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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.
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10 Things in Politics: Biden wants top companies to pay up

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President Joe Biden discuses his jobs plan during an event on the White House campus on April 7

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:

With Jordan Erb.

1. WILL BIDEN MAKE A DEAL?: President Joe Biden says he’s willing to cut a deal on parts of his infrastructure plan. He said he could accept a lower corporate tax rate than the 28% he proposed to help pay for his $2 trillion jobs over 15 years. But Biden also offered a resounding defense of both the scope of his plan and the idea that companies are not paying their fair share.

  • Key quote: “We’re going to – we’re going to try to put an end to this. Not fleece them – 28%. If you’re a mom, a dad, a cop, firefighter, police officer, et cetera, you’re paying close to that in your income tax,” Biden said at an event outlining his plan.

The gap between the two parties seems difficult to bridge: Republicans have slammed the proposal for stretching the definition of infrastructure. They have also zeroed in on paying for it with one of the largest tax increases in decades, not to mention that raising the corporate rate would undo part of the signature tax law enacted by former President Trump and the GOP.

2. Biden to take first steps on gun control: He plans to announce tighter regulations for buyers of so-called “ghost guns” by requiring them to undergo background checks. The White House is also instructing the Justice Department to draft model “red flag” legislation for states, an area that has received bipartisan support. More on his six orders that will be announced later today.

  • Gun control advocates have pushed Biden for more: The president built a bond with the families of those gunned down in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Biden was tasked with helping pass legislation in the wake of the tragedy while vice president, but a proposal to expand background checks narrowly failed in the Senate. Many activists see this as his second chance.

3. 62 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine need to be checked for contamination: The doses come from a Baltimore factory that already had to throw out up to 15 million doses due to contamination issues, The New York Times reports. The issue could affect Johnson & Johnson’s promise to produce 24 million doses by the end of the month. More on the situation here.

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First Lady Jill Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona tour Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut, on March 3, 2021.

4. Jill Biden is only the third first lady to be a union member: Her membership in the National Education Association is a distinction that’s not only historic but fully in line with the administration’s pro-union stance. More on what it means for Biden to follow in Eleanor Roosevelt and Nancy Reagan’s footsteps.

5. Expert says Derek Chauvin was inflicting further pain on George Floyd: Jody Stiger, an LAPD sergeant and use-of-force expert, said Chauvin had most of his body weight on Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Stinger, a prosecution witness, also testified that Chauvin appeared to be gripping Floyd’s hand as a way to inflict further pain after Floyd had stop resisting officers. More key moments from Day 8.

6. Federal probe is reportedly looking at Rep. Matt Gaetz’s travel to the Bahamas: The Justice Department is looking into trips the Florida Republican took in 2018 and 2019 with a marijuana entrepreneur, CBS News reports. The entrepreneur, Jason Pirozzolo, allegedly paid for the trip, accommodations, and female escorts. Gaetz’s office continued to deny any illegal conduct. At issue is whether any women were illegally trafficked across state or international lines.

  • Trump broke his silence on Gaetz’s case: The former president said Gaetz “never asked” for a pardon, contradicting a Times report about Gaetz asking White House officials for blanket pardon for him and other members of Congress. Trump also noted that Gaetz “totally denied the accusations against him.”

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

7. Mitch McConnell retracted his demand that corporations stay out of politics: “I didn’t say that very artfully yesterday,” the Senate Minority Leader told reporters of his earlier comments. McConnell had chastised CEOs and companies that criticized Georgia’s new voting law.

  • Speaking of corporations in politics: “Visa’s political action committee has resumed its political giving after a much-publicized halt following the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol, donating $139,000 to members of Congress and other political committees on both sides of the aisle, federal records show.” More from Insider’s scoop.

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

  • 10:15 a.m.: Chauvin’s trial resumes
  • 11:45 a.m.: Biden, Vice President Harris, and Attorney General Garland make remarks on gun violence prevention
  • 12:00 p.m.: Rep. Steve Scalise leads a group of fellow House Republicans on a trip to the border
  • 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing

9. Mike Pence reportedly has a seven-figure book deal: The former vice president signed with Simon & Schuster. The news comes amid questions on how the publishing industry will treat Trump alums. Pence’s book is due out in 2023.

10. Freedom fries walked so Woke Coke could run: Trump’s call for a boycott of Coca-Cola is not the first time members of the GOP have deemed a food unpatriotic. In 2003, in the midst of Bush’s war on terror, Republican Rep. Bob Ney renamed French fries “freedom Fries” in congressional cafeterias. A look at the history of the patriotic potatoes.

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: Yesterday was national beer day, so pardon me while I hop back for a related question. Who is thought to be the first president to brew beer at The White House?

  • Yesterday’s answer: President Eisenhower had a special cabin built for him and first lady Mamie Eisenhower at Augusta National. Ike was already a member of the club that hosts the Masters before becoming president. A special cottage was thought to be the best way to accommodate his new role. The best part? After leaving office, Eisenhower made a request to have a tree he kept hitting on the 17th hole removed. He was ruled out of order and the tree stood until 2014.
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10 Things in Politics: Anti-Trump Republicans weigh in on Biden

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Clockwise from top left: Former RNC Chair Michael Steele; former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman;Former Trump communications director Anthony Scaramucci and Former Rep. Susan Molinari

Good morning! Congratulations to Baylor who finished Gonzaga’s quest for a perfect season with a rout in the men’s national title game. And, of course, we now have another installment of “One Shining Moment.”

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:

With Jordan Erb.

1. JUST HOW BIG WILL THE TENT BE?: Hundreds of high-profile Republicans supported President Biden in 2020. The aisle-crossing was not unexpected given former President Trump’s hostile takeover of the Republican Party, but it boosted Biden’s unity pitch. Now that Biden has indicated that he will run for reelection in 2024, Insider reached out to ten of them to see where they stand.

Here’s a peek at what they said:

Former Rep. Susan Molinari of New York: She served in Congress in the 1990s and was among four Republicans featured at the Democratic National Convention.

In this screenshot from the DNCC’s livestream of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Former U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari (R-NY) addresses the virtual convention on August 17, 2020. The convention, which was once expected to draw 50,000 people to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is now taking place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Handout/DNCC via Getty Images)

  • Molinari is ready to ride with Biden again: “He’s obviously still early in the term but … he will still be that man of compassion and outreach and leadership in four years, so I don’t anticipate that anything will change,” she said.

But Molinari might be the exception. Many others are taking a wait-and-see approach.

Former Trump White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci surprised many in endorsing Biden last year.

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci: Scaramucci’s turn from Trump friend and top aide (briefly) to staunch critic was incredible even by Trump White House standards. After swinging in behind Biden, he remains a fan:

  • “President Biden is doing a great job. Additionally, he is saving the nation from more unnecessary death, general incompetence, and hate.”

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Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) questions Lehman Brothers Bank CEO Richard S. Fuld Jr. at a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the collapse of the institution.

But count former Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut as skeptical at best: Shays said he respects and admires Biden, but a 2024 run would “a huge mistake.” The former congressman added: “[Biden’s] older, I don’t think he is as sharp as he was.”

  • Shays is also unhappy with the current situation at the border: “My one disappointment with Joe is the foolish way he has allowed illegal immigration at our southern border to become a very real crisis. His missteps have given credibility to Trump’s advocacy of a wall, and Trump’s tough stance on the flow of illegal immigration. Besides the outrageous flow of young children, a path to citizenship will not be popular and introduces a whole new set of problems.”

Read the rest of our exclusive report here.

2. Biden’s infrastructure plan has a possible path in the Senate: Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough handed a major win to Democrats by ruling that they have an extra shot at using the special legislative procedure of reconciliation. The special procedure would allow Democrats to pass Biden’s infrastructure plan without Republican support.

A little-known power player in the spotlight again: MacDonough previously sparked Democrats’ ire for forcing them to drop the $15 per hour minimum wage. Her latest ruling means she’ll continue to have a major say in Biden’s legacy.

This isn’t a golden ticket: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has insisted on bipartisan support for the infrastructure package and other party priorities. Reconciliation only works if every single Democrat is on board. There are also specific rules for reconciliation, meaning issues like voting rights aren’t suddenly about to be waved through.

  • Former Harry Reid aide and noted filibuster critic Adam Jentleson on what it means:

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3. The Treasury Secretary is calling for global minimum corporate tax: Janet Yellen said she is working with counterparts around the world on a minimum tax for multinational corporations. Her proposal faces a number of skeptics, but it could provide another revenue source to help fund Biden’s domestic agenda. More on how she wants to stop a “race to the bottom.”

4. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Google in its 10-year legal battle with Oracle. The landmark decision sets a precedent that it’s not possible to copyright code or set limits on how software is built and distributed. This will have a huge impact on the future of software.

  • Another SCOTUS ruling: A case about Trump blocking Twitter users was dismissed as moot, since he’s no longer president and is also banned from the platform.

5. Minneapolis police chief says Derek Chauvin “absolutely” violated protocol: “This was murder – it wasn’t a lack of training,” Chief Medaria Arradondo testified. The department’s former head of training later echoed Arradondo’s sentiments. Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, the ER doctor who operated on George Floyd, testified that his leading theory for the cause of death was asphyxia, or loss of oxygen. More key moments from Day 6 of the murder trial.

6. Arkansas governor vetoed the state’s historic anti-trans bill. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced he vetoed the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act,” which would have banned doctors from prescribing puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, or gender-affirming surgeries to trans youth. Advocates had warned the law would be devastating. The governor on Monday called the bill “overboard” and “extreme.”

7. Attaboy-cott: Trump is a known Diet Coke fiend. But like many Republicans, he wanted to can-cel Coca-Cola for, in his view, bowing to cancel culture by criticizing Georgia’s new voting law. It didn’t appear to take long for his resolve to soften. A photo of his post-presidential office shows what appears to be a bottle of Diet Coke slightly hidden by a phone.

Take a look at what else you can see in his new digs: He also appears to have a statue of himself.

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

  • 10:15 a.m.: Chauvin’s trial resumes
  • 1:00 p.m.: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks at an event about the economic recovery and climate change
  • 2:10 p.m.: Vice President Harris tours a union-led vaccination site in Chicago.
  • 3:45 p.m.: Biden speaks about the state of COVID-19 vaccinations

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Jared Kushner stands for a televised interview in 2020.

9. Will the real Jared Kushner please stand up? After years of being mistaken for Trump’s senior advisor, two other men named Jared Kushner are ready to reclaim their name. Insider spoke with two Jared Kushners – a 21-year-old college student and a 28-year-old Canadian – who told us what it’s been like to share a name with a widely loathed political figure.

10. How our new DC bureau was built: In early 2020, Insider hired Darren Samuelsohn away from Politico to lead a new DC bureau. In a new essay, Darren shares that he was excited to build something from scratch and get away from the break-neck pace of being a reporter on the Trump legal beat. Then came a pandemic, a personal health scare, and a complete overhaul of his plans.

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: Today marks the anniversary of the US entering WWI. While historians thought such a move was inevitable, what was the name of the secret message that accelerated the push to war?

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: This GOP senator’s everywhere in Biden’s DC

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Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana walks through the Capitol.

Good morning! We hope you all had a great weekend. Congratulations to Stanford on winning their first women’s basketball championship since 1992. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day. Send your tips and suggestions to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. TODD YOUNG ON HIS BIPARTISAN PITCH: Sen. Todd Young of Indiana led the Senate GOP’s campaign arm. He’s also one of the few Republicans to score an invite to the Biden White House. And he’s currently working with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on legislation to counter China.

Insider’s latest in-depth profile looks at Young, the most important senator you’ve never heard of.

Here’s a peek at some of the highlights:

  • A former aide to the legendary Sen. Dick Lugar, Young sees himself as “unapologetically pragmatic.” He also wants to reshape the GOP: “A temperamental, dispositional conservative – whatever language you might choose – who believes that our party clearly needs to adapt to the times …”

Just for kicks: Young, who played soccer at the Naval Academy, returned to pitch at his Indiana high school with Insider’s Adam Wren. Take a look at the results.

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A different kind of locker room talk: Young says the exclusive senators-only locker room is where he and Schumer cooked up their China proposal. (After Schumer’s 7 a.m. workout on the stationary bike.)

  • Working with Democratic colleagues is “the only way to get things done in a body where you need 60 votes,” Young says: “I’m also oftentimes approached to cosponsor thoughtful, creative, and constructive legislation because I’ve dug my well before I’m thirsty – that is, develop those personal relationships with my colleagues before needing them.”
  • They are noticing: “I do think he is growing into a very capable legislator,” Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a close confidant of Biden, told Insider of his friend Young.

Read the rest of our exclusive story here.

2. Matt Gaetz’s Florida sex game included a “Harry Potter” challenge: While in the Florida House, the now-congressman and other Florida lawmakers could earn “extra points” in a sex competition for sleeping with married legislators or spending the night at a college sorority house, a GOP source told Insider. The existence of the “game” among male lawmakers was the “worst kept secret in Tallahassee.”

  • Right now, the embattled congressman has few defenders: Insider reached out to 30 Republicans who either know or have worked with Gaetz. Their collective silence was deafening. The Republican lawmaker’s communications director resigned on Friday amid a Justice Department investigation into possible sex trafficking charges against Gaetz. Gaetz himself remains defiant.
  • Even SNL came after the congressman: “I’m a cartoon skunk, you’re a United States congressman. Be better, OK?” Pepé Le Pew (played by Kate McKinnon) told Gaetz (Pete Davidson) in the cold open of a fictional talk show hosted by Britney Spears. Watch the full skit here.

3. These are the nine hurdles Biden’s infrastructure plan would have to overcome: Biden’s $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan faces an uphill journey in Congress. Everything from a tight calendar and the Senate parliamentarian to progressives wanting more and moderates pushing for a bipartisan bill could derail passage. Read more about the outlook for Biden’s package in our exclusive report.

  • A key Republican says there’s a possible deal to be had if Biden jettisons most of the plan: Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said on “Fox News Sunday” that “there’s an easy win” if the White House would cut the package down to only what’s been traditionally considered infrastructure.

4. Experts disagree on whether a fourth COVID wave is coming: Cases are climbing in the Midwest in states like Nebraska and Minnesota as well as in the Northeast – in Delaware, Vermont, and Maine. The Washington Post reports that the latest increase is on par with what was seen last July. But top pandemic experts say vaccines will make a huge difference this time around.

  • Key quote: “I think that there’s enough immunity in the population that you’re not going to see a true fourth wave of infection,” Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on “Face the Nation.”

5. We dug through the financial disclosure records lawmakers filed in recent days:

  • Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, one of Congress’ wealthiest members, disclosed investing between $250,000 and $500,000 in a Cayman Islands fund. Phillips’ office said the fund was created by J.P. Morgan in 2017 and he is trying to put all eligible investments in a blind trust.
  • Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, bought up to $250,000 in Facebook, up to $100,000 in Amazon.com. He also sold up to $250,000 worth of stock in Berkshire Hathaway, billionaire Warren Buffett’s holding company.

We’ve got more in our exclusive congressional stock report.

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

  • 10:15 a.m.: Chauvin’s trial resumes
  • 11:00 a.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the White House’s pandemic team hold a news briefing
  • 1:00 p.m.: Biden speaks about Easter at the White House
  • 1:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

7. 533 million Facebook users’ phone numbers and personal data have been leaked online: The exposed data includes personal information of users from 106 countries, including over 32 million records on users in the US. Facebook said the breach was scraped due to a vulnerability the company patched in 2019. But even old data can be valuable to cybercriminals, experts say. A phone number for CEO Mark Zuckerberg was among the leaked data.

8. Republican lawmakers are touting money from Biden’s relief plan. None of them voted for it: Freshman GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina is the latest lawmaker to tout such money. He pointed to $2.5 million in health funding coming to his district. A Cawthorn spokesman said Biden’s $1.9 trillion law “does significantly more harm than good.”

9. Obama and Trump clash over MLB’s decision to pull All-Star game: The two former presidents voiced opposite opinions over Major League Baseball’s decision to move this summer’s game from Atlanta over Georgia’s new voting law. Trump urged his supporters to boycott MLB along with other major companies like Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines. More on the dueling messages here.

  • Obama voiced his support for MLB’s decision on Twitter:

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Chadwick Boseman in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."
Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

10. People of color swept all four individual film acting categories at the SAG awards: “Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis’ performances in ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ earned them wins in the lead male and female film role categories, respectively. And Daniel Kaluuya (‘Judas and the Black Messiah’) and Youn Yuh-jung (‘Minari’) took home the male and female supporting role awards.” This is the first time this has happened in SAG history.

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: Who was the first president to start the White House’s Easter egg roll? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: Trump sees legal danger ahead

donald trump
President Donald J. Trump meets with bank CEOs about Coronavirus COVID-19 response in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day. Send your tips and suggestions to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. THEY MAY STILL SEE HIM IN COURT: Former President Donald Trump doesn’t think he’s out of the woods yet. His advisors tell him that’s he’s unlikely to face legal repercussions over the deadly Capitol Riot, but they are increasingly worried about prosecutors in New York and Georgia.

Insider dove into Trump’s legal exposure: Top advisors see the two separate probes as “politicized,” but they also see the investigations escalating. As the only twice impeached president, Trump increasingly runs the risk of becoming the only sitting or former president to be indicted.

  • One major concern is the Clarence Darrows of the world aren’t on speed dial: “It’s a reality that the traditional rock-star lawyers you would see in a high-stakes matter involving a president or former president … he doesn’t really have access to those people anymore,” a former Trump administration official told Insider.

A reminder of what Trump’s facing:

  • In New York, prosecutors are probing the Trump Organization’s finances: Favorable court rulings have given them access to Trump’s tax returns and other financial records. Investigators have also received boxes of evidence from the former daughter-in-law of a top official.
  • In Georgia, a newly elected DA is investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the election: Trump’s call pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780” remains at the center of his efforts to pressure state officials after narrowly losing its 16 electoral votes.

For more on Trump’s legal fears – and details about his “walk-on” legal team – read our exclusive report here.

2. Lawmakers are gearing up for the fight over Biden’s infrastructure plan: White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Biden is prepared to move forward without GOP support for his $2 trillion infrastructure plan if it comes to it. His comments came as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans wouldn’t support it and a top Republican congressman called the proposal “the biggest economic blunder of our lifetime.”

Here’s what Biden’s plan means for you.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 09: Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) during a House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing with members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee on Capitol Hill on December 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Army has fired or suspended 14 leaders at Fort Hood following an investigation into the death of Specialist Vanessa Guillén and numerous other deaths and reports of sexual abuse on the military base. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Rep. Matt Gaetz is reportedly under investigation for violating sex-trafficking laws.

3. DOJ probing Rep. Matt Gaetz over allegations he paid women for sex: The Justice Department is investigating money the Florida congressman and a political ally paid directly to women via apps, The New York Times reports. Gaetz denies ever paying for sex, but The Times reviewed receipts for payments that the women reportedly said were for sex. The congressman also reportedly used ecstasy prior to the encounters. More on the latest here.

  • Separately, Gaetz reportedly showed nude photos to fellow lawmakers on the House floor: CNN reports that Gaetz gained a reputation in Congress for bragging about his sexual escapades. Gaetz’s conduct, the network reports, included showing photos and videos of nude women to his colleagues. There is no indication that this is connected to the DOJ investigation.

4. It’s not just Georgia. These states are the new fronts for voting rights battles: Florida, Michigan, and Texas, all battleground states in 2020, have Republican lawmakers undertaking unprecedented efforts to limit mail voting. New figures from the Brennan Center for Justice as of March 24 show that lawmakers in 47 states have introduced a total of 351 measures that would restrict voting. More on the nationwide efforts to make it harder to vote.

5. A supervisor said Derek Chauvin should have stopped restraining George Floyd: Minneapolis Police Sgt. David Pleoger, who worked as Chauvin’s supervisor, testified that he viewed the body camera footage and believed Chauvin could have stopped his use of force on Floyd when he was handcuffed and on the ground. A paramedic also testified that Chauvin was on top of Floyd even when he was unresponsive. More key moments from day four.

6. Washington moves of the week: Republican lawmakers added to their teams and a former Harris aide is moving to a lobbying firm. Here are some of the other biggest moves this week.

Hunter Lovell, who worked for Sen. Bill Cassidy, became Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise’s new press secretary; Kiera O’Brien will be joining Republican Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan’s office; and Patrick Bond will join the office of Sen. Angus King, an independent of Maine.

Outside of Capitol Hill, Yasmin Rigney Nelson, a former senior advisor to then-Sen. Kamala Harris, will become a partner at the lobbying firm Bracewell LLP. Former Trump White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany will be co-anchor of Fox News daytime show “Outnumbered.”

Read the rest of our exclusive list of DC hirings.

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

  • 8:30 a.m.: The Labor Department releases March’s jobs report
  • 11:00 a.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the White House’s pandemic team hold a news briefing
  • 10:15 a.m.: Chauvin trial resumes
  • 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing

8. Here’s what to expect from today’s jobs report: “After months of either meager gains or unexpected losses, March is poised to be a turning point for the US labor market’s recovery … March had warmer weather, and a faster rate of vaccinations led some states to partially reopen for the first time since the winter’s dire surge in cases.” The consensus is to expect the strongest gains in months.

9. People flocked to Florida and Texas for a lower cost of living during the pandemic. They were shocked by the cost of healthcare: “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, healthcare enrollment experts are encountering people laid off from their entertainment jobs in New York and California looking for a cheaper state to live in. They are then hit with the healthcare sticker shock in their new homes.”

Find out what’s happening in red states that haven’t expanded Medicaid in our exclusive report.

10. The peeps behind Peeps: Just Born makes 2 billion Peeps a year in their Bethlehem, Pennsylvania factory. We’re in peak Peeps season, so Insider took a look at how they churn out 5.5 million edible chicks and bunnies a day at their facility. In fact, it takes just six minutes to create the iconic treat.

Screen Shot 2021 04 02 at 2.27.15 AM

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: On this day in 1917, who was the House lawmaker that finally took her seat in Congress as the first woman elected to the chamber after her colleagues spent a month debating whether to admit her? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

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

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: The future power players in Biden’s White House

Gen Z WH staffers

Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day. Send your tips and suggestions to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. GEN Z IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE: While many in their generation are still too young to vote, some are already working at the highest levels of government and have bigger ambitions, including in politics and policy.

Here’s a peek at Insider’s list of 12 Gen Zers working for the Biden administration:

Alejandra Gonzalez Headshot
Alejandra Gonzalez was previously Policy Coordinator for National Security Action.

Alejandra Gonzalez, 23, works on the National Security Council: Gonzalez is a special assistant for Juan González, the senior director for the Western Hemisphere at the NSC.

  • She hopes to make contributions to immigration policy: “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,” Gonzalez said.
Joy Ngugi Headshot
Joy Ngugi was previously a television producer at the PBS station in South Bend, Indiana.

Joy Ngugi, 24, works in the White House’s Office of Digital Strategy: She recently directed the first official White House musical performance under the Biden administration.

Dhara Nayyar Headshot
Dhara Nayyar previously worked for Human Rights Watch and EMILY’s List.

Dhara Nayyar, 24, is on the research team at the Executive Office of the President: Nayyar told Insider her job responsibilities as a researcher for the White House changed regularly, but “the overall purpose of it is to defend and protect the president and his legacy.”

  • A first-generation American, Nayyar said she wants to see others like her represented at the highest levels of government: “It’s my goal to uplift more people who, like me, are beginning to reimagine what’s possible for themselves by running for office one day in the future.”

Read the rest of our exclusive list here.

2. The massive ship blocking the Suez Canal has been partially freed: “It’s good news,” a top canal official told The Wall Street Journal, but that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing for the Ever Given just quite yet. Crews now need to straighten the massive ship’s course before it can continue moving up the canal. More of the latest here.

3. Open arguments in the trial of a former officer accused of murdering George Floyd start today: Arguments over Floyd’s cause of death, including a contentious medical examiner’s report, are expected to be at the center of former Officer Derek Chauvin’s trial. More on what prosecutors will need to do.

  • This is the jury that will decide Chauvin’s fate: Of the six men and nine women selected and still on the jury, eight are white, four are Black, and two are multiracial. They were all asked extensive questions, including about their views on the Black Lives Matter movement, interactions with law enforcement, and whether they’ve seen the video of Chavuin putting his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes. (At least one of the possible jurors has not.)

4. Dr. Deborah Birx says every COVID death after the first 100,000 “could have been mitigated”: Birx, a former top coronavirus advisor in the Trump administration, said the horrific US death toll could have been substantially reduced. Birx made the comments to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta in an explosive documentary recounting how top medical experts responded to the worst pandemic in a century. While some agree with Birx, many are frustrated by what transpired.

Garland Inner Circle 2x1
Clockwise from top left: Matt Klapper, chief of staff to the attorney general; John Carlin, acting deputy attorney general; Pam Karlan, acting head of the civil rights division; Merrick Garland; Kevin Chambers, associate deputy attorney general; Elizabeth Prelogar, acting solicitor general; Emily Loeb, associate deputy attorney general

5. These 15 people compose Merrick Garland’s inner circle: The new attorney general’s top aides include former clerks of Garland as well as Supreme Court justices, a witness who testified about constitutional law during Trump’s first impeachment, a former advisor to special counsel Robert Mueller, and others who spent the Trump years challenging the administration. Our entire exclusive list is available here.

6. Welcome to infrastructure week: President Biden will head to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to unveil part one of his $3 trillion infrastructure plan, focusing on how to repair the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, water systems. The second part will focus on more social issues like healthcare and child care and will come in April. More on the details.

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

  • 10:00 a.m.: Chauvin’s trial begins in Minnesota
  • 11:00 a.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the White House’s pandemic team hold a news conference.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing.
  • 2:10 p.m.: Biden speaks about the pandemic and the state of vaccinations.

8. The situation is growing worse in Myanmar: “Myanmar police on Saturday opened fire on mourners at the wake of a 20-year-old student protester, arresting and wounding several funeral-goers.” The violence is reaching new heights as the country looks to suppress those protesting Feburary’s military coup.

9. Here’s what caught our eyes in lawmakers’ most recent stock trades: Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida made a flurry of trades, including some that appear to conflict with her clean-and-green policy positions. A spokesperson told a local newspaper last year that Frankel’s portfolio is overseen by an independent money manager. Cynthia Malkin, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s wife, purchased up to $100,000 in salad eatery Sweet Green, which is a private company. And Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan, a noted Diet Coke enthusiast, bought up to $50,000 in Pepsi Co.

Here’s the rest of our exclusive round-up of the latest trades.

10. SNL lampoons Harris and Biden with a new cameo: Maya Rudolph couldn’t pass up a night hosting without another installment in her award-winning portrayals of Harris. This time Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff (played by Martin Short), whom she called “my Semitic smoke show,” hosted a “unity seder” complete with visits from Ted Cruz (Aidy Bryant), Raphael Warnock (Kennan Thompson), and Biden (Alex Moffat). Watch the full skit here.

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: Speaking of SNL, who was the first president to be lampooned by America’s favorite sketch show? (He later made it clear that he loved the portrayal.) Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider