10 Things in Politics: COVID recovery now on shaky ground

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Here’s what we’re talking about:

What we’re watching today: Jeff Bezos has said he isn’t just one of the “rich guys on a joyride” to space. Watch his launch live here at 9 a.m. ET.

A Wall Street trader on July 19.
The specialist Meric Greenbaum looking at his screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, one of the worst trading days of 2021.

1. HITTING THE WALL: Pandemic jitters haven’t left Wall Street. The Dow had its worst day of the year amid fears about the Delta variant, falling just over 725 points, or 2.1%, for its worst close since October. Bond markets and oil prices didn’t fare any better. At the same time, a federal agency declared the pandemic recession was the shortest recession in US history, lasting just two months.

Some experts anticipate trouble ahead, which could mean a larger short-term dip in the markets:

The pain could be borne by the now-usual suspects: Airlines and cruise companies, cruise operators, and other travel companies further slumped amid the sell-off. Energy stocks struggled too amid concerns about renewed restrictions around the world.

The biggest concern is whether the jitters are about more than COVID-19: Investors were already worried about inflation, The Wall Street Journal points out. Some money managers say the best of the economic recovery may have passed as growth slows from the reopening boom that reverberated throughout much of the world.

  • Key quote: “High inflation and lower economic growth is not a good combination,” Dave Donabedian, the chief investment officer of CIBC Private Wealth Management US, told The Journal.

Jim Banks
Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana at a Republican Study Committee press conference.

2. Three Republicans who voted against certifying election results are nominated to the Capitol riot committee: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has made his five picks to the select Capitol riot panel, multiple outlets reported Monday night. Rep. Jim Banks is McCarthy’s choice to serve as the top Republican on the committee, joined by Reps. Jim Jordan, Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong, and Troy Nehls. Banks, Jordan, and Nehls all voted against certifying 2020 election results from Arizona and Pennsylvania, raising the possibility Speaker Nancy Pelosi could reject some of them. More on the selections here.

3. Inside the pitch to find Trump’s new Twitter: The former Donald Trump spokesman Jason Miller met with Trump last month to discuss Miller’s new app, Gettr. Trump tested the service by sending out messages to engineers, who replied ​​​​with phrases like “Trump 2024!” and “Where’s Hunter?”. Trump and Miller also discussed an undisclosed payment should the former president join the platform. Why aides think Trump finding a new online home is key to seriously considering a 2024 run.

4. Twitter suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: Greene was suspended from the social network for 12 hours Monday night after she posted tweets that violated the company’s policy against spreading misinformation about the pandemic. She recently argued on Twitter that COVID-19 was not dangerous to people who were not obese or over the age of 65. (This is not true.) Greene slammed the decision, saying tech companies “are doing the bidding of the Biden regime.” The latest on the situation here.

5. A bipartisan infrastructure deal remains uncertain: President Joe Biden issued a not-so-subtle dig at Republicans for in his view reneging on an agreement to pay for part of a roughly $1 trillion plan by beefing up the IRS, The Washington Post reports. Senate Republicans are annoyed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s insistence on holding early votes on the package tomorrow, though a final bill has not yet been written. GOP senators are signaling they could block the early vote if the situation doesn’t improve.

6. Federal judge gives green light to college’s vaccine mandate: Indiana University can keep its policy requiring students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall, according to a federal judge’s ruling. Students “aren’t being forced to take the vaccination against their will; they can go to college elsewhere or forego college altogether,” Judge Damon Leichty, a Trump appointee, wrote in his ruling. Here’s how the decision could be a major signal to other universities nationwide.

7. Cluster of cases complicates Olympics: Early COVID-19 cases are the latest hit to an unpopular Olympics. Toyota, one of the games’ biggest sponsors, announced it was pulling ads because of the controversial nature of the event. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed an alternate on the gymnastics team tested positive and was in quarantine. Here are the athletes who will miss the games.

8. Fox News has quietly implemented a vaccine passport: Tucker Carlson and other Fox News hosts may rail against vaccine requirements on a near-nightly basis, but it turns out their own employer has some of the same policies. Fox Corporation employees who don’t disclose whether they have been vaccinated are still required to wear a mask, fill out daily screenings, and distance themselves from others. Fully vaccinated workers who attest to their status don’t have to wear a mask or distance. They get a special pass. More on the contradictions.

9. Canada plans to partially reopen its border to the US: Fully vaccinated Americans may soon be able to travel to Canada, the first time the border would be open in more than 16 months, Reuters reports. The relaxation depends on the pandemic continuing to subside in the country. More on the announcement here.

Naomi Osaka stands in front of an ocean in a black, sheer swimsuit on the cover of "Sports Illustrated."

10. A splash of history: Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit edition made three firsts when it revealed the three women on this year’s covers. Leyna Bloom became the first transgender cover model. Megan Thee Stallion became the first rapper to have a cover. And the tennis star Naomi Osaka became the first Black female athlete to be on a cover. More on the history behind this year’s issue.

Today’s trivia question: Today marks the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. What historic relic was Neil Armstrong entrusted with during the moon-landing journey? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: Pence’s aides still get gov’t checks

Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what we’re talking about:

mike pence
Former Vice President Mike Pence.

1. LIFE AFTER THE WHITE HOUSE: Mike Pence’s staffers have continued to earn federal salaries after leaving the White House. My colleagues obtained documents detailing how taxpayer money is supporting the former vice president after he left office.

They illustrate how Pence’s team is using the allowed $520,000 in federal cash for everything from silver Sharpies to supporting as many as 11 staffers.

What else they found:

  • Who’s in Pence’s inner circle ahead of a possible 2024 run: Two of the officials, his former chief of staff Marc Short and former director of strategic initiatives Paul Teller, have also joined Pence’s new political advocacy group. Teller appears to have been the top-paid Pence transition aide, with an annual salary of $120,000 a year. (The funds will dry up July 21.)
  • It’s a much leaner operation than Trump’s: The former president has access to $2.1 million in federal funds. Trump aides have been getting paid more, too. Trump’s office expenditures included items like an almost-$35,000 stationery package for both Donald Trump and Melania Trump.

Read more about how Pence is spending the taxpayer money here.

2. Los Angeles County brings in an indoor mask mandate: The nation’s most populous county will reimpose its mandate just weeks after it and the rest of California celebrated reopening. The move follows a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant. The decision puts the county at odds with state and federal health officials.

3. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s campaign paid $25K to a lawyer who represented Jeffrey Epstein: Gaetz’s latest filing shows that he paid the sum to attorney Marc Fernich. Among “notable clients” he highlights are the accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, and convicted crime family boss John “Junior” Gotti. See what else the embattled Florida congressman is spending money on.

Flooding in Germany
A village in Germany is largely destroyed and flooded after a massive rainfall and flooding.

4. At least 93 dead as flood waters surge in Europe: Severe flooding has swept through Germany and Belgium as recent storms pushed rivers and reservoirs past their breaking points. As of 5 a.m. ET, there were 81 confirmed deaths in Germany (per Deutsche Welle) and 12 in Belgium (per Belgian public broadcaster VRT).

5. Top Senate Democrat plays infrastructure hardball: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set a procedural vote next week for a $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure deal that is not even currently written, Politico reports. Adding further headaches, there are still disagreements over how to pay for it. GOP lawmakers continue to trash a proposal to beef up the IRS by $40 billion. Here’s where things stand.

6. Leaked docs reportedly show Putin wanted to sow chaos by backing Trump: Leaked documents said to come from the Kremlin suggest that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a concerted effort to sow chaos in the US. The Guardian obtained the documents, which it said describe a plan to “facilitate” Trump winning the presidency in 2016. The leaked documents describe Trump as “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual.”

7. Capitol Police arrested a Democratic lawmaker during a voting-rights protest: Officers arrested Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, for demonstrating in a prohibited area of the Capitol. Beatty’s arrest comes as Texas Democrats continue to camp out in D.C. to thwart state voting restrictions and to pressure lawmakers to pass new federal protections.

  • A key Democrat said he had a productive meeting with the Texans: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said the two sides are in agreement on a pared-down voting rights bill, CNN reports. More on that here.

8. Biden says US and Germany are launching climate and energy partnership: Biden made the announcement following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her last visit to the White House while in power after working with three other presidents. More on their meeting here.

9. An 18-year-old is set to be the youngest-ever person in space: Blue Origin announced that Oliver Daemen will fly on its New Shepard spacecraft alongside Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, and 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk when it blasts off next week. The company said Daemen will its first paying customer, though he is not the person who bid $28 million for the seat at an auction last month.

10. The new Coke redux: Fans of Coke Zero are definitely worried about the future of their favorite beverage. Coca-Cola said that it will change its Coke Zero recipe, which led more than a few drinkers to pop off. The change is also giving flashbacks to the infamous “New Coke” blunder of the ’80s.

Today’s trivia question: Who was the first woman to serve as state Senate majority leader? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

That’s all for now! Have a great weekend.

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10 Things in Politics: Breyer clerks fear RBG repeat

I hope you all had a great weekend! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what we’re talking about:

What to look out for today: Vice President Kamala Harris travels to Detroit for a voting-rights listening session.

Stephen Breyer.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer in 2014.

1. IS THIS SEAT TAKEN?: Justice Stephen Breyer’s former clerks are anxious, fearing his reluctance to retire from the Supreme Court may cloud his legacy. Their worries are compounded by the hard feelings surrounding Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s refusal to bow out during the Obama administration. The vacancy opened by her death last year led conservatives to cement a 6-3 majority that could rewrite historic precedents like Roe v. Wade as soon as next year.

  • Biden’s pledge to make a historic pick weighs on them too: “We have a real shot of getting the first Black woman on the Supreme Court,” a former Breyer clerk told Insider. “If someone in the Senate gets sick or, because of some scandal, Democrats lose the majority, who knows when a Black woman will be appointed to the court?” (Legal insiders think Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who also happens to be a former Breyer clerk, is likely to be President Joe Biden’s pick.)

My colleague spoke with former Breyer clerks about the biggest cliffhanger in Biden’s Washington.

Here’s a peek at what they said:

Breyer’s decision to stay put doesn’t surprise some of them: But they say in recent years he’s privately and publicly bemoaned the frequency of closely divided rulings and the increasing politicization of the court.

  • Some also say the public pressure campaign on Breyer could easily backfire: “To the extent that the public pressure on him to step down has any effect, my best guess is it would have the opposite effect, not because he’s the sort of person to say, ‘Don’t tell me what to do,’ but it contributes to the politicization of the situation,” said Carolyn Shapiro, a professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law who clerked for Breyer in the 1996-1997 Supreme Court term.

The larger Breyer universe said questions around him would only grow: “There was no expectation he would leave before June, but most of us thought it was more likely than not that he would retire this year,” one former clerk said. In another possible sign of his plans, Breyer has hired four new clerks for the court’s next term.

The window could close soon: Senate Democrats are one heartbeat away from losing the chamber even before next year’s midterms.

More on the people who will be in the room when Breyer makes his decision.

2. Haiti says it has arrested the leading suspect in its president’s assassination: Haitian authorities say Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a Haitian-born doctor based in Florida, played a leading role in the killing and recruited others involved in the assassination, The Washington Post reports. Attackers fatally shot Moïse on Wednesday at his home in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. In the aftermath, Haiti is suffering from a power vacuum.

The VSS Unity space plane heading toward space.
VSS Unity firing its engines to soar to the edge of space on Sunday.

3. A new kind of space race: Virgin Galactic successfully launched its billionaire founder, Richard Branson, and three other employees to the edge of space. The flight lasted just one hour. A slew of billionaires are seeking to push the envelope on the final frontier. With the flight, Branson beat Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, who plans to go to space next week.

4. Pelosi’s husband just invested millions in two tech companies: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, bought up to $5 million in shares in Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and in Nvidia Corporation. Paul Pelosi’s purchase of Alphabet shares came just days before the House Judiciary Committee voted on key tech legislation. The House speaker’s office said she had no involvement with the trades.

See which other stocks lawmakers are trading, including their investments in cryptocurrencies.

5. Fauci wants to see more local vaccine mandates: “We’re talking about life-and-death situation. We’ve lost 600,000 Americans already, and we’re still losing more people,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Fauci said it was “horrifying” to see attendees of a conservative political conference applaud the US for failing to meet the White House’s vaccination goal.

A man is arrested during a protest against the Cuban government
A man being arrested during a protest against the Cuban government in Havana on Sunday.

6. Cubans protested in the largest numbers seen in decades: Thousands took to the streets across the country chanting “freedom” and “yes, we can” in a major challenge to the entrenched Communist government, The Washington Post reports. President Miguel Díaz-Canel, Cuba’s first post-Castro leader, accused the US of stoking tensions. More on the discontent that has been brewing there.

7. Photos show shirtless Democratic congressmen riding camels on a trip paid for by a special-interest group: Reps. Eric Swalwell and Ruben Gallego, shirtless and smiling with their wives astride, sat atop camels in March as the Persian Gulf shimmered behind them, photos obtained by Insider show. The photos suggest the lawmakers strayed from their official duties during a trip to Qatar. More on the trip, one of several by lawmakers that private interests have paid for this year.

8. Trump praised Ashli Babbitt: Former President Donald Trump lauded the woman fatally shot by a police officer while participating in the January 6 Capitol riot and suggested, without citing evidence, that a high-level Democrat might have been involved. Trump described Babbitt as “an innocent, wonderful, incredible woman, a military woman?” The Justice Department has cleared the officer who shot her as she was trying to enter the Speaker’s Lobby, just yards from where lawmakers were fleeing. More on Trump’s comments here.

9. Economists say don’t buy a house before next year: Prices are climbing at their fastest pace in more than three decades, and homes are frequently selling above their list price, according to the National Association of Realtors. Unless construction picks up, the near-term outlook for prices isn’t promising. Here’s how the scars of the previous housing crisis are making it harder this time.

10. The Carters had quite the bash for their 75th wedding anniversary: The country-music star Garth Brooks; CNN’s founder, Ted Turner; Nancy Pelosi; Bill and Hillary Clinton; and scores of other people from all walks of life gathered at the Plains, Georgia, high school that Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter attended 80 years ago, The Post reports. More on the longest marriage between any presidential couple.

Today’s trivia question: Wally Funk, 82, is set to be on Bezos’ spaceflight. Funk began her quest for space travel as part of a group of female test pilots in the 1960s. What did they become known as?

Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: D.C. money diaries, Trump enablers, and more

Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics*. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

MIXING IT UP: I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekends. We’re mixing it up a little today by bringing you a special edition (*just 5 things today) featuring some of Insider’s best politics stories that you may have missed. I’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming – and all the latest news – tomorrow.

1. Capitol Hill staffers are making next to nothing: Capitol Hill staffers have put up with low wages for years. Some start in the high $20,000s. Often this means barely making enough to live in DC and shuffling from the halls of Congress to side hustles. Read what Capitol Hill staffers are saying about their “unlivable” wages.

  • A major takeaway: Those advising the most powerful people in our country are far from representative of America as few people can afford to work in such conditions. It also means experienced workers can make a lot more lobbying, further greasing the swamp’s revolving door.
  • Plus, eight Capitol Hill staffers shared with us how they budget their monthly salaries. Check out their money diaries here.

trump enablers 4x3

2. Meet the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Trump’s rise to power: Trump was a one-man band atop his campaign when he became the 45th president of the United States, but he had help from numerous staffers and allies along the way. My colleagues assembled a list of everyone that helped him, from conservative media superstars Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch to Donald Trump Jr. to top White House aides Reince Priebus and Stephen Miller. Rudy Giuliani is here too.

You can view the full database here.

3. Men dominate drug companies. This inequity in leadership costs women more than $500 million in pay each year: Even as biopharma executives have paid more attention to gender inequity, men still account for 92% of the industry’s CEO roles, according to a review of nearly 200 leading drug companies. The problem extends beyond the CEO ranks too. See what several women leaders suggested should be done.

Marc Polymeropoulos with the Red Square and the Kremlin, an art piece of a mask with a needle punctured through its eye made in art therapy, the CIA seal, the US Cuban embassy building, and the US and Cuban flags behind him on a gray background.

4. Mysterious brain injuries have plagued over 130 US spies and diplomats. A former CIA officer opened up about his experience: Reports of “Havana Syndrome” have continued to grow since 2016 when diplomats and their families in Cuba started experiencing headaches, vertigo, and hearing loss after hearing buzzing or clicking sounds. The cause and mechanism continue to stump medical experts. Read a firsthand account of what it’s like to struggle with these symptoms – while some officials say you’re not really sick.

  • Key quote: “We wish we had a visible wound. We would’ve rather had gotten shot,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, who was working for the CIA in Russia when he was attacked. “Because so many people didn’t believe us.”

Gen Z WH staffers

5. Gen Z is already shaking up the White House: Insider identified 15 Gen Zers – people born after 1996, according to Pew Research Center – already working for the administration. Meet those who are already making their mark before many in their generation can even vote.

  • An incredible story: “My dad crossed the border every day for 16 years, and my mom gave up her profession to get me to where I’m standing now, so this is a really big moment for my parents and everyone who came before them,” said Alejandra Gonzalez, a special assistant for an official on the National Security Council. More here.

That’s all for now! See you tomorrow morning.

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10 Things in Politics: This brash GOP rep. voted to impeach Trump

Peter Meijer
Republican Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan.

Good morning! I hope you had a nice weekend. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics, your weekday look at the biggest stories in DC and beyond. Sign up here to receive this newsletter.

Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what we’re talking about:

1. THE INSIDER PROFILE: Rep. Peter Meijer was sworn into Congress just days before the Capitol riot. Then in one of his first votes, he opted to impeach the president, joining nine other Republicans in a historic break from the party line. Meijer soon bought body armor as death threats escalated over his perceived disloyalty – even months later, the state GOP chair has mused about a possible assassination. Now, Meijer wants to save the GOP from falling off the cliff. Insider traveled to his district to hear more from this outspoken Republican.

Here’s a peek at our in-depth profile:

While some question his motive, Meijer stands behind his impeachment vote: The congressman said it had weighed on him that he occupied the seat once held by President Gerald Ford. The same Ford who remains defined by his decision to pardon Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal.

  • But Meijer sees a key difference: “I mean, I think that, to me, the operative distinction there was that Ford pardoned Nixon after Nixon resigned and accepted responsibility. And there was no such acceptance of responsibility in any way, shape, or form by the president for the events leading up to January 6 and the failure to respond on the sixth.”
People in face masks leaving a Meijer store in Detroit last year.

Being a Meijer in western Michigan is an experience in and of itself: Meijer’s grandpa and great-grandpa founded what became the family’s grocery-store chain in 1934. It’s why Peter Meijer thinks President Ford, who once held Meijer’s congressional seat, signed his Disney World signature book. More important, it’s helped the family achieve an estimated net worth of $12.6 billion.

Why he feels free to express a more independent streak: “I just want to get shit done,” Meijer said. “I didn’t run for office to be building or burnishing some national brand or only secure reelection and a cozy perch. My goal is to make as much impact and drive as much positive change as I possibly can.”

  • What he’s hoping to accomplish: “I would say very much at the top of the list is war-powers reform and AUMF reform.” Meijer, an Army veteran and former nongovernmental-organization worker in Afghanistan, has joined a bipartisan effort to end authorizations that in some cases date back to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He views this as a necessary step to reassert congressional power and to help end “forever wars.”

Read more about the millennial congressman’s YOLO approach to his job.

2 . A key Democrat is praising Republicans’ infrastructure plan: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia called the GOP’s $568 billion counteroffer a “good start,” despite fellow Democrats’ balking at its being only roughly a quarter of Biden’s $2.25 trillion package. Manchin added that he supported a “more targeted” approach based mostly on more traditional definitions of infrastructure.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, speaks of a "scorched earth" policy towards child sexual predators Tuesday April 1, 2014, in the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a group of bills that will require sexual predators to be locked up longer, and require that more sexual predators be committed for psychiatric review once they finish their criminal sentences. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
Then-Florida state Rep. Matt Gaetz in 2014.

3. Rep. Matt Gaetz once fought for “scorched earth” penalties for sex offenders: Gaetz, while he was in the Florida legislature, cosponsored legislation that increased the mandatory prison time for convicted sexual offenders, calling it some of the most important work his colleagues would do. Now that Gaetz is under federal investigation, his record is getting renewed attention. The congressman has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Insider watched more than 11 hours of archived hearings to see how Gaetz talked about issues like sentencing sex offenders and sex trafficking before he was elected to Congress.

4. US to help India with vaccines as COVID-19 cases continue to soar: The Biden administration pledged to immediately make available raw materials to produce India’s equivalent of the AstraZeneca vaccine along with testing kits, drugs, ventilators, and other supplies. The country recorded 349,691 new cases on Sunday, smashing a global record for a fourth consecutive day.

  • Fully vaccinated American tourists will be allowed to visit the European Union: A top EU official told The New York Times that all 27 member EU nations would accept “unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.” All of the US’s authorized vaccines meet that standard. There’s no timeline, though, on when travel would reopen.

5. Stephen Miller’s new nemesis is a former lawyer for the US women’s soccer team: Brian Netter, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, has stepped down as a partner at the law firm Mayer Brown to become a top official in the Justice Department’s civil division. Netter will play a key role in defending Biden policies against legal challenges from Republican state attorneys general and conservative groups. Miller, a former Trump aide, recently launched a group aimed at promoting court fights against the Biden administration. More on Netter’s background, including representing the USWNT’s equal-pay fight.

6. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • Noon: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing. The National Economic Council’s director, Brian Deese, will join her.
  • 4 p.m.: Vice President Kamala Harris hosts a virtual meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei.

7. Kevin McCarthy defended Trump’s response to the deadly Capitol riot: McCarthy, the top House Republican, told Fox News that when he spoke with Donald Trump on January 6 the then-president promised to release a statement on the unfolding insurrection and “that’s what he did.” Just after the riot, McCarthy said Trump “bears responsibility” for the violence that unfolded. But since then, the Californian has walked back his criticism. McCarthy also dodged a question on whether Trump told him during their call that the rioters “are more upset about the election than you are.”

8. Harris says the goal of immigration talks is to “give people some sense of hope”: The vice president told CNN that the nation’s immigration problems were “not going to be solved overnight.” Biden has tapped Harris to work with the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras as the administration struggles with an influx at the border. More on her comments here.

9. The Daily Mail and Fox News pushed misleading claims about Biden limiting meat consumption: False claims about Biden’s plans for addressing the climate crisis spread online. The stories were based on a 2020 University of Michigan study that is not related to the president or his climate plan, but that didn’t stop Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert from weighing in.

Chloe Zhao Oscars 2021
Chloé Zhao at the Oscars on Sunday.

10. What you missed during the Oscars: The 93rd Academy Awards had a shocking end amid an unusual and historic night. Anthony Hopkins beat Chadwick Boseman to win best actor, a twist amplified by the facts that the award was placed at the end of the show (instead of best picture) and that Hopkins was not in attendance.

The complete list of winners.

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: FDR gets credit for ushering in the 100-days marker for presidents. But do you know who wrote to the president as a teenager and would later become a world leader himself? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: DOJ treads lightly on Trump

Donald Trump.

Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics, your weekday look at the biggest stories in DC and beyond. Sign up here to receive this newsletter.

Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what we’re talking about:

1. INSIDE MAIN JUSTICE: The relative silence at the Justice Department is telling. Nearly 100 days into the Biden administration, it appears a DOJ probe into former President Donald Trump is taking a backseat to investigations in New York and Georgia. With this in mind, Insider explored the DOJ’s hesitancy to take on Trump.

Here’s a peek at what we found:

There are many fraught questions at play: Fairly or unfairly, former DOJ officials say a federal case against Trump would risk playing into the same “lock her up” mentality that the former president spread against his opponents. An investigation, if it were to become public, could also easily consume Biden’s presidency.

  • DOJ veterans say this is why the attorney general wants to avoid it: “I think the truth is [Merrick] Garland wants an investigation of Trump like he wants a hole in the head. It’s the last thing he wants as attorney general,” a former top Justice Department official told Insider.

There’s no shortage of avenues for a probe: The former special counsel Robert Mueller documented multiple instances of potential obstruction of justice, there’s the hush money to Stormy Daniels, and a former prosecutor has said the investigation into the deadly Capitol riot could extend to Trump.

  • The best bet, they say, would be to try to privately test the waters: “If I’m Garland and [newly confirmed deputy attorney general Lisa] Monaco, I get a briefing that I don’t tell anybody about,” a former federal prosecutor said. “I figure out if there’s a way to do an initial review without sending out grand-jury subpoenas and without going public.”

Our exclusive report takes you inside the DOJ’s Trump “problem.”

2. Biden’s climate pledge has a difficult path to reality: The president committed to slashing greenhouse-gas emissions over the next decade during his virtual climate-change summit. This would require sweeping changes to virtually every aspect of American society, The New York Times reports. Experts who have gamed out what the non-binding pledge would mean predict that more than half of new vehicles sold would need to be electric, virtually all coal-fired plants would need to shutter, and the number of wind turbines and solar panels would need to quadruple. It’s achievable, but it is an enormous challenge.

Much of it would require congressional buy-in: But some Republicans are pointing to an uncomfortable reality. While the US is doubling its efforts, China and India, two of the world’s biggest polluters, are staying silent.

WATCH: Climate scientists debunk 13 myths about global warming

Screen Shot 2021 04 23 at 3.12.15 AM

johnson & johnson covid vaccine

3. There’s a key meeting on the future of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine today: Insider spoke to five members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel that will vote on what to do with the vaccine. Federal officials previously called for a pause after six reports of rare blood clots in young and middle-age women who’d recently been vaccinated. Barring any major surprises, they all seemed eager to resume using the J&J shot.

  • Key quote: “I think it’s extremely unlikely that we’re going to say it’s too risky to use this vaccine,” said Dr. Jose Romero, chair of the advisory committee, and director of the Arkansas Department of Public Health. He suggested the issue is likely an “abnormal immune response” in a very small number of patients.

Meanwhile, hospitals are overrun in India as virus variants run rampant: Insider spoke with people on the ground about the devastation this wave has caused.

4. The Senate easily passes anti-Asian hate-crime legislation: The bill would direct the Justice Department to expedite the review of coronavirus-related hate crimes and improve public reporting of hate crimes. Calling the proposal “too broad,” Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri was the only lawmaker to vote against it.

The family of George Floyd salutes Daunte Wright during his funeral services at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis, Thursday, April 22, 2021.
The family of George Floyd salutes Daunte Wright during his funeral services on Thursday.

5. Hundreds mourn at funeral for Daunte Wright: Politicians and relatives and loved ones of George Floyd, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and Emmett Till attended a service for Wright. Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was killed by Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Porter during a routine traffic stop. Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy. He said: “I haven’t seen a funeral like this since Prince, well, we came to bury the prince of Brooklyn Center, because you hurt one of our princes.”

6. Washington moves of the week: Former HUD Secretary Ben Carson landed a consulting gig, the Transportation Department filled a post for the first time in over 40 years, and the DNC beefed up its comms operation. Here are some of the other biggest moves this week.

Dr. Robert C. Hampshire became the DOT’s chief science officer, a job that hasn’t been filled since the Reagan era. Carson is now a special consultant for Galectin Therapeutics Inc. And former acting US Attorney in Washington Michael Sherwin has joined the law firm Kobre & Kim.

Read the rest of our exclusive list here.

7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 9:25 a.m.: Vice President Harris travels to Plymouth and Concord, New Hampshire, during a visit to tout Biden’s jobs plan.
  • 9:15 a.m.: Biden delivers remarks and participates in the second day of the climate summit.
  • 11:30 a.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House daily news briefing. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will join her.
  • 10 p.m.: EPA Secretary Michael Regan, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and other top officials appear on CNN’s “Climate Crisis” town hall.

8. Biden reportedly will propose doubling capital-gains taxes for wealthy Americans: He wants to implement a 39.6% capital-gains tax for people earning $1 million or more. The White House would use this to help the next part of Biden’s infrastructure plan focused on childcare and education. More on the plan that to be unveiled during Biden’s primetime address next week.

9. Experts say the other officers charged in George Floyd’s death are almost certain to plead guilty: Former officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng are expected to go to trial in August. “I’m almost 100% confident that likelihood of guilty pleas in all three cases has just gone up by a lot,” one expert said.

Ma Rainey Netflix
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

10. Get ready for Oscar weekend: The Academy Awards are airing on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, and we’ve got a look at what to expect. First off, our predictions. From the late Chadwick Boseman to “Nomadland,” here’s who we think will be the night’s big winners.

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: Today is the bard’s birthday. On that note, do you know which of Shakespeare’s plays future-President Abraham Lincoln referenced in his maiden speech on the House floor? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Have a great weekend. I’ll see you on Monday!

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: Biden demands reform after Chauvin verdict

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President Biden speaks after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all charges in the killing of George Floyd.

Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics, your weekday look at the biggest stories in DC and beyond. Sign up here to receive this newsletter.

Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what we’re talking about today:

1. “WE CAN’T STOP HERE”: President Joe Biden urged Americans to unite in the wake of Derek Chauvin’s conviction on all three charges in the killing of George Floyd. The president said the verdicts are just the beginning of what needs to be done to address policing and systemic racism in America.

  • “The guilty verdict does not bring back George,” Biden said after the jury’s decision was announced. “But through the family’s pain, they are finding purpose so George’s – George’s legacy will not be just about his death, but about what we must do in his memory.”

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Floyd’s family pointed to the legislation in his name: One of the lawmakers involved in shaping the police reform bill told CBS News that the verdicts add momentum to the legislation, stalled in the Senate after passing the House in March.

  • “You better all get ready, because when we do it we’re going to pull you all on Air Force One and get you here,” Biden told the Floyd family of passing the legislation, in a call just after the verdicts were announced.

Powerful images depict reactions from around the country: Emotional lawmakers hugged in the halls of Congress, protesters cried outside the courthouse in Minneapolis, and celebrations unfolded in a number of cities.

Reps. Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley could be seen crying after the verdict was announced:

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Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) embraces Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) at the US Capitol as members of the Congressional Black Caucus react to the verdict in the Derick Chauvin murder trial.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus had gathered to watch the proceedings unfold. “Someone said it better than me: I’m not celebrating. I’m relieved,” Rep. Maxine Waters of California said.

Celebrities, activists, and politicians weighed in on the historic decision: Former President Obama said “we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.”

It’s worth remembering how we got here: Police initially said Floyd’s death was due to a “medical incident.” It took the videos of Floyd’s murder to show just how inaccurate their summary was.

“We are able to breathe again,” Philonise Floyd, Floyd’s brother, told reporters.

Fritz Scheller
Defense attorney Fritz Scheller after the acquittal of the Pulse Nightclub gunman’s widow Noor Salman in Orlando, Florida.

2. Meet the Florida lawyer who quotes the Dalai Lama and whose client could doom Rep. Matt Gaetz: Fritz Scheller is representing Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector and Gaetz confidant whose cooperation with DOJ could spell trouble for Gaetz. Scheller is no stranger to high-profile cases having helped defend Noor Salman, the widow of the Pulse Nightclub shooter. More on the man deemed the lawyer to call when someone’s in a bind in Insider’s in-depth profile.

  • Key: “He’s like the most interesting man alive,” said George Couture, an attorney who has known Scheller for more than 20 years. “He can squeeze blood from a stone. He can throw a curveball in outer space when it comes to the courtroom.”

3. Elon Musk and local police are clashing over whether a Tesla was on autopilot during a deadly crash: One of the two men killed after a Tesla crashed near Houston has been identified as Dr. William Varner, local media reported. Officials have suggested that there was no one in the driver’s seat, but Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, said the car was not on Autopilot mood. Musk claims that data logs show autopilot was not in use.

4. Biden overruled Secretary of State Antony Blinken on refugee cap, report says: The president overruled top aides and advisors when he initially decided to keep the Trump administration’s record-low cap on the number of refugees allowed into the US, according to The Washington Post. Biden was concerned that the increase in migrants at the southern border spelled trouble for the government’s ability to handle a larger number of refugees. But the White House reversed course after an intense outcry, including from congressional Democrats.

5. 2020 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the US: 45 transgender people were killed last year, up from 27 in 2019 and 26 in 2018. The real number of deaths is likely much higher, and climbing faster than data can show. But it’s difficult to get reliable data, which is why Insider has launched its own database. More on Insider’s Transgender Homicide Project.

  • Here’s what the data shows: There’s been a steady rise in transphobic attacks in the US in recent years, particularly against Black trans people, in the South, and in Puerto Rico, with guns as the primary weapon.

This year is already on pace to be even deadlier, with 15 killings in the first 109 days: Explore the rest of our findings here.

Screen Shot 2021 04 21 at 1.43.42 AM

6. Democratic congresswoman and her husband are packing their stock portfolio with COVID-19 vaccine makers: Jim Newman, husband to freshman Democrat Rep. Marie Newman of Illinois, has bought and sold numerous pandemic-affected stocks since January, including up to $65,000 in Moderna shares. The congresswoman’s office said Jim Newman conducted his trades based on market research and publicly available information. The Newmans have invested in at least 39 companies since January.

7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 12:15 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing
  • 1:15 p.m.: Biden delivers remarks on the pandemic and state of vaccination efforts
  • 1:30 p.m.: Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton hold a news conference ahead of an expected Thursday vote on D.C. statehood.

8. There’s now a more complete look of the corporations that bankrolled Biden’s inauguration: “Several companies contributed $1 million, including Bank of America, AT&T, Comcast Corp., Boeing, Qualcomm Inc., drug maker Pfizer, Uber, and defense contractor Lockheed Martin.” Some of these companies stand to make millions or even billions from deals with the government. See the rest of the list in our exclusive report.

9. Senate Majority Leader calls for marijuana legalization on “unofficial holiday”: Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York marked 4/20 by renewing his push on ending the federal prohibition on marijuana. “It makes no sense and it’s time for a change,” Schumer said of the penalties and criminal charges imposed for possessing pot.

Six Democratic senators previously told Insider that they have reservations about legalization.

10. Ain’t that a kick in the head: Europe’s proposed super league of a dozen elite soccer teams is not going well. All six English teams have pulled out amid condemnations from fans, players, pundits, and world leaders. JPMorgan Chase was blasted when it was revealed that bank was spending billions to finance the arrangement. The super league now says it will “reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project.”

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: Only two politicians have the distinction of being on a major party’s ticket five times. Who are they? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: Hill staffers burned out after hellish year

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Congressional staffers hold up their hands to Capitol Police officers on January 6, 2021.

Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics, your weekday look at the biggest stories in DC and beyond. Sign up here to receive this newsletter.

Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what we’re talking about today:

1. AN ALARMING TREND ON THE HILL: Even in normal times, working on Capitol Hill is no walk in the park. But the most devastating pandemic in a century and the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814 has taken a toll on the unsung staffers that make Congress run. Experts and staffers worry that exhaustion and trauma from an unprecedented year are pushing qualified people out the door – accelerating a preexisting brain drain.

Here’s a peek at our story:

One staffer said some might read the story and think, “tough shit”: But it’s these often anonymous and overly ambitious workers who help lawmakers tackle the nation’s most pressing issues. “This is an important institution, you want it to work well. And the conditions right now are very toxic,” the same Democratic senior Senate staffer said. “I think the conditions here are setting the stage for long-term problems for our country.”

  • Just how bad things are right now: “It’s not even just tired,” a Senate legislative aide told Insider. “It’s been constant stimuli for over a year now. You just don’t even feel it anymore, like your work is kind of in a catatonic state.”

The insurrection remains a raw experience: “I’ve had virtual coffees and drinks with folks who start to tear up or cry when you talk about January 6. You can tell they’re still very much struggling emotionally, mentally,” said a former senior policy advisor who left at the end of 2020.

  • What’s being done: Congress has designated offices that provide counseling to staffers: the House’s Office of Employee Assistance, and the Senate’s Employee Assistance Program. A coalition of government-advocacy and research groups also formed Capitol Strong to supplement those programs.
  • Outside experts want more: Increased levels of staffing, higher pay, and more opportunities for advancement and career growth are necessary to staunch the flow of talent heading out the door, Kristine Simmons of the Partnership for Public Service told Insider.

Read more of our exclusive report here.

VP Walter Mondale in the kitchen of the Vice President's Residence
Former Vice President Walter Mondale in 1977.

2. Remembering Walter Mondale: Mondale, who served as Jimmy Carter’s vice president, died on Monday at 93. Top Democrats pointed out his legacy of pushing progressive policies, selecting the first woman to be on a major party ticket, and fundamentally altering the vice presidency itself. More on his legacy.

Biden says Mondale “defined the vice presidency as a full partnership”: Biden said Mondale was the first call he made when Obama offered him a spot on the ticket. More on their relationship here.

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Mondale and former President Jimmy Carter during a celebration of Mondale’s 90th birthday in 2018.

Jimmy Carter said Mondale was “the best vice president in our country’s history”: Carter and Mondale surpassed Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in 2006 as the longest living former president vice president from the same administration, per The New York Times.

3. Derek Chauvin’s fate is in the jury’s hands: The fired Minneapolis police officer’s defense closed by arguing that George Floyd’s death was about more than just the 9 minutes and 29 seconds Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck. Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, also compared the case to baking cookies. The prosecution’s final words: “You were told George Floyd died because his heart was too big. But he died because Derek Chauvin’s heart was too small.

Highlights from the trial:

Screen Shot 2021 04 20 at 12.18.33 AM

4. Stories of New York’s demise may have been exaggerated: “As the wealthy fled for the Hamptons, local restaurants shuttered their doors, and Times Square went quiet during the onset of the pandemic, many declared the city dead. But a year after it became the coronavirus epicenter of the world, NYC is starting to shine once again.” NYC’s real estate is rebounding and it’s still home to more ultrawealthy individuals than any other city.

5. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died of natural causes, medical examiner says: Sicknick, who fought rioters during the January 6 insurrection, suffered two strokes and died after the riot, DC’s medical examiner found. Francisco J. Diaz, the medical examiner, told The Washington Post there is no evidence Sicknick died from an allergic reaction to protesters using bear spray on him. Diaz did find that the events of the riot “played a role” in Sicknick’s death.

6. Rep. Maxine Waters denies encouraging violence as Republicans seek to expel her: The California Democrat denied that her comments to protesters in Minnesota over the weekend encouraged violence, telling The Grio she was “talking about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he’ll move to censure Waters. Other Republicans want to see her expelled.

  • The judge in the Chauvin trial admonished Waters: Judge Peter Cahill denied a mistrial motion based on Waters’ call for “confrontation” if Chauvin is found not guilty, but added: “I’ll give it to you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you an appeal that could lead to this whole case being overturned.”

7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 10:00 a.m.: House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney, and other top Republican lawmakers hold a news conference
  • 10:30 a.m.: Four cabinet secretaries testify before Senate lawmakers about Biden’s jobs plan
  • 11:15 a.m.: Biden and Harris meet with the leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
  • 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing

8. US weighing a cut in cigarettes’ nicotine levels: The Biden administration is considering requiring all cigarettes sold in the US to contain only a nonaddictive level of nicotine, The Wall Street Journal reports. The FDA faces an April 29 deadline to disclose its intentions. Such a move could take years to implement and would likely face legal challenges.

9. The State Department to warn against travel to most of the world: The State Department announced that it would issue a “Level 4: Do not Travel” advisory, its highest warning, for 80% of countries due to the pandemic. The update asked US citizens to “reconsider all travel abroad.”

Pennsylvania Coronavirus Vaccine

Every adult in the US is now eligible for a vaccine: The Times noted that the states of Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont on Monday changed their vaccine eligibility to include all adults – meaning all US states have now done so. Biden released a message encouraging Americans to get their shot.

10. NASA makes history on Mars: The Ingenuity helicopter flew on Mars for the first time early Monday, making it the first powered flight of an aircraft on another planet. NASA officials compared the achievement to the Wright brothers’ momentous flights in 1903.

Watch Ingenuity’s historic moment: “Goosebumps,” Ingenuity project manager MiMi Aung said of the flight.

Mars Helicopter 2X1

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: Speaking of space, a piece of Sputnik – the Russian satellite that launched the space race – landed in a US state in 1962. Where did it land? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: Progressives slam Biden’s judge picks

President Joe Biden.

Good morning! If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. I’m Brent Griffiths. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what we’re talking about today:

1. THE LEFT SAYS BIDEN ISN’T REACHING HIS BENCHMARK: Progressives say President Biden’s initial slate of judicial nominees left a lot to be desired. They say he has not tapped enough people who break from the mold of longtime prosecutors and corporate lawyers, something the president promised he would keep in mind.

Insider took an in-depth look at the fight over how Biden will shape the federal bench.

Here’s what we found:

  • What the uproar over big law means: It means progressives are “flagging the likes of an otherwise racially diverse group that includes Tiffany Cunningham, a Perkins Coie partner who just got picked to be the first Black woman on a federal appeals court that specializes in patent cases, and Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, a Zuckerman Spaeder partner nominated to be the first Black woman on the Chicago-based US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.”
  • A key stat shows why groups are picking this fight: “Only 1 percent of all the current federal appellate judges have spent the majority of their careers as public defenders or legal aid attorneys, according to the Federal Justice Center, the research and education agency of the US judicial branch.”

Read the rest of our exclusive report here.

2. Protests continued in Brooklyn Center after the police chief said an officer accidentally killed a Black man during a traffic stop: Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon suggested that a veteran officer, who has worked for the department for 26 years, accidentally killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop by shooting him with a gun instead of a Taser. Gannon also said his department trains officers to use Tasers on their weak sides, a common practice that is done to prevent exactly what is alleged to have unfolded. New bodycam footage shows the officer, Kimberly Potter, yelling “Taser” several times before firing her gun.

brooklyn center april 12 getty
Demonstrators outside of the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12.

Protestors and police clashed outside the Brooklyn Center police station: Tensions escalated after the 7 p.m. curfew order by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, the Star Tribune reports. Authorities fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash grenades. Looters broke into several businesses near the station. Earlier in the day, Biden said that there was “no justification for violence.” The president added that he had watched the “fairly graphic” body cam footage.

  • Walz had ordered a curfew for much of the Minneapolis metro: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, whose city is next to Brooklyn Center, declared a state of emergency, as did Mayor Melvin Carter for neighboring St. Paul, the Star Tribune reports. The Minnesota Twins and Timberwolves postponed their games.

3. Biden says he’s open to negotiating his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan: He dismissed the idea that his bipartisan meeting with eight lawmakers was “window dressing.” But crafting a deal might be difficult. One GOP senator told reporters it would “be an almost impossible sell” for Republicans to support raising the corporate tax rate to help pay for the plan. Biden’s plan calls for hiking the corporate rate from 21 to 28%.

4. Battles brewing over the push to make booze-to-go permanent: More than 30 states allowed alcohol takeout and delivery during the pandemic. But public health groups are sounding the alarm as restaurant groups and alcohol trade associations push to make getting alcohol without leaving the house permanent. More on what’s ahead in our exclusive report.

  • Key stat: “Drizly, an online company that arranges alcohol deliveries from local liquor stores, said its business grew 350% in 2020 compared with 2019.”

5. George Floyd’s brother Philonise testified just before prosecutors rested their case: “He was just like a person that everybody loved around the community. He just knew how to make people feel better,” Philonise Floyd told jurors during his emotional testimony. Prosecutors are expected to formally rest their case later today.

Rochelle Walenski CDC
Director of the Centers for Disease Control Rochelle Walensky at a White House press briefing on March 1, 2021.

6. CDC director encourages Michigan “to shut things down” amid COVID-19 surge: “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said Michigan should put coronavirus restrictions back in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.” Some experts have said more vaccines could help the situation, but Walensky said the state can’t vaccinate itself out of the problem.

7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 10:00 a.m.: IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig testifies before Senate lawmakers
  • 10:15 a.m.: Chauvin’s trial resumes
  • 11:00 a.m.: Biden pays his respects to Capitol Police Officer William Evans
  • 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s news briefing
  • 2:00 p.m.: Biden and Vice President Harris meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus

8. Iran talks are set to continue after a possible Israeli attack: US negotiators are prepared to resume indirect talks to resurrect the Iranian nuclear deal this week. Such delicate negotiations will occur after multiple Iranian officials blamed Israel for a weekend attack on a key nuclear facility, The Washington Post reports. Iran has not blamed Washington for the incident, but European diplomats are reportedly worried about the shadow it could cast over the future of the nuclear deal.

9. Teachers are hitting a wall a year into the pandemic: “Early teacher retirements are up in states across the country, as are leaves of absence. According to an Education Week survey, 73% of school districts said their need for substitute teachers was higher in 2020 than in 2019, while 74% said substitute applications had dropped.” Insider talked to five teachers who said their jobs have become significantly tougher amid the pandemic.

10. This map shows where you can travel right now depending on your location and vaccination status. Take a look at travel company Sherpa’s handy tool.

Diptych Sherpa v3

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question Today is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. America’s third president didn’t invent this dish, but he can lay claim to being the first recorded American to write down a recipe. What is it? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: GOP’s new power base is in South Florida

Trump mask Miami
A Trump supporter in Miami after the 2020 election.

Good morning! If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. I’m Brent Griffiths. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what we’re talking about today:

1. THE GOP’S SHADOW CAPITAL: Donald Trump is taking the Republican Party’s talents to South Beach. Republicans who want to bend the ear of the former president are flocking to his Mar-a-Lago resort. Combined with others fleeing pandemic lockdowns, it’s turned South Florida into a shadow capital.

Here’s a peek at our exclusive report on the GOP migration:

The GOP’s social calendar revolves around Trump: “So far this year, Trump’s members-only resort has hosted high-dollar soirees for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Utah Senator Mike Lee, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Alabama Senate candidate Lynda Blanchard.” The Republican National Committee held a donor retreat near Mar-a-Lago this past weekend.

  • You don’t have to be in Washington to get spotted: Rudy Giuliani is known to hold court at The Breakers and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been seen dining at La Bilboquet, a Worth Avenue outpost of a high-end Manhattan eatery that opened in February. The afterparty crowd for Mar-a-Lago events often hits Cucina Palm Beach where Kimberly Guilfoyle, who purchased a $9.7 million mansion with her boyfriend Don Jr. in nearby Jupiter, has been spotted dancing on the tables.”
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Former President Donald Trump at a February rally in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Proximity to Trump can cause headaches: He reportedly called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a “dumb son of a b—h” and repeated his false claims about the presidential election when he spoke to the GOP’s top donors over the weekend. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican and a frequent Trump critic, said Trump “is using the same language that he knows provoked violence on January 6th.”

Read the rest of our report here.

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People confront police outside of the the Brooklyn Center police headquarters on April 11 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

2. A man was fatally shot by police in suburban Minnesota: National Guard troops were called into Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, late Sunday evening as protests and looting spread after local police killed a man during a traffic stop, the Star Tribune reports. Relatives of Daunte Wright, who is Black, said he drove a short distance after being shot before crashing into another car. He died at the scene. Police said there was a warrant out for Wright and that he got back into his car while officers were trying to arrest him. An officer then shot Wright. More on the unfolding story here.

3. What’s next for Pete Buttigieg’s former advocacy group: The Transportation secretary is busy selling President Biden’s infrastructure plan. Meanwhile, Win The Era, his nonprofit group that he stepped down from, will focus on climate change, economic justice, democracy reform, mental health, and national service. More on what’s ahead for the organization.

California recall
People circulating a “Recall Gavin Newsom” petition in December 2020 in Solvang, California.

4. An ex-cop, anti-vaxxers, and Mike Huckabee are among the most prominent people driving Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall: “Making Newsom’s recall more interesting is the collection of activists behind it. News reports, public records, and social media reveal a sprawling coalition of Republicans, MAGAites, Silicon Valley billionaires, militia members, and anti-vaxxers among the organizers, major donors, and other volunteers behind the effort.”

Insider took an in-depth look at the people behind the California Democrat’s recall:

  • A retired sheriff’s deputy started the recall: Orrin Heatlie, the main organizer, is from Yolo County. He started the petition in 2019 over Newsom’s immigration policies. He is a political novice, but his effort picked up steam during the pandemic.
  • This being California, there’s a Silicon Valley billionaire: Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist, has donated a total of $200,000 to two committees backing the recall.
  • Plus a self-described pirate: That’s Randy Economy, spokesperson and senior advisor to the recall, who worked for Democratic candidates before trying to oust Newsom. He also hosts his own conservative radio show that has become a megaphone for the recall.

Read the rest of our report here.

5. Virginia’s governor announced an investigation into the pepper-spraying of a black Army officer: Gov. Ralph Northam asked state police to probe why two Windsor officers held Caron Nazario, an Army Second Lieutenant who is Black and Latino, at gunpoint and threatened him during a recent traffic stop. Nazario filed a lawsuit against the officers earlier this month. One of the officers was fired just hours after Northam’s statement, per The Virginian-Pilot.

6. Corporate America isn’t backing down in the voting rights fight: Top executives of more than 100 companies held during a virtual meeting over the weekend to discuss their next steps on how to combat voting restrictions, a move that comes after Republican officials told corporations to stay out of politics. Kenneth Frazier, the chief executive of Merck, told fellow executives they need to keep fighting, per the Washington Post.

  • Key quote: “[The call] shows they are not intimidated by the flak. They are not going to be cowed,” Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, one of the call’s organizers and a Yale management professor, told The Post.

7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 10:30 a.m.: Derek Chauvin’s trial resumes
  • 12:00 p.m.: Biden briefly joins a virtual summit on the semiconductor and supply chain
  • 12:15 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing
  • 1:45 p.m.: Biden and Vice President Harris meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to discuss his jobs plan

8. Here are the stocks that Members of Congress are trading: Rep. Mike Simpson, a Republican from Idaho, seems to be betting on a travel spike. He purchased up to $15,000 worth of shares in American Airlines Group stock in March. Republican Rep. Rick Allen of Georgia recently bought up to $15,000 worth of shares in NextEra Energy, Inc, a Florida-based wind and solar company.

And Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York may face problems after failing to report eight stocks he inherited and then later sold.

Check out the rest of Insider’s exclusive weekly Congressional stock report.

9. Turns out that’s not Can-al she wrote: The Ever Given is stuck in a different kind of mess now. Egyptian authorities are refusing to release the massive vessel until its owners pay $1 billion in compensation for the fiasco it caused while stuck in the Suez Canal for nearly a week. More on the latest development in the crazy saga.

Hideki Matsuyama getty
Hideki Matsuyama celebrates his historic Masters win at Augusta National on April 11.

10. A historic day at The Masters: Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese player to win the Masters. The win came thanks to a near-perfect round on Sunday, with Matsuyama surviving one small scare. This was also the first time a Japanese golfer won any of the PGA’s majors. More on the history made at Augusta National.

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: Sunday was national pet day. There’s a long history of first pets, but this might be among the strangest. One president had a pair of lion cubs. He gave them the most D.C. names of Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau. Who was he? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

  • Friday’s answer: General George Armstrong Custer was given the side table where General Ulysses S. Grant signed terms of surrender with Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Custer, of course, is most remembered for his last stand at the Battle of Little Big Horn. The table was a gift for his wife, Elizabeth; she later donated it to the Smithsonian.
Read the original article on Business Insider