compared to 34% at the end of Trump’s presidency in 2020. (Pew Research Center / Washington Post)

Day 141: "Frustrated."

1/ Biden ended negotiations with a group of Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito over infrastructure legislation, telling Capito that the latest GOP offer didn’t “meet the essential needs of our country to restore our roads and bridges, prepare us for our clean energy future, and create jobs.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden was disappointed that Republicans had “increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion” after he reduced his plan by more than $1 trillion. The White House and Capito ended up about $700 billion away. Capito, meanwhile, said she was “frustrated” with the White House and suggested that it “kept moving the goalposts” during negotiations. Biden will now focus on working with a bipartisan group of 20 senators who have been working separately on an alternative infrastructure proposal. Biden also spoke with Chuck Schumer about passing some of the infrastructure provisions through budget reconciliation, a fast-track procedure that would allow Democrats to avoid a filibuster and push through a package without support from Republicans. And, over in the House a bipartisan group calling themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus proposed a $1.249 trillion infrastructure plan that includes $761.8 billion in new spending. (CBS News / Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / Politico / NBC News)

2/ The Biden administration will buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to donate to 92 lower income countries and the African Union. The first 200 million doses will be distributed this year through the global COVAX alliance, followed by another 300 million in the first half of 2022. The Biden administration previously announced it would share at least 80 million vaccine doses globally by the end of June. (Washington Post / Associated Press / Politico)

3/ The U.S. is averaging fewer than 1 million vaccinations per day, threatening Biden’s goal of getting at least 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4. At least 13 states have already vaccinated 70% of adult residents, and an additional 15 states, plus D.C., are over 60% and will likely reach Biden’s goal. Covid-19 hospitalizations rates, meanwhile, continue to rise in communities with low vaccination rates. (Washington Post / New York Times)

4/ Two days after Joe Manchin vowed to block the federal election reform bill, Mitch McConnell said he would not support the bipartisan John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which Manchin and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski have urged lawmakers to reauthorize. “There’s no threat to the voting rights law,” McConnell said. “It’s against the law to discriminate in voting based on race already. And so I think it’s unnecessary.” Manchin and Murkowski had proposed passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act as an alternative to the For The People Act, which would restore a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down in 2013. That measure would also likely be blocked by a filibuster. Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, said the Senate will vote on the For the People Act, with or without Manchin. (The Hill / Vanity Fair / Business Insider / Politico / Washington Post / NBC News)

5/ The Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a $250 billion bill aimed at countering China’s technological influence by investing in American technology, science, and research. The final vote was 68-32, with 19 Senate Republicans – including Mitch McConnell – joining Democrats in voting for passage. Bernie Sanders was the only member of the Democratic caucus to vote against the bill. The legislation now heads to the House before going to Biden’s desk. (New York Times / CNN / CNBC)

6/ Biden revoked and replaced three Trump executive orders that sought to ban TikTok and WeChat from the U.S. over national security concerns. Biden’s new order would instead establish “clear intelligible criteria” to evaluate national security risks for apps connected to foreign governments and direct the Commerce Department to undertake an “evidence-based” analysis of transactions involving apps that are manufactured or supplied or controlled by China. (Associated Press / New York Times / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

7/ Harris warned Guatemalans thinking of migrating to the U.S.: “Do not come.” In her first foreign trip since taking office, Harris said the Biden administration wanted “to help Guatemalans find hope at home.” She added: “I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, called Harris’ statement “disappointing,” and that the U.S. needed to “acknowledge its contributions to destabilization and regime change in the region.” Harris responded to criticism from both Republicans and members of her own party, saying: “I’m really clear: We have to deal with the root causes and that is my hope. Period.” (NPR / Politico / ABC News / NBC News)

8/ The Biden administration moved to repeal a Trump-era rule that ended federal protections for hundreds of thousands of streams and wetlands. The Trump-era rule narrowed the types of waterways that qualify for federal protection under the Clean Water Act. EPA Administrator Michael Regan said his team determined that the Trump administration’s rollback is “leading to significant environmental degradation.” (Washington Post / Associated Press / Politico)

9/ House Democrats reintroduced legislation that would protect abortion access even if Roe v. Wade were weakened or overturned. The Women’s Health Protection Act would guarantee the right for health care professionals to provide abortion care and prohibit state and federal lawmakers from imposing certain limits on abortion care, including mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods, and admitting privileges requirements. The bill was first introduced in 2013, but has never received a vote in either chamber. (NBC News)

poll/ 47% of Americans say abortion is morally acceptable, while 46% say it’s morally wrong. Overall, 48% of Americans believe abortion should be legal “only under certain circumstances,” while 32% favor it being legal “under any circumstances,” and 19% think it should be “illegal in all circumstances.” (Gallup)

poll/ 29% of Republican voters think it’s likely that Trump will be reinstated as president this year. Overall, 72% of voters say they believe America’s democracy is currently being threatened, including 82% of Republicans, 77% of Democrats, and 72% of independents. (Morning Consult)

Day 140: "Planned in plain sight."

1/ Biden’s Justice Department will continue to defend Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of raping her 25 years ago. In a brief filed with a federal appeals court, the Justice Department argued that it should be permitted to substitute itself for Trump as defendant. The Justice Department, however, insisted that it did not endorse Trump’s “crude and disrespectful” remarks about Carroll, but instead argued that Trump could not be sued for defamation because he had made the statements as part of his official duties as president. Last September, the Justice Department and then-Attorney General William Barr intervened on Trump’s behalf to transfer the lawsuit from state court to federal court, substituting the federal government for Trump as the defendant. (CNN / Politico / New York Times / BuzzFeed News)

2/ The Koch network pressured Joe Manchin to oppose Biden’s key legislative items, including filibuster reform and the For the People Act. In a video series from Americans for Prosperity, a Koch super PAC, grassroots supporters were encouraged to push Manchin to “Reject Washington’s Partisan Agenda” and oppose his party’s own legislative priorities, including the idea of eliminating the filibuster, the For the People Act, and packing the Supreme Court. (CNBC)

3/ Capitol Police had intelligence that Trump supporters planned to attack the Capitol at least two weeks before the Jan. 6 riot but failed to act on the threats. In a joint report from the Senate Rules and Administration and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees, the bipartisan investigation found that Capitol Police intelligence officers knew as early as Dec. 21 that pro-Trump extremists were threatening violence, including plans to “storm the Capitol,” infiltrate the tunnel system, and “bring guns.” The information was only shared with command officers. “The failure to adequately assess the threat of violence on that day contributed significantly to the breach of the Capitol,” Sen. Gary Peters said, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “The attack was quite frankly planned in plain sight.” (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)

4/ Trump’s impeachment lawyers are defending at least three people charged in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Michael van der Veen is defending a member of the Oath Keepers that helped plan and participate in storming the Capitol. Bruce Castor, meanwhile, is representing a mother and daughter who failed to follow repeated police orders to disperse in violation of a curfew. During Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, van der Veen and Castor argued that those who participated in the riot deserve “robust and swift investigation and prosecution.” (NPR)

5/ Senate Republicans are blocking the confirmation for Biden’s nominee to lead the federal personnel agency because of her support for abortion rights and critical race theory, an academic framework centered on the idea that racism is systemic. The delay on Kiran Ahuja’s nomination to lead the Office of Personnel Management is being led by Sen. Josh Hawley, who is a dipshit. (Washington Post)

6/ The Biden administration determined that more than 3,900 children were separated from their families after the Trump administration implemented its “zero-tolerance policy.” The report from the Biden administration’s Family Reunification Task Force also found that fewer than 60 families are now in the process of being reunited. Nearly 400 children have been repatriated to their country of origin. (ABC News)

7/ The Biden administration threatened to sue Texas if its Republican Governor Greg Abbott moves forward with plans to close more than 50 shelters housing about 4,000 migrant children. Abbott issued a disaster declaration last week, which directed a state agency to “take all necessary steps” to deny or discontinue licenses for child care facilities sheltering migrant children within 90 days. (CBS News)

8/ New audio reveals how Rudy Giuliani pressured the Ukrainian government in 2019 to investigate baseless conspiracies about Biden. During the roughly 40-minute, July 2019 phone call between Giuliani, U.S. diplomat Kurt Volker, and Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Giuliani repeatedly pressed Yermak to have Zelensky publicly announce investigations into possible corruption by Biden in Ukraine, and into claims that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election to hurt Trump. Both claims are untrue. “All we need from the President [Zelensky] is to say […] he’s gonna investigate and dig up the evidence, that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election, and then the Biden thing has to be run out,” Giuliani said, according to the audio. The call was a precursor to Trump’s July 25, 2019, call with Zelensky, where he pressured the Ukrainian president eight times to investigate Biden and his son. (CNN)

poll/ 70% of Americans support same-sex marriage – a record high. In 1996, 27% of Americans supported same-sex marriage. (Gallup)

poll/ 51% of voters support Trump’s two-year Facebook ban. Among Republicans, 15% supported the suspension, while 86% of Democrats supported Trump’s temporary ban. 46% of independent voters, however, supported the suspension with and 40% opposing it. (Politico)

Day 139: "A country that's divided."

1/ The U.S. reported an average of about 14,500 daily coronavirus cases over the past week with about 960,000 vaccinations administered each day. While more than half of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, less than a quarter of Black Americans have received their first shot. 42% of Americans overall are fully vaccinated. (CNBC / Politico)

2/ Joe Manchin vowed to block the federal election reform bill. “I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed. “Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.” The House approved the For the People Act in March with no Republican support. In the Senate, the bill would require at least 10 GOP votes or require elimination of the filibuster to be passed. Later, in a Fox News interview, Manchin called voting reform bill – which would require states to offer at least 15 days of early voting, universal access to mail-in voting, same-day registration for federal races, and make Election Day a national holiday – “the wrong piece of legislation to bring our country together and unite our country, and I’m not supporting that, because I think it would divide us more. I don’t want to be in a country that’s divided any further.” A national security adviser, meanwhile, called protecting the rights of Americans to vote is a national security issue, saying “we are not updating, refurbishing, revamping our own democratic processes and procedures to meet the needs of the modern moment.” (Politico / Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg / Axios / CNBC / Washington Post)

3/ Trump’s chief of staff repeatedly pushed the Justice Department to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories about election fraud. In five emails sent during the last week of December and early January, Mark Meadows asked Jeffrey Rosen, then the acting attorney general, to examine debunked claims of election fraud and baseless conspiracies. Rosen declined to open the investigations. (New York Times)

4/ Rep. Mo Brooks was finally served a lawsuit alleging that he and other pro-Trump allies were partially accountable for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. According to court filings, Rep. Eric Swalwell’s legal team had been trying since March to serve Brooks and had hired a private investigator to serve the suit. (CNN / Axios)

5/ The Justice Department imposed a gag order on New York Times executives over an attempt to obtain four NYT reporters’ email logs from Google, which operates the Times’s email system. Google resisted the effort to obtain the information, and the secret legal battle, which began during the Trump administration and continued under Biden, was ultimately unsuccessful. A federal court lifted the gag order on Friday, which had been in effect since March 3. The disclosure came two days after the Biden Justice Department notified the four reporters that the Trump administration in 2020 had secretly seized their phone records from early 2017. The Biden administration, meanwhile, disavowed any knowledge that the Justice Department tried to seize the email data of four New York Times reporters and had obtained a gag order. (New York Times)

6/ The Justice Department said it would no longer secretly obtain reporters’ records during government leak investigations. In a statement, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said that “in a change to its longstanding practice,” the department “will not seek compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs.” The reversal follows the recent disclosures that the Trump Justice Department had used court orders to obtain phone and email records for reporters at the Washington Post, CNN, and the New York Times. (Associated Press / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

7/ The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that thousands of immigrants living in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons are not eligible to apply to become permanent residents. The decision is a setback for as many as 400,000 immigrants in the U.S. who have Temporary Protected Status from deportation because of unsafe conditions in their home countries. The House, meanwhile, has already has passed legislation that would make it possible for TPS recipients to become permanent residents. The bill, however, faces uncertain prospects in the Senate. (Associated Press / Washington Post / ABC News / CNN)

8/ Earth’s atmospheric carbon dioxide hit levels not seen in more than 4 million years. According to scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and NOAA, atmospheric carbon dioxide peaked in May 2020, reaching a monthly average of nearly 419 parts per million – the highest levels in human history. In 2021, daily levels recorded have twice exceeded 420 parts per million. Despite the sharp decrease in global greenhouse gas emissions early in the pandemic, NOAA said there was “no discernible impact” on the rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (Axios / Washington Post / USA Today)

Day 136: "This is progress."

1/ The economy added 559,000 jobs last month – double April’s total. The unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.1%. Despite the gains, the U.S. has only replaced two-thirds of the jobs lost last year – about 7.4 million jobs shy of where it was February 2020. Biden defended the job gains, which were less than the 650,000 jobs economists had predicted, saying “you can’t reboot the world’s largest economy like flipping on a light switch […] This is progress that’s pulling our economy out of the worst crisis in the last 100 years.” Biden added: “We’re on the right track. Our plan is working. And we’re not going to let up now.” (CNN / NPR / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC)

2/ CDC Director Rochelle Walensky urged parents to vaccinate their teenagers against Covid-19, citing a rise in the number of teens hospitalized with the disease. The number of hospitalizations related to Covid-19 among U.S. teens in March and April was about three times greater than hospitalizations rates during three recent flu seasons. “Much of this suffering can be prevented,” Walensky said. “Vaccination is our way out of this pandemic.” Meanwhile, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the No. 2 official at the CDC, said the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic “wasn’t a good performance,” and there’s still “a lot of work to do to get better prepared for the next one.” Schuchat is retiring this summer after 33 years at the agency. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR)

3/ Former White House counsel Don McGahn testified before the House Judiciary Committee about Trump’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation – two years after House Democrats originally sought his testimony. The committee first asked to interview McGahn in 2019, but the Trump White House blocked him from appearing, citing a Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel opinion. McGahn was the most-cited witness in the Mueller report. (Associated Press / NPR / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

4/ The senior vice president and controller at the Trump Organization testified before a special grand jury convened by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Jeff McConney is among a number of witnesses that have already appeared before the special grand jury, which will decide whether criminal charges are warranted against Trump, his company, or employees. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has been investigating whether Trump inflated the value of assets to obtain bank loans and deflated the value of those same assets for tax breaks. (ABC News)

5/ Pence called the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot attack on the U.S. Capitol “a dark day in the history of the United States” and that he doubts he’ll ever see “eye to eye” with Trump on the event. Despite distancing himself from Trump, Pence said he was “proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.” Pence then accused Democrats of using the riot to divide the country to “advance their radical agenda,” including what he called “the left-wing myth of systemic racism.” Two days after Biden attended a commemoration the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Pence asserted that “America is not a racist country.” (Politico / New York Times / NPR / NBC News / CNN)

6/ Trump’s Facebook account will remain suspended until at least January 2023 and will only be reinstated “if the risk to public safety has receded.” The decision came after Facebook’s Oversight Board said the platform was justified in removing Trump’s account following the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, but that it had been wrong to impose an indefinite ban. Facebook said that when the suspension is “eventually” lifted, Trump would be subject to a set of “rapidly escalating sanctions” for further violations, including the permanent suspension of his account. Meanwhile, Trump – in an emailed statement – complained that the “ruling is an insult” and that the social media company “shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing.” In a second emailed statement, Trump vowed not to dine privately with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg the “next time I’m in the White House,” adding: “It will be all business!” (Politico / NPR / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)

Day 135: "To no avail."

1/ Confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. have fallen to the lowest level since March 2020, when the pandemic began. The U.S. averaged roughly 16,860 new cases per day over the past week, and new cases declined in 43 states, while holding steady elsewhere. (NBC News / Axios)

2/ Unemployment claims fell below 400,000 for the first time since March 2020. 385,000 people, however, filed for first time unemployment benefits last week, and continuing claims rose by 169,000 to 3.77 million. (CNBC)

3/ The Biden administration outlined its plan for donating an initial 25 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to help low- and middle-income nations combat the pandemic. The U.S. will distribute about 75% of the doses through the global vaccine aid program COVAX, with the remaining 25% being sent directly to allies and “regional priorities,” including Mexico, Canada, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Egypt, and Iraq. Overall, the White House plans to donate 80 million doses by the end of June, mostly through COVAX. (Politico / New York Times / Associated Press / ABC News)

4/ Biden’s latest infrastructure counteroffer would keep Trump’s 2017 tax cuts intact in exchange for $1 trillion in new spending on top of the $400 billion in baseline spending already approved for infrastructure needs. Instead of paying for the American Jobs Plan by raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, the bipartisan infrastructure package would be financed through a 15% minimum tax on U.S. corporations and other tax proposals, including beefing up IRS audits and tax enforcement on the wealthy. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden was “absolutely not” abandoning efforts to raise the corporate rate to 28%, adding that it’s a way to “pay for a range of the bold proposals that he has put forward.” Biden has already reduced the cost of his American Jobs Plan to $1.7 trillion from $2.25 trillion. Republicans, meanwhile, have upped their offer to $928 billion from $586 billion, but their proposal only includes roughly $257 billion in new spending on top of the current $400 billion in projected federal spending. Biden wants at least $1 trillion over current levels. (Washington Post / USA Today / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Politico)

5/ The FBI is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for potential violation of campaign finance law. The investigation focuses on allegations that DeJoy pressured employees at his former company, New Breed Logistics, to make contributions to Republican candidates or attend political fundraisers, which he would then reimburse through bonuses. FBI agents have interviewed current and former employees at New Breed Logistics, and prosecutors have also issued a subpoena to DeJoy himself for information. DeJoy, meanwhile, denied he ever “knowingly violated” campaign contribution laws. (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / ABC News)

6/ Rep. Mo Brooks is reportedly avoiding a lawsuit from his colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell that seeks to hold him accountable for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Swalwell’s attorneys have hired a private investigator in order to serve the lawsuit that alleges he and other pro-Trump allies were “responsible for the injury and destruction” of the Capitol. The investigator reportedly “has spent many hours over many days” since April searching for Brooks, “to no avail.” (CNN / Axios)

7/ The Justice Department is investigating whether Rep. Matt Gaetz obstructed justice when he called a witness in a potential sex crimes investigation. The obstruction probe stems from an inquiry about whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her travels with him. The witness is one of the women allegedly connected to Gaetz through his “wingman” Joel Greenberg, a Florida tax collector who pleaded guilty to several crimes, including the sex-trafficking of a 17-year-old girl in 2017. While Gaetz has denied all wrongdoing, including obstructing justice or having sex with the trafficked 17-year-old, Greenberg struck a plea deal with prosecutors last month and is cooperating with authorities in the investigation. (Politico / NBC News / CNN / CNBC)

8/ The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of four New York Times reporters in 2017 as part of a leak investigation. The Justice Department informed the paper that it had seized the phone records of Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael Schmidt spanning nearly four months in 2017. The department also secured a court order to seize phone logs – but not the contents – of their emails, but “no records were obtained.” Last month, the Biden Justice Department disclosed that the Trump administration had also seized the phone logs of reporters at the Washington Post, and the phone and email logs for a CNN reporter. (New York Times / Washington Post)

Day 134: "My Republican friends."

1/ Biden declared June a “national month of action” to meet his goal of having 70% of U.S. adults at least partially vaccinated and 160 million adults fully vaccinated by the Fourth of July. Just under 63% of American adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The administration announced a raft of new initiatives to encourage Americans to get vaccinated, including free child care for parents and caregivers while they get their shots, as well as a national canvassing effort to work with churches, colleges, businesses, and celebrities. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times / CNBC)

2/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott defended the restrictive voting bill that failed to pass, while attacking Biden for his comments that the Texas voting bill is “part of an assault on democracy.” Abbott called the Texas voter law “far more accommodative and provides far more hours to vote than it does in President Biden’s home state of Delaware.” The state of Delaware does not currently have early voting, but new state law will allow for 10 days of early voting starting next year. Abbott added: “If there’s any voter suppression taking place, the easier allegation is say that voter suppression has taken place in Delaware, not Texas.” (Dallas Morning News)

  • Texas Republicans blamed a typographical error for a controversial provision in the failed voting bill, which would have limited voting on Sundays to the hours between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Critics, however, say the provision would hurt get-out-the-vote efforts by Black churches. Despite no Republicans raising an issue with the start time during final debate over the bill last month, Republicans insisted that the 1 p.m. start time was an error and that it should have been 11 a.m. Republicans say they plan to use a special session to change the provision. (NBC News / Texas Tribune)

3/ Biden tapped Harris to lead the administration’s efforts to protect voting rights. The move comes as several Republican-led state legislatures have pushed to enact voting restrictions, which Biden called an “unprecedented assault” on democracy. Harris said the administration “will not stand by when confronted with any effort that keeps Americans from voting.” Biden also vowed that his administration would “fight like heck” to enact the For the People Act, which would expand voting rights and change campaign finance rules. The bill already passed the House, but has stalled in the Senate, where Democrats need the support of at least 10 Republicans to overcome a filibuster. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, continues to protect the filibuster, while refusing to support the voting rights bill. (CBS News / NPR / New York Times)

4/ Biden called out Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for aligning too closely with Republicans and blocking efforts to pass the voting rights bill and other priorities. “I hear all the folks on TV saying, ‘Why doesn’t Biden get this done?’” Biden said. “Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.” Sinema and Manchin have frustrated Democrats with their defense of the filibuster as Republican-led state governments have moved to place new limits on voting. While Sinema is a sponsor of the voting rights bill, Manchin has refused to sign on, calling the measure “too broad.” (Washington Post / Yahoo News / Business Insider)

5/ Trump permanently shut down his blog after 29 days, frustrated by the lack of readership, which made him reportedly “look small and irrelevant.” The “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” blog was Trump’s attempt at influencing news coverage now that he’s out of office and still banned from Twitter and Facebook. (New York Times / CNBC)

Day 133: "An assault on democracy."

1/ Biden issued a presidential proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month, saying he “will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law.” The White House noted that “after four years of relentless attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic actions to accelerate the march toward full LGBTQ+ equality.” On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to protect LGBTQ people under federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex. Biden also reversed the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people openly enlisting and serving in the military, and issued an executive order expanding Title IX to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination. (NBC News / New York Times)

2/ The Biden administration suspended oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, undoing a move made by the Trump administration late last year. The Interior Department said a review of the Trump administration’s leasing program in the wildlife refuge found “multiple legal deficiencies,” including “insufficient analysis” required by environmental laws and a failure to assess alternatives. Last week, however, Justice Department attorneys defended a Trump-era oil and gas project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska – an area that lies to the west of ANWR. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

3/ Texas Democrats abandoned the state House floor late Sunday night to block a vote on one of the most restrictive voting bills in the nation. Republicans faced a midnight deadline to approve the measure, which would have made it harder to vote by mail, limited early voting hours, empowered partisan poll watchers, and made it easier to overturn election results. Democrats staged the walkout with an hour left for the Legislature to approve the bill, leaving the House without a quorum needed to take a vote. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he would order a special legislative session to revive the measure. Biden, meanwhile, called the restrictive voting bill “un-American” and “an assault on democracy.” (Texas Tribune / Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times)

4/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to defund the state Legislature after House Democrats staged a walkout to block one of his top legislative priorities. “No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities,” Abbott tweeted, pledging to veto the section of the state budget that funds the legislative branch. “Stay tuned.” Abbott has until June 20 to carry out the veto. (Texas Tribune / New York Times / NBC News / NPR / Washington Post)

5/ More than 100 scholars of democracy warned that “our entire democracy is now at risk” as a result of Republican-led states proposing or implementing “radical changes” to election laws. The public “Statement of Concern” calls on Senate Democrats to reform or kill the filibuster in order to pass the For the People Act, which already passed the House. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, has repeatedly pledged to protect the filibuster and has refused to sign on to the voting rights bill, calling the legislation “too darn broad” and partisan. The scholars conclude: “History will judge what we do at this moment.” (New York Times / Forbes / Washington Post)

6/ The Justice Department asked a federal judge to dismiss lawsuits against Trump, former attorney general William Barr, and other officials for using U.S. military and police to violently clear peaceful protestors from Lafayette Square last June so Trump could hold a Bible in front of St. John’s Church for photographs to dispel the notion that he was “weak” for hiding in a bunker. Justice Department lawyers argued that the lawsuits from the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, other civil liberties groups, and individual protesters should be dismissed because the Biden administration does not share Trump’s hostility toward George Floyd and the racial justice movement. An attorney for DC Police, meanwhile, said in court that the department used tear gas on protesters around Lafayette Square Park last June. It was the first time MPD admitted that tear gas was used on peaceful protestors. (Washington Post / WUSA 9)

7/ The Justice Department added four new defendants to the federal criminal conspiracy case against the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group that participated in the pro-Trump riot on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol. (CNN)

8/ Trump has reportedly been telling confidants that he expects to be reinstated as president by August as a result of ongoing election audits in states like Arizona and Georgia. Meanwhile, at a QAnon conference, Trump’s first national security adviser called for a Myanmar-like military coup in America. Michael Flynn later claimed that he didn’t endorse a coup despite video of him supporting the idea, and saying “it should happen here.” Trump pardoned Flynn in November after he lost the election. Sidney Powell, the lawyer who is being sued for $1.3 billion by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation over her claims that the company rigged the election against Trump, told conference attendees Trump “can simply be reinstated,” despite there being no constitutional or legal remedy to overturn election results that have been certified by Congress. (New York Times – Maggie Haberman / Business Insider / Yahoo News / CNN / HuffPost)

Day 129: "Short-term political gain."

1/ Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, using their filibuster power in the Senate for the first time during Biden’s presidency. The vote was 54 in favor, 35 against, and 11 senators not voting — short of the 60 needed to proceed. Six Republicans voted in favor of proceeding with the legislation. Prior to the vote, McConnell reportedly asked his Republican Senate colleagues to filibuster the bill as “a personal favor” to him, dismissing the proposed commission – modeled after the 9/11 Commission – as a “purely political exercise.” Sen. Joe Manchin said there were “an awful lot of other Republicans that would have supported” the commission “if it hadn’t been for [McConnell’s] intervention,” guessing that “13 or 14” GOP senators might have voted for the bill. Manchin, however, reaffirmed that he would not reconsider his opposition to getting rid of the filibuster. Sen. Lisa Murkowski also took aim at McConnell over his opposition to the commission, saying: “To be making a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us on Jan. 6, I think we need to look at that critically. Is that really what this is about, one election cycle after another?” (New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Politico / NBC News / Bloomberg / Axios / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

2/ Senate Republicans delayed passage of a $195 billion bipartisan bill aimed at countering China’s global economic and political influence. A small group of conservative senators complained they didn’t have time to review the more than 2,400 pages of the American Innovation and Competition Act. The vote was postponed until June 8, when senators return from a weeklong Memorial Day recess. (New York Times / Associated Press / CBS News)

3/ The Biden administration defended a Trump-era oil and gas project in Alaska. The administration declined to explain how its position on the multibillion-dollar plan from ConocoPhillips to drill in part of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska aligns with Biden’s pledge to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030, replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, and enhance protections for public lands and waters. The Arctic, meanwhile, is warming three times faster than the rest of the planet due to climate change. ConocoPhillips plans to install “chillers” to refreeze the thawing permafrost to ensure it’s stable enough to support the equipment needed to drill for oil, which will likely accelerate climate change when burned and the further melting of the permafrost. The project was pushed by Alaskan Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a centrist Republican seen as a potential administration ally in the evenly split Senate. (New York Times / Politico / The Guardian)

4/ Biden ordered the 90-day review into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic after intelligence officials told the White House they had unexamined evidence that required additional analysis. Officials declined to describe the evidence, but they’re reportedly “hoping to apply an extraordinary amount of computer power to the question of whether the virus accidentally leaked from a Chinese laboratory.” (New York Times)

5/ Hackers linked to Russian intelligence hacked the email system used by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Once compromised, hackers sent USAID-like emails to more than 3,000 accounts across more than 150 organizations with code that gave hackers access to the computer systems of the recipients, from “stealing data to infecting other computers on a network.” Those emails went out as recently as this week, and Microsoft, which identified the Russian group behind the attack as Nobelium, said it believes the attacks are ongoing. Microsoft also said it was the same group responsible for the SolarWinds hack, which breached at least seven government agencies and hundreds of large American companies. (New York Times)

6/ Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Ukrainian officials attempted to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, including using Rudy Giuliani to spread misleading claims about Biden to help Trump. The FBI and Brooklyn prosecutors are focused on current and former Ukrainian officials suspected of trying to influence the election by spreading unsubstantiated claims of corruption about Biden through several channels. The inquiry began during the final months of the Trump administration. Giuliani’s dealings with Ukrainian oligarchs while working as Trump’s lawyer are also the subject of an investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. Federal agents seized Giuliani’s phone and computers while executive a search warrant in April. (New York Times)

7/ A federal judge appointed a so-called “special master” to review material seized from Rudy Giuliani and another lawyer through a search warrant. The special master will review files on electronic devices seized from Giuliani and Victoria Toensing for material that is potentially privileged. U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken also denied a series of requests by Giuliani and Toensing to return the trove of digital information the FBI seized as part of the investigation into potential violations of laws on lobbying for foreign entities. (Politico / ABC News / CNBC)

poll/ 73% of Republicans blame “left-wing protesters trying to make Trump look bad” for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. 23% of Republicans, however, say Trump bears “some” or “a great deal” of the blame for the riot that left several people dead and more than 140 injured. (Yahoo News)

poll/ 23% of Republicans agree that “the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation,” 28% agree that “there is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders,” and 28% agree that “because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.” Among all Americans, fewer than 20% agree with those statements. (PRRI / CNN)

Day 128: "No excuse."

1/ Senate Republicans are expected to use the filibuster to block the establishment of a bipartisan, independent commission to study the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot at the Capitol, which led to the deaths of five people and about 140 police officers injured. In the House, 35 Republicans backed the bill last week. Fewer than 10 Senate Republicans are expected to support the bill, likely making it the first successful use of a filibuster during the Biden administration. Sen. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, said “there is no excuse for any Republican to vote against” legislation to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. But when asked if he would vote to eliminate the filibuster to allow the commission bill to pass with 51 votes, Manchin replied that while it was “frustrating” to see Republicans opposed to the bill, he is “not willing to destroy our government.” (CNN / Associated Press / Washington Post / Politico / CBS News / ABC News / NBC News)

2/ A federal judge warned that Trump’s “steady drumbeat” of false claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him could inspire his supporters to take up arms, as they did during the Capitol insurrection. Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote: “The steady drumbeat that inspired defendant to take up arms has not faded away; six months later, the canard that the election was stolen is being repeated daily on major news outlets and from the corridors of power in state and federal government, not to mention in the near-daily fulminations of the former President.” Separately, Trump and Rudy Giuliani asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to incite the Capitol violence. At a pre-riot rally near the Capitol, Trump called on his followers to march to the Capitol and told them: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Giuliani, during the same rally, called for “trial by combat.” (CNN / CNBC)

3/ Senate Republicans offered a $928 billion infrastructure proposal to counter Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which was initially valued at $2.3 trillion. The $928 billion plan is an increase from the GOP’s original, five-year $568 billion proposal. It would not raise taxes, but instead be funded through repurposing unused Covid-19 relief money, an idea that Democrats are opposed to. The $928 billion plan falls short, however, of the White House’s latest $1.7 trillion compromise proposal. Senate Republicans have also made the definition of infrastructure a sticking point in negotiations. (Politico / Washington Post / NPR / CNN / ABC News / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

4/ Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget for the 2022 fiscal year – the highest sustained federal spending since World War II – with annual deficits of more than $1.3 trillion over the next decade. The budget contains no new major policies, but instead reflects the policies that Biden has already introduced, including the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, and $1.5 trillion in proposed discretionary spending. The White House budget projects that the U.S. economy will grow by about 5% in 2021 and 4.3% in 2022, before leveling off at around 2% for the rest of the decade, after inflation. Biden’s budget also assumes that his proposed capital gains tax rate increase took effect in April, meaning that it’s too late for very-high-income households to realize gains at the lower tax rates if Congress approves the change and retroactive effective date. (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN)

5/ The Senate voted 68-30 to advance the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a bill to address China’s growing economic and geopolitical influence with a $250 billion investment in American technology, science, and research. After the Senate voted on 18 amendments – 14 of them from GOP senators – the vote was further delayed as Republicans threatened to filibuster the bill unless they got more votes on GOP amendments. The bill still faces additional debate before a final vote is held on passage. (Axios / Politico / Bloomberg / CNN / Reuters)

6/ Biden urged Congress to pass stricter gun control measures after eight people were killed during a mass shooting at a Northern California rail yard. “Enough,” Biden said in a statement. “Once again, I urge Congress to take immediate action and heed the call of the American people, including the vast majority of gun owners, to help end this epidemic of gun violence in America.” (NBC News / CNN / Los Angeles Times)

Day 127: "Closer to a definitive conclusion."

1/ Biden directed the intelligence community to “redouble” its efforts to determine the origin of the coronavirus pandemic after a new report highlighted how three scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in November 2019 after developing symptoms consistent with Covid-19. Biden tasked the intelligence community with preparing a report within 90 days “on their most up-to-date analysis of the origins of Covid-19, including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident,” in order to “bring us closer to a definitive conclusion.” In the statement Biden said the majority of the intelligence community had “coalesced” around those two scenarios, but “do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.” (Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press / CNBC / Politico)

2/ New York prosecutors convened a special grand jury to consider evidence in the criminal investigation into Trump’s business dealings. The panel, convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, is expected to decide whether to indict Trump, executives at the Trump Organization or the business itself. Vance’s investigation has scrutinized Trump’s relationship with his lenders and whether he manipulated the valuation of his assets for tax benefits. The grand jury will sit for three days a week for six months, and likely hear matters beyond the Trump Organization investigation. One adviser said there’s “a cloud of nerves” hanging over Trump. (Washington Post / Associated Press / CNN / Politico)

3/ Manhattan prosecutors told at least one witness to prepare for grand jury testimony related to the criminal case against Trump, his company, and its executives. (ABC News / CNN)

4/ U.S. troops and their NATO allies are set to be out of Afghanistan by early to mid-July – well ahead of Biden’s Sept. 11 deadline. The Pentagon, however, doesn’t have a plan to counter terrorist threats from groups like Al Qaeda or the Islamic State after troops leave, nor does it have a plan for ensuring security for Kabul’s international airport, which could jeopardize all diplomatic missions in Afghanistan. In addition, Defense Department officials haven’t secured agreements about repositioning American troops in nearby countries and haven’t decided whether American warplanes will continue to provide air support to Afghan forces to prevent cities from falling to the Taliban. (New York Times)

5/ Biden ousted four members of the Commission of Fine Arts, which is tasked with advising on “matters of design and aesthetics” in the nation’s capital. The seven-member independent federal agency consisted entirely of commissioners appointed by Trump. Last year, Trump signed an executive order requiring “beautiful” architecture as the preferred style for federal buildings. (CNN)

poll/ 85% of Republicans would prefer to see candidates running for office that mostly agree with Trump. 66% of Republicans say they think that Biden’s victory was not legitimate. (Quinnipiac)

Day 126: "Appalling."

1/ The Justice Department appealed a district court ruling that ordered it to release the entire memo used in 2019 to justify not charging Trump with obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson accused the Justice Department and then-Attorney General William Barr of being “disingenuous to this court” when describing Robert Mueller’s findings about why he decided not to pursue obstruction charges. Jackson ordered the entire document released. The Justice Department, however, released a partially unredacted version of the Office of Legal Counsel memo – a page and a half were made public. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Politico)

2/ Trump’s former White House counsel agreed to testify behind closed doors about Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation. Donald McGahn will testify before the House Judiciary Committee next week about his role as a key witness in the Mueller report. A transcript of the interview will be released afterward. In 2019, the Trump White House invoked executive privilege and ordered McGahn not to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents related to Mueller’s investigation. McGahn spent more than 30 hours speaking to Mueller’s investigators, outlining two episodes where Trump asked him to have Mueller fired, and later asking McGahn to deny news reports about that conversation. McGahn rebuffed both requests. (New York Times / CNN / NBC News)

3/ New York federal prosecutors investigating Rudy Giuliani seized email and iCloud accounts they believe belong to two former Ukranian government officials, as well as the cell phone and iPad of a pro-Trump Ukrainian businessman. The attorney for Lev Parnas, an indicted former Giuliani ally, wrote in a court filing that the evidence seized “likely includes e-mail, text, and encrypted communications” between Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, Trump, William Barr, “high-level members of the Justice Department, Presidential impeachment attorneys Jay Sekulow, Jane Raskin and others, Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Devin Nunes and others, relating to the timing of the arrest and indictment of the defendants as a means to prevent potential disclosures to Congress in the first impeachment inquiry of then-President Donald. J. Trump.” The court filing also disclosed that federal prosecutors have “historical and prospective cell site information” related to Giuliani and Toensing – both were the subjects of search warrants executed last month. The court filing contained redacted portions, which could be read by copying and pasting them into another document. (CNN)

4/ Trump responded to a lawsuit seeking to hold him accountable for the Jan. 6 insurrection, saying he is protected under the First Amendment and had “absolute immunity” while President to contest the election. Trump argued that encouraging his supporters to oppose Congress from certifying the vote during the political rally on Jan. 6 was a constitutionally protected act of the presidency. The court filing was in response to a lawsuit from Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell alleging that Trump “directly incited the violence” by putting out “a clear call to action” and then “watched approvingly as the building was overrun.” (CNN)

5/ Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell both condemned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for comparing Covid-19 safety measures to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. “Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling,” McCarthy said. “Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language.” McConnell remarked that Greene’s words were “once again an outrageous and reprehensible comment.” The GOP leaders, however, both stopped short of calling for any formal discipline. Greene, a QAnon conspiracy theorist, was stripped of her committee assignments earlier this year over comments she made before being elected, including calling school shootings a hoax, and endorsing executing Democratic leaders and federal agents. (NPR / Wall Street Journal / USA Today / CNBC)

6/ Moderna said its Covid-19 vaccine provided strong protection in teens ages 12 to 17 in a late-stage trial, and plans to submit the data to U.S. regulators in early June. If authorized, the vaccine would become the second shot available for adolescents as young as 12. The FDA previously expanded authorization of Pfizer’s shot to include kids ages 12 to 15. (Politico / Washington Post)

7/ Half of the adults in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. “This is a major milestone in our country’s vaccination efforts,” Andy Slavitt, a White House senior adviser on the Covid-19 response, said. “The number was 1% when we entered office Jan. 20.” Biden set a goal of getting 70% of adults to receive at least their first dose by the Fourth of July. Nearly 5 million adolescents have also received at least one dose of the vaccine. (NPR / CNBC)

8/ The Department of Homeland Security will issue security directives requiring pipeline operators to report cyber incidents to federal authorities. The planned directives follow the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, which forced a shutdown that triggered a spike in gas prices and shortages in parts of the Southeast for 11 days. The directives will also require each company to designate a point person for cybersecurity. The Transportation Security Administration created pipeline-security guidelines more than a decade ago, but compliance has been voluntary. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

9/ Biden will meet with Putin next month in Geneva. The first face-to-face session between the two leaders will take place against the backdrop of rising tensions over Ukraine, cyberattacks, and new nuclear weapons Putin is deploying. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

poll/ 81% of Americans say they trust family and friends to be honest about their Covid-19 status. Americans, however, were less likely to trust people about their Covid-19 status outside of their close circles (38%), at sporting events or concerts (25%), indoor restaurants and bars (25%), and airports (24%). (Axios)

Day 125: "We have to be ready."

1/ Biden doubled FEMA’s budget for extreme weather preparation ahead of hurricane and wildfire season, saying “We’re going to spare no expense, no effort, to keep Americans safe and respond to crises when they arise.” The $1 billion for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program will help communities prepare for hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters. The U.S., however, logged 22 separate weather and climate-related disasters in 2020 that each exceeded $1 billion in damages. The administration will also start a new NASA initiative to develop “next generation climate data systems” to track the impact of climate change. “We all know that the storms are coming, and we’re going to be prepared,” Biden added. “We have to be ready.” (CNN / Washington Post / ABC News / New York Times)

2/ The Biden administration extended special protections for Haitians temporarily living in the U.S. after they were displaced by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in 2010. The temporary protected status designation will be in place for 18 months and could protect as many as 150,000 Haitians already living in the U.S. In 2017, the Trump administration ended temporary protected status for nearly 60,000 Haitians, forcing them to leave the U.S. And, in a meeting on immigration in 2017, Trump said Haitians “all have AIDS” and questioned why the U.S. would admit people from “shithole countries” like Haiti after lawmakers floated the idea of restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti as part of a bipartisan immigration deal. (New York Times)

3/ More than 500 Biden campaign and Democratic Party staffers called on Biden to do more to protect Palestinian human rights and “hold Israel accountable for its actions.” The letter praises Biden for helping negotiate a ceasefire, which went into effect Friday, but called for him to acknowledge the “power imbalance” and the disproportionate number of deaths caused by Israeli forces compared with those caused by Palestinian militants. More than 230 Palestinians were killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza before the ceasefire, destroying 1,500 housing and commercial units and displacing more than 75,000 people. 12 people in Israel were killed by Hamas rockets. (Washington Post / Axios)

4/ Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Belarus for faking a bomb threat in order to force down a Ryanair flight and arrest a dissident journalist. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko sent a MiG-29 fighter jet to intercept a commercial plane flying through the country’s airspace and ordered the plane to land in the capital. No bomb was found on board and Belarus’s top investigative agency said it had opened a criminal case into a false bomb threat. “This shocking act,” Blinken said, “perpetrated by the Lukashenka regime endangered the lives of more than 120 passengers, including U.S. citizens. Initial reports suggesting the involvement of the Belarusian security services and the use of Belarusian military aircraft to escort the plane are deeply concerning and require full investigation.” The European Union, meanwhile, called on all E.U. airlines to avoid flying over Belarus and ban Belarusian airlines from flying over the bloc’s airspace or landing in its airports. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ The Trump administration secretly obtained the 2017 phone and email records of a CNN correspondent. The Justice Department informed Barbara Starr in May that prosecutors had obtained her phone and email records last year for the two months between June 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017. It is unclear when the investigation was opened, and whether it happened under Jeff Sessions or William Barr. Starr was never the target of any investigation. In 2020, the Trump Justice Department also secretly obtained the phone records of three Washington Post reporters from 2017, who had covered the FBI’s Russia investigation. (CNN)

6/ Trump’s Commerce Department operated an intelligence-like agency to conduct criminal investigations into Americans’ social media posts, looking for comments critical about the administration and the census. Despite opening more than 1,000 cases, few resulted in arrests or criminal charges. The Investigations and Threat Management Service also searched employees’ offices at night and searched their emails looking for foreign influence. The Biden administration ordered ITMS to pause all criminal investigations in March, and in May suspended all activities. (Washington Post)

poll/ 58% of voters support using reconciliation to pass Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan together. 55% of voters believe Republicans should work with Biden to pass the two bills. (Data For Progress)

poll/ 53% of Republicans believe Trump is the actual President, not Biden. 87% of Republicans also believe the government should place new limits on voting to protect elections from alleged fraud. (Ipsos)

Day 121: "Not the case."

1/ The House voted to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol assault. The bill to create a bipartisan 10-person commission tasked with delivering a report on the causes and facts of the insurrection passed on a 252-to-175 vote with 35 Republicans supporting the measure. In the Senate, Democrats need 10 Republicans to join them in supporting the measure in order to reach the 60-vote threshold required for passage in the evenly divided Senate. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Axios / CNN)

2/ The House narrowly approved a $1.9 billion spending bill to fortify security at the Capitol after the Jan. 6 insurrection. The legislation was approved in a 213-212 vote after a group of Democratic progressives objected to spending millions more on the Capitol Police without more knowledge about whether some officers were complicit in the Jan. 6 riot. The funding bill, however, is unlikely to advance in the Senate, where Republicans have complained that House Democrats drafted the bill without their input. (Politico / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)

3/ Israel and Hamas agreed to a tentative cease-fire after 11 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip. Since the fighting began, the Israeli aerial and artillery campaign has killed more than 230 Palestinians – including 64 children and 38 women – and wounded another 1,620 people. The truce will take effect Friday morning. (New York Times / CNBC / USA Today / Washington Post)

4/ Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce a resolution disapproving of the U.S. sale of $735 million in weapons to Israel. The planned sale of the precision-guided weapons was approved by the Biden administration before the latest outbreak of violence between Hamas and the Israeli government. In the House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Pocan, and Rashida Tlaib introduced a similar resolution yesterday. (Washington Post / CNN)

5/ The Biden administration reinstalled the scientist responsible for producing the federal government’s definitive reports on climate change. The Trump administration removed Michael Kuperberg in November. Kuperberg coordinates climate change research across 13 federal agencies and production of the program’s National Climate Assessment. (Washington Post / HuffPost)

6/ Iowa and Texas both banned mask mandates in public schools. In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill preventing schools from mandating masks for students, employees, or members of the public. Cities or counties must also lift mask mandate restriction on businesses, although individual business owners may still require masks at their discretion. The law takes effect immediately. While in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting counties, public school districts, public health authorities, and government officials from requiring masks. Dr. Anthony Fauci, meanwhile, said many Americans are “misinterpreting” the latest CDC guidance advising that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks in most cases. “The problem is,” Fauci said, “people interpreted that as a signal that you don’t need masks anymore, which absolutely is not the case.” (Des Moines Register / CNN / Iowa Capital Dispatch / Bloomberg / NBC News)

7/ About 444,000 Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week – a pandemic-era low. The figure, however, is still well-above pre-pandemic levels. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

8/ Lawyers located the parents of 54 migrant children separated from their families by the Trump administration. The Biden administration task force, however, estimates that roughly 1,000 families remain separated. (NBC News)

9/ The New York attorney general’s office opened a criminal tax investigation into the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer. The investigation began with a referral from state tax authorities and involved Allen Weisselberg’s compensation by the Trump Organization and “whether taxes were paid on fringe benefits” from Trump, “including cars and tens of thousands of dollars in private school tuition for at least one” of Weisselberg’s grandchildren. While Weisselberg has not been accused of any wrongdoing, prosecutors are seeking to turn Weisselberg into a cooperating witness against Trump and the Trump Organization. Attorney General Letitia James notified the Trump Organization in January that it had opened an investigation into Weisselberg. (CNN / New York Times / Axios / CNBC / ABC News)

Day 120: "Offensive and humiliating."

1/ Mitch McConnell will oppose legislation to create a commission tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, making it clear that the legislation will likely not have the votes to get through the Senate. McConnell called the proposal to create a bipartisan commission – with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats – “slanted and unbalanced.” Following McConnell’s remarks, Sen. Mike Rounds, who had previously expressed support for the commission, said he no longer backed the proposal. While the bill is expected to pass the House, the measure will need 10 Senate GOP votes to even start debate and allow amendments. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill today. (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / CNN)

2/ The New York attorney general’s office opened a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization, in addition to its ongoing civil probe. New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office will join Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office in the criminal investigation, saying: “We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.” The two offices have been conducting parallel investigations for more than a year: James’ investigation had been a civil one, while Vance’s had been a criminal investigation. Both probes have focused on whether the Trump Organization and Trump deliberately inflated the value of assets and while downplaying property values for tax benefits in financial filings. Separately, Trump is also facing a criminal investigation in Georgia over whether he improperly tried to influence election officials last year. Trump, meanwhile, called the criminal probe of his company “corrupt” and “in desperate search of a crime.” (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CNBC)

3/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that prohibits abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, effectively banning most abortions in the state before many women know they are pregnant. The bill also allows any citizen to file a civil lawsuit against abortion providers, and anybody who “aids or abets” the performance of the procedure. The bill includes an exception for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest. The law takes effect in September. (Texas Tribune / Dallas Morning News / USA Today)

4/ Tennessee will require businesses and government facilities to post a sign indicating that they allow transgender people to use their bathrooms, locker rooms or changing rooms associated with their gender identity. Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the first-of-its-kind bill Monday, which LGBTQ advocacy groups called “offensive and humiliating.” Lee also signed a bill that opens public schools up to lawsuits if they allow transgender students or staff use bathrooms or locker room that match their gender identity. The bill defines a person’s sex as “a person’s immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth” and requires students and staff at public schools to only use a multi-occupancy bathroom or changing room with other people of the same “biological sex.” In addition, Lee also signed a transgender sports bill into law in March that requires students prove their sex at birth in order to play school sports. (Associated Press / NBC News / The Advocate / Insider / CNN)

5/ U.S. Capitol Police are conducting a criminal investigation related to a subpoena for information about a parody Twitter account dedicated to mocking Rep. Devin Nunes. The disclosure by the Capitol Police came a day after the Justice Department revealed that Trump’s Justice Department had used a secret grand jury subpoena in an attempt to identify the person behind the @NunesAlt account. The investigation, which is still open, reportedly involves a threat made online. Prosecutors, however, declined to identify anything specific that @NunesAlt had posted that was threatening, according to unsealed documents. (New York Times)

6/ The FBI is investigating a scheme to illegally finance Sen. Susan Collins’ 2020 re-election bid. The FBI believes a U.S. defense contractor illegally donated $150,000 to a super PAC for the Maine Republican, and then reimbursed family members for donations to Collins’ campaign. There’s no indication that Collins or her team were aware of the allegedly illegal donations. (Axios / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

Day 119: "Legitimatizing a grift."

1/ House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will oppose a bipartisan deal to form a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, saying the independent probe would be “duplicative” of federal law enforcement efforts and “potentially counterproductive.” The formation of a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission, which was negotiated by the top Republican and Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, had been delayed for months, because Republicans insisted that the investigation be expanded to include violence by far-left protesters last summer. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “disappointing but not surprising” to see the “cowardice on the part of some on the Republican side” who do not “want to find the truth.” The Biden administration, meanwhile, issued a statement in support of the commission, saying: “The nation deserves such a full and fair accounting to prevent future violence and strengthen the security and resilience of our democratic institutions.” (Axios / Wall Street Journal / CNN / CNBC / ABC News / Politico)

2/ The Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors called on the GOP-led state Senate to end the recount of the 2020 election, saying the audit is a “sham” and a “con.” After Trump’s false allegations that fraud cost him the 2020 election, state Senate President Karen Fann used the Senate’s subpoena power to take possession of ballots and voting machines from Maricopa County. Fann then hired Cyber Ninjas, a firm owned by a Trump supporter who has promoted election conspiracies, to conduct an audit. Fann claims that Cyber Ninjas identified “serious problems” with the recount. The county’s five supervisors called the audit a “spectacle that is harming all of us,” with Board Chairman Jack Sellers accusing Fann of making an “attempt at legitimatizing a grift disguised as an audit.” (Washington Post / Associated Press)

3/ The House passed legislation to address hate crimes directed at Asian-Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic. The legislation directs the Justice Department to expedite the review of Covid-related hate crimes, especially those targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, encourages the creation of state-run hate crime hotlines, and provides grants to law enforcement agencies to train officers to identify hate crimes. The vote was 364-62, with only Republicans in opposition. The measure now heads to the White House for Biden’s signature. (NBC News / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

4/ Researchers have found that climate change caused an estimated $8 billion in excess flooding damage during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and affected an additional 70,000 people. Sea levels at the tip of Manhattan have risen about 8 inches since 1950, according to NOAA, and water levels could rise by more than a foot in New York City by midcentury, compared with the year 2000. Superstorm Sandy caused an estimated $70 billion in total damages, mostly from flooding, due to human-induced sea-level rise. (NPR)

5/ Trump’s Justice Department used a secret grand jury subpoena in an attempt to identify the person behind a Twitter account dedicated to mocking Rep. Devin Nunes. The California Republican also attempted to sue the owners of two parody accounts, one pretending to be his cow and the other his mother, and Twitter itself in 2019, claiming that the nameless critics had tried to “intimidate” him and “intended to generate and proliferate false and defamatory statements.” Twitter fought the subpoena and questioned whether the Justice Department might be abusing federal criminal law enforcement power to retaliate against a critic of a close ally of Trump. The DOJ request was later withdrawn after Biden took office. The person who operates the @NunesAlt account, meanwhile tweeted “why am I being sued by a US congressman? Why would the DOJ ever target me? Is it the mean tweets and bad memes?” (New York Times / Washington Post)

Day 118: "Grave concern."

1/ The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to a Mississippi law that prohibits nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will be the first abortion case since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation last October, who is an outspoken opponent of abortion. The case directly challenges Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, and the court said it will specifically review the question of whether states can ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb. The Mississippi law would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with narrow exceptions made for medical emergencies or cases in which there is a “severe fetal abnormality,” but not for instances of rape or incest. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / Vox / CBS News)

2/ The U.S. will send at least 20 million doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccine abroad by the end of June. The 20 million doses are in addition to Biden’s previous commitment to send 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries once the vaccine is cleared for use by the FDA. It’s unclear which countries will receive the doses, but Biden promised to “not use our vaccines to secure favors from other countries.” (New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN)

3/ The Biden administration approved the sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel. Congress was formally notified of the intended sale on May 5, and lawmakers have 15 days to object with a nonbinding resolution of disapproval. Lawmakers, however, are not expected to object to the deal despite violence between Israel and Palestinian militants, but more than 25 Democratic senators called for an immediate ceasefire to “prevent further loss of life and further escalation of violence.” Biden, meanwhile, “expressed his support” for a cease-fire in a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as fighting entered its eighth day, with more than 200 people dead, most of them Palestinians in Gaza. The U.S. also blocked a unanimous statement by the 15-nation U.N. Security Council expressing “grave concern” over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the loss of civilian lives. It was the third time the U.S. blocked the Security Council statement. (Washington Post / Associated Press /Reuters / CNN / New York Times / NPR / NBC News / Axios)

4/ About 39 million American families will start receiving monthly child tax credit payments starting July 15. The payments, which are part of the expanded child tax credit program in the American Rescue Plan, provide up to $300 a month for each child under 6, and up to $250 a month for each child 6 to 17 years old. The Biden administration estimates that more than 65 million children — or 88% of all U.S. kids nationwide — will receive the benefit. (Washington Post / NBC News / Politico)

5/ Attorneys for Rudy Giuliani accused federal authorities of treating Trump’s former personal attorney “as if he was the head of a drug cartel or a terrorist” after learning that investigators had obtained access to his iCloud account with an undisclosed 2019 search warrant. FBI agents also executed a search warrant in April and seized Giuliani’s electronic devices. Federal prosecutors asked the U.S. Southern District of New York to appoint a special master to review the evidence and filter out whatever information may be covered by attorney-client privilege. Lawyers for Giuliani said the material seized from covert 2019 search was illegal and suggested the search warrants executed in April were the “fruit of this poisoned tree.” In 2019, Giuliani and other trump allies sought damaging information on Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, which became a central part of Trump’s first impeachment proceeding. (Daily Beast / CNN / Washington Post / CNBC)

Day 115: "Very concerning."

1/ The House Homeland Security Committee agreed to create a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The legislation would create a 10-person panel – half appointed by Democrats, including the chair, and half by Republicans – to conduct an investigation, make recommendations, and issue a final report by the end of the year. Subpoenas would require bipartisan support. The deal had been stalled for months since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi first proposed a 9/11-type commission, with both House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell concerned about the scope of the investigation. Pelosi wanted the panel to focus only on Jan. 6 and the groups that participated in the riot, but Republicans insisted that the scope include political violence by the far-left during protests against police brutality last year. McCarthy was noncommittal about whether he supports the commission, and in response to being told that the commission would be limited in scope to the Jan. 6 riot, he replied: “That’s very concerning to me.” (NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg / NPR / Washington Post)

2/ House Republicans elected Rep. Elise Stefanik as their new No. 3 leader, replacing Rep. Liz Cheney with a Trump loyalist. The secret-ballot vote came two days after House Republicans removed Cheney from the role following her criticism of Trump and refusal to stay quiet about Trump’s false narrative that the election was stolen. (New York Times / NPR / Politico / ABC News)

3/ The executive director of a top conservative group bragged in a leaked video that her organization had crafted the new voter suppression law in Georgia. During a private meeting in April, Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America (a sister organization of the Heritage Foundation), told the foundation’s donors that her group was also helping craft similar bills for Republican state legislators across the country. “In some cases, we actually draft them for them,” Anderson said, “or we have a sentinel on our behalf give them the model legislation so it has that grassroots, from-the-bottom-up type of vibe.” The Georgia law had “eight key provisions that Heritage recommended,” Anderson said, including restricting mail ballot drop boxes, preventing election officials from sending absentee ballot request forms, making it easier for partisan workers to monitor the polls, preventing the collection of mail ballots, and restricting donations from nonprofit groups seeking to aid in election administration. (Mother Jones)

4/ Several Project Veritas operatives were reportedly involved in a secrete plot during the Trump administration to discredit perceived “enemies” of Trump inside the government. The campaign included a planned operation against Trump’s national security adviser at the time, H.R. McMaster, and surveillance operations against FBI employees. Female undercover operatives arranged dates with FBI employees aimed at secretly recording them making disparaging comments about Trump. The campaign against McMaster involved a plan to hire a woman armed with a hidden camera to capture McMaster making disparaging remarks his opponents could then use as leverage to get him fired as national security adviser. The operation ended in March 2018 when McMaster resigned. (New York Times)

5/ A Rep. Matt Gaetz associate agreed to cooperate with federal investigators and admitted to paying an underage girl to have sex with him and other men. Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal charges, including identity theft, stalking, wire fraud, conspiracy to bribe a public official, and sex trafficking of a minor. Greenberg admitted that he had paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and gave her drugs. Greenberg admitted that he “introduced the minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts” with her. The former Florida tax official’s criminal case led to the investigation into whether Gaetz violated sex trafficking laws by having sex with the same girl. (New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News)

Day 114: "A great day for America."

1/ The CDC said Americans who are fully vaccinated can safely go without masks or physical distancing in most cases, including indoors or in large groups. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called the updated CDC guidance an “exciting and powerful moment,” which offered the country a renewed hope that a return to pre-pandemic “normalcy” is achievable as more people get vaccinated. Biden, calling it “a great day for America,” added that “It’s been made possible by the extraordinary success we’ve had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly.” More than 154 million Americans have had at least one shot and 117 million are fully vaccinated – 35% of the population. Under the new guidance, which is based on recent real-world studies from Israel and the U.S., fully vaccinated people can resume domestic travel without needing to get tested before or after, and they do not need to self-quarantine. They also do not need to quarantine following exposure as long as they are asymptomatic. (NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / NPR)

2/ Jobless claims fell to a new pandemic low of 473,000 last week. The 2019 pre-pandemic weekly unemployment average, however, was 218,000. At least 13 Republican-led states, meanwhile, are terminating their involvement in federal pandemic-related unemployment programs early, which include the extra $300-a-week payments. (Wall Street Journal / Axios / The Hill)

3/ A Florida politician – and Rep. Matt Gaetz associate – is expected to plead guilty. Joel Greenberg previously pleaded not guilty to several charges, including stalking, wire fraud, and sex trafficking of a minor, but has been cooperating with the Justice Department since last year, providing investigators with information about encounters he and Gaetz had with women who were given cash or gifts in exchange for sex. The investigation into Greenberg spawned the sex-trafficking investigation into Gaetz. Multiple women paid by Greenberg have said they felt pressured to drink, do drugs, and then have sex with him. (Washington Post / Orlando Sentinel / NBC News / Daily Beast)

4/ The Republican, QAnon-supporting congresswoman from Georgia aggressively confronted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and falsely accused her of supporting “terrorists” as they both exited the House chamber yesterday. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene reportedly approached Ocasio-Cortez and shouted questions about her support of antifa and Black Lives Matter, falsely labeling them as “terrorist” groups, and accusing Ocasio-Cortez of failing to defend her “radical socialist” beliefs by declining to publicly debate her. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t stop to answer Greene, but instead turned around threw her hands up in the air in exasperation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, called Greene’s decision to “verbal[ly] assault” and “abuse” Ocasio-Cortez outside the House chamber “egregious” behavior and “a matter for the Ethics Committee.” Greene later tweeted that Ocasio-Cortez supports “defund the police” but “wants to call the police for security bc she’s afraid of debating with me about her socialist” Green New Deal, adding that Ocasio-Crotez was “a fraud & a hypocrite.” In February, the House voted to remove Greene from her two committee seats for embracing baseless QAnon conspiracy theories and supporting violent rhetoric against Democrats, including the assassination of Pelosi. (Washington Post / NBC News)

5/ [Speculation alert] Florida officials are reportedly preparing “contingency plans” for a Trump indictment as the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation enters its final stages. Law-enforcement personnel in Palm Beach County are preparing for “thorny extradition issues that could arise” from a provision in Florida law that gives the state’s governor the authority to order an investigation into “the situation and circumstances of the person” in question “and whether the person ought to be surrendered” to another state if they’re indicted. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a staunch Trump ally. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.‘s office is currently investigating whether Trump and his businesses committed banking and tax fraud. The Supreme Court also granted Vance’s investigators access to Trump’s tax and financial records. Trump, however, is residing at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, which is led by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who would likely be less sympathetic than DeSantis if Trump were indicted while in New Jersey. (Politico / Business Insider / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

poll/ 57% of unvaccinated adults said a $1,000 savings bond would persuade them to get a Covid-19 vaccine. 57% of unvaccinated adults who are employed said they’d get vaccinated if it were required to work in-person. (Morning Consult)

Day 113: "Ignoring the lie emboldens the liar."

1/ House Republicans removed Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership role because of her criticism of Trump’s repeated lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him and his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Prior to the removal of Cheney as the No. 3 House Republican over her condemnation of Trump’s election lies, Cheney delivered a defiant final speech from the House floor, calling Trump a “threat we have never seen before.” Cheney also warned that Trump “risks inciting further violence” by continuing to push his baseless claims about voter fraud that her fellow Republicans colleagues have echoed. “Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not participate in that,” Cheney said, adding: “If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy.” Republicans are expected to replace Cheney with Rep. Elise Stefanik, a former moderate turned Trump loyalist who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 election. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / USA Today / Bloomberg / Axios)

2/ Trump’s acting attorney general testified that the Justice Department had “no evidence of widespread voter fraud” at the time of the Jan 6. attack on the Capitol. Jeffrey Rosen, however, declined to answer House Oversight Committee questions about whether Trump instructed him to take any action to advance the unfounded claims of election fraud. Meanwhile, Christopher Miller, who was the acting defense secretary on Jan. 6, testified about why it took hours for the National Guard to respond to the Capitol as the mob descended on the Capitol, saying he had worried that sending troops to the Capitol would contribute to perceptions of a “military coup” under Trump. (New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / Wall Street Journal)

3/ More than 100 Republicans threatened to form a third party if the Republican Party doesn’t break with Trump. The signatories, which include former ambassadors, governors, congressional members and Cabinet secretaries, called for the party to return to “principled” leadership, and reject division and conspiracy theories. The statement, which will be released Thursday and includes 13 principles that the signatories want the GOP to embrace, follows House Republicans ousting Liz Cheney. (Reuters / New York Times / NBC News)

4/ Biden’s attorney general and homeland security secretary both testified that the greatest domestic threat to the U.S. is from “those who advocate for the superiority of the white race.” Merrick Garland added that “if there has to be a hard hierarchy of things that we prioritize,” the Jan. 6 attack would be at the top because it most threatened democracy. “I have not seen a more dangerous threat to democracy than the invasion of the Capitol,” Garland said, calling it “an attempt to interfere with the fundamental element of our democracy, a peaceful transfer of power.” Alejandro Mayorkas added that “the department is taking a new approach to addressing domestic violent extremism, both internally and externally.” (New York Times)

5/ House Democrats and the White House reached an agreement to allow Donald McGahn to testify before Congress about Trump’s efforts to obstruct Robert Mueller’s investigation. House Democrats subpoenaed Trump’s former White House counsel in 2019 seeking his testimony about his role as a key witness in the Mueller report about Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation. After McGahn refused to appear – at Trump’s direction – the Judiciary Committee sued. Trump’s Justice Department, which defended McGahn, argued that McGahn was “absolutely immune” from testifying before Congress about his job, which the D.C. Circuit later rejected. The deal offered no details about the testimony agreement, including McGahn whether would testify in public. (New York Times)

  • 📌 Day 838: The White House invoked executive privilege and ordered former counsel Donald McGahn not to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents related to Robert Mueller’s investigation. In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued that “McGahn does not have the legal right to disclose these documents to third parties” and asked that the committee instead direct the request to the White House, “because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege.” Trump has also promised to assert executive privilege to block McGahn’s testimony to the committee later this month. McGahn spent more than 30 hours speaking to Mueller’s investigators, outlining two episodes where Trump asked him to have Mueller fired, and later asking McGahn to deny news reports about that conversation. McGahn rebuffed both requests.

  • 📌 Day 844: The White House asked Don McGahn to declare that Trump never obstructed justice. Two requests by presidential advisers show how far the White House has gone to try to push back on accusations that the president obstructed justice.

  • 📌 Day 851: Trump instructed former White House counsel Don McGahn to defy a congressional subpoena and skip a House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

  • 📌 Day 852: Former White House counsel Don McGahn failed to appear at hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee, following Trump’s instructions to ignore the congressional subpoena.

  • 📌 Day 930: The House Judiciary Committee sued to force former White House counsel Donald McGahn to testify before Congress. The Judiciary Committee claimed that McGahn is “the most important witness, other than the president,” in their investigation into possible obstruction of justice by Trump. They asked a federal judge to strike down the Trump administration’s claim that McGahn and other aides are “absolutely immune” from the committee’s subpoenas.

Day 112: "A lifeline."

1/ The FDA authorized Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for children ages 12 and up, expanding access to the vaccine for millions of kids ahead of the next school year. The vaccine was 100% effective in preventing Covid-19 in children ages 12-15, similar to the 95% efficacy among adult clinical trial participants. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, meanwhile, urged parents to vaccinate their children, saying “I would encourage all parents to get their children vaccinated.” Pfizer vaccines for children could be administered as soon as Thursday. (ABC News / CBS News / Washington Post)

2/ More than one million people signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage during the special enrollment period that Biden launched in mid-February. “Since it became law more than a decade ago, the Affordable Care Act has been a lifeline for millions of Americans. The pandemic has demonstrated how badly it is needed, and how critical it is that we continue to improve upon it,” Biden said. “Through this opportunity for special enrollment, we have made enormous progress in expanding access to health insurance.” The Trump administration declined to reopen ACA enrollment after the Covid-19 pandemic began. Sign-ups are open through August 15. (CNN / NBC News / The Hill)

3/ Biden said that the White House will “make it clear” that people collecting unemployment benefits under the American Rescue Plan must take a “suitable” job offer or they’ll lose their benefits. As the number of job openings increased to 8.12 million in March – a record high – Republicans and businesses have said that the $300 weekly unemployment benefit is discouraging workers from returning to the labor market. “We’re going to make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment, who was offered a suitable job, must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits,” Biden said, adding: “There are a few Covid-19-related exceptions.” The latest jobs report showed that the U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in April, short of the one million economists had forecast and a drop-off from the 770,000 jobs added in March. (NPR / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Biden administration approved the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm. The Vineyard Wind project calls for up to 84 turbines to be installed off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, creating enough electricity to power 400,000 homes. The White House estimates that the project will also create about 3,600 jobs. (New York Times / Washington Post)

5/ Two Trump family members got “inappropriately – and perhaps dangerously – close” to the Secret Service agents protecting them, according to an upcoming book by Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig. Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service details how agents reported that Vanessa Trump, the wife of Trump Jr, “started dating one of the agents who had been assigned to her family.” Vanessa Trump filed for divorce in March 2018. Tiffany Trump – Trump’s daughter with Marla Maples – reportedly broke up with a boyfriend and “began spending an unusual amount of time alone with a Secret Service agent on her detail.” Leonnig reported that Secret Service leaders “became concerned at how close Tiffany appeared to be getting to the tall, dark and handsome agent.” The agent was subsequently reassigned. (The Guardian)

Day 111: "Step up."

1/ The Biden administration announced new protections against discrimination in health care based on gender identity and sexual orientation. “Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.” The move reverses a Trump policy that limited protections for transgender people in health care, which narrowed the legal definition of “sex discrimination” to “the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.” (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press)

2/ The FBI confirmed that a Russian criminal group was responsible for the ransomware attack that closed a U.S. energy pipeline that transports 45% of the East Coast’s fuel supply. The Colonial Pipeline Company shut down all its operations Friday after Darkside hackers broke into some of its networks. In a statement, Darkside – a relatively new player in the ransomware space and believed to be operated by a Russian cybercrime gang referred to by the same name – said it wasn’t to blame and suggested that an affiliate may have been behind the attack. The group promised to do a better job of screening customers that buy its malware to run ransomware attacks. Biden, meanwhile, is expected to sign an executive order to strengthen cybersecurity for federal agencies and contractors. The Department of Transportation also issued an emergency declaration for 17 states and Washington, D.C., to keep fuel supply lines open. Colonial is using a phased approach to restore the pipeline, and said it may take several more days to recover from the cyberattack. (NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg / Axios / CBS News / Politico)

3/ Three Republican governors plan to cut enhanced jobless benefits in their states in an effort to force people to return to work. Arkansas, Montana, and South Carolina have targeted the extra $300 in weekly enhanced jobless benefits from the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package as businesses reopen and states lift restrictions. Other Republican governors have also recently reinstated requirements for unemployment aid, which they had suspended earlier in the pandemic. Biden, meanwhile, said the White House doesn’t “see much evidence” that the $300 per week federal unemployment benefit has deterred people from taking jobs, adding that “Americans want to work.” Biden instead called on companies to “step up” by helping workers access vaccines and raising wages, saying “My expectation is that as our economy comes back, these companies will provide fair wages and safe work environments. And if they do, they’ll find plenty of workers.” (Washington Post / CNBC)

4/ The WHO reclassified the highly contagious triple-mutant Covid-19 variant spreading in India as a “variant of concern.” In preliminary studies, the variant known as B.1.617 spread more easily than the original virus and there is concern that it may able to evade vaccines. The WHO initially classified B.1.617 as a “variant of interest,” because it had certain mutations were linked to higher transmission. (CNBC / New York Times / Wall street Journal)

5/ Mitch McConnell suggested that the “proper price tag” for Biden’s infrastructure package is between $600 billion and $800 billion. Biden, however, has proposed $2.3 trillion in infrastructure spending. Biden is set to meet with lawmakers from both parties this week in an effort to craft a compromise bill to refresh U.S. transportation, broadband, and water systems. (CNBC / The Hill)

6/ The Department of Homeland Security is implementing a warning system to gather intelligence and detect security threats from public social media posts. The goal is to detect the sort of posts that seemed to predict the Jan. 6 Capitol attack but were missed by law enforcement. (NBC News)

7/ The Biden administration launched the Scientific Integrity Task Force to ensure that the federal government’s scientific policies are free from political influence. An administration official said the task force’s review is less about the Trump administration’s actions to interfere in scientific decisions and more about protecting science in the federal government going forward. The 46 members from across the federal government will meet for the first time this week. (CNN)

8/ Air pollution from U.S. farms accounts for more than 17,000 annual deaths, according to a first-of-its-kind study that linked thousands of premature deaths per year to methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide emissions by U.S. farms. About 80% of deaths were linked to fine-particle pollution from animal-based food agriculture at beef, pork, and dairy facilities. These emissions now account for more annual deaths than pollution from coal power plants. (Washington Post)

poll/ 64% of Americans think social media platforms do more to divide the nation than to bring it together, while 27% of adults believe that those platforms do more to bring us together. 66% of adults say they use social media once a day or more. (NBC News)

poll/ 63% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president. 71% approve his handling of the pandemic. (Associated Press)

Day 108: "We have a long way to go."

1/ The U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in April – short of the one million that economists had forecast and a sharp drop-off from the 770,000 jobs added in March. The April unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.1%. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce blamed the weaker-than-expected jobs report on the $300-per-week federal jobless benefit. Biden, however, argued that the disappointing employment numbers are evidence that Congress should pass his $4 trillion infrastructure and jobs package, saying: “Today’s report just underscores, in my view, how vital the actions we’re taking are – checks to people who are hurting, support for small businesses, for child care and school reopening, support to help families put food on the table.” Biden added: “Today there is more evidence our economy is moving in the right direction, but it is clear we have a long way to go.” (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC / ABC News / Axios / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News)

2/ Texas legislators approved new, more restrictive state election rules. The bill would make it a felony to provide voters with an application to vote by mail if they hadn’t requested one, empower partisan poll workers, and limit extended early voting hours. The House version of the bill differs significantly from the state Senate version and will go to a conference committee to resolve the differences. The vote in the Texas House came after Florida enacted its own restrictive voting laws. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the legislation live on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” which restricts voting by mail and at drop boxes. (NPR / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

3/ The Justice Department filed federal criminal charges against Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers in connection with the death of George Floyd. The federal indictment accuses Chauvin – who was recently convicted on state charges of murder and manslaughter, and is now asking for a new trial – of depriving Floyd of his rights to be protected from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer when Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. The other three ex-officers are accused of letting Floyd die by “willfully” failing to stop Chauvin when they saw Floyd “lying on the ground in clear need of medical care.” Separately, Chauvin was charged in another federal indictment with violating the civil rights of a 14-year-old Minneapolis boy during a September 2017 arrest by holding the boy by the neck and hitting him multiple times in the head with a flashlight “without legal justification.” (Associated Press / NPR / Washington Post / CNBC)

4/ The Federal Election Commission dropped the hush-money case looking into whether Trump violated election law when he directed Michael Cohen to pay Stormy Daniels $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election. The payment was never reported on Trump’s campaign filings. Cohen, however, was sentenced to prison for breaking campaign finance laws, tax evasion, and lying to Congress. Trump, meanwhile, thanked the FEC for dropping what he called “the phony case against me concerning payments to women relative to the 2016 presidential election.” (New York Times)

5/ The top respiratory disease official at the CDC resigned. Dr. Nancy Messonnier was the first U.S. official to warn about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic last year, saying “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” and that cities and towns should plan for “social distancing measures.” Trump threatened to fire Messonnier shortly after her warning, leading to the halt of regular CDC press briefings about the pandemic. Dr. Messonnier’s resignation is effective May 14. She will become an executive director at a philanthropical organization based in California. (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / Politico)

6/ Trump’s Justice Department secretly obtained the phone records of three Washington Post journalists over reporting during the early months of the Trump administration about Russia’s role in the 2016 election. The Justice Department also tried to obtain their email records. A Justice Department spokesman said the approval of subpoenas to get records of reporters happened in 2020. William Barr served as Trump’s attorney general for nearly all of 2020, before departing Dec. 23. The subpoenas, however, covered the period from April 15, 2017 to July 31, 2017. The three reporters – Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller, and Adam Entous – wrote a July 21, 2017, story detailing how Jeff Sessions had discussed the Trump campaign with the Russian ambassador while serving as Trump’s foreign policy adviser. In early August 2017, Sessions issued a warning that the “culture of leaking must stop.” (Washington Post)

Day 106: "Disingenuous."

1/ A federal judge accused the Justice Department and then-Attorney General William Barr of misleading the court about how they decided that Trump should not be charged with obstructing Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. In a 35-page opinion ordering the release of a March 2019 Office of Legal Counsel memo, Judge Amy Berman Jackson called Barr and department lawyers “disingenuous” for withholding the document, saying the department tried to “obfuscate” the purpose of the memo because Barr and his advisers had already decided they wouldn’t charge Trump with a crime before getting the written advice. “The review of the document reveals that the Attorney General was not then engaged in making a decision about whether the President should be charged with obstruction of justice,” Jackson wrote. “The fact that he would not be prosecuted was a given.” Barr and Justice Department attorneys had argued that the memo was part of the department’s decision-making process that helped Barr decide not to prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice. Jackson said because Barr had already decided against charging Trump before he got the written advice, the memo could be made public. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / CNN)

2/ A federal judge struck down the national eviction moratorium, ruling that the CDC exceeded it’s authority and should be vacated. The moratorium was due to expire at the end of January, but Biden extended it – first until April and later through June. Federal Judge Dabney Friedrich noted that while Congress had ratified earlier extensions of the moratorium order – aimed at helping victims of the pandemic hold onto their homes – it had not done so for the latest extension, potentially leaving millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes. (NBC News / CNBC)

3/ The Biden administration said it supports waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines. “This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai wrote in a statement. “The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for Covid-19 vaccines.” Pharmaceutical companies, however, have opposed the move, saying it won’t solve supply-production problems in the short term, and, until now, the U.S., other wealthy nations, and the European Union have opposed the waiver, saying IP protection creates incentives to innovate. (Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC)

4/ ICE deportations fell to the lowest monthly level on record. In April, ICE deported 2,962 immigrants – a 20% decline from March. Illegal border crossings, however, remain at a 20-year high. (Washington Post)

5/ Trump’s Facebook account will remain suspended for the time being. The company-funded tribunal of outside experts, however, ruled that it was not appropriate to indefinitely suspend Trump, saying “Within six months of this decision, Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty.” In a statement, Trump called the decision “a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our country […] these corrupt social media companies must pay a political price.” Trump also began fundraising off of the Facebook announcement, texting supporters with a link to donate to his fundraising committee. (Politico / USA Today / Washington Post / NBC News)

Day 105: "New normal."

1/ The FDA is expected to authorize Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children as young as 12 by next week. The Pfizer vaccine was authorized by the FDA for people 16 and older in December, while Moderna is currently authorized for ages 18 and up. Children now account for 22.4% of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / Associated Press)

2/ The number of people getting their first Covid-19 vaccine dose has declined in at least 47 states as the country approaches 150 million vaccinated people. The average number of people getting a first or single dose vaccine each day has fallen by about 50% from the April 13 peak. While the 11-day safety-based pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is partly responsible, health officials say the decline is the mark of a successful campaign as the people most eager to get vaccinated have already gotten their shots. Biden, meanwhile, set a July 4th goal for the country to have 160 million adults in the U.S. fully vaccinated, and 70% of adults having at least one vaccine shot. More than 56% of adult Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 105 million are fully vaccinated. (Bloomberg / New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The White House will reallocate some Covid-19 vaccine doses away from states with lower demand to those where demand remains high. States will continue to receive weekly vaccine allotments based on their populations, but the new policy puts unordered doses into a federal bank for other states to order from. States with greater demand for vaccines can request and receive up to 50% of their regular allocation. Previously, unordered doses carried over week to week. (Washington Post / Politico / USA Today)

4/ America’s “new normal” temperature is one degree hotter than it was two decades ago, according to NOAA’s updated set of climate averages for the contiguous U.S. based on the 30-year period from 1991 to 2020. The 30-year average temperature for the contiguous U.S. hit a record high of 53.28 degrees. Twenty years ago, normal was 52.3 degrees based on data from 1971 to 2000, and the average U.S. temperature for the 20th century was 52 degrees. The U.S. is not just hotter, but also wetter in the eastern and central parts of the nation, and drier in the West than a decade earlier. (Associated Press / Washington Post)

5/ More than 180 businesses, executives, and community leaders released letters calling for expanded voting access in Texas, saying they oppose “any changes that would restrict eligible voters’ access to the ballot.” The letters criticize two voting bills currently advancing through the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature, including the reallocation of polling machines, limiting early voting options, and adding criminal penalties to various parts of the election process. “These provisions, among others, will inevitably damage our competitiveness in attracting businesses and workers to Houston,” the group, called Fair Elections Texas, said. “Voter suppression is a stain on our reputation that could cost our region millions of dollars.” (NBC News / New York Times / ABC News)

6/ House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said Republican lawmakers are questioning whether Rep. Liz Cheney can continue in her leadership role as she continues to criticize Trump and reject his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. “I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” McCarthy said on Fox News. “We all need to be working as one if we we’re able to win the majority.” Cheney, the party’s No. 3, accused Trump of “poisoning” U.S. democracy by repeating his false claims about the 2020 election and that Republicans should not “whitewash” the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, saying Trump’s role in fomenting it “is a line that cannot be crossed.” During an off-air moment caught on a hot mic, McCarthy told Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy: “I think she’s got real problems. I’ve had it with […] I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. […] Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.” (Bloomberg / CNN / Axios / New York Times / Politico)

Day 104: "America's values."

1/ Scientists and public health experts say that “herd immunity” in the U.S. may not be attainable due to vaccine hesitancy. About 30% of the U.S. population remains reluctant to be vaccinated. The original herd immunity threshold, meanwhile, was estimated to be about 60 to 70% of the population. Experts, however, now estimate that the herd immunity threshold to be at least 80% due to more contagious variants circulating in the U.S. Experts also say the coronavirus will most likely continue to circulate in the U.S., causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers. (New York Times)

  • Los Angeles County reported no new deaths related to Covid-19 and just 313 new cases of the coronavirus. Infections in L.A. County are at their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic. (Los Angeles Times)

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended the state’s remaining Covid-19 public health restrictions, saying “we are no longer in a state of emergency.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, Florida has reported the third-most Covid-19 cases in the U.S. at more than 2.2 million and the fourth-highest death toll at more than 35,000 fatalities. (CNBC / ABC News)

2/ The U.S. will restrict travel from India starting Tuesday, citing a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country and the emergence of coronavirus variants. The policy does not apply to American citizens, lawful permanent residents or other people with exemptions. India recorded 386,452 Covid-19 cases on Friday – the ninth day in a row the country has added more than 300,000 cases a day. The country also reported 3,498 deaths, bringing the death toll to 208,330. (Associated Press / CNN / NBC News)

3/ The EPA proposed phasing out the use of a common refrigerant blamed for driving global warming. The proposed regulation would cut down on the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons in cooling appliances in the U.S. by 85% over the next 15 years. It’s the first time the federal government has set national limits on hydrofluorocarbons, a class of man-made chemicals thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide at warming the planet. Phasing out HFCs worldwide is expected to avert up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of the century. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Biden administration will raise the refugee ceiling to 62,500 this fiscal year. In a statement, Biden said that raising the cap “erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.” The White House, however, abruptly reversed course on the number of refugees it will allow into the U.S. last month after the Biden administration said it would keep Trump’s historically low refugee admissions target at 15,000. (CNN / USA Today)

5/ The Biden administration will reunite four migrant families separated during the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy in 2017. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called it “just the beginning” of a broader effort. More than 1,000 families, however, remain separated. (Associated Press / ABC News / NBC News)

6/ Rep. Liz Cheney pushed back against Trump’s attempt to commandeer the term “Big Lie” and accused him and those who perpetrate the falsehoods of “poisoning” democracy. After Trump issued a statement from his Save America PAC proclaiming that the presidential election “will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!” – a term used to refer to the false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump – the No. 3 House Republican publicly rejected Trump’s false claim, tweeting: “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.” Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for inciting the riot at the Capitol. (CNN / NBC News / Politico / Washington Post)

7/ The Capitol Police official who directed officers to look for anti-Trump protesters in the pro-Trump crowd on the morning of Jan. 6 was the deputy chief and sixth-ranking official in the department. Eric Waldow is facing congressional scrutiny for his 8:24 a.m. radio transmission: “With regards to pedestrian traffic on — on the grounds today, we anticipate a — a large presence for pro-Trump participants. What we’re looking for is any anti-Trump counter protesters.” (Politico)

8/ The Biden administration disclosed secret Trump-era rules for targeted killings away from conventional war zones. In 2017, Trump issued rules for counterterrorism “direct action” operations, like drone strikes and commando raids, in certain countries, giving commanders broad latitude to make decisions about attacks, including that there should be “near certainty” that civilians “will not be injured or killed in the course of operations.” A Biden administration review discovered that the Trump-era operating principles often made an exception to the requirement of “near certainty” that there would be no civilian casualties. The Biden administration suspended the rules on its first day in office and imposed an interim policy requiring approval for strikes outside of the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. (New York Times)

9/ Joe Manchin said he does not support the bill to make D.C. the nation’s 51st state, likely dooming the measure’s chances in the Senate. “If Congress wants to make D.C. a state, it should propose a constitutional amendment,” Manchin said. “It should propose a constitutional amendment and let the people of America vote.” (Washington Post / CBS News)

Day 101: "One god-awful mess."

1/ The FBI warned Rudy Giuliani in late 2019 that he was the target of a Russian disinformation operation aimed at damaging Biden ahead of the election. Giuliani received a so-called “defensive“ briefing by the FBI while involved with Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and efforts in Ukraine to dig up dirt about Biden and his son, Hunter. Despite the warning, Giuliani continued to try and find damaging information on the Bidens, meeting with Kremlin-tied associates and publicly pushing misleading and unsubstantiated claims that were part of a Russia disinformation campaign. The FBI seized Giuliani’s cellphone and other electronic devices this week as part of a long-running criminal investigation into whether he acted as an unregistered foreign agent. (Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)

2/ The Trump administration’s firing of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is at the center of the federal criminal investigation into Rudy Giuliani. At least one of the search warrants executed this week seeks evidence related to Marie Yovanovitch and her role as ambassador. Guiliani worked to oust Yovanovitch, believing she had been obstructing his efforts to dig up dirt on the Biden family. Federal authorities are expected to check Giuliani’s electronic devices for communications between him and Trump administration officials about Yovanovitch before she was recalled in April 2019. (New York Times)

3/ Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s close friend wrote a “confession” letter last year detailing how he and Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women, including a minor who was 17 at the time. Joel Greenberg’s letter was part of a failed attempt to secure a pardon from Trump – with the help of Roger Stone – for their alleged sex crimes, which the Justice Department is investigating. “On more than one occasion, this individual was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself,” Greenberg wrote. “From time to time, gas money or gifts, rent or partial tuition payments were made to several of these girls, including the individual who was not yet 18. I did see the acts occur firsthand and Venmo transactions, Cash App or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the Congressman.” Stone wrote to Greenberg on Jan. 13: “I hope you are prepared to wire me $250,000 because I am feeling confident.” The pardon effort was not successful. (Daily Beast / CNN / Vanity Fair / Washington Post)

4/ Mitch McConnell and 37 Republicans called on Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to remove the “1619 project” from federal grant programs. The project reframes American history around August 1619 when the first slave ship arrived and the legacy that slavery played in shaping the country. Biden’s Education Department has proposed a grant program for schools that would incentivize them to use tools like the 1619 Project in their classrooms. In a letter, McConnell and republicans argued that the project tells a revisionist history of America’s founding and claimed that the administration put “ill-informed advocacy ahead of historical accuracy.” (Politico / CNN)

5/ The Biden administration returned more than $14 billion to the Pentagon, which was diverted by the Trump administration for the construction of a wall at the southwestern border. The administration also plans to cancel all related construction contracts. The Defense Department said the reclaimed funds would be returned to accounts designated for “schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account.” (ABC News / The Hill / Politico)

6/ Biden blamed the Trump administration for the problems at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying his administration inherited “one god-awful mess at the border.” Biden added that the border situation is the result of “the failure to have a real transition — cooperation from the last administration, like every other administration has done.” (NBC News)

7/ Republicans in the Florida Legislature passed an election overhaul bill that would place restrictions on ballot drop boxes and residents’ ability to vote by mail. The bill will limit the use of drop boxes and restrictions on where drop boxes cab be placed, add new voter ID and signature requirements, require voters to request an absentee ballot for each election, limit who could collect and return ballots, and restricts who can hand out items – including food or water or election-related material – for voters waiting in line. Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Fox News that he “of course” would sign the bill. (New York Times / NPR / CNN / NBC News / Washington Post)

Day 100: "Crisis into opportunity."

1/ Biden declared that “America is rising anew” in his first address to Congress, calling for a $4 trillion investment in infrastructure, children, families, and education to help rebuild the economy and compete with rising global competitors. Biden pointed to the nation’s emergence from the coronavirus and events that, in his view, tested American democracy, saying “We have stared into an abyss of insurrection and autocracy — of pandemic and pain — and ‘we the people’ did not flinch.” Biden delivered his remarks with Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris sitting behind him – the first president to deliver an address to Congress with two women behind him – representing the line of succession to his office. “Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again,” he added. “Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.” (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)

  • poll/ 85% of Americans who watched Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress approve of his speech. 15% disapproved. Viewers described Biden’s speech as “Presidential, “Caring,” “Inspiring,” and “Bold.” (CBS News)

  • poll/ 71% of Americans who Biden’s speech said they feel more optimistic about the country’s direction. Overall, 68% said Biden has had the right priorities so far, while 32% said he has ignored the most important problems. (CNN)

2/ Another 553,000 Americans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week – a pandemic low for the third consecutive week. (Washington Post)

  • The State Department urged U.S. citizens to leave India “as soon as it is safe to do” due to the coronavirus outbreak. The travel advisory noted that “access to all types of medical care is becoming severely limited in India due to the surge in Covid-19 cases […] U.S. citizens who wish to depart India should take advantage of available commercial transportation options now.” (Washington Post)

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

4/ The Senate voted to restore an Obama-era regulation designed to reduce climate-changing methane emissions from oil and gas fields. The Trump administration eliminated federal requirements for oil and gas companies to monitor and repair methane leaks from pipelines, storage facilities, and wells. (NPR / CNBC)

5/ A bipartisan group of senators proposed legislation to remove military commanders from their role in prosecuting service members for sexual assault. There were 7,825 reports of sexual assault involving service members as victims in 2019 – a 3% increase from 2018. The conviction rate, however, was 7% in both 2018 and 2019 – the lowest rate since the department began reporting in 2010. (New York Times)

6/ Federal agencies are investigating at least two incidents on U.S. soil that appear similar to the “Havana syndrome” attack, a mysterious, invisible event reported by American diplomats based in Cuba in late 2016. One of the unexplained attacks occurred in November near the Ellipse, the oval lawn south of the White House, and sickened one National Security Council official. (CNN / CNBC)

Day 99: "Investments in our future."

1/ The White House unveiled a $1.8 trillion spending and tax plan to expand access to child care, education, paid leave, and an extension of some tax credits. Biden is expected to detail the American Families Plan in a joint session of Congress tonight, which starts around 9 p.m. ET. The proposed plan, which includes about $1 trillion in investments and $800 billion in tax credits over a decade, would provide $200 billion in universal pre-kindergarten, more than $100 billion in free community college, extend the expanded child tax credit through 2025, and set aside $225 billion to create a national paid family and medical leave program, among other initiatives. The plan, which the White House has billed as “generational investments in our future,” would largely be funded by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Between the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, which the White House unveiled last month, and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, Biden is proposing roughly $4 trillion in investments over the next decade that would expand the U.S. social safety net and the role of government in public life. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN / Politico / USA Today / CNBC)

2/ Federal investigators executed search warrants at Rudy Giuliani’s New York City home and office as part of a criminal investigation into his dealings in Ukraine. Investigators seized Giuliani’s electronic devices as part of a yearslong investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors into possible violation of foreign-lobbying rules. The FBI also executed a search warrant at the Washington-area home of Victoria Toensing in connection with the Giuliani investigation. Toensing, a lawyer close to Giuliani, had dealings with several Ukrainians in an effort to try to dig up dirt about Biden as he ran for president. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CBS News / NBC News / CNN)

3/ Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office repeatedly prevented state health officials from releasing the true coronavirus death toll in New York nursing homes for at least five months. Starting last April, Cuomo’s most senior aides overruled and obscured the state’s health officials from releasing a scientific paper, which incorporated the death toll, and two letters by the Health Department and meant for state legislators were never sent. The full data on nursing home deaths was not released until late January 2021, when a report by the state attorney general found that the state might have undercounted the true death toll by as much as 50%. (New York Times)

4/ Biden nominated a critic of Trump’s immigration policies to serve as director of ICE. If confirmed, Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez would be the first politically appointed director in years. The Trump administration never had a Senate-confirmed director. (CNN)

5/ The Biden administration will propose a ban on menthol cigarettes. Research shows menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than regular tobacco products. Approximately 20 million Americans smoke menthols. (Washington Post / CBS News / New York Times)

poll/ 53% of Americans approve of the way Biden is handling his job and say he has the right priorities. 59% say Biden is doing a good job keeping his campaign promises, and 66% approve of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. (CNN)

Day 98: "A beautiful day."

1/ Americans fully vaccinated against the coronavirus no longer need to wear masks outdoors in most situations except for large gatherings, according to updated CDC guidance. People who are fully vaccinated can go without masks outdoors when walking, running or biking, or gathering in small groups with friends outdoor. “Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what they cannot do, what they should not do,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “Today, I’m going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated.” Despite declining coronavirus infections and deaths in the U.S., the CDC still recommends wearing a mask – even for vaccinated individuals – in public settings indoors and outdoors where there is a substantial risk of Covid-19 transmission, such as at concerts, sporting events, and other crowded gatherings. “Beginning today, gathering with a group of friends, in a park, going for a picnic […] as long as you are vaccinated and outdoors, you can do it without wearing a mask,” Biden said, calling it “a beautiful day.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Axios / NBC News)

  • India reported more than 300,000 new confirmed Covid-19 cases for the sixth day in a row. India’s 323,144 new infections over the past 24 hours comprises 39% of global cases. (Washington Post / New York Times)

2/ The Department of Homeland Security limited ICE’s ability to arrest immigrants in or near courthouses. ICE officers will now be allowed to make civil immigration arrests near a courthouse only when it involves national security, a risk of imminent death or harm to anyone, the “hot pursuit” of someone who is “a threat to public safety,” or when there is risk of destruction of evidence in a criminal case. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the Trump administration’s “expansion of civil immigration arrests at courthouses […] had a chilling effect on individuals’ willingness to come to court or work cooperatively with law enforcement.” (BuzzFeed News / NBC News)

3/ Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas launched an internal probe “to address the threat of domestic violent extremism within the Department of Homeland Security.” The task force will provide a “comprehensive review of how to best prevent, detect, and respond to threats related to domestic violent extremism within DHS.” The review comes after the Pentagon completed a 60-day “stand down” to address extremism after several veterans were found to have taken part in the Capitol riot. (ABC News / New York Times)

4/ Biden is expected to propose an $80 billion funding boost for the IRS and increased authority to combat tax dodging by the wealthiest Americans. The administration projects that the plan would generate about $700 billion over 10 years in net revenue. If approved, individuals who earn more than $400,000 a year would face a higher likelihood of a tax audit. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNN)

5/ Biden signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage paid by federal contractors to $15 an hour. The raise from $10.95 an hour would begin in January 2022, and agencies would have to implement the measure by March. (NBC News / New York Times)

poll/ 68% support Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, while 29% oppose it. (CNBC / Monmouth University)

poll/ 25% of American women say they are financially worse off today than before the pandemic began, compared to 18% of men. 27% of non-White Americans say they are worse off now vs. 18% of Whites. (Washington Post)

Day 97: "Presidential, focused, and competent."

1/ The U.S. Census Bureau released the first set of updated state population totals from the 2020 census, which were delayed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s interference last year. California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all lost a seat in the House, while Texas picked up two seats, and Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon all gained one seat each. Over the past decade, the U.S. population grew at the slowest rate since the 1930s. The full Census data used for redistricting will not be publicly released until the end of September. (NPR / Axios / Bloomberg / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNN / Politico)

2/ The Justice Department opened an investigation into the practices of the Louisville Metro Police Department – 13 months after LMPD officers killed Breonna Taylor inside her own apartment while serving a no-knock warrant. Attorney General Merrick Garland referred to Taylor during his announcement of the investigation, saying the Justice Department “will assess whether (Louisville Metro Police Department) engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force, including with respect to people involved in peaceful expressive activities.” Last week, Garland announced a similar investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department following the police killing of George Floyd. (CNN / NBC News)

3/ Biden signed an executive order to create a White House task force to promote union membership. Kamala Harris will lead the task force, which will issue recommendations about how the federal government can use its authority to help workers join labor unions and bargain collectively. In 2018, Trump signed three executive orders to limit union protections and bargaining rights for federal employees. (New York Times)

4/ The Department of Agriculture extended a pandemic benefits program to feed up to 34 million children from low-income families over this summer. The plan will provide about $375 per child to buy food for the roughly 10 weeks they are out of school in the summer – about $7 a weekday. (NBC News / Axios)

5/ The U.S. will send 60 million doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine abroad. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which hasn’t been authorized for use in the U.S. by the FDA, will be sent to other countries once it clears federal safety reviews. “We do not need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against covid,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. AstraZeneca has not sought FDA authorization for its vaccine, but has already manufactured millions of doses in the U.S. under a federal contract. (Associated Press / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

6/ The CEO of a vaccine production facility sold more than $10 million worth of his company stock before disclosing that it had ruined 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine. The transactions were Robert Kramer’s first substantive sales of Emergent stock since April 2016. (Washington Post)

  • poll/ 22% of Americans said they’re willing to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while 73% not yet immunized against the coronavirus say they’re not willing, and 4% had no opinion. (Washington Post)

7/ The Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal to a New York law that restricts an individual from carrying a concealed handgun in public. It’s the first time in more than a decade that the court has agreed to take up a central issue of the gun rights debate. (NBC News / Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times)

poll/ 58% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president, while 42% disapprove. A majority of Americans described Biden as “presidential,” “focused,” and “competent.” (CBS News)

Day 94: "A critical step."

1/ The U.S. death rate in 2020 was the highest above normal ever recorded. In 2020, 3.4 million people died in the U.S., representing a 16% increase from the previous year in what epidemiologists call “excess deaths,” or deaths above normal. The 1918 flu pandemic caused a 12% jump in excess deaths. The CDC has said about 10% of the deaths last year can be directly attributed to Covid-19. (New York Times)

  • The State Department issued more than 115 “Do Not Travel” advisories, citing “ongoing risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” As of last week, 33 countries were on the U.S. Do Not Travel list. (NPR)

2/ Sen. Ron Johnson questioned the “big push” to get everyone vaccinated against the coronavirus, saying he sees “no reason to be pushing vaccines on people,” asking “quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?” The Wisconsin Republican added that he was “highly suspicious” of the vaccine distribution effort, saying that it should be “limited” to the most vulnerable because – he claims – it’s “not a fully approved vaccine.” At the same time, Johnson acknowledged that the coronavirus “vaccines are 95% effective.” (Forbes / CNN)

  • Covid-19 hospitalizations among Americans 65 and older have fallen more than 70% since the start of the year. Covid-19 deaths among Americans 65 and older have declined more than 50% since their peak in January. (Associated Press)

3/ A federal vaccine advisory panel recommended that the U.S. resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, saying the benefits outweighed the risk of a rare blood clot disorder. The vaccine would carry a warning label about a potential increase in the risk of rare but severe blood clots and low platelet counts. CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to decide whether to formally accept the recommendation shortly. Out of nearly 8 million people who have received the J&J shot, health officials discovered 15 cases of a rare kind of blood clot, three of them fatal. (Associated Press / NBC News / Politico / Axios / New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ The Department of Housing and Urban Development withdrew a Trump-era proposal that would’ve allowed single-sex homeless shelters to discriminate against transgender people. The Trump administration rule allowed federally funded homeless shelters to base admissions on a person’s “biological sex” instead of their gender identity. “We are taking a critical step in affirming HUD’s commitment that no person be denied access to housing or other critical services because of their gender identity,” Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge said. “HUD is open for business for all.” (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)

5/ The Justice Department expects to charge more than 500 people in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. “Over 400 individuals have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack,” federal prosecutors said in court documents. “The investigation continues and the government expects that at least one hundred additional individuals will charged.” (NBC News)

poll/ 59% of 18-to-29-year-old Americans approve of Biden’s job performance, 65% approve of his handling of the coronavirus and 57% race relations. (Harvard Youth Poll)

poll/ 60% of Americans say the U.S. should do more to hold police accountable for the mistreatment of Black people, while 33% say the country is doing too much to interfere in how police officers do their job. (Washington Post)

Day 93: "A moral imperative."

1/ Biden pledged to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030 – double the country’s prior commitment under the 2015 Paris climate agreement – saying “the signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable and the cost of inaction keeps mounting.” As of 2019, U.S. emissions were about 13% below 2005 levels. “This is the decisive decade,” Biden said during an Earth Day summit with 40 world leaders. “This is the decade that we must make decisions to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis. This is a moral imperative. An economic imperative. A moment of peril, but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities.” About 85% of current global emissions come from outside the U.S. The United Kingdom recently announced plans to reduce its emissions by 78% by 2035, while the European Union pledged to cut 55% of its emissions by 2030. China, the world’s largest emitter, pledged to reduce coal consumption starting in 2025 as part of an effort to reach net zero emissions by 2060. (NPR / New York Times / CNBC / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Senate passed legislation denouncing discrimination against Asian communities in the U.S. The bill will also appoint an official in the Justice Department to review and expedite Covid-19-related hate crime reports. The vote was 94-1, with Sen. Josh Hawley voting in opposition. The legislation is expected to pass in the House before heading to Biden’s desk for a signature. (Axios / Washington Post / CNN)

3/ The House voted along party lines to grant statehood to Washington, D.C. The legislation would enfranchise more than 712,000 Americans, giving the 51st state one representative in the House and two senators. The White House, the Capitol, and the National Mall would remain a federal district. An identical bill passed the House in 2020, but died in the then-Republican-controlled Senate. The legislation would likely require at least 10 Republican Senators to vote in support to clear a 60-vote threshold for passage. It’s unclear if all Senate Democrats support the bill, which Republicans have called a Democratic power grab. (NBC News / NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Axios)

4/ The average daily number of coronavirus vaccinations in the U.S. dropped 11%. Over the past week, 3.02 million doses per day were administered – the biggest downturn in the seven-day average since February when winter storms forced vaccination sites to close and delayed shipments nationwide. (Washington Post)

  • poll/ 29% of health care works have considered leaving their profession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 55% of health workers are burned out. (Washington Post)

5/ An Office of Professional Responsibility investigation found that a Capitol Police official radioed “all outside units’ attention” on the morning of Jan. 6, that they should not be “looking for any pro-Trump in the crowd.” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, describing the radio broadcast during a House Administration Committee hearing on security failures around the Capitol attack, added that the radio transmission directed police to “only looking for any anti-Trump” protestors. Capitol Police, meanwhile, said the call “has been misquoted and is lacking […] necessary context.” (Politico / CNN)

6/ The Trump administration delayed approximately $20 billion in hurricane relief for Puerto Rico and then obstructed the investigation into the delay, according to a Housing and Urban Development inspector general report. “Delays and denials of access and refusals to cooperate negatively affected the ability of the [Office of Inspector General] to conduct this review,” the report said. Inspector General Rae Oliver Davis, appointed by Trump, found unprecedented bureaucratic hurdles set by the White House, including former senior administration officials in the Office of Management and Budget refusing to provide requested information about decision-making related to the relief funds. (Washington Post)

7/ Biden is expected to formally acknowledge that the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in the early 20th century constituted genocide. A bipartisan group of more than 100 House members called on Biden to become the first U.S. president to recognize the World War I-era deportation, starvation, and massacres of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in modern-day Turkey as genocide. Turkey, meanwhile, has denied that the killings constituted genocide, saying that Armenians rose up against the government. (New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

8/ Biden is expected to propose almost doubling the capital gains tax rate for people earning more than $1 million, increasing the rate they pay on that income from 20% to 39.6%. The proposal would help pay for Biden’s American Family Plan, which would provide hundreds of billions of dollars for universal pre-kindergarten, expanded subsidies for child care, a national paid leave program, and free community college tuition. Biden will detail the American Family Plan in a joint address to Congress on April 28. (Bloomberg / New York Times)

9/ Senate Republicans released an outline for their own $568 billion infrastructure plan. Democrats, however, rejected the counteroffer to Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure spending package, calling the GOP proposal “totally anemic” and an “insult.” Elizabeth Warren added that “the Republican proposal does not meet the moment.” (CNBC / Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

Day 92: "An American achievement."

1/ The Justice Department will investigate whether the Minneapolis Police Department “engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing,” including the use of excessive force, discriminatory conduct, or the abuse of those with mental health illness or physical disabilities. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the investigation one day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd. The investigation is separate from the previously announced federal criminal inquiry into whether Chauvin violated Floyd’s civil rights during his arrest and death last May. (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

  • A 16-year-old Black girl was shot and killed by a police officer outside her home after she called 911 for help in Columbus, Ohio. The shooting happened about 20 minutes before Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict was announced. (Columbus Dispatch / NPR)

  • poll/ 71% of Americans agree that Derek Chauvin was guilty, while 13% disagreed and 15% had no opinion. (USA Today)

2/ Republican lawmakers in 34 states have introduced 81 anti-protest bills – more than twice as many proposals as in any other year. Republican legislators in Oklahoma and Iowa have granted immunity to drivers who strike and injure protesters with their car in public streets; Indiana would bar anyone convicted of unlawful assembly from state employment, including elected office; Minnesota would prohibit those convicted of unlawful protesting from receiving student loans and unemployment benefits; Kentucky would make it a crime to insult or taunt a police officer; and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed sweeping legislation he’s called “the strongest anti-looting, anti-rioting, pro-law-enforcement piece of legislation in the country.” (New York Times)

3/ The U.S. has administered 200 million coronavirus vaccines since Biden took office. Biden said that more than half of all U.S. adults had received at least one shot and that more than 80% of Americans 65 and older have been partially or fully vaccinated. “Today, we did it, today we hit 200 million shots in the 92nd day in office,” Biden said. “This is an American achievement, a powerful demonstration of unity and revolve – what unity will do for us, and a reminder of what we can accomplish when we pull together, as one people, to a common goal.” About 13 million doses were administered during the Trump administration. (Politico / NPR / CNN / ABC News)

  • New coronavirus cases globally were reported last week than in any seven-day period since the beginning of the pandemic. Last week’s 5.24 million new cases broke the previous record of 5.04 million, which was set in the week ended Jan. 4. (New York Times)

4/ The Trump administration awarded nearly $1.3 billion to a company to supply more than 100 million prefilled Covid-19 vaccine syringes in 2020, which have never been delivered. The ApiJect syringe never received the needed FDA approvals and the plant to manufacture the needles was never built. Pfizer said that even if ApiJect got all the needed approvals, it would “not have any impact on our output or process.”(NBC News)

5/ The U.S. Postal Service is running a covert internet surveillance program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, looking for what a government bulletin described as “inflammatory” postings. The Internet Covert Operations Program has not previously been made public. According to a March 16 government bulletin, which was marked as “law enforcement sensitive” and distributed through the Department of Homeland Security, the iCOP program “monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically […] Locations and times have been identified for these protests, which are being distributed online across multiple social media platforms, to include right-wing leaning Parler and Telegram accounts.” Why the post office, which handles mail deliveries, would a run social media surveillance program is unclear. (Yahoo News)

Day 91: "Overwhelming."

1/ Derek Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for killing George Floyd. In May 2020, Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the 46-year-old Black man, who was handcuffed and face down in the street, repeatedly cried out, “I can’t breathe.” The former Minneapolis police officer faces up to 75 years in prison when he is sentenced in the coming weeks. Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, however, call for sentences short of the maximum. Each murder charge for a person with no criminal history carries a presumptive prison sentence of 12.5 years in Minnesota, while manslaughter carries a presumptive prison sentence of four years. The jurors deliberated for about 10 hours over two days after the prosecution and defense teams presented nearly six hours of closing arguments. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC)

  • 📌 Day 1226: Trump threatened military violence against U.S. citizens in Minneapolis who were protesting the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed, unarmed black man who was killed while pleading for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. Trump, who previously called the video of Floyd’s death “shocking,” tweeted that the protesters were “THUGS” and warned that “the Military is with [Gov. Tim Walz] all the way […] Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” Hours later, the White House reposted Trump’s comment on its official account. Last month, Trump tweeted support for protesters in Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia to “LIBERATE” themselves and defy coronavirus stay-at-home orders. In 2017, when neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Va., and a counter-protester was killed, Trump responded by saying there were “very fine people” on “both sides” of the issue. (New York Times / Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN)

  • 📌 Day 1228: Police nationwide responded to protests against police violence by deliberately targeting demonstrators, journalists, and bystanders with pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, and excessive use of force. The ongoing protests following the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer – who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes – have taken place in at least 75 cities, including at the gates of the White House, in the days since Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been fired, arrested, and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Since then, police have tear-gassed protesters, drove vehicles through crowds, opened fire with rounds of rubber bullets and pepper balls on journalists and bystanders, pushed over an elderly man with a cane who was walking away, shot a woman in the face with a rubber bullet as she left a grocery store, and shot a photojournalist in the eye with a rubber bullet, who is now permanently blind. Curfews have been enacted in more than two dozen cities, and about 5,000 National Guard troops have been activated in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Organizers have tried to keep the protests focused on police accountability and social justice through chanting and marching, but agitators, posing as peaceful protesters, have exploited the situation by looting stores, setting fire to buildings and police cars, and throwing firecrackers, bottles, bleach, and, reportedly, a molotov cocktail at police. Some advisers, meanwhile, have urged Trump to formally address the nation and call for calm, while others have said he should condemn only the looting or risk losing middle-of-the-road voters in November. The White House, however, declared a lid, which means no one should expect to see or hear from Trump for the rest of the day. (Slate / Nick Waters / Vox / Washington Post / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / The Week)

  • 📌 Day 1230: Trump threatened to deploy “thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers” to end “riots and lawlessness” if states and cities failed to quell the demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd. In a brief Rose Garden speech, Trump declared himself “your president of law and order” and said he would mobilize every available federal force, both “civilian and military,” to “quickly solve the problem” and end the nationwide protests. Trump denounced the violence as “domestic acts of terror” as he ordered governors and mayors to establish “an overwhelming law enforcement presence.” Trump, however, stopped short of invoking the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to deploy active duty U.S. troops to respond to protests in cities across the country. After Trump made the announcement, he left without taking questions from reporters. (New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg / CNBC / CNN / Axios / NBC News / NPR / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ EARLIER TODAY: Biden suggested that the evidence against Derek Chauvin was “overwhelming” and said he was praying for the “right verdict” in the George Floyd case. Biden also called the Floyd family to express his support and sympathy. Rep. Maxine Waters, meanwhile, urged protesters in Minnesota to “stay on the street” and “get more confrontational” if Chauvin is not convicted. The judge overseeing the trial, however, said the comments could be grounds for appeal and “may result in this whole trial being overturned.” (New York Times / Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN)

3/ The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general declined to investigate what role the Secret Service played in the clearing of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square in June 2020 so Trump could stage a photo op. According to documents, Joseph Cuffari’s staff submitted a draft plan on June 10 to investigate whether the Secret Service violated its use-of-force policies when it cleared the area with rubber bullets and a sprayed chemical irritant. Trump and his aides then walked across the park to demonstrate strength and control amid the civil unrest that followed George Floyd’s death. Cuffari declined to approve the investigation, as well as another investigation into the spread of the coronavirus among the Secret Service as Trump continued to hold campaign events during the pandemic. Hundreds of officers were either infected with the coronavirus or had to quarantine after potential exposure. (Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 1230: As he spoke from the Rose Garden, police cleared peaceful protesters outside the White House with tear gas and flash grenades so Trump could pose by a church for photographs to dispel the notion that he was “weak” for hiding in a bunker over the weekend. Following his remarks in the Rose Garden, Trump left the White House and walked through Lafayette Square, where riot police and military police had cleared protesters moments before. Once Trump reached the far side of the square, he raised a bible in front of the church for a photo. Trump’s decision to speak to the nation from the Rose Garden and to then visit the church came together because he was reportedly upset about the news coverage of him retreating to the White House bunker amid the protests. Just before Trump spoke, Attorney General William Barr personally ordered law enforcement officials to clear protesters from Lafayette Square. (New York Times / CNN / ABC News / Vox / Washington Post / YouTube / Religious News Service)

4/ Biden will pledge to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by 2030 – a near-doubling of the target that the U.S. committed to under the 2015 Paris climate agreement – when he convenes a virtual climate summit with more than three dozen world leaders on Thursday. In 2015, the U.S. pledged to cut emissions between 26 and 28% compared to 2005 levels as part of the Paris accord. Biden officials are still considering a target range for reducing its emissions, which could go above 50%. Trump pulled the U.S. from the global climate deal in 2017. (Washington Post)

5/ The Biden administration said it “strongly supports” making D.C. the 51st state, adding that Congress should “provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood” for the more than 700,000 Washington residents who do not have full voting representation in the House and Senate. (Washington Post / CNBC)

6/ The U.S. ambassador to Russia initially refused to leave the country after the Kremlin “advised” him to return home following sanctions by the Biden administration. John Sullivan later announced that he would return home for “consultations” with American officials. Russia’s foreign ministry, meanwhile, announced it would expel 10 American diplomats and bar current officials from visiting Russia. Satellite photos, meanwhile, show that Russia has moved warplanes and troops to Crimea and bases near Ukraine to a greater extent than has previously been disclosed. (Axios / NPR / Politico / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

7/ A dozen megadonors contributed $1 in every $13 raised for federal candidates and political groups since 2009. The top 12 donors and their spouses – split equally between six Democrats and six Republicans – donated a combined $3.4 billion. (New York Times / Bloomberg)

Day 90: "Seriousness and urgency."

1/ The White House abruptly reversed course on the number of refugees it will allow into the U.S. On Friday, the administration said it would keep Trump’s historically low refugee admissions target at 15,000, walking back Biden’s pledge to lift the cap to 62,500 this year and push it to 125,000 for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. Democratic leaders called the administration’s admissions target “unacceptable” and hours later the White House said it would increase the cap on refugee admissions for the rest of this fiscal year by May 15. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden would set the final cap and expects that it will be higher than Trump’s ceiling, but is “unlikely” to rise to the 62,500 that Biden had promised in February. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Biden administration ordered U.S. immigration enforcement agencies to stop using terms such as “alien,” “illegal alien,” and “assimilation” when referring to immigrants. In memos sent to department heads at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, “alien” will become “noncitizen or migrant,” “illegal” will become “undocumented,” and “assimilation” will change to “integration,” among others. (Washington Post)

3/ The U.S. and China agreed to cooperate to fight climate change “with the seriousness and urgency that it demands.” John Kerry, the Biden administration’s special envoy for climate, said that despite various political disputes between the two countries, “it’s very important for us to try to keep those other things away, because climate is a life-or-death issue in so many different parts of the world.” China and the U.S. are the world’s two biggest carbon emitters, accounting for nearly half of the planet’s carbon dioxide. Biden is scheduled to hosts a virtual summit of world leaders to discuss efforts to reduce carbon emissions later this week. (New York Times / Associated Press)

  • poll/ 56% of Americans think climate change needs to be addressed immediately, while 11% think it needs to be addressed in the next few years, and 33% say action on climate can wait or doesn’t need to be addressed. (CBS News)

4/ The White House removed the Trump-appointed scientist from overseeing the National Climate Assessment, the government’s definitive report on the effects of climate change. Betsy Weatherhead – considered a mainstream scientist who believes that climate change is a real and serious issue – was reassigned to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Interior Department’s scientific arm. (Washington Post / CNN)

5/ The Supreme Court declined to take up a case from Republicans challenging changes to election rules in Pennsylvania. The case, by a former Republican congressional candidate and four individual voters, challenged the secretary of state’s decision to allow three extra days for receiving mail ballots because of the statements from the U.S. Postal Service that delivery would likely be slow amidst the coronavirus pandemic. (CNN / NBC News)

  • poll/ 63% of Americans supported term or age limits for Supreme Court justices, while 22% said they opposed limits. (NBC News)

6/ The Biden administration allocated $150 million to boost coronavirus response for underserved communities and vulnerable populations. Community-based health care providers must apply for the funds from the American Rescue Plan by May 14 and then the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will decide who is approved for funding. (CNN)

7/ Trump won nine of the 10 states in the 2020 election where most residents said they would probably or definitely not get a Covid-19 vaccine. Further, in more than 500 counties, at least a quarter of adults are unwilling to get vaccinated. A majority of residents in these counties voted to re-elect Trump. (New York Times)

  • poll/ 36% of adults under the age of 35 say they don’t plan on getting a Covid-19 vaccine. Overall, 27% of adults say they don’t plan to get the vaccine. (Quinnipiac / CNN)

8/ The Justice Department sued Roger Stone for nearly $2 million in unpaid federal income taxes and fees. The lawsuit accused Stone and his wife, Nydia, of underpaying their income taxes by $1,590,361 from 2007 to 2011, and that Stone was short on his 2018 tax bill by $407,036. (NBC News)

9/ A federal judge revoked bail for two leaders of the Proud Boys, contending that they’re too dangerous to remain free while awaiting trial. “The defendants stand charged with seeking to steal one of the crown jewels of our country, in a sense, by interfering with the peaceful transfer of power,” Judge Timothy Kelly said. “It’s no exaggeration to say the rule of law and […] in the end, the existence of our constitutional republic is threatened by it.” Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs are charged with conspiring to stop the certification of the 2020 election, and with organizing dozens of Proud Boys to the Capitol. (Politico)

10/ Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated federal ethics rules governing the use of taxpayer-funded resources, according to a report by the State Department’s inspector general’s office. The government watchdog determined that Pompeo and his wife, Susan, asked State Department employees to carry out tasks for their personal benefit more than 100 times. In 2020, Trump fired the State Department inspector general, Steve Linick, who had opened an investigation into Pompeo. (Politico)

Day 87: "Disastrous."

1/ Biden will keep Trump’s historically low refugee admissions target at 15,000, walking back his pledge to lift the cap to 62,500 this year and push it to 125,000 for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. Biden, however, signed an emergency determination to speed refugee admissions to the U.S and adjust the allocation limits set by Trump, who placed strict restrictions on accepting refugees from certain African and majority-Muslim countries. Rep. Ilhan Omar called Biden’s decision “shameful,” while Rep. Pramila Jayapal said it was “disastrous.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News)

2/ The Biden administration will spend $1.7 billion to track coronavirus variants. The money – which was part of the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill passed last month – will go toward sequencing coronavirus genomes, creating six new new genomic epidemiology centers, and creating a national bioinformatics infrastructure. (Politico / NPR / Associated Press / Washington Post)

  • The U.S. and other nations will likely need booster shots and annual vaccinations against Covid-19. David Kessler, the chief science officer for Covid-19 response,, told a House subcommittee hearing that the U.S. should plan for booster shots in the future. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, meanwhile, said that a “likely scenario” included the need for a third vaccine dose within 12 months after inoculation, after which “there will be an annual revaccination.” (CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times)

3/ Police officers and public officials donated money to Kyle Rittenhouse, who stands accused of murdering two protesters last August. Rittenhouse traveled about 15 miles from neighboring Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to offer armed protection to businesses during the protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot multiple times at close range and left paralyzed. A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website revealed that the donations were attached to email addresses traceable to police and other public officials. (The Guardian)

  • A gunman killed eight people and injured several others before shooting himself at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. Brandon Hole was a former employee at the facility. The FBI was previously warned by a relative about Hole’s potential for violence. The FBI opened a preliminary investigation, but closed the inquiry after concluding there wasn’t sufficient evidence to continue. (The Indianapolis Star / New York Times / CNN)

4/ A founding member of the Oath Keepers arrested in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate. Jon Ryan Schaffer is the first defendant to publicly flip in the domestic terrorism investigation, which has led to more than 410 people being charged. (Washington Post)

5/ Russia expelled 10 U.S. diplomats and indefinitely barred entry to eight U.S. officials in response to U.S. sanctions and expulsions. The officials included Attorney General Merrick Garland; Michael Carvajal, director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons; Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland security; Susan Rice, Biden’s domestic policy adviser; FBI Director Christopher Wray; and Avril Haines, director of National Intelligence. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 28% of Americans said they support bills restricting transgender athletes’ participation on sports teams, while 67% oppose such bills. (PBS / NPR)

  • The Alabama Legislature passed a bill to prevent transgender girls from playing on female sports teams. The bill would prohibit K-12 schools from letting a “biological male” participate on a female team. More than a dozen states are considering similar restrictions on transgender athletes or gender-confirming health care for transgender minors. (Associated Press)

poll/ 64% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, while 29% disapprove. (Quinnipiac)

poll/ 59% of Americans approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president, while 39% disapprove. (Pew Research Center)

Day 86: "Disinformation and interference."

1/ The Biden administration imposed sanctions on Russia for alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election, the cyberattack against U.S. government and corporate networks, the illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea, and human rights abuses. The administration sanctioned six Russian technology companies that supported hacking operations run by Russia’s intelligence services and expelled 10 intelligence officers working under diplomatic cover in the U.S. The White House formally said the Russian intelligence service SVR was responsible for the hacking operation known as SolarWinds. The Treasury Department also sanctioned 32 entities and individuals for “carrying out Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and other acts of disinformation and interference,” as well as eight individuals and entities associated with Russia’s actions in Crimea. The White House said the sanctions were intended “to impose costs on Russia for actions by its government and intelligence services against U.S. sovereignty and interests.” (Politico / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC)

2/ Paul Manafort’s associate and former employee “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” during the 2016 election, according to the Treasury Department. Konstantin Kilimnik was one of 16 people sanctioned for attempting to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the direction of the Kremlin. Kilimnik also “sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” the Treasury Department statement read. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on 2016 Russian election interference assessed that Kilimnik was a Russian intelligence officer, who worked with Manafort as a lobbyist for the pro-Russia president of Ukraine. Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager. (CNBC / Just Security / Axios / Washington Post)

3/ The House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend the creation of a commission to study the issue of paying reparations to the descendants of slaves in the U.S. The commission would also consider a “national apology” for the harm caused by slavery. It’s the first time the committee has acted on the decades-long effort to advance the measure to the full House. Neither chamber of Congress, however, has committed to a floor vote. (NBC News / New York Times / USA Today / CBS News)

4/ The House Committee on Oversight and Reform advanced legislation to make D.C. the 51st state. The full House is expected to pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act – possibly as soon as next week – for the second consecutive year. The bill, however, is likely to face significant hurdles in the Senate where it needs the support of 60 senators to advance. (Washington Post)

5/ Democrats introduced legislation to expand the Supreme Court from nine justices to 13. “The court is broken, and make no mistake about it,” Sen. Edward Markey said. “The court is broken because Sen. Mitch McConnell, his Senate Republican colleagues, and Donald Trump broke it.” Nancy Pelosi, however, said she has “no plans to bring it to the floor,” adding that she supports Biden’s recent move to create a commission to study possible expansion of the Supreme Court. (NBC News / Politico / CBS News / CNN / ABC News)

6/ Biden reportedly hasn’t raised the Trump-era refugee cap because of political optics. One Democratic aide said Biden has not yet signed off on the refugee program because he wants to preserve his options. White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, said Biden was committed to raising the refugee ceiling, but refused to provide a timeline. In February, Biden’s State Department said it planned to expand the Trump cap – set at 15,000 refugees – to up to 62,500. As of March 31, only 2,050 refugees had been allowed to resettle in the U.S, putting the Biden administration on track to accept the fewest number of refugees this year of any modern president – including Trump. (CNN)

Day 85: "We stand for democracy."

1/ The U.S. Capitol Police inspector general found that the agency’s leaders failed to adequately prepare for the Jan. 6 attack despite being warned that “Congress itself is the target.” In a 104-page document, Michael Bolton criticized the way the Capitol Police prepared for and responded to the violence, finding that “heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades, “were not used that day because of orders from leadership.” The IG report also found that some police equipment was at least 20 years old, including riot shields that shattered on impact. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Reuters / NPR)

  • The Justice Department won’t file charges against the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 riot. Babbitt attempted to breach a set of doors deep in the Capitol during the siege. (NBC News / Washington Post)

2/ Hundreds of U.S. corporations and executives signed on to a statement opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make it harder for people to vote. “We stand for democracy,” the statement reads. “We all should feel a responsibility to defend the right to vote and to oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot.” The statement comes as Republicans have tried to enact new, restrictive voting rules in almost every state. Senior Republicans, including Trump and Mitch McConnell, have also called for companies to stay out of politics. (Bloomberg / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC)

3/ The former Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter. Kim Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department Tuesday. Under Minnesota law, a person convicted of second-degree manslaughter can face up to 10 years behind bars and a fine of up to $20,000. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times)

4/ The Senate will take up the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act. The bill intends to combat violence against Asian Americans by designating a Justice Department employee to expedite the review of hate crimes reported to police during the pandemic. The Stop AAPI Hate organization documented at least 3,795 attacks from last March 2020 to February 2021. At least 60 senators are needed to advance the legislation, which would require bipartisan support. (Reuters / NPR)

5/ The House Judiciary Committee will vote on legislation to create a commission to study the implications of slavery and develop reparations proposals for African Americans. If approved by the committee, as expected, it would set up a floor vote on the measure. The legislation has been stalled in the House for nearly 30 years. (NPR / CBS News / Washington Post)

6/ Matt Gaetz’s associate has been cooperating with the Justice Department since last year. Joel Greenberg has been providing investigators with information about encounters he and Gaetz had with women who were given cash or gifts in exchange for sex. Federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that Gaetz had sex with an underage girl who was 17 at the time, as well as with women who were provided drugs and money in violation of sex trafficking and prostitution laws. (New York Times / CNN)

Day 84: "Abundance of caution."

1/ The CDC and the FDA recommended a “pause” in the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine after six women developed an “extremely rare” disorder involving blood clots and one died. More than 6.8 million people in the U.S. have received the vaccine without any other serious adverse reactions. In a statement, the two health agencies said that the move to temporarily halt administration of the shots was out of an “abundance of caution.” Scientists will examine possible links between the vaccine and the blood clot disorder and determine whether the FDA should continue to authorize the use of the vaccine or modify the authorization. The White House said the pause would “not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan” to administer 200 million shots by the end of April. White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients added that the “Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5% of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date.” (New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Politico)

2/ Biden nominated Robert Santos to head the U.S. Census Bureau. If confirmed by the Senate, Santos would be the first person of color to permanently lead the agency. Santos, a third-generation native Mexican American, currently serves as the vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute and as the president of the American Statistical Association. (NPR / Washington Post)

3/ Biden will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 – the 20th anniversary of the attacks that first drew the country’s into its longest war. In an agreement with the Taliban, the withdrawal extends the U.S. troop presence past the May 1 deadline set by the Trump administration. The 2021 threat assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies reported that a peace deal was unlikely and that “the Afghan government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support.” Since October 2001, more than 2,200 U.S. troops have died and another 20,000 have been wounded. There are roughly 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan now, as well as an additional 7,000 foreign coalition forces. American troop levels reached a high of 100,000 troops in August 2010. (Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / CNN)

4/ Biden called on Putin to “de-escalate tensions” following a Russian military buildup at Ukraine’s border, saying the U.S. would “act firmly in defense of its national interests.” Russia has stationed the highest number of troops along Ukraine’s border since 2014. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, meanwhile, said the U.S. would increase its military presence in Germany by about 500 soldiers. Biden also suggested meeting Putin “in a third country” in the coming months. (New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / Politico / CNN)

5/ Iran will begin enriching uranium to 60% purity for the first time after an attack on one of its key nuclear facilities. Iran blamed Israel for the attack, which they said caused a blackout and damaged centrifuges. Israel has not publicly admitted or denied a role in the explosion, and the White House asserted that “the U.S. was not involved in any manner. We have nothing to add on speculation about the causes or the impacts.” Iran’s foreign minister, however, warned that the attack could hurt ongoing negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. Weapons-grade levels requires uranium enriched to around 90% purity. (Associated Press / New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

6/ The police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright resigned. Kim Potter had been an officer with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years. The city’s police chief, Tim Gannon, also resigned. Yesterday, Gannon said he believed that Potter was attempting to use a Taser on Wright, but instead pulled her firearm, fired a single, fatal shot into Wright’s chest after she repeatedly yelled “Taser!” (Washington Post / New York Times / USA Today / NPR / CNBC)

Day 83: "Accidental discharge."

1/ The White House put the creation a national police oversight commission on hold, despite Biden’s campaign pledge to establish one within his first 100 days. Instead, the administration is moving forward with its efforts to pass the police reform bill named after George Floyd, who was killed after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee to Floyd’s neck for seven minutes and 46 seconds. Chauvin’s murder trial is currently ongoing. The White House said national civil rights organizations and police unions counseled the administration that a commission was not necessary and redundant. (Politico / CNN)

2/ Biden called for an investigation into the police officer who shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man in a Minneapolis suburb. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said the officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright shouted “Taser!” but then fired a handgun instead. “The question is: was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full blown investigation,” Biden said. Gannon, meanwhile, said it was his “belief” that the officer intended to use their Taser during a traffic stop, but instead shot Wright, saying “This appears to me, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge.” After the officer fired, she is heard on video saying, “Holy shit. I just shot him.” Wright was killed about 10 miles from where George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin last year, and hours before the 11th day of Chauvin’s murder trial was set to begin. (New York Times / Associated Press / Star Tribune / ABC News / CNN / Axios /

3/ The U.S. administered 4.6 million vaccine doses on Saturday – a single-day record. The country has now averaged 3.1 million doses per day over the past week. Meanwhile, the U.S. is reporting 70,000 new coronavirus infections per day on average over the past week, a figure that’s above July’s peak of 67,000 cases. (CNBC)

  • 38.9% of U.S. Marines have declined Covid-19 vaccinations.(CNN)

4/ Michigan’s average daily case count jumped about seven times since February. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called on the state “to close things down,” rebuffing a request from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for the federal government to send more vaccines. “If we try to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we would be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work, to actually have the impact,” Walensky said. “The answer is not necessarily to give vaccine. The answer to that is […] to go back to our basics […] to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another, to test to the extent that we have available to contact trace.” (Axios / New York Times / Bloomberg / CNBC)

5/ Biden nominated the Tucson police chief to lead Customs and Border Protection. If confirmed, Chris Magnus – a critic of the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies – would be responsible for contending with the biggest increase in migrants arriving at the southwest border in two decades. Magnus also opposed Trump’s efforts to make Tucson a “sanctuary city.” Biden also said he intends to nominate Ur Jaddou as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post)

  • The Biden administration secured agreements with Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala to secure their borders and slow the number of migrants arriving at the U.S. border. (CNN / New York Times)

6/ The Biden Justice Department refused to disclose documents from the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that separated thousands of migrant families at the U.S. border. The documents, requested by the lawyers representing separated families, include emails between Trump officials and minutes of high-level meetings during the planning of the policy. Among the unreleased documents is the agenda from a May 2018 meeting that included a show of hands vote by Trump officials on whether to separate families. (NBC News)

7/ The U.S. has admitted 2,050 refugees at the halfway point of this fiscal year, putting the Biden administration on track to accept the fewest number of refugees this year of any modern president – including Trump. Eight weeks ago Biden promised to reverse Trump-era immigration policies, to rebuild and enhance federal programs to resettle refugees, and to raise the annual cap on refugee admissions to 125,000 for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, up from Trump’s limit of 15,000. Biden, however, hasn’t signed what is known as a presidential determination to make those changes official. At the current pace and without the reversal of Trump’s policies, the Biden administration will admit about 4,510 refugees – less than half of the figure admitted in Trump’s final year. (Washington Post)

Day 80: "Out of whack."

1/ Biden created a bipartisan commission to study adding seats to the Supreme Court. Biden said the group has 180 days to produce a report on court expansion, term limits, and other “recommendations as to how to reform the court system, because it’s getting out of whack.” The executive order also mandates that the group holds public meetings and take input from a range of stakeholders. Biden previously said he’s “not a fan” of adding additional seats to the Supreme Court in order to alter its ideological balance, which currently has a 6 to 3 conservative tilt. Meanwhile, Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the court’s three liberals, recently warned against expanding the Supreme Court, saying its authority depends on “a trust that the court is guided by legal principle, not politics.” (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / NPR)

2/ The White House released Biden’s $1.52 trillion budget request for 2022, calling for significant increase in spending aimed at fighting poverty and climate change, while keeping defense spending relatively flat. The budget outline would increase overall spending on discretionary programs by $118 billion (about 8% above last year’s levels), while defense spending would see an increase of $12.3 billion (1.7%), and other domestic programs would get a 15.9% boost. Administration officials said the budget request was “complimentary” to Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan. (Washington Post / NPR / Politico / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN)

3/ Former Trump administration appointees privately celebrated successfully influencing the CDC’s scientific reports on the coronavirus. New documents show that former Health and Human Services senior adviser Paul Alexander shared two examples of the CDC bowing to his pressure and changing language in their scientific reports to more closely align with Trump’s political messages about the pandemic. “Small victory but a victory nonetheless and yippee!!!” Alexander wrote in one email to then-HHS public affairs chief Michael Caputo on Sept. 9, 2020. (Washington Post / CNN)

4/ The CDC said the U.S. is seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases linked to youth sports. Between January and March, Michigan saw 291 cases stemming from youth sports teams, while in Minnesota at least 68 coronavirus cases were linked to participants in both school and club sports activities. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the increases in Michigan and Minnesota were “due, in part, to more highly transmissible variants.” The highly infectious B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., recently became the dominate Covid strain in the U.S. (CNBC / CNN)

  • Pfizer requested that the FDA expand the emergency use of its Covid-19 vaccine to adolescents aged 12 to 15. (CNBC)

5/ The White House “border czar” will step down at the end of the month despite the administration struggling to address the flow of immigration from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Roberta Jacobson, the former ambassador to Mexico, said her appointment on the National Security Council as the border coordinator was always intended to last for only about 100 days. Biden tapped Kamala Harris last month to lead the government’s diplomatic efforts with that region. (New York Times)

6/ Matt Gaetz sent accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg $900 in May 2018, who then – using the same app – sent three young women money totaling $900. In the memo field of one of the Venmo payments, Gaetz instructed Greenberg to “hit up____,” using the nickname for one of the girls. The House Ethics Committee announced it was opening an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Gaetz. The House probe comes amid a Department of Justice investigation into Gaetz’s alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl and whether she was paid to travel for sex, which could violate federal sex-trafficking laws. Gaetz, meanwhile, hired two defense lawyers to represent him in the investigations. One of the lawyers represents the Trump Organization in a separate criminal probe. (Daily Beast / Washington Post / CNBC / NBC News / Bloomberg)

Day 79: "International embarrassment."

1/ Biden announced executive actions to address what he called an “epidemic” of gun violence. Biden also pressed Congress to close background check loopholes, ban assault weapons, and strip gun manufacturers of liability protections, saying “much more needs to be done.” Biden said he asked the Justice Department to identify “immediate, concrete actions” he could take unilaterally. The Justice Department will also issue a proposed rule to curb so-called ghost guns and publish model “red flag” laws for states to use as guides. “We’ve got a long way to go, it seems like we always have a long way to go,” Biden said. “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment.” (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / New York Times)

2/ More than 18,800 unaccompanied children crossed the southern border in March. The previous one-month high for unaccompanied minors arriving at the border was 11,861 – set in May 2019. U.S. authorities apprehended more than 172,000 migrants at the border in March – a 15-year high in monthly crossings. Of those, more than 100,000 were almost immediately expelled. (Politico / Washington Post)

3/ The Biden administration is spending at least $60 million per week to care for unaccompanied migrant teenagers and children in shelters operated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The cost of emergency shelter sites is more than 2.5 times higher than permanent shelters “due to the need to develop facilities quickly and hire significant staff over a short period of time,” a spokesman for HHS’s Administration for Children and Families said, adding that the average daily cost per child is “approximately $775 per day based on past experience.” (Washington Post)

4/ Justice Department lawyers still cannot find the parents of 445 children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration. The parents of 61 separated migrant children have been located since February. (New York Times)

5/ Joe Manchin will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster under any circumstances and suggested that he would also be opposed to using budget reconciliation process to push major aspects of Biden’s agenda through Congress. “The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed. As a result, 10 Republicans would be needed to join all Democrats in the 50-50 Senate to pass major pieces of legislation. (CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN)

6/ Investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office seized financial records from the former daughter-in-law of the Trump Organization’s Chief Financial Officer. Jennifer Weisselberg was married to Barry Weisselberg — the son of Allen Weisselberg — from 2004 to 2018. District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office took possession of three boxes and a laptop as part of a grand jury subpoena. Jennifer Weisselberg turned over all records she possessed of her ex-husband’s bank accounts and credit cards, plus his statements of net worth and tax filings. Separately, the Trump Organization hired an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent it in the Manhattan prosecutors’ investigation into possible bank, tax or insurance fraud by the Trump and the Trump Organization. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

7/ One of Matt Gaetz’s associates, who faces a sex trafficking charge, is expected to plead guilty and will likely cooperate with federal prosecutors. Investigators are looking into a Bahamas trip Gaetz allegedly took in late 2018 or early 2019 and whether he violated sex trafficking or prostitution laws. Joel Greenberg’s possible cooperation with the Justice Department could provide investigators with key details. Specifically, investigators are trying to determine if the escorts were illegally trafficked across state or international lines for the purpose of sex with Gaetz. Greenberg introduced Gaetz to women he found through websites that connect people who are willing to go on dates in exchange for gifts and allowances, which feature women looking for “sugar daddy” relationships with wealthy men. Greenberg’s lawyer, Fritz Scheller, said his client was “uniquely situated” to help prosecutors and was seeking a deal “with the least exposure possible.” Scheller added: “I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.” (New York Times / CBS News / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / NBC News)

  • Matt Gaetz privately asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons from Trump for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed. The request came in the final weeks of Trump’s term when Gaetz was already under investigation over whether he violated sex trafficking laws. Trump, meanwhile, said Gaetz “has never asked me for a pardon.” (New York Times / Politico)

Day 78: "Good faith negotiations."

1/ The CDC said the coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. is now the dominant strain in the United States. The variant, known as B.1.1.7, is 50% more contagious than others and now accounts for about 27% of cases in the U.S. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that the newer strain is more transmissible among younger people and that new outbreaks in the U.S. have been linked to youth sports and day care centers. (NPR / NBC News / Washington Post / CNBC)

  • 😷 Dept. of “We’re gonna get through this.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~132,776,000; deaths: ~2,881,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~30,908,000; deaths: ~559,000; fully vaccinated: ~19.4%; partially vaccinated: ~33.1%

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University / Washington Post

2/ Biden signaled that he was open to “good faith negotiations” with Republicans on his $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal, but insisted he would “not be open to doing nothing. Inaction is simply not an option.” When asked if he would consider a lower corporate tax rate than 28%, as his plan currently calls for, Biden replied: “I’m willing to listen to that. We’ve got to pay for this,” noting that there are “many other ways we can do it.” The Treasury Department, meanwhile, outlined a proposed tax increase on businesses that, if enacted, would raise $2.5 trillion in revenue over 15 years, meant to offset the costs of the infrastructure package. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

3/ Biden will announce new executive actions to curb gun violence on Thursday. While the extent of tomorrow’s announcement is unclear, Biden is expected to require background checks on buyers of so-called ghost guns – homemade or makeshift firearms that lack serial numbers. (Politico / CNN)

4/ The U.S. and Iran agreed – through intermediaries – on a plan to try to get both countries back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. During a meeting with the current members of the deal, all parties agreed to establish a working group to focus on how to get the U.S. back to the deal by lifting economic sanctions imposed or reimposed after Trump pulled out of the accord in May 2018. Another working group would focus on how to get Iran back into compliance with the accord’s limitations on nuclear enrichment and stockpiles of enriched uranium. (New York Times)

5/ More than 500,000 Americans signed up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace between mid-February and the end of March. The Biden administration initially opened a “special enrollment period” for everyone on HealthCare.gov for people to buy insurance through May 15. The period was later extended until Aug. 15. (HuffPost)

6/ The National Republican Congressional Committee is warning donors who opt out of recurring monthly donations that “we will have to tell Trump you’re a DEFECTOR.” A tool provided by WinRed, a for-profit Republican donation platform, prechecks the box to enroll donors into repeating monthly donations by default. Donors who proactively uncheck the box are threatened with being labeled a “DEFECTOR.” The prechecked box is the same tactic that the Trump campaign used, which resulted in complaints of fraud to banks and credit card companies. (New York Times)

Day 77: "Irritating."

1/ All adults in the U.S. should be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine by April 19, almost two weeks sooner than Biden’s original May 1 deadline. All but two states – Oregon and Hawaii – are already set to meet the new target date. “That doesn’t mean they will get it that day, that means they can join the line that day if they have not already done that beforehand,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. As of last week, about half of states had already opened vaccinations to everyone 16 and older, which is expected to rise to 36 states by the end of this week. The Biden administration also said that 150 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered to Americans. (CNN / NBC News / NPR / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

  • 😷 Dept. of “We’re gonna get through this.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~132,132,000; deaths: ~2,866,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~30,832,000; deaths: ~557,000; fully vaccinated: ~19.0%; partially vaccinated: ~32.6%

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University / Washington Post

2/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott banned government agencies, private businesses, and organizations that receive state funding from creating “vaccine passports,” saying Covid-19 vaccinations are voluntary and that no one should have to disclose private health information as a condition of engaging in normal activities. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order last week banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to get service. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has said “the government is not now, nor will we be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential” because it doesn’t want vaccine passports “used against people unfairly.” Instead, the administration will provide guidance for private-sector development of credentials. (Texas Tribune / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

3/ The nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian ruled that Democrats could use budget reconciliation to advance more of Biden’s agenda with a simple majority. Democrats previously used budget resolution to pass the American Rescue Plan. “I always would prefer to do legislation in a bipartisan way, but we have to get big, bold things done,” Chuck Schumer said. “And so we need to have as many options as possible if Republicans continue to obstruct.” All 50 Democratic senators would need support the approach to advance Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs package this fiscal year without a single Republican vote. Democratic moderates like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, however, have advised against using the reconciliation process a second time. They also oppose eliminating the filibuster to pass all bills with 51 votes, instead of 60, arguing that the supermajority requirement forces lawmakers to seek broad compromises. (Politico / Vox / New York Times / CNBC / Axios / NPR / ABC News / Associated Press / CBS News)

4/ Mitch McConnell warned businesses critical of state voting restrictions to “stay out of politics.” McConnell called it “quite stupid” for corporations to speak out politically on “incendiary” issues, like Georgia’s new voting law, but said he supports corporations making political donations. McConnell suggested that businesses have “a right to participate in the political process,” specifically noting that he’s “not talking about political contributions.” He added that “Republicans drink Coca-Cola, too, and we fly, and we like baseball. It’s irritating one hell of a lot of Republican fans.” (The Guardian / ABC News / CNN / Forbes / Washington Post)

5/ Arkansas’ Republican-controlled House and Senate enacted a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender children. The override comes a day after Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s vetoed the bill. The state is the first to criminalize gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. (Associated Press / Axios)

6/ The Education Department will hold a public hearing on how schools should handle sexual misconduct cases as part of an overhaul of Title IX regulations. During the presidential campaign, Biden promised to dismantle Trump-era rules on sexual misconduct that afforded greater protections to students accused of assault. Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos formalized rules for how universities and K-12 schools should handle complaints of sexual assault and misconduct in 2020, which created protections for the accused, including the presumption that they’re innocent and the right to cross-examine their accusers. After the hearing, the department will begin the formal process to rewrite the Title IX rules. (NBC News / New York Times)

7/ Carbon dioxide topped 420 parts per million in the atmosphere for the first time – the halfway point to doubling preindustrial CO2 levels. The Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii began collecting CO2 measurements in the late 1950s. At the time, atmospheric CO2 concentration sat at around 315 parts per million. On Saturday, the daily average hit 421.21 parts per million – the first time in recorded history that atmospheric CO2 concentration has been so high. Previously, it had never exceeded 420 parts per million. (Washington Post)

Day 76: "Consequences."

1/ A record 4 million people in the U.S. received a coronavirus vaccine on Saturday. Over the past seven days, an average of 3.1 million shots have been administered each day and about 1 in 4 adults are now fully vaccinated, Andy Slavitt said, the White House’s senior adviser for Covid-19 response. While the daily coronavirus death toll in the U.S. is at its lowest level in months, the seven-day average of new daily cases rose 7% to 64,000, according to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. In Michigan, daily new cases are up 39% compared with a week ago. Experts, however, disagree on whether the U.S. is on the cusp of a “fourth wave” or seeing the last gasps of the 14-month pandemic. Michael Osterholm, an adviser to Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, predicted that the next two weeks would bring “the highest number of cases reported globally since the beginning of the pandemic.” Osterholm called Michigan’s 8,400 new cases a “wake-up call to everyone.” Meanwhile, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the FDA under Trump, said he did not foresee a fourth wave, saying “I think with the rate of vaccination that we’re having right now […] I think that there’s enough immunity in the population that you’re not going to see a true fourth wave of infection.” (Washington Post / CNBC / New York Times / CNN / Axios)

  • 😷 Dept. of “We’re gonna get through this.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~131,594,000; deaths: ~2,857,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~30,756,000; deaths: ~556,000; fully vaccinated: ~18.8%; partially vaccinated: ~32.4%

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University / Washington Post

2/ Nearly 200 companies signed a joint statement against proposals that threaten to restrict voting access in dozens of states. “We call on elected leaders in every state capitol and in Congress to work across the aisle and ensure that every eligible American has the freedom to easily cast their ballot and participate fully in our democracy,” the statement said. In Texas, there are currently 49 restrictive bills that have been introduced in the state legislature. Senate Bill 7 would ban overnight early voting and drive-through early voting. The state House is also considering its own voting bill, House Bill 6, which would prohibit election officials from sending absentee ballot applications to voters without their requests. Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, warned corporations of “serious consequences” if they use their economic power to act like “a woke parallel government.” McConnell called corporate opposition to restrictive new voting laws the “Outrage-Industrial Complex.” Since 2015, corporations have donated more than $50 million to state lawmakers to state legislators supporting voter suppression bills, including $22 million during the 2020 election. (Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp complained about Major League Baseball’s decision to pull the All-Star Game out of the state over new voting restrictions Georgia’s Legislature recently approved. Kemp argued that the move would economically hurt the state. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, meanwhile, turned down an invitation to throw the first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opener, citing MLB’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta. (New York Times / Politico)

3/ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for a global minimum corporate tax rate, saying she wants to halt an international “race to the bottom” by countries competing to lure corporations with lower taxes. As part of the Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs proposal, the U.S. would raise the domestic corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, raise the international minimum rate for foreign income from U.S. companies to 21% from 10.5%, and make it harder for foreign-owned companies with U.S. operations to benefit from shifting profits to low-tax countries. Trump lowered the U.S. tax rate from 35% to 21%, arguing that U.S. companies were incentivized to relocate offshore. Yellen criticized Trump’s unilateralist strategy, saying the U.S. “isolated ourselves and retreated from the international order that we created.” (Axios / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

4/ The Trump campaign refunded 10.7% of the money it raised online in 2020 – $122 million. Donors complained of fraud to banks and credit card companies after the Trump operation had used multiple prechecked boxes to enroll them into recurring contributions. In total, the Trump and party operation raised $1.2 billion. (New York Times)

5/ The Supreme Court vacated an appeals court ruling that Trump could not block critics from his Twitter feed. In 2019, a lower court ruled that Trump’s account was a public forum because he had used it to regularly communicate with the public and that he could not exclude people based on their viewpoints. Both sides in the suit agreed that the case is moot since Trump is no longer president and has been banned from Twitter. In a 12-page concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court will need to examine the power of tech companies, calling it is “unprecedented” to have “control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties.” (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / USA Today / CBS News)

6/ Arkansas’ Republican governor vetoed an anti-transgender health care bill that would make it illegal for transgender minors to receive gender-affirming “procedures.” Gov. Asa Hutchinson called the legislation “a product of the cultural war in America,” even though he believed the bill was “well-intended.” The Arkansas State Legislature could still override Hutchinson’s veto of the bill. (New York Times / CNN)

poll/ 40% of Americans disapprove of the Biden administration’s handling of the unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, while 24% approve, and 35% have no opinion. (Associated Press)

poll/ 55% of Republicans believe the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was led by left-wing activists “trying to make Trump look bad.” 51% of Republicans also believe that the riot was “mostly peaceful, law-abiding Americans.” And, 55% of Republicans believe Trump’s 2020 election loss was the result of illegal voting or election rigging. (Reuters)

Day 73: "Low risk."

1/ One U.S. Capitol Police officer was killed and another hospitalized after a man rammed his car into a security checkpoint outside the Capitol. The suspect was shot and killed after he “exited the vehicle with a knife in hand” and began “lunging” at the officers. The incident comes two weeks after the outer perimeter fence to the Capitol complex was removed. Investigators do not believe the incident was “terrorism related,” Chief Robert Contee of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department said. (CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR /