Aftermath of the Trump Administration, April 2021

 

Now that the Biden administration has settled into Washington, D.C., my daily chronicle (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021) of news about the Trump administration, Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence is winding down. I will continue to post a few important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration.  I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

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Thursday, 1 April 2021:

 

Biden Convenes Cabinet for First Meeting, Tapping 5 Secretaries With Selling His Infrastructure Plan. The secretaries would “engage the public in selling the plan and help work out the details as we refine it and move forward,” President Biden said. A watchdog report found problems with a global aid program championed by Ivanka Trump. The New York Times, Thursday, 1 April 2021:

  • Biden holds his first cabinet meeting — but not in the usual spot.

  • Texas lawmakers advance a bill that would make voting more difficult, drawing comparisons to Georgia.

  • A global aid program championed by Ivanka Trump has serious problems, a report finds.

  • The Interior Department’s chief of staff shifts jobs after ignoring coronavirus guidance and planning an indoor party.

  • Biden is seeking to use his infrastructure plan to address racial inequities.

  • Biden joins calls for M.L.B. to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta.

  • Billions in new Obamacare benefits are now available on Healthcare.gov.

  • Delta and Coca-Cola face backlash from Republicans after opposing Georgia voting law.

At first Cabinet meeting, Biden gives five secretaries a ‘special responsibility’ on jobs plan, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Reis Thebault, Thursday, 1 April 2021: “President Biden convened his first full Cabinet meeting Thursday, bringing together 25 top administration officials for a socially distanced gathering in the East Room of the White House that lasted about two hours. He announced he was giving five secretaries a ‘special responsibility’ in promoting his $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan to the public. Earlier, Vice President Harris addressed a virtual gathering of the Covid-19 Community Corps, a coalition launched by the Biden administration to encourage coronavirus vaccinations.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain suggested Thursday that the administration is willing to advance its $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan with no Republican support.
  • The Biden administration is unveiling its first television advertisements to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
  • Democrat Rita Hart dropped her challenge in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District election, asking the House to no longer consider an investigation into the outcome of her race against Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) after intense Republican pushback.
  • Hunter Biden says in a memoir that he should not have joined the board of the Ukrainian gas company that President Donald Trump targeted in his effort to tarnish Joe Biden in 2019.

The Trial of Derek Chauvin: ‘I Thought He Was Dead,’ Says a Paramedic Who Treated George Floyd. The paramedics who tried to revive Mr. Floyd described their futile attempts to jurors, and a police supervisor provided insight about Mr. Chauvin’s actions and response after the confrontation. The New York Times, Thursday, 1 April 2021:

  • ‘He seemed like a regular guy, like us. Longtime residents reflect on George Floyd’s death.
  • Officers should have stopped restraining George Floyd sooner, a former supervisor of Derek Chauvin testified.
  • Takeaways from Day 4 of the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • Scenes from Minneapolis on Day 4 of the Chauvin trial.
  • Here’s how the local news media is covering the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • George Floyd was dead by the time medical help arrived, a paramedic testified.
  • Lawyers for George Floyd’s family say jurors should look past his drug use after hearing testimony about his addiction.
  • With several lawyers rotating before the court, here’s a guide to who is prosecuting the case against Derek Chauvin.
  • George Floyd’s girlfriend described their relationship: A shared struggle with addiction, their first kiss, a ‘dad selfie.’
  • What we know about Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s former girlfriend.
  • Hennepin County’s courthouse is experiencing a high-profile case like few other courthouses do.
  • Jurors are gaining new understanding of the day George Floyd died.

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, April 2021:

Derek Chauvin’s former sargeant says Chauvin should not have knelt on George Floyd after he stopped resisting, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Kim Bellware, Timothy Bella, and Meryl Kornfield, Thursday, 1 April 2021: “Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin should not have knelt on George Floyd’s neck after he stopped resisting, a former supervisor told jurors on the fourth day of testimony in Chauvin’s murder trial, as more details emerged about the aftermath of Floyd’s arrest. The supervisor, now-retired sergeant David Pleoger, said Thursday that Chauvin never mentioned holding his knee to Floyd’s neck in their first call after the incident. Body camera footage captured Chauvin telling Pleoger that officers ‘had’ to hold Floyd down and that ‘he was going crazy.’ First responders helped reconstruct the immediate aftermath of the arrest — confusion from first responders dispatched to the scene, Floyd’s eventual transport to the hospital and officers’ statements as Floyd’s dire condition became increasingly clear.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Jurors heard for the first time Thursday from a witness close to Floyd, his girlfriend Courteney Ross, who described his loving personality, struggles with drug addiction and the final weeks of his life.
  • Morries Hall, a man who was with Floyd the day he died, plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment if he is asked to testify in court, according to a court notice.
  • A paramedic dispatched to the scene of Floyd’s arrest testified that Floyd flatlined in the ambulance about three blocks away as first responders tried to revive him.
  • As testimony shifted to address Floyd’s struggle with addiction, attorneys for his family released a public statement to dispel attacks on his character that they anticipate from Chauvin’s defense team.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and some of his associates exchanged 19 calls from the start of the January 6th riot through the breach of the Capitol, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Thursday, 1 April 2021: “Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, his deputy and three members who guarded Roger Stone exchanged nearly 20 phone calls over three hours on Jan. 6, coinciding with the first assault on police barricades protecting the U.S. Capitol and spanning the time the three members breached the building, prosecutors charged Thursday. In a new indictment adding previously charged Stone guards Joshua James, 33, of Arab, Ala., and Roberto Minuta, 36, of Prosper, Tex., to an Oath Keepers conspiracy case that now has 12 defendants, prosecutors bluntly laid a path to Rhodes and a person they said he put in charge of his group’s operations that day.”

Justice Department Inquiry Into Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz Is Said to Be Focused on Cash Paid to Women, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 1 April 2021: “A Justice Department investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz and an indicted Florida politician is focusing on their involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments, according to people close to the investigation and text messages and payment receipts reviewed by The New York Times. Investigators believe Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector in Seminole County, Fla., who was indicted last year on a federal sex trafficking charge and other crimes, initially met the women through websites that connect people who go on dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel and allowances, according to three people with knowledge of the encounters. Mr. Greenberg introduced the women to Mr. Gaetz, who also had sex with them, the people said…. The Justice Department inquiry is also examining whether Mr. Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old girl and whether she received anything of material value, according to four people familiar with the investigation. The sex trafficking count against Mr. Greenberg involved the same girl, according to two people briefed on the investigation. The authorities have also investigated whether other men connected to Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg had sex with the 17-year-old, two of the people said.”

Voting Laws Roundup: March 2021, Brennan Center for Justice, Thursday, 1 April 2021: “In a backlash to 2020’s historic voter turnout, and under the pretense of responding to baseless and racist allegations of voter fraud and election irregularities, state lawmakers have introduced a startling number of bills to curb the vote. As of March 24, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states. That’s 108 more than the 253 restrictive bills tallied as of February 19, 2021 — a 43 percent increase in little more than a month. These measures have begun to be enacted. Five restrictive bills have already been signed into law. In addition, at least 55 restrictive bills in 24 states are moving through legislatures: 29 have passed at least one chamber, while another 26 have had some sort of committee action (e.g., a hearing, an amendment, or a committee vote). Most restrictive bills take aim at absentee voting, while nearly a quarter seek stricter voter ID requirements. State lawmakers also aim to make voter registration harder, expand voter roll purges or adopt flawed practices that would risk improper purges, and cut back on early voting. The states that have seen the largest number of restrictive bills introduced are Texas (49 bills), Georgia (25 bills), and Arizona (23 bills). Bills are actively moving in the Texas and Arizona statehouses, and Georgia enacted an omnibus voter suppression bill last week.”

Texas Senate advances bill limiting how and when voters can cast ballots and receive mail-in voting applications, The Texas Tribune, Alexa Ura, Thursday, 1 April 2021: “Senate Republicans cleared the way Thursday for new, sweeping restrictions to voting in Texas that take particular aim at forbidding local efforts meant to widen access. In an overnight vote after more than seven hours of debate, the Texas Senate signed off on Senate Bill 7, which would limit extended early voting hours, prohibit drive-thru voting and make it illegal for local election officials to proactively send applications to vote by mail to voters, even if they qualify. The legislation is at the forefront of Texas Republicans’ crusade to further restrict voting in the state after last year’s election. Although Republicans remain in full control of state government, Texas saw the highest turnout in decades in 2020, with Democrats continuing to drive up their vote counts in the state’s urban centers and diversifying suburban communities.” See also, Corporate giants come out against Republicans’ efforts to restrict voting in Texas. American Airlines and Dell Technologies on Thursday publicly declared their opposition to Republican legislative proposals that would impose new restrictions on voting. The Texas Tribune, Alexa Ura, Thursday, 1 April 2021: “Multiple major corporations based in Texas spoke out Thursday in opposition to Republicans’ legislative proposals to further restrict voting in Texas. Corporate giants American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, and Dell Technologies, headquartered in Round Rock, were among the first to take a position. American Airlines took specific aim at Senate Bill 7, which would impose sweeping restrictions that take particular aim at local efforts meant to make it easier to vote — like extended early voting hours. Senate Republicans advanced that measure in a 2 a.m. vote Thursday.”

 

Friday, 2 April 2021:

 

Vehicle Attack at U.S. Capitol kills 1 Capitol Police officer and injures another. Suspect is killed by Police. The New York Times, Friday, 2 April 2021:

  • A Capitol Police officer is killed and another is injured in a vehicle attack; suspect is shot and killed.

  • Here’s what we know and don’t know about the attack outside the Capitol.

  • Billy Evans, the officer who died in the Capitol attack, is an 18-year veteran of the force.

  • Suspect in Capitol attack appears to have been a follower of Louis Farrakhan.

  • National Guard deploys ‘immediate reaction force’ in response to Capitol attack.

  • Biden touts the big March jobs report and says ‘inaction is not an option’ on his infrastructure bill.
  • Major League Baseball pulls this year’s All-Star Game from Georgia in response to the state’s new voting law.
  • Arrivals at the southern border surpassed a 15-year high in March and included many unaccompanied minors.
  • A spokesman for Matt Gaetz quits, as the Justice Department investigates whether his boss violated sex trafficking laws.
  • Alone among former Confederate states, Virginia is becoming a voting rights bastion.

Biden and congressional leaders mourn U.S. Capitol Police officer killed in the line of duty, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang and Donna Cassata, Friday, 2 April 2021: “President Biden and congressional leaders mourned U.S. Capitol Police officer William ‘Billy’ Evans after he was killed in the line of duty Friday. A vehicle rammed into Evans and another officer at the Capitol in Washington, the second deadly incident for Capitol Police in nearly three months. The other officer was injured; the suspect was killed by police. On Jan. 6, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, leaving five dead, including an officer. Major League Baseball announced that it will move July’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta, a decision that comes amid backlash to Georgia’s new sweeping and restrictive voting law.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • President Biden welcomed the latest labor report showing the United States added back 916,000 jobs in March while pressing for Congress to pass his $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan. ‘Inaction is not an option,’ Biden said in remarks at the White House, in which he pushed back on Republican criticism of his plan to raise corporate taxes to finance the proposal.
  • Acting U.S. Capitol police chief Yogananda Pittman said that in the fatal incident at the Capitol, a person left their vehicle with a knife and started lunging. She said police opened fire, killing the suspect.
  • The economy showed signs of strength as it added 916,000 jobs in March, the highest level in months, and the unemployment rate edged down to 6 percent from 6.2 percent in February.
  • Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for $80 billion for rail service, a significant boost in federal aid that could transform passenger service. Amtrak signaled that it could provide new intercity rail service to 160 communities and expand service in corridors with heightened demand for rail transportation.
  • The New York attorney general has gathered personal financial records of the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer and his family, another sign of legal pressure on one of former president Donald Trump’s closest aides.

The longest-serving police officer in the Minneapolis Police Department says that what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd was a violation of policy and ‘totally unnecessary,’ The New York Times, Friday, 2 April 2021:

  • The scene outside the courthouse as the first week of the trial comes to a close.
  • Takeaways from Day 5 of the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • The Minneapolis Police Department has a history of conflict with the Black community.
  • ‘Totally unnecessary’: the longest-serving Minneapolis Police officer Richard Zimmerman says Chauvin violated police policy.
  • What we know about Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the day’s second witness.
  • The officer who secured the crime scene after George Floyd’s death is the first witness on Day 5.
  • Witness testimony will end early on Friday because the trial is ahead of schedule, the judge said.
  • When reporters try to speak with Floyd’s family outside the courtroom, sheriff’s deputies step in.
  • An exploration of George Floyd’s drug use takes the trial in a new direction.

Richard Zimmerman, the most senior officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, rejects Chauvin’s ‘totally unnecessary’ use of force against George Floyd, The Washington Post, Timothy Bella and Abigail Hauslohner, Friday, 2 April 2021: “An emotional week of testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin concluded Friday with Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the most senior officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, rejecting the former officer’s use of force against George Floyd, calling it ‘uncalled for’ and ‘totally unnecessary.’ Zimmerman testified that once someone is handcuffed, ‘they are not a threat to you at that point’ and the amount of force should be immediately reduced. ‘If your knee is on a person’s neck, that could kill him,’ he testified. Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, argued Friday that police can use ‘improvisation’ for ‘whatever force is reasonable and necessary.’

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Minneapolis Police Sgt. Jon Edwards testified Friday that he responded to Cup Foods, described as a ‘critical incident’ scene, not knowing that Chauvin was involved in the fatal encounter.
  • In an interview Friday with ‘Good Morning America,’ Chris Martin, a 19-year-old Cup Foods clerk, said through tears that he felt like a ‘contributing factor’ in Floyd’s death outside the store.
  • Zimmerman’s testimony came after former police supervisor David Pleoger said that Chauvin should have stopped kneeling on Floyd’s neck when he stopped resisting.
  • When Chauvin first called Pleoger after the deadly arrest of Floyd, the former supervisor testified that Chauvin did not mention that he held his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck.

What Georgia’s Voting Law Really Does. The New York Times analyzed the state’s new 98-page voting law and identified 16 key provisions that will limit ballot access, potentially confuse voters and give more power to Republican lawmakers. The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein, Friday, 2 April 2021: “Go page by page through Georgia’s new voting law, and one takeaway stands above all others: The Republican legislature and governor have made a breathtaking assertion of partisan power in elections, making absentee voting harder and creating restrictions and complications in the wake of narrow losses to Democrats. The New York Times has examined and annotated the law, identifying 16 provisions that hamper the right to vote for some Georgians or strip power from state and local elections officials and give it to legislators.”

Major League Baseball Pulls All-Star Game From Georgia in Response to Voting Law, The New York Times, Kevin Draper, James Wagner, Reid J. Epstein, and Nick Corasaniti, Friday, 2 April 2021: “Major League Baseball sent a warning shot on Friday to Republicans considering new laws to restrict voting, pulling its summer All-Star game out of suburban Atlanta in a rebuke to Georgia’s new election rules that will make it harder to vote in the state’s urban areas. The announcement by the baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, came after days of lobbying from civil rights groups and discussions with stakeholders like the Major League Baseball Players Association. The action is likely to put additional pressure on other organizations and corporations to consider pulling business out of Georgia, a move that both Republicans and Democrats in the state oppose despite fiercely disagreeing about the new voting law.”

Nearly 200 companies are speaking out against voting law changes in Texas and other states, The Washington Post, Hannah Denham and Jena McGregor, Friday, 2 April 2021: “Nearly 200 companies on Friday joined in a strong statement against proposals that threaten to restrict voting access in dozens of states, in a further sign of corporate willingness to speak out on social justice issues. As Major League Baseball announced that it will be moving this summer’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to the passage of Georgia’s restrictive voting law, executives from at least 193 companies — including Dow, HP, Twitter and Estée Lauder — urged the protection of voting rights across the country.”

The Matt Gaetz Investigation: What We Know, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 2 April 2021: “The Justice Department is investigating whether Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, broke federal sex trafficking laws, focusing on his relationships with women recruited online for sex and whether he had sex with a 17-year-old girl, The New York Times reported this week. Investigators appear to be focused on at least two key questions, according to people briefed on their work. The first is whether Mr. Gaetz, 38, had sex with the 17-year-old and whether she received anything of material value. More broadly, federal authorities are scrutinizing involvement by the congressman and an indicted Florida associate with the women, who also received cash payments.” See also, Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz is said to have boasted of his ‘access to women’ provided by friend charged in sex-trafficking case, The Washington Post, Michael Scherer and Matt Zapotosky, Friday, 2 April 2021: “Rep. Matt Gaetz repeatedly boasted to people involved in Florida politics about women he met through a county tax collector who has since been charged by federal authorities with sex trafficking of a minor, according to two people who heard his comments directly. They said the Republican congressman, first elected in 2016, also showed them videos on his phone of naked or topless women on multiple occasions, including at parties with Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector for Seminole County. The women appeared to be adults, and could be seen dancing, hanging out by a pool and, in one case, using a hula hoop without clothing, the people said. ‘Matt was never shy about talking about his relationship to Joel and the access to women that Joel provided him,’ said one of these people who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. ‘What these videos implied was that there was something of a sexual nature going on with everyone.'”

Reversing Trump, Biden Revokes Trump’s Executive Order Authorizing Sanctions on Top Officials at the International Criminal Court, The New York Times, Pranshu Verma and Marlise Simons, Friday, 2 April 2021: “President Biden on Friday revoked President Donald J. Trump’s executive order authorizing sanctions on top officials at the International Criminal Court, reversing a decision that put the United States at odds with many of its European allies. The move comes after the Trump administration decided last year to sanction the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and a senior official, Phakiso Mochochoko, after the court opened an investigation into potential war crimes committed by American troops in Afghanistan. It also precedes, by days, a deadline for the Biden administration to respond to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s executive action. The reversal of the executive order means sanctions on Ms. Bensouda and Mr. Mochochoko will be lifted, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a statement announcing the administration’s decision. Additionally, travel restrictions the Trump administration placed on the court’s personnel in 2019 will be reversed, he said. ‘These decisions reflect our assessment that the measures adopted were inappropriate and ineffective,’ Mr. Blinken added.”

 

Saturday, 3 April 2021:

 

How Trump Steered Supporters Into Unwitting Donations. Online donors were guided into weekly recurring contributions. Demands for refunds spiked. Complaints to banks and credit card companies soared. But the money helped keep Donald Trump’s struggling campaign afloat. The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, Saturday, 3 April 2021: “Stacy Blatt was in hospice care last September listening to Rush Limbaugh’s dire warnings about how badly Donald J. Trump’s campaign needed money when he went online and chipped in everything he could: $500. It was a big sum for a 63-year-old battling cancer and living in Kansas City on less than $1,000 per month. But that single contribution — federal records show it was his first ever — quickly multiplied. Another $500 was withdrawn the next day, then $500 the next week and every week through mid-October, without his knowledge — until Mr. Blatt’s bank account had been depleted and frozen. When his utility and rent payments bounced, he called his brother, Russell, for help. What the Blatts soon discovered was $3,000 in withdrawals by the Trump campaign in less than 30 days. They called their bank and said they thought they were victims of fraud. ‘It felt,’ Russell said, ‘like it was a scam.’ But what the Blatts believed was duplicity was actually an intentional scheme to boost revenues by the Trump campaign and the for-profit company that processed its online donations, WinRed. Facing a cash crunch and getting badly outspent by the Democrats, the campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors, for every week until the election. Contributors had to wade through a fine-print disclaimer and manually uncheck a box to opt out. As the election neared, the Trump team made that disclaimer increasingly opaque, an investigation by The New York Times showed. It introduced a second prechecked box, known internally as a ‘money bomb,’ that doubled a person’s contribution. Eventually its solicitations featured lines of text in bold and capital letters that overwhelmed the opt-out language. The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists — retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. Soon, banks and credit card companies were inundated with fraud complaints from the president’s own supporters about donations they had not intended to make, sometimes for thousands of dollars…. The investigation by The New York Times found that Trump supporters who thought they were donating just once were charged over and over by his campaign. Late last year, $64 million in contributions was refunded.”

Trump calls for Republicans to boycott companies amid voting law controversy, The Hill, Jordan Williams, Saturday, 3 April 2021: “Former President Trump on Saturday called for Republicans and conservatives to boycott a sweeping number of companies amid controversy surrounding new voting laws. In a statement released late Saturday evening, the former president took aim at Democrats for playing ‘dirty’ and boycotting companies that ‘in any way’ offend them. ‘For years the Radical Left Democrats have played dirty by boycotting products when anything from that company is done or stated in any way that offends them. Now they are going big time with the WOKE CANCEL CULTURE and our sacred elections,’ Trump said in a statement on Saturday released by Save America PAC. He then called for Republicans to ‘fight back,’ alleging that ‘we have more people than they do,’ and urged conservatives to boycott specific companies including Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines and Citigroup. ‘It is finally time for Republicans and Conservatives to fight back— we have more people than they do— by far! Boycott Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS and Merck. Don’t go back to their products until they relent. We can play a better game than them,’ he said. ” See also, Trump calls for boycott of more companies over Georgia voting law, Axios, Rebecca Falconer, published on Sunday, 4 April 2021: “Former President Trump on Saturday added to a list of organizations he’s calling on supporters to boycott for opposing Georgia’s voting restrictions. Trump on Friday urged a boycott of ‘woke companies’ that have taken a stand and Major League Baseball for moving its All-Star Game out of Georgia, adding: ‘Are you listening Coke, Delta.’ In his new statement, he said: ‘Boycott Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS, and Merck.'”

 

Sunday, 4 April 2021:

 

Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp Lashes Major League Baseball as Republicans Defend Georgia’s Voting Law, The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti, Sunday, 3 April 2021: “Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Saturday issued a blistering critique of Major League Baseball’s decision to pull its All-Star Game out of the state over the new law there restricting voting, arguing that the move would deliver an economic hit to Georgians. Mr. Kemp, a Republican, framed the battle over voting rights in Georgia as a wholly partisan one concocted by Democrats, rather than a civil rights effort to protect access to the ballot as Republicans try to place new limits on voting across the country.”

Biden Steps Up Federal Efforts to Combat Domestic Extremism, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Nicole Hong, Sunday, 4 April 2021: “The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to combat domestic extremism, increasing funding to prevent attacks, weighing strategies historically used against foreign terrorist groups and more openly warning the public about the threat. The attempts to more assertively grapple with the potential for violence from white supremacists and militias are a shift from President Donald J. Trump’s pressure on federal agencies to divert resources to target the antifa movement and leftist groups despite the conclusion by law enforcement authorities that far-right and militia violence was a more serious threat. President Biden’s approach also continues a slow acknowledgment that especially after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, the federal government needs to put more attention and money into tracking and heading off threats from inside the United States, after two decades in which it made foreign terrorism the security priority. In an intelligence report delivered to Congress last month, the administration labeled white supremacists and militia groups as top national security threats. The White House is also discussing with members of Congress the possibility of new domestic terrorism legislation and executive orders to update the criteria of terrorism watch lists to potentially include more homegrown extremists.”

Biden Effort to Combat Hunger Marks ‘a Profound Change. As millions of Americans lack enough to eat, the administration is rapidly increasing aid — with an eye toward a permanent safety net expansion. The New York Times, Jason DeParle, Sunday, 4 April 2021: “With more than one in 10 households reporting that they lack enough to eat, the Biden administration is accelerating a vast campaign of hunger relief that will temporarily increase assistance by tens of billions of dollars and set the stage for what officials envision as lasting expansions of aid. The effort to rush more food assistance to more people is notable both for the scale of its ambition and the variety of its legislative and administrative actions. The campaign has increased food stamps by more than $1 billion a month, provided needy children a dollar a day for snacks, expanded a produce allowance for pregnant women and children, and authorized the largest children’s summer feeding program in history.”

 

Monday, 5 April 2021:

 

Senate Official Allows Expanded Use of Reconciliation, Smoothing Path for Infrastructure Plan. The ruling by the Senate parliamentarian means that Democrats can essentially reopen the budget plan they passed in February and add directives to enact the infrastructure package or other initiatives. The New York Times, Monday, 5 April 2021:

  • Democrats win crucial tool to speed infrastructure plan through Congress over Republican opposition.

  • Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, a Republican, vetoed an anti-transgender bill.

  • Senate Democrats roll out a plan to raise taxes on multinational corporations.

  • Biden’s cabinet will fan out to push his infrastructure plan as G.O.P. opposition solidifies.

  • Biden thanks immigrants for ‘choosing us’ as he struggles with a surge at the border.

  • Trump argues that his fund-raising was ‘done legally,’ in response to a Times investigation.

  • Capitol Police formally identify the man who rammed officers last week.

  • A former aide of Matt Gaetz said the F.B.I. questioned him in its inquiry of the Florida lawmaker.
  • More than half of Republicans blame the January 6th Capitol attack on “left-wing” rioters, a new poll finds.
  • Corporations become ensnared in the debate over Georgia’s new voting law.
  • The Biden administration is vastly expanding food assistance programs.
  • Gayle Smith, who helped lead the U.S. response to Ebola, will run Biden’s vaccine diplomacy.
  • Democratic senators warn that ‘dark money’ could spread after an upcoming Supreme Court case.

Biden defends infrastructure proposal against Republican attacks that it goes beyond traditional projects, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, Paulina Firozi, and Reis Thebault, Monday, 5 April 2021: “President Biden on Monday defended his $2 trillion infrastructure proposal against Republican attacks that it goes beyond traditional infrastructure projects. Speaking to reporters at the White House as he returned from Camp David, he said that items related to clean water, school conditions and high-speed rail, among others, should all be considered infrastructure.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • In a video posted to Biden’s Twitter account Sunday, he and the first lady delivered an Easter message that included a plea to get vaccinated.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for speeding up the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine in poorer nations, saying that the U.S. and global economies are threatened by the impact of covid-19 on the developing world.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said Monday that he does not support Biden’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent to help pay for his jobs and infrastructure plan, and reiterated that he would support an increase to only 25 percent.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that corporations responding to the new voting law in Georgia and similar legislation in other states are not only being bullied but have decided to ‘join in the bullying themselves.’
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious-disease expert, pushed back on criticism from several high-profile Republicans.

The Trial of Derek Chauvin: ‘That Should Have Stopped,’ Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo Says of Chauvin’s Actions, The New York Times, Monday, 5 April 2021:

  • Police chief’s testimony draws mixed response from local activists.
  • The scenes from around the courthouse.
  • Here are the takeaways from Day 6 of the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • Derek Chauvin received training on medical aid and use of force his former training supervisor says.
  • A professor tunes into the trial, with an eye on history.
  • Here’s why the Minneapolis police chief detailed standards and training.
  • Months after violence in Minneapolis, a business owner is trying to start anew.
  • Derek Chauvin ‘absolutely’ violated policy, the Minneapolis police chief says.
  • The Minneapolis police chief walks jurors through the rules on use of force and other policies.
  • What are we looking at when we’re looking at the Great Seal of the State of Minnesota?
  • Bystander recordings are within First Amendment rights, Minneapolis police chief says.
  • What is excited delirium?
  • The doctor who pronounced George Floyd dead says a lack of oxygen was the likely cause.
  • What we know about Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief.
  • The judge questioned jurors in the Chauvin trial about a social media post.
  • George Floyd’s heart condition continues to be a focal point of the trial.
  • The lawyer for Derek Chauvin is trying to limit evidence on police training.
  • The trial enters its second week with more examination of Chauvin’s actions.

Derek Chauvin trial: Minneapolis police chief says officer ‘absolutely’ violated policy while restraining George Floyd, The Washington Post, Abigail Hauslohner, Mark Berman, Holly Bailey, Meryl Kornfield, Keith McMillan, and Lateshia Beachum, Monday, 5 April 2021: “During one of the most anticipated moments in the trial, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo unequivocally told the court Monday afternoon that Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck before he died, violated the department’s policy in his use of force to restrain Floyd. He followed two other senior Minneapolis police officials who took the stand. It is remarkably rare for top officials to testify against one of their own officers, experts say. In the second week of witness testimony, Bradford Langenfeld, the emergency physician who tried to revive Floyd at a hospital and later pronounced him dead, said Floyd probably died because he was deprived of oxygen. Defense attorneys have been trying to establish that drugs or other causes might have been responsible.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • ‘Clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive — and even motionless — to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way, shape or form is anything that is set by policy, is not part of our training and is certainly not part of our ethics or values,’ the Minneapolis police chief said.
  • Arradondo said that he first viewed the Floyd ‘bystander video’ after receiving a call from a Minneapolis resident, asking, ‘Chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 30th and Chicago?’
  • While cross-examining the chief, Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, subtly alluded to the threats police face, noting that they could confront dangers during even commonplace moments like traffic stops.
  • Shown a photo of Chauvin’s position with his knee on Floyd by the prosecution, Inspector Katie Blackwell, who previously led the training program for Minneapolis Police Department, said the posture did not comply with training.
  • The morning began with the prosecution and defense in a dispute over whether police officers will be allowed to give their opinion on what they would have done and which types of training Chauvin received.
  • Prosecutors face a steep legal challenge in winning a conviction against a police officer. Despite nationwide protests, police are rarely charged when they kill someone on duty. And even when they are, convictions are often difficult.
  • The first week of the Chauvin trial came down to this, again and again, writes Monica Hesse: Who gets to be scared in America.

Republican Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoes bill banning medical treatments for transgender youths, The Washington Post, Samantha Schmidt, Monday, 5 April 2021: “Arkansas’ governor on Monday vetoed a ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, calling the legislation a ‘vast government overreach’ and a ‘product of the cultural war in America.’ Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said that if signed into law, the bill would interfere with physicians and parents ‘as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people.’ The bill, which is part of a wave of similar legislation across the country, would have banned doctors from providing transgender minors with gender-affirming treatments such as puberty blockers, hormone therapies and transition-related surgeries, and from referring them for such treatments. Republican lawmakers in at least 17 other states have introduced similar bans on medical treatments for transgender minors, despite opposition from major pediatric and psychiatric organizations. Because it takes a simple majority to override a governor’s veto in Arkansas, Hutchinson acknowledged that the General Assembly is likely to override the veto, given the overwhelming support for the bill in the state legislature.” See also, Asa Hutchinson, Republican Governor of Arkansas, Vetoes Anti-Transgender Bill. The bill, which could still be enacted if state legislators override the governor’s veto, would make it illegal for transgender minors to receive gender-affirming medication or surgery. The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Monday, 5 April 2021: “Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas vetoed a bill on Monday that would make it illegal for transgender minors to receive gender-affirming medication or surgery — a rare Republican rejection amid the growing conservative effort to restrict transgender people’s health care and participation in society. The Arkansas State Legislature could override Mr. Hutchinson’s veto of the bill, known as H.B. 1570. Republicans hold large majorities in both chambers and passed the bill last month with mostly party-line votes: 70 to 22 in the House and 28 to 7 in the Senate.”

Republicans ramp up attacks on corporations over Georgia voting law and threaten ‘consequences,’ The Washington Post, Marianna Sotomayor and Todd C. Frankel, Monday, 5 April 2021: “Republicans are attacking corporations over their decision to condemn the controversial Georgia voting law, part of the party’s embrace of the populism espoused by President Donald Trump even as it creates tensions with traditional allies in the business community. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday accused corporations of siding with Democrats’ portrayal of the law as the new Jim Crow, which he called an attempt to ‘mislead and bully the American people.’ He argued that it would expand, not restrict, voter access to the polls, and his statement included a threat of unspecified ‘serious consequences’ if companies continued to stand opposite Republicans on a variety of issues. ‘From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector keep behaving like a woke parallel government,’ McConnell said in his statement. ‘Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.'” See also, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell says big business is acting like a ‘woke parallel government’, Politico, Burgess Everett, Monday, 5 April 2021: “Mitch McConnell is putting Big Business on notice: There will be ‘serious consequences’ if corporate America continues acting like ‘a woke parallel government.’ The broadside from the Senate minority leader, who has aligned himself with the business community for decades, is just the latest sign of a fraying alliance between big companies and the Republican Party. In the wake of the cancellation of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Georgia over new election laws there, McConnell (R-Ky.) flashed frustration that companies appear to be taking direction from Democratic complaints about the law.” See also, Inside Corporate America’s Frantic Response to the Georgia Voting Law, The New York Times, David Gelles, Monday, 5 April 2021: “At first, Delta, Georgia’s largest employer, tried to stay out of the fight on voting rights. But after the Georgia law was passed, a group of powerful Black executives publicly called on big companies to oppose the voting legislation. Hours later, Delta and Coca-Cola abruptly reversed course and disavowed the Georgia law. On Friday, Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star game from Atlanta in protest, and more than 100 other companies spoke out in defense of voting rights.”

Department of Justice tells agencies that gay and transgender students are protected by anti-discrimination laws, The Hill, Harper Neidig, Monday, 5 April 2021: “The Department of Justice (DOJ) has told federal agencies that gay and transgender students are protected from discrimination under civil rights laws, reversing Trump administration guidance that limited the impact of a landmark Supreme Court decision last year extending employment discrimination protections to LGBT workers. In an undated memo to federal agencies, Pamela Karlan, the head of the DOJ’s civil rights division, said that based on the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, the 1972 education civil rights law known as Title IX should be read as covering gay and transgender students. ‘After considering the text of Title IX, Supreme Court caselaw, and developing jurisprudence in this area, the Division has determined that the best reading of Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination “on the basis of sex” is that it includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation,’ Karlan wrote in the memo. A Justice Department spokeswoman said the memo was issued March 26. Title IX prohibits discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ in educational institutions that receive federal funding.”

Supreme Court vacates ruling barring Trump from blocking Twitter critics, saying the case is moot, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 5 April 2021: “The Supreme Court on Monday vacated a lower court opinion that said President Donald Trump could not block critics from his Twitter feed, which since has been suspended by the company. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York had ruled that because the president had used the forum to regularly communicate with the public, he could not block critical individual users. The case held First Amendment implications for how elected officials nationwide interact with constituents on social media. But Trump lost reelection, and Twitter canceled his account, leading the Supreme Court to tell the lower court to vacate the judgment and dismiss the case as moot.”

Carbon dioxide spikes to critical record, halfway to doubling preindustrial levels. The concentration of the heat-trapping gas topped 420 parts per million, while the planet has warmed more than two degrees. The Washington Post, Matthew Cappucci and Jason Samenow, Monday, 5 April 2021: “For the first time in recorded history, the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, or CO2, was measured at more than 420 parts per million at the Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii. It’s a disconcerting milestone in the human-induced warming of the planet, around the halfway point on our path toward doubling preindustrial CO2 levels…. When the station began collecting CO2 measurements in the late 1950s, atmospheric CO2 concentration sat at around 315 parts per million. On Saturday, the daily average was pegged at 421.21 parts per million — the first time in human history that number has been so high. Previously, it had never exceeded 420 parts per million.”

 

Tuesday, 6 April 2021:

 

Democrats May Be Able to Sidestep Filibusters for Some Legislation, The New York Times, Tuesday, 6 April 2021:

  • A ruling by a top Senate official gives Democrats a way around filibusters.

  • Matt Gaetz is said to have sought a blanket pardon from Trump.

  • Arkansas legislators enact an anti-transgender law over the governor’s veto.

  • Biden moves up eligibility deadline to April 19 for all American adults.

  • McConnell, long a defender of corporate speech, now suggests executives ‘stay out of politics.’

  • Alcee Hastings, who represented Florida in the House, dies at 84.

  • Kamala Harris will move into the vice president’s residence this evening.

  • Capitol Rioters Face the Consequences of Their Selfie Sabotage.

  • Biden will keep Trump’s policy on land mines, for now.

  • The U.S. and Iran agree on initial steps toward reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.
  • The Biden administration will seek the public’s input on a Title IX overhaul.
  • A former H.U.D. official is punished for duping tenants into filming a pro-Trump video.
  • The corporate protest of restrictive voting laws draws rebuke from Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas.

‘We’re still in a life and death race against the virus’: Biden cautions pandemic is not over yet, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 6 April 2021: “President Biden said Tuesday that the United States is still in a ‘life and death race against this virus,’ cautioning that the coronavirus pandemic is not over yet and urging Americans to get vaccinated. He spoke of vigilance in remarks at the White House and as he visited a pop-up vaccination site in Alexandria, Va. Biden also moved up a deadline for states to make all U.S. adults eligible to receive a vaccine, from May 1 to April 19.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, a Democrat who represented South Florida in Congress for nearly 30 years, died Tuesday, according to his chief of staff, Lale Morrison.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki batted down the suggestion that the Biden administration was eying a national vaccine verification card, saying unequivocally that the president would not support that.
  • U.S. Capitol Police Officer William ‘Billy’ F. Evans, who was killed Friday when a man crashed his vehicle into him and another officer, will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda next week.
  • House Democrats released a list of 22 seats they plan to target in the 2022 midterm elections, largely in the suburbs where the party gained ground during Donald Trump’s presidency.

The Trial of Derek Chauvin: Expert Witness in Derek Chauvin Trial Says His ‘Force Was Excessive.’ Prosecution witnesses testified that Mr. Chauvin’s restraint of George Floyd did not follow his training or standard police tactics; the defense’s questioning spotlighted the difficulty of real-time decisions. The New York Times, Tuesday, 6 April 2021:

  • Takeaways from Day 7 of the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • Scenes from outside the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • Nielsen data shows strong viewer interest in the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • Called by prosecutors to testify, a medical training officer provides an opening for the defense.
  • Training vs. experience on the streets becomes a focal point of the Chauvin trial.
  • An expert witness calls Derek Chauvin’s use of force ‘excessive.’
  • Al Sharpton and the Floyd family pray for ‘justice’ outside of the courthouse.
  • A police use-of-force instructor faced questions about Derek Chauvin’s use of neck restraints.
  • What we know about use of force and policing.
  • A Minneapolis police sergeant and crisis intervention trainer testifies that officers often have time to ‘slow things down.’
  • Morries Hall, a friend of George Floyd’s who was with him when he was arrested, is trying to avoid testifying.
  • The first week of the Derek Chauvin trial was dramatic. The new phase may be more critical.
  • Rare criticism from a police chief propels Derek Chauvin trial.

Derek Chauvin Trial: Experts testify that Derek Chauvin failed to follow training and used ‘excessive’ force during George Floyd arrest, The Washington Post, Timothy Bella, Kim Bellware, and Meryl Kornfield, Tuesday, 6 April 2021: “The trial of Derek Chauvin continued Tuesday with an array of police experts who testified that Chauvin failed to follow his training, from use of force to CPR, during his arrest of George Floyd. The defense continued to underscore the role the crowd of bystanders had during the incident, arguing that they adversely impacted Chauvin’s decision process and responses during a fluid situation. Several experts said with certainty that Chauvin’s neck restraint of Floyd was against guidance. ‘We tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible,’ said Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil, the use-of-force coordinator for the department. He called the restraint unauthorized and described it as ‘active aggression.’ Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for MPD, testified that officers like Chauvin who are trained in CPR learn that a subject’s ability to talk does not always mean they’re breathing properly. She also acknowledged under a line of questioning by defense lawyer Eric J. Nelson that distractions, like those from a surrounding crowd, can make it difficult to focus on lifesaving measures. The defense signaled it would bring her back to the stand when it starts its portion of the case.

Here are some of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Mercil testified that suspects should be put in recovery position ‘as soon as possible’ once they are prone to allow them to breathe.
  • Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, the prosecution’s use-of-force expert, testified that the force Chauvin exerted on Floyd was ‘excessive.’
  • Nelson argued that Chauvin did not administer a traditional chokehold on Floyd. He added that the officer had his knee on Floyd’s shoulder when paramedics arrived.
  • In cross-examination, Chauvin’s defense team repeatedly brought up the medical training for police surrounding excited delirium, which was previously cited by Nelson as one reason for Floyd’s death.
  • During the cross-examination of Minneapolis Police Sgt. Ker Yang, the department’s crisis training coordinator, Nelson said that the bystanders who yelled at the officers while they detained Floyd could have affected their crisis training.
  • In a motion hearing Tuesday, attorneys for Morries Hall argued that any testimony from the man with George Floyd inside his car before his death could potentially self-incriminate him on a murder charge in a possible, separate trial. Judge Peter Cahill offered a ‘narrow’ option for Hall to provide testimony that will be reexamined later this week.

Senate Ruling Gives Democrats a Back Door Around the Filibuster. A surprise decision by a top Senate official gives Democrats multiple chances to skirt Republican opposition, but it could sap momentum for weakening the filibuster. The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Tuesday, 6 April 2021: “Democrats might not have the votes to gut the filibuster, but they were just handed the procedural keys to a backdoor assault on the Senate’s famous obstruction tactic. With a ruling on Monday that Democrats can reuse this year’s budget blueprint at least once to employ the fast-track reconciliation process, Democrats can now conceivably advance multiple spending and tax packages this year alone without a single Republican vote as long as they hold their 50 members together. It is a means of weakening the filibuster without having to take the politically charged vote to do so.”

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott bans state agencies and state-funded organizations from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination, Texas Tribune, Reese Oxner, Tuesday, 6 April 2021: “Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that he banned state agencies, political subdivisions and organizations receiving public funds from creating ‘vaccine passports’ or otherwise requiring someone to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to receive services. This comes as vaccine credentials, often referred to as vaccine passports, are being developed around the world as a way to quickly prove someone’s vaccination status. It has become a fierce debate, with Republicans largely opposing the move, saying it is an infringement on individual freedoms and privacy. Supporters, including a number of private companies, point to the passports as a way to confidently return to activities and ensure safety at workplaces. A handful of GOP-backed bills have been introduced in states across the U.S. aiming to restrict entities from requiring vaccines for their employees, including in Texas. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also prohibited state agencies from using vaccine passports but went a step further and said no business can require their customers to display them.”

 

Wednesday, 7 April 2021:

 

Biden Prepares to Take on Gun Violence in Wake of Back-to-Back Shootings, The New York Times, Wednesday, 7 April 2021:

  • Facing pressure after shootings, Biden is expected to announce executive actions to fight gun violence.

  • Biden will nominate David Chipman, an adviser to a top gun control group, as Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms director.

  • Biden restores aid to Palestinians in a move that reverses a Trump-era policy.

  • A G.O.P. group is warning donors who decline to donate monthly that it will ‘tell Trump you’re a DEFECTOR.’

  • Biden says he’s willing to compromise on his infrastructure plan, but will not tolerate ‘doing nothing.’

  • After the Capitol riot, House Democrats are torn over working with their Republican colleagues.

  • A court filing says parents of 445 separated migrant children still have not been found.

  • Joe Manchin says there is ‘no circumstance’ in which he would back weakening the filibuster.
  • The Biden administration seeks to raise $2.5 trillion through corporate tax increases.
  • Watchdog group claims Texas Senator Ted Cruz improperly spent campaign funds to promote his book.
  • ‘Vaccine passports’ emerge as the next divisive issue in the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Democratic lawmakers join a lawsuit that accuses Trump and Giuliani of conspiring to incite the January 6th riot.
  • Mike Pence unveils a new advocacy group and a two-book deal.

Biden open to compromise on jobs and infrastructure but says ‘inaction simply is not an option,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 7 April 2021: “President Biden said Wednesday that he is open to compromise on his $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan but that ‘inaction simply is not an option’ as he delivered remarks from the White House complex on his sweeping proposal. Facing criticism from Republicans, Biden also defended his expansive definition of infrastructure, saying, ‘The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of an American people and their needs.’ He encouraged Republicans to come forward if they have alternatives to his proposal to pay for the plan, which includes a corporate tax increase.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

The Trial of Derek Chauvin: George Floyd’s Drug Use Returns as Focus in the Derek Chauvin Trial. A debate over what Mr. Floyd said as he was held on the ground, and what it might indicate about his drug use on the day he died, erupted Wednesday during expert testimony. The New York Times, Wednesday, 7 April 2021:

  • Artistic sidewalk scenes and other memorials in Minneapolis.
  • Takeaways from Day 8 of the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • In the Chauvin trial, an argument emerges over whether George Floyd said he ‘ate too many drugs’ or ‘ain’t do no drugs.’
  • Defense focuses on George Floyd’s prior arrest and drug use.
  • A central claim of Derek Chauvin’s defense: Bystanders who witnessed the arrest influenced his actions.
  • What is happening when the judge and the lawyers put on their headphones?
  • When will there be a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial?
  • What is the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency that investigated George Floyd’s death?
  • A police force expert says Derek Chauvin used ‘deadly force’ on George Floyd when he should have used none.
  • What is proportional force?
  • An expert witness who called Derek Chauvin’s use of force’ excessive’ returns to the stand.
  • Minneapolis’s Native American community is closely watching the trial.
  • The use-of-force policy is an important component of Derek Chauvin’s trial.

Derek Chauvin Trial: Chauvin’s attorney argues George Floyd saying, ‘I can’t breathe,’ was a form of resisting arrest, The Washington Post, Timothy Bella, Kim Bellware, and Meryl Kornfield, Wednesday, 7 April 2021: “Testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin continued Wednesday with the former officer’s defense team arguing that George Floyd saying, ‘I can’t breathe,’ while police attempted to load him into the squad car was a form of resisting arrest. Later in the day, Chauvin attorney Eric J. Nelson played indiscernible body-cam audio and claimed Wednesday that Floyd said, ‘I ate too many drugs.’ Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a paid witness for the state, said he could not make out what Floyd said, while James Reyerson, a special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said the clip sounded more like, ‘I ain’t do no drugs.’ Stiger’s testimony came as prosecutors began to shift from police testimony into the larger investigation of Floyd’s death. The county medical examiner is expected to testify later this week.Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Stiger said that ‘no force should have been used’ on Floyd when he was on the ground last May. Stiger added that Chauvin did not follow pain compliance with Floyd when the officer was on top of the 46-year-old man, saying Chauvin failed to ease up on the pressure applied to Floyd. ‘At that point, it’s just pain,’ he said.
  • Stiger said again that Floyd posed no threat to officers at the time he was detained.
  • Chauvin’s defense team requested that investigators search the police car Floyd was forced into because of a white pill found on the floor in the back seat, a forensic scientist testified.
  • Nelson continued to underscore the role the crowd of bystanders had during the incident, arguing that they adversely impacted the officer’s decision process and responses.
  • In testimony this week, police and law enforcement officials have cast Chauvin outside of the blue wall, writes Robin Givhan.

Opinion: Senator Joe Manchin: I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster, The Washington Post, Joe Manchin III, Wednesday, 7 April 2021: “There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster. The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.”

Reversing Trump, Biden Restores Aid to Palestinians. The move will once again make the United States a leading donor to the United Nations agency that assists about 5.7 million Palestinians in the Middle East. The New York Times, Pranshu Verma and Rick Gladstone, Wednesday, 7 April 2021: “The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it would restore hundreds of millions of dollars in American aid to Palestinians, its strongest move yet to reverse President Donald J. Trump’s policy on the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The package, which gives at least $235 million in assistance to Palestinians, will go to humanitarian, economic, development and security efforts in the region, and is part of the administration’s attempt to rehabilitate U.S. relations with Palestinians, which effectively stopped when Mr. Trump was in office.”

National Republican Congressional Commitee (NRCC) warns donors Trump will find out if they opt out of monthly donations, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 7 April 2021: “The National Republican Congressional Committee threatened donors that it will tell former president Donald Trump that they are defectors if they opt out of giving recurring monthly funds to the campaign arm for the House GOP. After donating to the NRCC, a donor is shown a yellow box with a small prechecked box and warned: ‘If you UNCHECK this box, we will have to tell Trump you’re a DEFECTOR.’ Left checked and the supporter will be agreeing to contribute every month. The tactic, roundly criticized by campaign finance experts as deceptive, was employed by the Trump campaign in the final months ahead of the 2020 election to shore up its dwindling coffers. Many supporters who intended to donate just once were unwittingly enrolled to give weekly because they didn’t read the fine print requiring them to uncheck a box, a New York Times investigation found, resulting in credit card complaints, overdrafts and the Trump campaign refunding tens of millions of dollars to its supporters.”

 

Thursday, 8 April 2021:

 

Second Aide to Republican Representative Matt Gaetz Is Said to Have Quit Amid Widening Investigation, The New York Times, Thursday, 8 April 2021:

  • Another aide to Matt Gaetz is said to have quit amid an intensifying Justice Department investigation.

  • With gun control measures stalled in Congress, Biden announces actions against gun violence.
  • A fact-check of Biden’s guns speech reveals some inaccuracies.

  • ‘I regret it.’ Boehner says Clinton impeachment was a political attack he wishes he’d fought.

  • Blinken highlights failures of the State Department during the Holocaust.

  • A bill further restricting voting rights passes a key committee in the Texas Legislature.

  • A former Florida official tied to Matt Gaetz is expected to plead guilty to federal charges.

  • Some asylum seekers, turned away by U.S., are finding sanctuary in Mexico.

  • With a warning to Democrats, Senator Joe Manchin points the way for Biden’s agenda.
  • Senator Mitch McConnell walks back his rebuke of companies that have come out publicly against Georgia’s new voting law.
  • Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is banking on Georgia’s divisive new voting law to win back Trump and his conservative base.
  • Lee Zeldin, an avid Trump supporter, says he will challenge Cuomo in the 2022 governor’s race.

Biden calls U.S. gun violence an ‘international embarrassment’ as he outlines executive actions, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Amy B Wang, Thursday, 8 April 2021: “President Biden on Thursday called gun violence in the United States an ‘international embarrassment’ as he outlined several executive actions, including an attempt to rein in ‘ghost guns,’ devices without serial numbers that are sold in kits and assembled at home. The announcements in the White House Rose Garden marked Biden’s first major presidential actions on guns. He pushed back on arguments that he is threatening the Second Amendment and lamented a mass shooting Wednesday in South Carolina that left at least five people dead, including two children.

Here are some of the significant developments included in this article.

  • An associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is in plea negotiations to resolve the sex trafficking allegations against him, a potentially ominous sign for Gaetz if Joel Greenberg cooperates with prosecutors in a bid for leniency.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said that under no circumstances would he vote to eliminate or weaken the legislative filibuster in his most definitive statement on the topic.
  • Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) became the first Republican to formally announce a New York gubernatorial bid, taking aim at embattled Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D).
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is heading into one of the most challenging stretches of her career as her party attempts to enact what Biden is touting as a transformative agenda.

The Trial of Derek Chauvin: Expert Says George Floyd Showed Signs of Brain Injury 4 Minutes Before Officer Chauvin Relented. Thursday’s testimony included medical witnesses who helped underscore prosecution claims that Mr. Floyd died from being held down by Derek Chauvin. The New York Times, Thursday, 8 April 2021:

  • Security is tight around the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial is taking place.
  • Takeaways from Day 9 of the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • Dr. Bill Smock, an emergency medicine physician who trains police officers: ‘That is not a fentanyl overdose. That is somebody begging to breathe.’
  • A toxicologist’s testimony challenged claims by Derek Chauvin’s lawyer that George Floyd overdosed on fentanyl.
  • Kentucky police surgeon testifies about how police are trained to use force.
  • In his cross-examination, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer contested a lung doctor’s testimony and focused on fentanyl.
  • Dr. Daniel Isenschmid, who performed the toxicology tests for an autopsy of George Floyd, takes the stand.
  • Does it matter whether Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck versus his shoulder?
  • The deaths of Philando Castile and George Floyd have left deep woulds in the Twin Cities.
  • A doctor testifies that George Floyd showed signs of a brain injury 4 minutes before Derek Chauvin lifted his knee, a doctor testifies.
  • In their own words: Pulmonologist says George Floyd had to ‘breathe with his fingers and knuckles.’
  • Experts break down the key medical terminology surrounding George Floyd’s autopsies.
  • Dr. Martin J. Tobin, a pulmonologist, says shallow breathing led to George Floyd’s death.
  • The trial of Derek Chauvin is a difficult learning opportunity for Minneapolis students.
  • Witnesses focus on Chauvin’s use of force and George Floyd’s drug use.

Derek Chauvin Trial: Experts in Chauvin’s trial challenge defense’s case for what killed George Floyd, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Timothy Bella, Kim Bellware, Meryl Kornfield, and Jared Goyette, Thursday, 8 April 2021: “A breathing expert said that George Floyd died of low oxygen, struggling for air under an officer’s knee. A police surgeon emphatically discounted that Floyd suffered a heart attack or had ‘excited delirium,’ and a forensic toxicologist said Floyd’s blood contained only a small amount of methamphetamine. Thursday’s testimony in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin spoke to what could be the heart of the case, challenging the defense’s central argument that Floyd died of a combination of heart disease, drugs and high blood pressure. Chauvin’s attorney has suggested Floyd’s already-compromised heart grew overwhelmed by his struggle with Minneapolis police. Andrew Baker, the chief medical examiner in Minnesota’s Hennepin County, is expected to testify Friday.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Asked when authorities should have performed CPR on Floyd, police surgeon Bill Smock responded: ‘Way before it was. As soon as Mr. Floyd is unconscious, he should have been rolled over.’
  • Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist and breathing expert, said a person in good health would have died as a result of the restraint administered by Chauvin. He estimated that Chauvin placed more than 91 pounds on Floyd’s neck.
  • Floyd’s airways were 85 percent restricted, Tobin said, thus making breathing ‘at some stage unsustainable.’
  • Chauvin attorney Eric J. Nelson again focused on the traces of fentanyl and methamphetamine that were found in Floyd’s body, in an effort to show they were a contributing factor to his restricted breathing.

Biden Takes Initial Steps to Address Gun Violence. With legislation in Congress stalled by Republican opposition, the president ordered a crackdown on ‘ghost guns’ and said the epidemic of shootings was “an international embarrassment.” The New York Times, Annie Karni, Thursday, 8 April 2021: “President Biden, calling gun violence in the United States ‘an international embarrassment,’ took a set of initial steps on Thursday to address the problem, starting with a crackdown on the proliferation of so-called ghost guns, or firearms assembled from kits. Acknowledging that more aggressive actions like banning assault weapons, closing background check loopholes and stripping gun manufacturers of their immunity from liability lawsuits would have to wait for action from Congress, he said it was nonetheless vital to do what he could on his own to confront what he called an epidemic of shootings that are killing roughly 100 Americans a day.” See also, Biden acts on gun control after pressure from impatient activists, The Washington Post, Annie Linskey, Thursday, 8 April 2021: “President Biden on Thursday announced a series of executive actions to curb gun violence, and he pledged to push for sweeping change to the country’s firearms laws — his first substantive response to a pair of mass shootings last month that left 18 dead. ‘Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment,’ Biden said in the White House Rose Garden. ‘The idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character as nation.’ The president unveiled new rules on ‘ghost guns’ — firearms that are assembled at home, which lack serial numbers and are harder to track — among other moves designed to make it harder for unqualified people to obtain dangerous weapons.”

Lawyers Say Indicted Associate of Republican Representative Matt Gaetz Is Expected to Plead Guilty. The indication of a potential cooperation deal came as investigators were also examining a trip by Mr. Gaetz to the Bahamas and whether he discussed running a so-called ghost candidate in a local race. The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei, Katie Benner, and Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 8 April 2021: “A former local official in Florida facing an array of federal charges in an inquiry that is also focused on Representative Matt Gaetz was expected to plead guilty, lawyers said in court on Thursday, an indication that the defendant is likely to cooperate as a key witness against Mr. Gaetz. A cooperation agreement by Joel Greenberg, a former county tax collector north of Orlando, is almost certain to create legal difficulties for Mr. Gaetz, a prominent ally of former President Donald J. Trump. Investigators are said to be examining their involvement with women who were recruited online for sex and given cash payments, as well as whether Mr. Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old. Mr. Greenberg, who already faces one count of sex trafficking involving the girl, would be able to give prosecutors a firsthand account of their actions. Mr. Greenberg faces other charges, including stalking a political rival and trying to bribe a federal official; he has pleaded not guilty. Investigators suspect he met the women through a website that connects people willing to go on dates in exchange for gifts and allowances, then arranged for liaisons with himself and associates including Mr. Gaetz.”

Manhattan District Attorney seizes evidence from Trump executive Barry Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law, The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs, David A. Fahrenthold, and Jonathan O’Connell, Thursday, 8 April 2021: “Investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, acting on a grand jury subpoena, took possession of financial records Thursday morning from the apartment of Jennifer Weisselberg, the former daughter-in-law of a top Trump Organization officer. Jennifer Weisselberg was married to Barry Weisselberg — the son of Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg — from 2004 to 2018. She has previously said that she had seven boxes of financial records from both her ex-husband and his father, some of which were obtained through divorce litigation. On Thursday, she loaded three boxes and a laptop computer onto a valet cart and wheeled them from her building to a black Jeep with dark-tinted windows that was waiting outside.” See also, Former Daughter-In-Law of Trump Executive Allen Weisselberg Gives Manhattan Prosecutors Boxes of Documents, The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 8 April 2021: “The former daughter-in-law of a Trump Organization executive on Thursday turned over boxes filled with financial documents to Manhattan prosecutors who are investigating former President Donald J. Trump and his business, according to her representatives. Investigators for the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., acting on a grand jury subpoena, collected several boxes of documents and a laptop from the Upper West Side apartment of the woman, Jennifer Weisselberg, who was married to a son of the longtime Trump executive Allen H. Weisselberg. The handover of the documents offered the latest suggestion that prosecutors looking into possible fraud by Mr. Trump and his company are stepping up pressure on Mr. Weisselberg, the company’s chief financial officer, who has for decades looked after the Trump Organization’s finances and could provide essential insider knowledge to investigators.”

 

Friday, 9 April 2021:

 

Biden’s Budget Includes $1.52 Trillion in Federal Spending. The proposed money would significantly bolster education, health research and fighting climate change. In the House, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida faces an ethics panel inquiry into sexual misconduct allegations. The New York Times, Friday, 9 April 2021:

  • Biden proposes $1.52 trillion in spending as the White House releases fragments of his first budget.

  • The House ethics panel has opened an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Matt Gaetz.

  • Biden is creating a commission to study adding seats to the Supreme Court, term limits or other changes.

  • What does it mean to expand the Supreme Court?
  • The Anti-Defamation League calls for Tucker Carlson to be fired over ‘replacement theory’ remarks.

  • The Pentagon announces new efforts to weed out extremism among troops after the Capitol riot.
  • The State Department relaxes limits on contacts with Taiwan.

  • Pentagon funding is kept flat in Biden’s budget proposal, ruffling doves and hawks alike.

  • The budget plan boosts funding to prevent future pandemics and stabilize Central American countries.
  • The C.D.C. would get a significant increase in funding under Biden’s spending plan.

  • Biden proposes a massive expansion of housing programs for the poor, signaling a big shift in poverty policy.
  • Talks in Vienna on reviving the Iran nuclear deal will continue next week.

House Ethics panel opens investigation into Republican Representative Matt Gaetz as he faces sex-trafficking allegation, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Amy B Wang, Friday, 9 April 2021: “The House Ethics committee on Friday said it would launch an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who has been accused of sexual misconduct, among a litany of other things. The Justice Department is investigating Gaetz for an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl. In a statement Friday, the committee chairman said they were aware of allegations that Gaetz ‘may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct.’ Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes and has denied the allegations, claiming he and his family are the victims of an extortion plot. President Biden’s first budget request to Congress, unveiled Friday, reflects far different priorities than his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump. Biden’s blueprint seeks $1.5 trillion in federal spending, with major increases for education, health and the environment, while keeping defense spending essentially flat. Meanwhile, Biden announced a bipartisan commission Friday to study possible changes to the Supreme Court, fulfilling a campaign promise prompted by pressure from liberal groups to expand the number of justices.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Biden will meet Monday at the White House with congressional Republicans and Democrats as he makes the case for his ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.
  • The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) who has been accused of sexual misconduct by a former lobbyist.
  • Former House speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) in a new memoir derides today’s Republican Party as unrecognizable to traditional conservatives like himself.
  • The Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), on Friday announced its support for the reelection of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), whom Trump has vowed to defeat.
  • A Florida politician at the center of an investigation into Gaetz is negotiating with prosecutors to resolve his own sex-trafficking charges, a potentially ominous sign for Gaetz.

The Trial of Derek Chauvin: Medical Examiner Says Drugs and Heart Disease Were ‘Not Direct Causes’ of George Floyd’s Death. Dr. Andrew Baker said the efforts by Derek Chauvin and other officers to restrain Mr. Floyd were more than he could take. The New York Times, Friday, 9 April 2021:

  • The scene around Minneapolis as the second week of the trial comes to a close.
  • Takeaways from Day 10 of the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • The police caused George Floyd’s death, but drugs and heart disease played a role, the medical examiner says.
  • Medical examiner Dr. Andrew Baker: The interaction with police ‘was just more than Mr. Floyd could take.’
  • How the medical examiner’s previous statements may help the defense.
  • Dr. Andrew Baker, Hennepin County’s chief medical examiner, takes the stand.
  • A pathologist testifies that police officers, not drugs, caused George Floyd’s death.
  • Here’s what we know about the key medical terminology used in the trial.
  • Forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas: ‘This is a death where both the heart and lungs stopped working.’
  • How the prosecution tried to pre-empt potential problems for them in the medical examiner’s testimony.
  • A pulmonologist testifies: ‘One second he’s alive, and one second he’s no longer alive.

Derek Chauvin Trial: Hennepin County Medical Examiner Andrew Baker testifies that the law enforcement restraint and the neck compression were ‘more than Mr. Floyd could take,’ The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Timothy Bella, Abigail Hauslohner, Holly Bailey, Mark Berman, and Paulina Villegas, Friday, 9 April 2021: “The second week of Derek Chauvin’s trial came to a close with one of its most-anticipated witnesses on the stand — the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on George Floyd last year, ruling his death a homicide. Hennepin County Medical Examiner Andrew Baker testified Friday that he thinks the stress of Floyd’s arrest overwhelmed his already-overburdened heart and ‘tipped him over the edge.’ ‘The law enforcement subdual restraint and the neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take by virtue of those heart conditions,’ Baker said. The medical examiner did not point to asphyxia, however, in a contrast to other medical experts who spoke this week. Baker said that in his opinion, Chauvin’s knee would not ‘anatomically cut off Mr. Floyd’s airway.’

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

Emails show Trump health advisers cheered attempts to alter scientific reports, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Friday, 9 April 2021: “Political appointees in the Trump administration’s health and human services department celebrated their efforts last year to alter reports written by career scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to new emails released by the House’s select committee investigating the federal government’s pandemic response. Paul Alexander, a science adviser in the department’s communications office who regularly clashed with the C.D.C., wrote to the agency’s acting chief of staff, Nina Witkofsky, in August claiming that attempts to influence the agency’s closely-guarded guidance on disease outbreaks, known as the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, had been a success.” See also, Emails show Trump officials celebrated efforts to change CDC reports on scientific findings about coronavirus, The Washington Post, Dan Diamond, Friday, 9 April 2021: “Trump appointees in the Department of Health and Human Services last year privately touted their efforts to block or alter scientists’ reports on the coronavirus to more closely align with then-President Donald Trump’s more optimistic messages about the outbreak, according to newly released documents from congressional investigators. The documents provide further insight into how senior Trump officials approached last year’s explosion of coronavirus cases in the United States. Even as career government scientists worked to combat the virus, a cadre of Trump appointees was attempting to blunt the scientists’ messages, edit their findings and equip the president with an alternate set of talking points.” See also, House Select Committee says Trump appointee ‘bragged’ about influencing CDC scientific reports on Covid-19, CNN Politics, Veronica Stracqualursi, Friday, 9 April 2021: “A former Trump administration appointee privately boasted last year about influencing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s scientific reports about Covid-19 and attacked the agency’s guidance while advocating for a herd immunity strategy, according to a House select committee investigating the federal government’s Covid-19 response. The new documents show the extent that Trump appointees went to push to change language of weekly science reports so as not to undermine then-President Donald Trump’s political message. Last year, former Health and Human Services senior adviser Paul Alexander wrote an email describing two examples of the CDC adjusting its writing based on his input, according to new documents obtained by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.”

Biden Is Creating a Commission to Study Expanding the Supreme Court. The commission will also examine other potential changes such as term limits for justices. Progressives are pushing President Biden to add seats to balance the court’s conservative majority. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Carl Hulse, Friday, 9 April 2021: “President Biden on Friday will order a 180-day study of adding seats to the Supreme Court, making good on a campaign-year promise to establish a bipartisan commission to examine the potentially explosive subjects of expanding the court or setting term limits for justices, White House officials said. The president acted under pressure from activists pushing for more seats to alter the ideological balance of the court after President Donald J. Trump appointed three justices, including one to a seat that Republicans had blocked his predecessor, Barack Obama, from filling for almost a year.” See also, Biden unveils commission to study possible expansion of Supreme Court, The Washington Post, Tyler Pager, Friday, 9 April 2021: “President Biden created a bipartisan commission Friday to study structural changes to the Supreme Court, giving the group 180 days to produce a report on a range of thorny topics including court expansion and term limits. The commission, composed of 36 legal scholars, former federal judges and practicing lawyers, fulfills Biden’s campaign promise to establish such a group after activists pushed him to back expanding the court following Republicans’ rush to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett shortly before last year’s election. Biden has said he is ‘not a fan’ of adding seats to the Supreme Court, but he has declined to say whether he supports any other changes to its structure. The commission, however, is likely to disappoint liberals who are looking for quick action to blunt the court’s conservative majority, while giving the president cover to avoid wading into the contentious debate. The members are not tasked with giving Biden specific recommendations but rather providing an analysis of a range of proposed changes to the court. The executive order establishing the commission mandates that the group hold public meetings and take input from a range of stakeholders, with the report expected in October.”

Biden seeks huge funding increases for education, health care, and environmental protection in first budget request to Congress, The Washington Post, Tony Romm, Friday, 9 April 2021: “President Biden on Friday asked Congress to authorize a massive $1.5 trillion federal spending plan in 2022, seeking to invest heavily in government agencies to boost education, expand public housing, combat the coronavirus and confront climate change. The request marks Biden’s first proposal for discretionary spending, a precursor to a full annual budget slated for later in the spring that will also address programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The president’s early blueprint calls for a nearly 16 percent increase in funding across nondefense domestic programs, reflecting the White House’s guiding belief that bigger government — and spending — can close the country’s persistent economic gaps. Many of the agencies Biden seeks to fund at higher levels in 2022 are programs that President Donald Trump had unsuccessfully sought to slash while in the White House. In a further break with Trump, Biden’s new plan also calls for keeping military spending relatively flat in the upcoming fiscal year. The approach sparked early opposition from congressional Republicans, who faulted the Biden administration for shortchanging the Pentagon.” See also, What President Biden Proposed in His Fiscal 2022 Spending Plan, The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Friday, 9 April 2021: “President Biden’s $1.52 trillion spending proposal released on Friday calls for a vast infusion of funds across federal agencies, with proposals for billions of dollars in additional spending in areas like education, public health, climate change and housing. The plan, which does not include Mr. Biden’s sprawling infrastructure proposals, is for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. It represents a sharp break from the budget priorities of President Donald J. Trump, who sought to cut funding for domestic programs.”

Out of Trump’s Shadow, World Bank President David Malpass Embraces Climate Fight, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Friday, 9 April 2021: “At a panel discussion this past week, David Malpass, the World Bank president, described climate change as an ‘immense’ issue for the globe and talked about the need for nations to transition away from coal. ‘A lot of countries have coal miners that are dependent on coal, and yet the world knows that there needs to be a way to a better future on that,’ Mr. Malpass said during a conversation with Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the International Monetary Fund, at the annual spring meetings of the I.M.F. and the World Bank. Such a comment from Mr. Malpass, who was selected for the job by former President Donald J. Trump, would have been startling just a year or two ago. These days, with the Biden administration seeing climate change as an existential threat, Mr. Malpass has refashioned himself as an environmentalist, giving speeches about ‘green growth’ and a net-zero carbon future. The transformation reflects the changing political winds in Washington — one that could have important consequences if the World Bank can resume its central role in the fight against climate change, which stalled during the Trump years.”

 

 

 

 

Now that the Trump administration is no longer in power and the impeachment trial is over, I plan to post summaries of the daily political news and major stories relating to this tragic and dangerous period of US history. I will try to focus on the differences between the Trump administration and the new Biden administration and on the ongoing toxic residual effects of the Trump administration and Republicans. I usually post throughout the day and let the news settle for a day or so before posting.

I created Muckraker Farm in 2014 as a place to post investigative/muckraking journalism going back to the 19th century, and I hope to return to this activity in the near future. Thanks for reading!