Aftermath of the Trump Administration, June-July 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!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Tuesday, 1 June 2021:

 

Biden Visits Site of Tulsa Massacre a Century Later and Promises Massacre Survivors Their Story ‘Would be Known in Full View,’ The New York Times, Tuesday, 1 June 2021:

  • Biden promises Tulsa massacre survivors their story ‘would be known in full view.’

  • The White House plans to suspend Arctic drilling leases that were issued during the last days of Trump’s term.

  • Biden says Harris will lead Democrats in pushing for voting rights bill in Congress.

  • A tabloid publisher will pay a $187,500 F.E.C. penalty for its Trump hush-money payment.

  • Michael Flynn suggested at a QAnon-affiliated event that a coup should happen in the U.S.

  • Biden officially recognizes June as Pride Month and vows to fight for L.G.B.T.Q. rights.

  • Florida’s Democratic agricultural commissioner, Nikki Fried, announces her bid for governor.

  • Texas Democrats killed a bill restricting voting by staging a walkout, escalating their fight with the governor.
  • A New Mexico House race is testing the Republican’s focus on crime.
  • Biden unveiled a plan to help Black businesses and homeowners during his visit to Tulsa.
  • Democrats want to pass a major voting rights overhaul, but the filibuster stands in the way.
  • The Supreme Court issued unanimous rulings on immigration and tribal policing.

Biden commemorates the 100th anniversary of Tulsa race massacre, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and John Wagner, Tuesday, 1 June 2021: “President Biden on Tuesday commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, the ravaging of a once-prosperous Black business district and neighborhood by a White mob. ‘As painful as it is, only in remembrance do wounds heal. We just have to choose to remember, memorialize what happened here in Tulsa, so it can’t be erased,’ the president said of the massacre, which stands as one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. While in Oklahoma, Biden promoted initiatives to reduce the Black-White wealth gap and said he had tapped Vice President Harris to lead the push for voting rights in response to states imposing ballot restrictions. In New Mexico, voters will elect a new member of Congress, filling an Albuquerque seat vacated by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland when she joined Biden’s Cabinet.

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

  • Anthony S. Fauci’s emails obtained by The Washington Post show how the nation’s top infectious-disease expert was struggling to bring coherence to the Trump administration’s chaotic pandemic response.
  • All White House staff will return to work on campus in July as the Biden administration continues to phase out remote working prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Interior Department will suspend several oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, overturning one of Donald Trump’s most significant environmental acts during his last days in office.
  • Biden will welcome Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to the White House on Wednesday to continue negotiations over a jobs and infrastructure package.
  • Biden issued a proclamation Tuesday designating June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month, resuming a tradition that had been abandoned while Trump was president.
  • The Federal Election Commission (F.E.C.) spares Trump but fines tabloid publisher for hush-money payment to ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal who claimed affair with him.

Biden Promises Tulsa Massacre Survivors Their Story Will Be ‘Known in Full View.’ The president, who has made racial equity and justice central themes of his administration, was in Tulsa, Okla., to commemorate a painful part of the country’s history. The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 1 June 2021: “A century after a white mob destroyed a vibrant African American community in Tulsa, Okla., torching hundreds of homes and indiscriminately shooting people in the streets, President Biden told a crowd of survivors and their families that the story of the massacre ‘will be known in full view.’ It was the first time a president visited the area to address what had happened in Greenwood, a prosperous African American community, which was one of the worst outbreaks of racist violence in the United States but was largely ignored in history books.” See also, Telling the Story of the Tulsa Massacre. An array of TV documentaries mark the centennial of one of America’s deadliest outbreaks of racist violence. The New York Times, Mike Hale, published on Sunday, 30 May 2021: “The Tulsa race massacre of June 1, 1921, has gone from virtually unknown to emblematic with impressive speed, propelled by the national reckoning with racism and specifically with sanctioned violence against Black Americans. That awareness is reflected in the spate of new television documentaries on the occasion of the massacre’s 100th anniversary. ‘Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre’ (Sunday on History), ‘Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street’ (Monday on CNN) and ‘Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten’ (Monday on PBS) tell overlapping stories of the horrific day when a white mob stormed through the prosperous Greenwood District of Tulsa, Okla. Triggered by a confrontation between white men planning a lynching and Black men intent on stopping it, the 16-hour spasm of violence left 100 to 300 people dead and most of Greenwood, including more than 1,250 houses, burned to the ground.” See also, 3 Documentaries to Watch About the Tulsa Race Massacre, NPR, Eric Deggans, published on Sunday, 30 May 2021: “If all you know about the Tulsa Race Massacre is the re-creations of the attack featured in HBO series like Watchmen and Lovecraft Country, prepare yourself for a serious education over the next few weeks. Monday marks the 100th anniversary for one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history, the Tulsa Race Massacre. Back in 1921, a mob of white people tore down and burned the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Okla. — a segregated part of the city so prosperous and bustling, it was known as Black Wall Street.” See also, The Women Who Preserved the Story of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Two pioneering Black writers, Mary E. Jones Parrish and Eddie Faye Gates, have not received the recognition they deserve for chronicling one of the country’s gravest crimes. The New Yorker, Victor Luckerson, published on Friday, 28 May 2021: “As the centennial of the [Tulsa] race massacre approaches, a raft of documentaries, along with a new thirty-million-dollar museum, are poised to make the story of Greenwood more widely known—and financially lucrative—than it has ever been. But the Black Tulsans who preserved the community’s history risk being forgotten, particularly the women who did the foundational heavy lifting. It’s not just [Mary E. Jones] Parrish—Eddie Faye Gates, an Oklahoma native and longtime Tulsa educator, continued Parrish’s work by interviewing massacre survivors more than seventy years later, recording their perspectives in books and video testimonials.” See also, George Floyd, The Tulsa Massacre, and Memorial Days, The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb, published on Tuesday, 25 May 2021: “This year, Memorial Day, the national holiday on which we commemorate the men and women of the American military who died in the course of war, falls on May 31st, a date that marks the centennial anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, a racial pogrom in which the Black population of the prosperous Greenwood District of that city was attacked, murdered, and terrorized, leaving as many as three hundred dead. Last year, Memorial Day fell on May 25th, the day that George Floyd died, in the custody of a white Minneapolis police officer; the ineffable terribleness of the video depicting his death soon launched a wave of chaos and fury that swept across the nation. The massacre in Greenwood was just one outrage among a cluster of racially motivated eruptions that began in the aftermath of the First World War—the bloodletting in mid-1919 was so commonplace that the period came to be known as the Red Summer. The protracted brutality of Floyd’s death sparked protests and uprisings in more than three hundred and fifty cities in the United States. These two Memorial Days point inescapably not only to those who have died on battlefields abroad but to the theatres of conflict at home and the freighted politics of race, grief, and culpability.”

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, June 2021:

Biden freezes oil leases in Alaska refuge pending new environmental review. A new environmental analysis could impose additional restrictions on development in the refuge or potentially nullify the leases altogether. Politico, Adam Federman, Tuesday, 1 June 2021: “The Biden administration is suspending all oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pending a deeper look at the environmental impacts of drilling in the sensitive region, the Interior Department said Tuesday. The suspension of the leases, which POLITICO first reported earlier in the day, follows President Joe Biden’s January 20 executive order that identified ‘alleged legal deficiencies’ in the original leasing program and put in place a temporary moratorium on any oil- and gas-related activities in the refuge. The executive order also left open the possibility that the department would undertake a new environmental review to address potential legal flaws in the program.” See also, Biden Suspends Drilling Leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Henry Fountain, and Lisa Friedman, Tuesday, 1 June 2021: “The Biden administration on Tuesday suspended oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, unspooling a signature achievement of the Trump presidency and delivering on a promise by President Biden to protect the fragile Alaskan tundra from fossil fuel extraction. The decision sets up a process that could halt drilling in one of the largest tracts of untouched wilderness in the United States, home to migrating waterfowl, caribou and polar bears. But it also lies over as much as 11 billion barrels of oil and Democrats and Republicans have fought over whether to allow drilling there for more than four decades. A formal order from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland paused the leases until her agency has completed an environmental analysis of their impact and a legal review of the Trump administration’s decision to grant them. While the move follows President Biden’s Inauguration Day executive order to halt new Arctic drilling, it also serves as a high-profile way for the president to solidify his environmental credentials after coming under fire from activists angered by his recent quiet support for some fossil fuel projects.” See also, Biden administration suspends oil and gas leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland orders new environmental review of the leasing program, saying the Trump administration did an ‘insufficient analysis’ of drilling’s impact. The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Joshua Partlow, Tuesday, 1 June 2021: “The Biden administration on Tuesday suspended oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, targeting one of President Donald Trump’s most significant environmental acts during his last days in office. The move by the Interior Department, which could spark a major legal battle, dims the prospect of oil drilling in a pristine and politically charged expanse of Alaskan wilderness that Republicans and Democrats have fought over for four decades. The Trump administration auctioned off the right to drill in the refuge’s coastal plain — home to hundreds of thousands of migrating caribou and waterfowl as well as the southern Beaufort Sea’s remaining polar bears — just two weeks before President Biden was inaugurated.”

Biden recognizes LGBTQ Pride Month. In his presidential proclamation, Biden called on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in many areas of life. NBC News, Jo Yurcaba, Tuesday, 1 June 2021: “President Joe Biden on Monday recognized Pride Month, saying he ‘will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law. During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically,’ Biden wrote in a presidential proclamation declaring June Pride Month. ‘In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America.’ Biden — whose administration has been described by advocates as the most pro-LGBTQ administration in history — recognized the many LGBTQ firsts achieved so far during his presidency.”

A frantic warning from 100 leading experts: Our democracy is in grave danger, The Washington Post, Greg Sargent, Tuesday, 1 June 2021: “Democrats can’t say they weren’t warned. With yet another GOP effort to restrict voting underway in Texas, President Biden is now calling on Congress to act in the face of the Republican ‘assault on democracy.’ Importantly, Biden cast that attack as aimed at ‘Black and Brown Americans,’ meriting federal legislation in response. That is a welcome escalation. But it remains unclear whether 50 Senate Democrats will ever prove willing to reform or end the filibuster, and more to the point, whether Biden will put real muscle behind that cause. If not, such protections will never, ever pass. Now, in a striking intervention, more than 100 scholars of democracy have signed a new public statement of principles that seeks to make the stakes unambiguously, jarringly clear: On the line is nothing less than the future of our democracy itself. Our entire democracy is now at risk,’ the scholars write in the statement, which I obtained before its release. ‘History will judge what we do at this moment.’ And these scholars underscore the crucial point: Our democracy’s long-term viability might depend on whether Democrats reform or kill the filibuster to pass sweeping voting rights protections.”

Trump is telling people he thinks he’ll be ‘reinstated’ as president in August, the New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted on Tuesday, Business Insider, Jake Lahut, Tuesday, 1 June 2021: “Former President Donald Trump has been telling people he thinks he’ll return to the White House as the sitting president by August, the New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted on Tuesday. Haberman, who broke some of the biggest stories of the Trump administration and has been covering him for decades, added that Trump had been laser focused on election audits in states whose results he is still trying to overturn. The anti-democratic conspiracy theory has been bubbling up in fringe conservative media for several months. It has no basis under the Constitution or any legitimate legal framework.”

 

Wednesday, 2 June 2021:

 

Biden Holds ‘Constructive and Frank’ Meeting With Republicans’ Top Infrastructure Negotiator. Democrats are ready to move on President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan unless there is a major breakthrough this week. The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of four New York Times reporters. The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 June 2021:

  • Biden meets with Capito as infrastructure talks near a potential breaking point.

  • The Trump administration secretly seized phone records of Times reporters.

  • A Trump-era law could force Biden to sell new oil drilling leases in the Arctic.

  • Trump shuts down his blog, frustrated by its low readership.

  • Robert Mueller will take law students behind the decision-making process of the Russia inquiry.

  • Cuomo is holding a $10,000-a-plate fund-raiser, the latest sign that he plans to run again.

  • Texas is seeking to evict migrant children from state shelters.

  • A second man, Paul A. Hodgkins, pleads guilty to a charge stemming from the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

  • Kamala Harris has a new issue in her portfolio: protecting voting rights.
  • Bloomberg’s gun control group is spending $500,000 more to push Republican senators on background checks.

Biden meets with Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito on infrastructure package and urges more Americans to get vaccinated, The Washington Post, Eugene Scott, Felicia Sonmez, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 2 June 2021: “President Biden on Wednesday held a meeting in the Oval Office with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), the Republican point person on infrastructure spending, at a key juncture in negotiations over the president’s legislative package. Biden on Wednesday also declared June ‘a national month of action’ to get more Americans vaccinated ahead of the Fourth of July. He has set a goal of having 70 percent of U.S. adults receive at least one shot by then. The effort includes an array of incentives, including free food delivery, baseball tickets and Xboxes.

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

Trump Administration Secretly Seized Phone Records of New York Times Reporters. The admission by the Biden Justice Department followed similar recent disclosures to The Washington Post and CNN. The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Katie Benner, Wednesday, 2 June 2021: “The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of four New York Times reporters spanning nearly four months in 2017 as part of a leak investigation, the Biden administration disclosed on Wednesday. It was the latest in a series of revelations about the Trump administration secretly obtaining reporters’ communications records in an effort to uncover their sources. Last month, the Biden Justice Department disclosed Trump-era seizures of the phone logs of reporters who work for The Washington Post and the phone and email logs for a CNN reporter. Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, condemned the action by the Trump administration. ‘Seizing the phone records of journalists profoundly undermines press freedom,’ he said in a statement. ‘It threatens to silence the sources we depend on to provide the public with essential information about what the government is doing.’ Last month, after the disclosures about the seizures of communications records involving Post and CNN reporters, President Biden said he would not allow the department to take such a step during his administration, calling it ‘simply, simply wrong.'”

Federal prosecutors are looking into whether Republican Representative Matt Gaetz obstructed justice, Politico, Marc Caputo, Wednesday, 2 June 2021: “Federal prosecutors are examining whether Rep. Matt Gaetz obstructed justice during a phone call he had with a witness in the sex-crimes investigation of the Florida congressman, according to two sources familiar with the case. The witness in question was one of a handful of women who entered Gaetz’s orbit via his one-time ‘wingman,’ former Seminole County, Fla., tax collector Joel Greenberg, who pleaded guilty last month to a host of crimes, including sex-trafficking a 17-year-old in 2017. The obstruction inquiry stems from a phone call the witness had with Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend. At some point during the conversation, the ex-girlfriend patched Gaetz into the call, sources said. While it’s unknown exactly what was said, the discussion on that call is central to whether prosecutors can charge Gaetz with obstructing justice, which makes it illegal to suggest that a witness in a criminal case lie or give misleading testimony.”

 

Thursday, 3 June 2021:

 

Biden Expands Trump-Era Ban on Investment in Chinese Firms Linked to Military, The New York Times, Thursday, 3 June 2021:

  • Biden issues an order banning U.S. investment in firms that aid surveillance and repression.

  • Harris’s new role protecting voting rights could be her most politically delicate engagement yet.

  • Biden asks Capito to embrace at least $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending but suggests narrowing tax proposals.

  • Postmaster General DeJoy is under investigation by the Justice Department, his spokesman says.

  • In a speech to a New Hampshire G.O.P. group, Pence calls systemic racism a ‘left-wing myth.’

  • George P. Bush is running for attorney general in Texas — by courting Trump.

  • Yellen will push for a global minimum tax on corporations at the G7.

  • Queen Elizabeth will meet Biden at her castle later this month.

  • A bill to overhaul how the military prosecutes sexual assault cases has the support to pass.
  • Biden is spending the day at the beach for Jill Biden’s 70th birthday.
  • Wage growth gives Democrats a bragging point, but raises risk of inflation.
  • Unemployment claims continue to show labor market progress.

Harris announces grants for broadband on tribal lands and pitches broader Biden infrastructure plan, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Eugene Scott, Felicia Sonmez, and Amy B Wang, Thursday, 3 June 2021: “Vice President Harris announced Thursday that the Biden administration is making available $1 billion in grants to improve high-speed Internet on tribal lands and argued that passage of an infrastructure proposal pending in Congress would help many others across the country who lack the benefits of broadband. The event follows President Biden’s meeting at the White House on Wednesday with a key Republican negotiator on infrastructure. Biden signaled at the meeting that he would support significant revisions to his tax proposal to pay for the plan to win Republican backing. Biden spent the day at his house in Rehoboth Beach, Del., with first lady Jill Biden, who is celebrating her 70th birthday.

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

January 6 riot caused $1.5 million in damage to Capitol–and U.S. prosecutors want defendants to pay, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Thursday, 3 June 2021: “U.S. prosecutors this week put a price tag on damage to the U.S. Capitol from the Jan. 6 breach — $1.5 million so far — and for the first time are asking defendants to cover some of the bill in plea offers, prosecutors and defense lawyers said. The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington cited the damage estimate Wednesday in court and in plea papers filed in the case of Paul Hodgkins, 38. The Tampa crane operator pleaded guilty to one felony count of obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and faces sentencing July 19 in Washington.”

A Veteran in Ohio Tried to Credit Black Americans On Memorial Day. His Mic Was Intentionally Muted by the Event’s Organizers Who Disapproved of His Message. The New York Times, Neil Vigdor, Thursday, 3 June 2021: “A little more than four minutes into Barnard Kemter’s speech at a Memorial Day service organized by the American Legion post in Hudson, Ohio, an unusual thing happened: His microphone was silenced. Mr. Kemter, 77, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in the Persian Gulf war, had been crediting formerly enslaved Black Americans with being among the first to pay tribute to the nation’s fallen soldiers after the Civil War when his audio cut out on Monday. Soon after, he said in an interview on Thursday, he learned that he had been intentionally muted by the event’s organizers, who disapproved of his message. Now, the head of the American Legion of Ohio is seeking the resignation of two of the event’s organizers, and the organization has opened an investigation into the matter.”

Tasked to Fight Climate Change, the International Maritime Organization, a Secretive U.N. Agency, Does the Opposite. Behind closed doors, shipbuilders and miners can speak on behalf of governments while regulating an industry that pollutes as much as all of America’s coal plants. The New York Times, Matt Apuzzo and Sarah Hurtes, Thursday, 3 June 2021: “During a contentious meeting over proposed climate regulations last fall, a Saudi diplomat to the obscure but powerful International Maritime Organization switched on his microphone to make an angry complaint: One of his colleagues was revealing the proceedings on Twitter as they happened. It was a breach of the secrecy at the heart of the I.M.O., a clubby United Nations agency on the banks of the Thames that regulates international shipping and is charged with reducing emissions in an industry that burns an oil so thick it might otherwise be turned into asphalt. Shipping produces as much carbon dioxide as all of America’s coal plants combined. Internal documents, recordings and dozens of interviews reveal what has gone on for years behind closed doors: The organization has repeatedly delayed and watered down climate regulations, even as emissions from commercial shipping continue to rise, a trend that threatens to undermine the goals of the 2016 Paris climate accord. One reason for the lack of progress is that the I.M.O. is a regulatory body that is run in concert with the industry it regulates. Shipbuilders, oil companies, miners, chemical manufacturers and others with huge financial stakes in commercial shipping are among the delegates appointed by many member nations. They sometimes even speak on behalf of governments, knowing that public records are sparse, and that even when the organization allows journalists into its meetings, it typically prohibits them from quoting people by name.”

Watch What’s Happening in Red States, The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein, Thursday, 3 June 2021: “It’s not just voting rights. Though this year’s proliferation of bills restricting ballot access in red states has commanded national attention, it represents just one stream in a torrent of conservative legislation poised to remake the country. GOP-controlled states—including Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Iowa, and Montana—have advanced their most conservative agenda in years, and one that reflects Donald Trump’s present stamp on the Republican Party. Across these states and others, Republican legislators and governors have operated as if they were programming a prime-time lineup at Fox News. They have focused far less on the small-government, limited-spending, and anti-tax policies that once defined the GOP than on an array of hot-button social issues, such as abortion, guns, and limits on public protest, that reflect the cultural and racial priorities of Trump’s base.”

 

Friday, 4 June 2021:

 

Biden Speaks With Republicans’ Top Negotiator on Infrastructure, The New York Times, Friday, 4 June 2021:

  • Republicans raise their infrastructure offer by $50 billion, but Biden scoffs.

  • McGahn testifies about Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia inquiry.

  • Allen West resigns as chairman of the Texas Republican Party and may run for governor.

  • F.B.I. director compares ransomware threat to the challenge of global terrorism.

  • President Biden praises ‘historic progress’ in job gains, crediting his policies.

  • Infrastructure talks raise the specter of the 2009 Obamacare debate.

  • The Manhattan district attorney’s office has subpoenaed Jeffrey McConney, a senior finance executive in the Trump Organization, to testify before a state grand jury.

  • Facebook bans Trump for at least two years as part of an effort to curb abuses by politicians. Facebook also will no longer keep posts by politicians up by default if their speech breaks its rules prohibiting harassment, discrimination, or other harmful speech.
  • U.S. diplomat Wendy R. Sherman clinched the nuclear deal with Iran. Now she’s turning to relations with China.
  • Government finds no evidence that aerial sightings witnessed by Navy pilots in recent years were alien spacecraft, but they still cannot explain the unusual movements.
  • Army judge Lanny J. Acosta allows the use of information gained from C.I.A. torture in a terrorism case.

Biden says ‘America is on the move again’ as he touts latest jobs report and credits his policies, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Eugene Scott, Amy B Wang, and John Wagner, Friday, 4 June 2021: “President Biden on Friday touted a report showing the economy picked up 559,000 jobs in May and that unemployment hit its lowest level since the pandemic began. In a speech, Biden credited his administration’s policies and declared that ‘America is on the move again.’ He also put in a pitch for his infrastructure plan, saying, ‘We’re not going to let up now.’ The White House also said that Biden turned down an infrastructure counteroffer from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the GOP point person on infrastructure spending, who proposed a $50 billion increase in spending. The two will speak again on Monday. Negotiations with Republicans are continuing even as Democrats mull trying to move forward through a budget reconciliation process that could allow them to pass a bill without GOP votes.

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

  • Facebook said that it plans to suspend former president Donald Trump for two years following his comments in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, and will only reinstate him ‘if the risk to public safety has receded.’
  • Former White House counsel Donald McGahn detailed for the House Judiciary Committee how Trump attempted to stymie a federal probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • Trump threatened to work against the reelection of the leaders of the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania state Senate if they don’t move forward with a recount of last year’s presidential elections.

Former White House counsel Donald McGahn tells the House Judiciary Committee about Trump’s bid to undermine the Mueller investigation, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Friday, 4 June 2021: “Former White House counsel Donald McGahn detailed for the House Judiciary Committee on Friday how former president Donald Trump attempted to stymie a federal probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election — bombshell revelations that might once have fueled additional impeachment charges, were they not already public and had it not taken more than two years for Democrats to secure his testimony. Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who led the Democrats’ exhaustive campaign to compel McGahn’s testimony, emerged from the meeting after nearly six hours but refused to discuss the closed-door interview. He said only that the terms of McGahn’s appearance limited its focus to the findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, whose two-year Russia investigation overshadowed much of Trump’s presidency. In a written statement Friday evening, Nadler offered that McGahn ‘testified at length to an extremely dangerous period in our nation’s history — in which President Trump, increasingly unhinged and fearful of his own liability, attempted to obstruct the Mueller investigation at every turn.’ McGahn, Nadler asserted, was ‘clearly distressed’ by Trump’s repeated refusal to heed his legal advice and ‘shed new light on several troubling events.'” See also, Don McGahn, Trump’s Former White House Counsel, Testifies In Closed-Door Session of House Judiciary Committee on Whether Trump Obstructed Justice, The Wall Street Journal, Byron Tau, Friday, 4 June 2021: “Former White House counsel Don McGahn testified Friday in a long-running Democrat-led congressional investigation into whether former President Donald Trump obstructed justice while in office. Mr. McGahn, who served as the top legal adviser to Mr. Trump for the early part of his presidency and was a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, appeared for a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee. Under a deal struck last month that ended a two-year legal battle over whether he was required to appear before Congress under subpoena, Mr. McGahn had been set to testify about matters referenced in the public portion of Mr. Mueller’s report. A transcript of his testimony is likely to be released next week, lawmakers said. ‘Mr. McGahn was clearly distressed by President Trump’s refusal to follow his legal advice, again and again, and he shed new light on several troubling events today,’ committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) said in a statement Friday afternoon.”

The FBI issued a subpoena demanding U.S. newspaper giant Gannett provide agents with information to track down readers of a USA Today story about a suspect in a child pornography case who fatally shot two FBI agents in February, ABC News, Michael Balsamo and Gary Fields of Associated Press, Friday, 4 June 2021: “The FBI issued a subpoena demanding U.S. newspaper giant Gannett provide agents with information to track down readers of a USA Today story about a suspect in a child pornography case who fatally shot two FBI agents in February. The subpoena, served on the company in April, came to light this week after the media company filed documents in federal court asking a judge to quash the subpoena. The Justice Department’s actions were immediately condemned by press freedom advocates. The news comes as the Justice Department has disclosed in recent weeks that it seized the email and phone records of reporters in at least three separate instances during the Trump administration. It raises questions about what liberties federal authorities are taking in using news organizations, journalists and their work as investigative tools. The subpoena asks for information about anyone who clicked on the article for a period of about 35 minutes on the day after the shooting. It seeks the IP addresses — which can sometimes be used to identify the location of a computer, the company or organization it belongs to, and where it was registered — along with mobile phone identification information of the readers. While the subpoena doesn’t ask specifically for the names of those who read the story, such identification information could easily lead federal agents to the readers. It is unclear why the FBI was seeking information about the USA Today story in particular, even though numerous other news organizations, including The Associated Press, had reported extensively on the Florida shooting, one of the bloodiest days in the FBI’s history.”

The Justice Department Under the Trump Administration and the Biden Administration Waged a Secret Legal Battle to Obtain Emails of 4 Times Reporters and Obtained a Gag Order to Keep It From Public View, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Katie Benner, Friday, 4 June 2021: “In the last weeks of the Trump administration and continuing under President Biden, the Justice Department fought a secret legal battle to obtain the email logs of four New York Times reporters in a hunt for their sources, a top lawyer for the newspaper said Friday night. While the Trump administration never informed The Times about the effort, the Biden administration continued waging the fight this year, telling a handful of top Times executives about it but imposing a gag order to shield it from public view, said the lawyer, David McCraw, who called the move unprecedented. The gag order prevented the executives from disclosing the government’s efforts to seize the records even to the executive editor, Dean Baquet, and other newsroom leaders. Mr. McCraw said Friday that a federal court had lifted the order, which had been in effect since March 3, freeing him to reveal what had happened. The battle was over an ultimately unsuccessful effort by the Justice Department to seize email logs from Google, which operates The Times’s email system, and which had resisted the effort to obtain the information. The disclosure came two days after the Biden Justice Department notified the four reporters that the Trump administration, hunting for their sources, had in 2020 secretly seized months of their phone records from early 2017. That notification followed similar disclosures in recent weeks about seizing communications records of reporters at The Washington Post and CNN. Mr. Baquet condemned both the Trump and Biden administrations for their actions, portraying the effort as an assault on the First Amendment. ‘Clearly, Google did the right thing, but it should never have come to this,’ Mr. Baquet said. ‘The Justice Department relentlessly pursued the identity of sources for coverage that was clearly in the public interest in the final 15 days of the Trump administration. And the Biden administration continued to pursue it. As I said before, it profoundly undermines press freedom.'”

‘I thought I was going to lose my life’: Capitol Police officers share their harrowing January 6 stories for the first time, CNN Politics, Whitney Wild and Jeremy Herb, Friday, 4 June 2021: “US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell was beaten with a flagpole. His hand was sliced open. He was hit with so much chemical spray that the liquid soaked through to his skin. During intense hand-to-hand combat with rioters on the west front of the US Capitol on January 6, there were moments where Gonell thought he might die. ‘They called us traitors. They beat us. They dragged us,’ Gonell told CNN, in his first interview about the violence he experienced and witnessed on January 6. ‘And I could hear them, We’re going to shoot you. We’re going to kill you. You’re choosing your paycheck over the country. You’re a disgrace. You’re a traitor.’ Several hundred feet away that same day, US Capitol Police Officer Byron Evans was inside the locked Senate chamber with 100 senators and Vice President Mike Pence, hand on his weapon and mentally preparing for a life-or-death situation to come through the doors.”

 

Saturday, 5 June 2021:

 

At Once Diminished and Dominating, Trump Begins His Next Act. The former president spoke on Saturday to the North Carolina Republican convention as he resumes political speeches and rallies. The New York Times, Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 5 June 2021: “[W]hen [Trump] spoke on Saturday night to the North Carolina Republican convention in what was billed as the resumption of his rallies and speeches, Mr. Trump was both a diminished figure and an oversized presence in American life, with a remarkable — and many say dangerous — hold on his party. Even without his favored megaphones and the trappings of office, Mr. Trump looms over the political landscape, animated by the lie that he won the 2020 election and his own fury over his defeat. And unlike others with a grievance, he has been able to impose his anger and preferred version of reality on a substantial slice of the American electorate — with the potential to influence the nation’s politics and weaken faith in its elections for years to come.”

In Trump’s Final Weeks in Office, Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Pressed the Justice Department to Investigate Election Fraud Claims. Emails show the increasingly urgent efforts by President Trump and his allies during his last days in office to find some way to undermine, or even nullify, the election results. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Saturday, 5 June 2021: “In Donald J. Trump’s final weeks in office, Mark Meadows, his chief of staff, repeatedly pushed the Justice Department to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, according to newly uncovered emails provided to Congress, portions of which were reviewed by The New York Times. In five emails sent during the last week of December and early January, Mr. Meadows asked Jeffrey A. Rosen, then the acting attorney general, to examine debunked claims of election fraud in New Mexico and an array of baseless conspiracies that held that Mr. Trump had been the actual victor. That included a fantastical theory that people in Italy had used military technology and satellites to remotely tamper with voting machines in the United States and switch votes for Mr. Trump to votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr. None of the emails show Mr. Rosen agreeing to open the investigations suggested by Mr. Meadows, and former officials and people close to him said that he did not do so. An email to another Justice Department official indicated that Mr. Rosen had refused to broker a meeting between the F.B.I. and a man who had posted videos online promoting the Italy conspiracy theory, known as Italygate. But the communications between Mr. Meadows and Mr. Rosen, which have not previously been reported, show the increasingly urgent efforts by Mr. Trump and his allies during his last days in office to find some way to undermine, or even nullify, the election results while he still had control of the government.”

Federal Judge Overturns California’s 32-Year Assault Weapons Ban. The judge said the ban was a ‘failed experiment.’ California’s governor called the ruling ‘a direct threat to public safety.’ The New York Times, Mike Ives, Saturday, 5 June 2021: “A federal judge in California on Friday overturned the state’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, which he called a ‘failed experiment,’ prompting a sharp retort from the state’s governor. California prohibited the sale of assault weapons in 1989. The law was challenged in a suit filed in 2019 against the state’s attorney general by plaintiffs including James Miller, a California resident, and the San Diego County Gun Owners, a political action committee…. The judge wrote that the firearms banned under the state’s law were not ‘bazookas, howitzers or machine guns,’ but rather ‘fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles.’ In a statement late Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the ruling ‘a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians.’ Mr. Newsom also criticized the opening lines of Judge Benitez’s decision, in which he wrote that, like a Swiss Army knife, the AR-15 assault rifle ‘is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment.'” See also, California’s assault weapons ban is overturned as federal judge compares AF-15 to a Swiss Army knife, The Washington Post, Timothy Bella and Rachel Siegel, Saturday, 5 June 2021.

Justice Department says it will no longer seize reporters’ records, Associated Press, Eric Tucker, Saturday, 5 June 2021: “The Justice Department said Saturday that it no longer will secretly obtain reporters’ records during leak investigations, a policy shift that abandons a practice decried by news organizations and press freedom groups. The reversal follows a pledge last month by President Joe Biden, who said it was ‘simply, simply wrong’ to seize journalists’ records and that he would not permit the Justice Department to continue the practice. Though Biden’s comments in an interview were not immediately accompanied by any change in policy, a pair of statements from the White House and Justice Department on Saturday signaled an official turnabout from an investigative tactic that has persisted for years. Democratic and Republican administrations alike have used subpoenas and court orders to obtain journalists’ records in an effort to identify sources who have revealed classified information. But the practice had received renewed scrutiny over the past month as Justice Department officials alerted reporters at three news organizations — The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times — that their phone records had been obtained in the final year of the Trump administration. The latest revelation came Friday night when the Times reported the existence of a gag order that had barred the newspaper from revealing a secret court fight over efforts to obtain the email records of four reporters. That tussle had begun during the Trump administration but had persisted under the Biden Justice Department, which ultimately moved to withdraw the gag order.” See also, White House Disavows Knowledge of Gag Order on New York Times Leaders in Leak Inquiry, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Katie Benner, Saturday, 5 June 2021: “The Biden administration said on Saturday that no one at the White House had been aware that the Justice Department was seeking to seize the email data of four New York Times reporters and had obtained a gag order in March barring a handful of newspaper executives who knew about the fight from discussing it. The disavowal came one day after a court lifted the gag order, which permitted a Times lawyer to disclose the department’s effort to obtain email logs from Google, which operates the Times’s email system. It had begun in the last days of the Trump administration and continued until Wednesday, when the Biden Justice Department asked a judge to quash the matter without having obtained the data about who had been in contact with the reporters.” See also, Amid controversy, the Justice Department says it won’t seek to compel journalists to give up source information, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Saturday, 5 June 2021: “The Justice Department on Saturday announced that it will no longer use subpoenas or other legal methods to obtain information from journalists about their sources — a major policy shift that came just a day after the New York Times revealed that the department had prohibited the newspaper’s lawyers and executives from disclosing an effort to seize email records of four reporters. ‘Going forward, consistent with the President’s direction, this Department of Justice — in a change to its long-standing practice — will not seek compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs,’ Anthony Coley, the department’s top spokesman, said in a statement. President Biden said on May 21 that he would not allow the Justice Department to seize journalists’ phone and email records, after the department disclosed two instances in which it had tried to do so during Donald Trump’s administration. But the department had not issued a public statement echoing Biden’s decree.”

 

Sunday, 6 June 2021:

 

Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, Vows to Block Democratic Voting Rights Bill and to Preserve the Filibuster, The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman, Sunday, 6 June 2021: “Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia said on Sunday in no uncertain terms that he would not vote for the Democrats’ far-reaching bill to combat voter suppression, nor would he ever end the legislative filibuster, a written promise that imperils much of President Biden’s agenda. The bill, which all the other Senate Democrats had supported and the party had portrayed as an urgent effort to preserve American democracy, would roll back dozens of laws being passed by Republican state legislatures to limit early and mail-in voting and empower partisan poll watchers. The measure, known as the For the People Act, would also restore many of the ethical controls on the presidency that Donald J. Trump shattered. In The Charleston Gazette-Mail, the newspaper of the capital of his home state, Mr. Manchin, a Democrat, wrote: ‘I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.'” See also, In blow to Biden agenda and a warning to his colleagues, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin says he will not support voting rights bill, and he will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Sunday, 6 June 2021: “Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) on Sunday said he would not support federal voting rights legislation that his party has argued is critical for preserving democracy, in an announcement that effectively turned the path ahead for all other major items on President Biden’s agenda into quicksand. In an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin said he thought the For the People Act — which Democrats say is needed to secure free and fair elections and protect against GOP-led efforts to restrict voting at the state level, often disproportionately affecting voters of color — was too partisan…. Manchin also defended the filibuster and said he would ‘not vote to weaken or eliminate’ the Senate rule that requires 60 votes for most legislation to pass, all but guaranteeing that any legislation opposed by even a small number of Senate Republicans will fail.” See also, West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin declares opposition to voting rights bill, Politico, Marianne Levine and Quint Forgey, Sunday, 6 June 2021.

‘It was like this rogue thing’: How the push by Trump allies to undermine the 2020 results through ballot reviews started quietly in Pennsylvania, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Sunday, 6 June 2021: “Joe Biden’s presidential victory in Pennsylvania had been certified for weeks when officials in some Republican-leaning counties began receiving strange phone calls from GOP state senators in late December. The lawmakers, who had been publicly questioning Biden’s win, had a request: Would the counties agree to a voluntary audit of their ballots? The push to conduct unofficial election audits in multiple counties, described in interviews and emails obtained by The Washington Post, served as a last-ditch effort by allies of former president Donald Trump to undercut Biden’s win after failing in the courts and the state legislature. The previously unreported lobbying foreshadowed a playbook now in use in Arizona and increasingly being sought in other communities across the country as Trump supporters clamor for reviews of the ballots cast last fall, citing false claims that the vote was corrupted by fraud. The former president’s backers argue that any evidence of problems they can uncover will prove the election system is vulnerable — and could have been manipulated to help Biden win. The audits are being pushed by a loose affiliation of GOP lawmakers, lawyers and self-described election experts, backed by private fundraising campaigns whose donors are unknown.”

Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell finally serves Capitol riot lawsuit on Republican Representative Mo Brooks, Axios, Rebecca Falconer, Sunday, 6 June 2021: “Representatives of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) have finally served a lawsuit on Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) alleging that he and other pro-Trump allies bear responsibility for the Capitol riot, the Republican congressman said Sunday. Swalwell had been trying since March to serve the suit on Brooks. Attorneys for the Democrat said last Wednesday they’d hired a private investigator to locate Brooks…. [Mo Brooks] alleged that the Democratic lawmaker’s team illegally trespassed in the process, ‘accosting my wife!’ He didn’t elaborate further, though he added: ‘More to come!’ Matthew Kaiser, an attorney for Swalwell, said Sunday evening that ‘a private investigator had left the papers with Brooks’ wife at their home,’ per CNN.”

 

Monday, 7 June 2021:

 

Majority of Colonial Pipeline Ransom Recovered, Justice Department Says, The New York Times, Monday, 7 June 2021:

  • Justice Dept. says it recovered most of the ransom paid after the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack.

  • ‘Do not come.’ Harris, in Guatemala, details efforts to curb migration.

  • The Senate approves a bill to compensate victims of mysterious health incidents.

  • As Biden prepares to visit Europe, the specter of the Trump era lingers.

  • Manchin vows to block Democratic voting rights bill and preserve the filibuster.

  • The White House faces pressure to stop an oil pipeline in Minnesota.

  • The Supreme Court won’t hear a case on limiting the military draft to men.

  • Supreme Court rules against immigrants seeking green cards.

  • The American Civil Liberties Union faces an identity crisis as free speech collides with other causes.
  • Aspiring Republican leaders push Trump’s false election fraud claims, attacking the legitimacy of elections.
  • Republicans win two Texas mayoral races in Democratic counties, including one in McAllen, which is 85 percent Hispanic.
  • Trump may be blocked from social networks, but supporters ensure his statements spread.

Harris warns Guatemalans they will be turned back if they come to the U.S. border illegally, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, Eugene Scott, and John Wagner, Monday, 7 June 2021: “Vice President Harris sternly warned Guatemalans on Monday that they will be turned back if they come to the U.S. border illegally as she held a meeting in Guatemala City with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei focused on the root causes of a surge in migration from Central America. ‘Do not come,’ Harris said during a joint news conference with Giammattei. ‘The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border. … And I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back.’ Later Monday, President Biden hosted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House for a meeting ahead of a June 14 summit of the 30-member military alliance in Brussels.

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

Supreme Court unanimously backs limits on immigrants with temporary protected status seeking permanent residency, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 7 June 2021: “The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that immigrants who entered the country unlawfully and were granted a temporary stay for humanitarian reasons do not become eligible to seek permanent residency. As many as 400,000 immigrants have been granted temporary protected status (TPS) in the United States, which means they are allowed to stay because of unsafe conditions or crises in their native countries. Many of them would like lawful permanent resident status, usually referred to as a green card. But lower courts divided over whether those who entered the country illegally meet a requirement of the law that says they must have been ‘inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States.'” See also, Supreme Court rules against immigrants in temporary status seeking permanent residency, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue, Monday, 7 June 2021: “The Supreme Court held on Monday that the government can block non-citizens who are in the US under a program that temporarily protects them from deportation in certain situations from applying for a green card if they entered the country unlawfully. Justice Elena Kagan wrote for a unanimous court.‘ Today’s decision is not just a setback for those immigrants currently in Temporary Protected Status who did not enter the United States lawfully; it also reinforces the barriers that Dreamers would face until and unless Congress provides a statutory path to some kind of permanent lawful status,’ said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. ‘The Executive Branch may have some authority to confer forms of temporary legal status on those who crossed the border without permission, but the Supreme Court today reinforced, however indirectly, that only Congress can provide a permanent answer,’ he added.”

Despite pandemic, carbon dioxide level in atmosphere hits record high. ‘If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, the highest priority must be to reduce CO2 pollution to zero at the earliest possible date,’ one top scientist says. The Washington Post, Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson, Monday, 7 June 2021: “Economies worldwide nearly ground to a halt over the 15 months of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a startling drop in global greenhouse gas emissions. But the idle airplanes, boarded-up stores and quiet highways barely made a dent in the steady accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday had reached the highest levels since accurate measurements began 63 years ago. The new figures serve as a sober reminder that even as President Biden and other world leaders make unprecedented promises about curtailing greenhouse gas emissions, turning the tide of climate change will take even more massive efforts over a much longer period of time.”

Rejecting Biden’s Presidential Win, Rising Republicans Attack Legitimacy of Elections. The next generation of aspiring G.O.P. congressional leaders has aggressively pushed Donald Trump’s false [election] fraud claims, raising the prospect that the results of elections will continue to be challenged through 2024. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein and Lisa Lerer, Monday, 7 June 2021: “Across the country, a rising class of Republican challengers has embraced the fiction that the 2020 election was illegitimate, marred by fraud and inconsistencies. Aggressively pushing Mr. Trump’s baseless claims that he was robbed of re-election, these candidates represent the next generation of aspiring G.O.P. leaders, who would bring to Congress the real possibility that the party’s assault on the legitimacy of elections, a bedrock principle of American democracy, could continue through the 2024 contests.”

As the Climate Warms and the Warming Fuels Disasters, Relief Often Favors White People, The New York Times, Christopher Flavelle, Monday, 7 June 2021: “A growing body of research shows that FEMA, the government agency responsible for helping Americans recover from disasters, often helps white disaster victims more than people of color, even when the amount of damage is the same. Not only do individual white Americans often receive more aid from FEMA; so do the communities in which they live, according to several recent studies based on federal data. Leaders at FEMA are wrestling with the complicated question of why these disparities exist — and what to do about them. The problem seems to stem from complex systemic factors, like a real estate market that often places higher values on properties in communities with many white residents, or the difficulty of navigating the federal bureaucracy, which tends to favor people and communities that have more resources from the beginning. The impact from this disparity is long-lasting. White people in counties with significant disaster damage that received FEMA help saw their personal wealth jump years later while Black residents lost wealth, research published in 2018 shows. The imbalance comes as climate change fuels more frequent and more destructive storms, wildfires and other disasters, and marginalized communities tend to be both the most exposed to damage and least able to recover financially.”

Obama criticizes Republicans for embracing 2020 falsehoods, CNN Politics, Dan Merica, Monday, 7 June 2021: “Former President Barack Obama said Republicans have been ‘cowed into accepting’ a series of positions that ‘would be unrecognizable and unacceptable even five years ago or a decade ago,’ telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper he is worried about the state of democracy in the United States in an exclusive interview that aired Monday. Obama, in an interview that comes after his latest memoir, ‘A Promised Land,’ was published in late 2020, said he never thought some of the ‘dark spirits’ that began rising within the Republican Party during his tenure would get this dark and reach the epicenter of the party. ‘We have to worry,’ Obama said, ‘when one of our major political parties is willing to embrace a way of thinking about our democracy that would be unrecognizable and unacceptable even five years ago or a decade ago.’ The clearest example of this, Obama said, was the January 6 insurrection and how there are now ‘large portions of an elected Congress going along with the falsehood that there were problems with the election.’ The insurrection at the US Capitol by Trump supporters came on the same day that 147 Republican lawmakers voted not to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory in key states. The falsehood that the 2020 presidential election was stolen has been pushed by former President Donald Trump himself, who has since cheered on baseless Republican audits of elections.”

 

Tuesday, 8 June 2021:

 

Biden Cuts Off Stalled Infrastructure Talks With Leading Republicans. The president is turning to a bipartisan group of centrist senators to try to salvage an infrastructure bill. The Senate, in a 68-32 vote, passed a landmark industrial policy bill meant to bolster U.S. competitiveness against China. The New York Times, Tuesday, 8 June 2021:

  • Biden pulls the plug on infrastructure talks with Capito, shifting focus to centrist senators for a bipartisan deal.

  • A landmark industrial policy bill aimed at countering China easily clears the Senate in a bipartisan vote.

  • Kamala Harris concludes meeting with Mexico’s president, capping her high-stakes trip to the region.

  • Biden’s first two judicial nominees are confirmed with modest Republican support.

  • New York passes a first-of-its-kind bill intended to allow civil lawsuits against gun makers and dealers.

  • Republicans filibustered a pay equity bill introduced to fail.

  • Fallout from a Dec. 21 breach of Oregon’s Capitol: G.O.P. lawmakers call for a colleague’s resignation.

  • Stacey Abrams and her group will try to rally young voters of color behind the For the People Act.
  • The first congressional report on the Capitol riot examines the security failures on January 6.
  • Civil rights leaders press Manchin for a path forward on voting rights, but he remains unmoved on a broad bill.
  • The Times asks a judge to unseal court filings from the government seeking reporters’ email data and a gag order.

Harris says she will visit the U.S.-Mexico border and calls Republican criticism ‘shortsighted,’ The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Eugene Scott, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 8 June 2021: “Vice President Harris said Tuesday that she will visit the U.S.-Mexico border and rejected Republican criticism as ‘shortsighted’ for failing to recognize the reason migrants are coming to the United States. Harris made the comments at a news conference after meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico City as part of the second leg of her trip focused on addressing the root causes behind a surge in migration from Central America to the U.S. southern border. Talks between President Biden and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the GOP point person on infrastructure spending, ended with no agreement as financing the plan with increases in corporate taxes proved unacceptable to Republicans. The White House said Biden would talk Tuesday afternoon with other senators about infrastructure as well.

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

  • The U.S. Capitol Police had intelligence that supporters of President Donald Trump planned to mount an invasion of the Capitol at least two weeks before the Jan. 6 riot.
  • Voters in Virginia and New Jersey are heading to the polls for gubernatorial primary elections.
  • The Senate confirmed Biden’s first judicial pick in what Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called an ‘important milestone’ for the new administration.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Democratic members that the John Lewis voting rights bill won’t be ready until the fall and in the meantime urged the Senate to pass a wide-ranging voting rights measure that has already passed the House.

Senate Report Details Security Failures in January 6 Capitol Riot. A 127-page joint report is the most comprehensive and detailed account to date on the intelligence, communications and policing failures around the Capitol riot. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 8 June 2021: “Top federal intelligence agencies failed to adequately warn law enforcement officials before the Jan. 6 riot that pro-Trump extremists were threatening violence, including plans to ‘storm the Capitol,’ infiltrate its tunnel system and ‘bring guns,’ according to a new report by two Senate committees that outlines large-scale failures that contributed to the deadly assault. An F.B.I. memo on Jan. 5 warning of people traveling to Washington for “war” at the Capitol never made its way to top law enforcement officials. The Capitol Police failed to widely circulate information its own intelligence unit had collected as early as mid-December about the threat of violence on Jan. 6, including a report that said right-wing extremist groups and supporters of President Donald J. Trump had been posting online and in far-right chat groups about gathering at the Capitol, armed with weapons, to pressure lawmakers to overturn his election loss…. The first congressional report on the Capitol riot is the most comprehensive and detailed account to date of the dozens of intelligence failures, miscommunications and security lapses that led to what the bipartisan team of senators that assembled it concluded was an ‘unprecedented attack’ on American democracy and the most significant assault on the Capitol in more than 200 years.” See also, Senate investigation finds Capitol Police had intelligence indicating an armed invasion weeks before January 6 riot, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Tuesday, 8 June 2021: “The U.S. Capitol Police had specific intelligence that supporters of President Donald Trump planned to mount an armed invasion of the Capitol at least two weeks before the Jan. 6 riot, according to new findings in a bipartisan Senate investigation, but a series of omissions and miscommunications kept that information from reaching front-line officers targeted by the violence. A joint report, from the Senate Rules and Administration and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees, outlines the most detailed public timeline to date of the communications and intelligence failures that led the Capitol Police and partner agencies to prepare for the ‘Stop the Steal’ protest as though it were a routine Trump rally, instead of the organized assault that was planned in the open online. Released Tuesday, the report shows how an intelligence arm of the Capitol Police disseminated security assessments labeling the threat of violence ‘remote’ to ‘improbable,’ even as authorities collected evidence showing that pro-Trump activists intended to bring weapons to the demonstration and ‘storm the Capitol.'” See also, The very conspicuous holes in the first big January 6 report, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Tuesday, 8 June 2021. See also, A new Senate report says the Capitol Police didn’t act on warnings Trump backers would breach US Capitol and target Democrats, NBC News, Ken Dilanian and Frank Thorp V, Tuesday, 8 June 2021: “U.S. Capitol Police leaders learned that Trump supporters were discussing ways to infiltrate tunnels around the complex and target Democratic members of Congress on Jan. 6 but failed to act on the threats, according to a new Senate report summing up what it says were profound intelligence and security failures that contributed to one of the worst incidents of domestic terrorism in U.S. history. The report also says that officers complained about a lack of leadership within the department as they tried to repel the attack — and that top leaders were virtually silent as they begged for help.”

The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax. ProPublica has obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth–sometimes, even nothing. ProPublica,  Jesse Eisinger, Jeff Ernsthausen, and Paul Kiel, Tuesday, 8 June 2021: “In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes. Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row. ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits. Taken together, it demolishes the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most. The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.” See also, Why We Are Publishing the Tax Secrets of the .001%, ProPublica, Stephen Engelberg and Richard Tofel, Tuesday, 8 June 2021: “Today, ProPublica is launching the first in a series of stories based on the private tax data of some of our nation’s richest citizens. We obtained the information from an anonymous source who provided us with large amounts of information on the ultrawealthy, everything from the taxes they paid to the income they reported to the profits from their stock trades. In the coming months, we plan to use this material to explore how the nation’s wealthiest people — roughly the .001% — exploit the structure of our tax code to avoid the tax burdens borne by ordinary citizens. Many will ask about the ethics of publishing such private data. We are doing so — quite selectively and carefully — because we believe it serves the public interest in fundamental ways, allowing readers to see patterns that were until now hidden. Tax experts have long understood that the wealthiest Americans reap outsized benefits from the federal tax code’s emphasis on taxing income rather than assets like stock holdings and property. Yet, when The New York Times disclosed in 2020 that President Donald Trump had amassed so many deductions he paid no taxes in 11 of 18 years, it was assumed that his case was an anomaly, reflecting the unique breaks real estate developers receive under our tax system. It is now clear that there isn’t just one such taxpayer — there are many, in multiple industries. We believe that disclosing the identities of billionaires who paid little to no taxes in years their fortunes grew by billions of dollars will help readers understand the magnitude of the tax advantages the ultrarich enjoy. We also believe that disclosure of specific figures about the tax returns of people like Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett and Elon Musk will deepen readers’ interest and understanding of this complex and arcane subject.” See also, An Analysis by ProPublica Shows the Wealthiest Executives Paid Little to Nothing in Federal Income Taxes, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Tuesday, 8 June 2021: “The 25 richest Americans, including Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Elon Musk, paid relatively little — and sometimes nothing — in federal income taxes between 2014 and 2018, according to an analysis from the news organization ProPublica that was based on a trove of Internal Revenue Service tax data. The analysis showed that the nation’s richest executives paid just a fraction of their wealth in taxes — $13.6 billion in federal income taxes during a time period when their collective net worth increased by $401 billion, according to a tabulation by Forbes. The documents reveal the stark inequity in the American tax system, as plutocrats like Mr. Bezos, Mr. Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, Mr. Musk and George Soros were able to benefit from a complex web of loopholes in the tax code and the fact that the United States puts its emphasis on taxing labor income versus wealth. Much of the wealth that the rich accrue — like shares in companies they run, vacation homes, yachts and other investments — isn’t considered ‘taxable income’ unless those assets are sold and a gain is realized. Even then, there are loopholes in the tax code that can limit or erase all tax liability.” See also, Not even ProPublica knows the source who provided blockbuster ‘Secret IRS Files,’ The Washington Post, Jeremy Barr, Tuesday, 8 June 2021: “ProPublica does not know whom to thank for providing the raw material for what organization president Richard Tofel called ‘the most important story we have ever published.’ On Tuesday morning, the nonprofit investigative news operation published ‘The Secret IRS Files,’ the first in a series of investigative stories based on federal tax documents from thousands of wealthy individuals covering a period of more than 15 years. It lays out how wealthy Americans ‘exploit the structure of our tax code to avoid the tax burdens borne by ordinary citizens,’ with many not paying taxes at all for certain years. In a companion piece, Tofel and top editor Stephen Engelberg made a stunning revelation: ProPublica does not know who sent the documents or why they were sent.”

Joe Manchin is opposing big parts of Biden’s agenda as the Koch network pressures him, CNBC, Brian Schwartz, Tuesday, 8 June 2021: “The political advocacy group backed by billionaire Charles Koch has been pressuring Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to oppose key parts of the Democratic agenda, including filibuster reform and voting rights legislation. The Koch network specifically calls on its grassroots supporters to push Manchin, a conservative Democrat, to be against some of his party’s legislative priorities. That lobbying effort appears to be paying off. Manchin, in a recent op-ed, wrote that he opposed eliminating the filibuster and that he would not vote for the For the People Act, which, advocates say, would limit the influence of big donors on elections.

New audio of 2019 phone call reveals how Rudy Giuliani pressured Ukraine to investigate baseless Biden conspiracies, CNN Politics, Matthew Chance and Marshall Cohen, Tuesday, 8 June 2021: “Never-before-heard audio, obtained exclusively by CNN, shows how former President Donald Trump’s longtime adviser Rudy Giuliani relentlessly pressured and coaxed the Ukrainian government in 2019 to investigate baseless conspiracies about then-candidate Joe Biden. The audio is of a July 2019 phone call between Giuliani, US diplomat Kurt Volker, and Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The call was a precursor to Trump’s infamous call with Zelensky, and both conversations later became a central part of Trump’s first impeachment, where he was accused of soliciting Ukrainian help for his campaign. During the roughly 40-minute call, Giuliani repeatedly told Yermak that Zelensky should publicly announce investigations into possible corruption by Biden in Ukraine, and into claims that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election to hurt Trump. (These separate claims are both untrue.)”

 

Wednesday, 9 June 2021:

 

CNN Says Government Issued Gag Order in Fight Over Reporter’s Email Data. The network ultimately turned over ‘a limited set of email logs,’ it said. The New York Times, Wednesday, 9 June 2021:

  • CNN reveals the government obtained a gag order on its lawyers in a fight over reporter email data.

  • Biden revokes and replaces Trump’s executive order that sought to ban TikTok.

  • Garland defends Justice Dept. moves upholding Trump-era positions.

  • Russia outlawed Navalny’s opposition group, a signal before Putin’s meeting with Biden.

  • Watchdog says police were already planning to clear Lafayette Square before Trump photo op.

  • Biden intends to emphasize value of U.S. leadership in his first presidential trip to Europe.

  • Val Demings, a Democratic Florida congresswoman, announces a bid to unseat Rubio.

  • A bipartisan group of House lawmakers unveils an infrastructure proposal.
  • The U.S. will announce plans to send 500 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses to 100 nations over the next year.
  • General Motors agrees to tighter federal restrictions aimed at combating climate change.
  • The Biden administration revives protections for small bodies of water that Trump eliminated.
  • The Times asks a judge to unseal court filings from the government seeking reporters’ email data and a gag order.
  • A U.S. solar company will build a new factory in Ohio, giving Biden a boost.

Biden focuses on strengthening alliances as he arrives in Europe for first overseas trip, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Eugene Scott, Felicia Sonmez, and Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 9 June 2021: “President Biden told U.S. troops upon his arrival in England on Wednesday that he is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to ‘let him know what I want him to know.’ Biden’s first overseas trip of his presidency will include multiple meetings with allies and a highly anticipated summit with Putin. Biden left Washington with several of his leading legislative priorities hanging in the balance, including an infrastructure package. On Tuesday, Biden ended negotiations with a group of Republicans after the two sides failed to strike a deal after weeks of talks.

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

Trump administration pursued CNN reporter’s records in months-long secret court battle, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz and Evan Perez, Wednesday, 9 June 2021: “The Trump administration battled with CNN for half a year to obtain the email records of a reporter and insisted it all take place under an extraordinary order of secrecy, CNN’s lead attorney revealed on Wednesday. The pursuit — which started in July 2020 under then-Attorney General William Barr with a demand for two months of CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr’s 2017 email logs — continued even after a federal judge told the Justice Department its argument for access to Starr’s internal emails was ‘speculative’ and ‘unanchored in any facts.’ The Trump administration’s secret pursuit represents a highly unusual and unrelenting push for journalists’ records. It included putting CNN general counsel David Vigilante under a gag order prohibiting him from sharing any details about the government’s efforts with anyone beyond the network’s president, top attorneys at CNN’s corporate parent and attorneys at an outside law firm. Had Vigilante violated that order, he would have risked being held in contempt of court or potentially faced a felony prosecution for obstruction of justice.” See also, CNN Lawyers Gagged in Fight With Justice Department Over Reporter’s Email Data, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 9 June 2021: “CNN secretly fought an attempt by the Justice Department to seize tens of thousands of email logs of one of its reporters, the network disclosed on Wednesday, adding that the government imposed a gag order on CNN’s lawyers and its president, Jeff Zucker, as part of the legal battle. The disclosure — including that CNN ultimately agreed to turn over “a limited set of email logs” involving the reporter, Barbara Starr — was the latest to recently come to light in a series of aggressive steps that federal prosecutors secretly took in leak investigations late in the Trump administration. It is also the second such episode known to have spilled over into the early Biden administration. CNN struck a deal with prosecutors to settle the matter on Jan. 26, it said, and the government only recently lifted the gag order. Last week, a New York Times lawyer revealed a similar fight — and a gag order imposed in March. The government abandoned its battle for the Times reporters’ email logs on June 2 without having obtained any, asking a judge to quash a Jan. 5 order for them. In recent weeks, the Justice Department has also disclosed separate Trump-era seizures of phone records of the same Times and CNN reporters, along with several reporters at The Washington Post. In the fallout, President Biden barred the department from seizing reporters’ communications records in an attempt to identify their sources — a major policy change from a practice that was permitted under prior administrations of both parties.”

An Exposé by ProPublica Has Congress Rethinking How to Tax the Superrich. A report showing that the richest Americans, including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett, pay almost no taxes has refocused attention on the tax code. The New York Times, Wednesday, 9 June 2021: “A jaw-dropping report by ProPublica detailing how America’s richest men avoided paying taxes has intensified interest in Congress, even among some Republicans, in changing the tax code to ensure that people like Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett pay their fair share. For Republicans, the idea that the tax code should give preferential treatment to investment has been sacrosanct, ostensibly to promote economic growth and innovation that could benefit everyone. But the news this week showed how the treatment of stocks, bonds, real estate and huge loans taken off those assets has sent the tax bills of the richest Americans plummeting.”

Biden Vows to Build Alliances and Democracy in Europe, The New York Times, Wednesday, 9 June 2021:

  • Biden will try to rally allies behind a daunting agenda.

  • The U.S. will announce plans to send 500 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses to 100 nations over the next year.

  • Rising tensions in Northern Ireland are at the forefront as the leaders meet.

  • Russia outlawed Navalny’s opposition group, a signal before Putin’s meeting with Biden.

  • Biden wants to show that the U.S. is back. Europeans aren’t so sure.

  • China and climate change loom large among Biden’s priorities.

  • Biden values allies Trump disdained, but that won’t make relations easy.

The Keystone XL Pipeline Project Has Been Terminated, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Wednesday, 9 June 2021: “The Canadian pipeline company that had long sought to build the Keystone XL pipeline announced Wednesday that it had terminated the embattled project, which would have carried petroleum from Canadian tar sands to Nebraska. The announcement was the death knell for a project that had been on life support since President Biden’s first day in office and had been stalled by legal battles for years before that, despite support from the Trump administration. On the day he was inaugurated, Mr. Biden, who has vowed to make tackling climate change a centerpiece of his administration, rescinded the construction permit for the pipeline, which developers had sought to build for over a decade. That same day, TC Energy, the company behind the project, said it was suspending work on the line.” See also, Keystone XL pipeline project is officially terminated by Canadian company TC Energy, NBC News, Reuters, Wednesday, 9 June 2021: “Energy infrastructure company TC Energy said on Wednesday it had terminated the $9 billion Keystone XL pipeline project, months after U.S. President Joe Biden revoked a key permit in a blow to Canada’s oil sector. Keystone XL, which would have been under construction this year, was expected to carry 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands crude to Nebraska. But opposition from U.S. landowners, Native American tribes and environmentalists had delayed the project for the past 12 years, with Biden pledging to scrap the permit, which he did on his first day in office.”

Housing and Urban Development to reinstate Obama-era fair housing rule gutted under Trump–minus the ‘burdensome’ reporting requirement, The Washington Post, Tracy Jan, Wednesday, 9 June 2021: “Nearly a year after the Trump administration replaced an Obama-era fair housing rule that critics decried as ‘burdensome’ and that President Donald Trump alleged would ‘abolish’ suburbs, President Biden’s housing department is restoring the requirement that communities take steps to reduce racial segregation or risk losing federal funds. But missing from the requirement is the 2015 mandate that communities undergo an extensive analysis of local barriers to integration and submit plans to dismantle them to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to senior HUD officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ‘interim final rule’ before its publication in the Federal Register on Thursday. Biden administration HUD officials said the creation and review of these assessments of fair housing ‘proved to be unnecessarily burdensome’ for communities as well as the agency, echoing some of the complaints voiced by former HUD secretary Ben Carson.”

 

Thursday, 10 June 2021:

 

Bipartisan Group of Senators Say Tentative Infrastructure Deal Reached. The statement from the senators, five Democrats and five Republicans, offers few details about the agreement, and the Biden administration has not said whether it would support it. The New York Times, Thursday, 10 June 2021:

  • Centrist senators announce ‘realistic’ agreement on an infrastructure plan.

  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin supports a shift in how the military handles sex crimes, but declines to support Gillibrand’s bill.

  • As ransomware attacks rise, the Senate questions Biden’s nominee to be the first national cyber director.

  • Ilhan Omar compares the actions of Israel and the U.S. to Hamas and the Taliban.

  • Biden and Johnson renew a World War II accord, pledging to unite against new challenges.

  • When is a jacket not just a jacket? When a first lady uses it to send a message.

  • Biden administration lifts restrictions on number of federal employees allowed in the office.

  • An exposé has Congress refocusing on how to tax the superrich.
  • House panels open an inquiry into the health effects of tear gas used by police.
  • California’s recall election will cost taxpayers more than $215 million, state officials say.
  • The Supreme Court limits the reach of mandatory minimum sentences law. The Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that violent felonies committed recklessly–as opposed to intentionally or knowingly–do not count as strikes.
  • New data shows that fewer migrant children arrived alone at the southern border last month.
  • Trump’s political legacy will be on the ballot in Virginia’s election of a new governor this fall.
  • Oregon State Representative Mike Nearman is ejected from office for helping a crowd breach the State Capitol.

Biden and Boris Johnson agree to a revitalized Atlantic Charter in first meeting, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Eugene Scott, Amy B Wang, John Wagner, and Adam Taylor, Thursday, 10 June 2021: “President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday agreed to a revitalized Atlantic Charter in their first face-to-face meeting, a day ahead of the Group of Seven summit. The document, which updates an agreement signed in 1941, seeks to build on common principles to address new challenges, including climate change and cyberattacks. Biden, visiting England on his first overseas trip as president, later described the U.S. decision to donate 500 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to other nations as ‘a monumental commitment by the American people.’ He said other G-7 nations would also be announcing vaccine commitments.

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

On Eve of G7 Summit, Biden Touts United Front on Global Issues. President Biden embraced allies that his predecessor, Donald J. Trump disparaged, saying nations must join forces on the pandemic, global warming, free trade and the challenges of China and Russia. The New York Times, Thursday, 10 June 2021:

  • Addressing the global vaccine shortage, Biden cites ‘our humanitarian obligation, to save as many lives as we can.’

  • Biden and Johnson renew a World War II accord, pledging to unite against new challenges.

  • The two leaders agree: ‘We both married above our station.’

  • Rising tensions in Northern Ireland are at the forefront as the leaders meet.

  • In pictures: Cornwall’s Carbis Bay area, the site of the G7 summit.

  • Biden kicked off his first presidential trip abroad with a warning for Putin.

  • On the ground: The U.K.’s Covid rules largely keep the traveling press corps confined to a hotel.

  • What is the G7 summit, and why does it matter?

  • Support for a nuclear weapons ban is growing within NATO, an advocacy group says.
  • E.U. leaders support a full investigation of Covid’s origins.
  • President Emmanuel Macron of France says U.S. cooperation is welcome, but Europe must set its own course.

Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress. The Justice Department seized records from Apple for metadata of House Intelligence Committee members, their aides and family members. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt, and Adam Goldman, Thursday, 10 June 2021: “As the Justice Department investigated who was behind leaks of classified information early in the Trump administration, it took a highly unusual step: Prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members. One was a minor. All told, the records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early 2018, including those of Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, then the panel’s top Democrat and now its chairman, according to committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry. Representative Eric Swalwell of California said in an interview Thursday night that he had also been notified that his data had been subpoenaed. Prosecutors, under the beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, were hunting for the sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia. Ultimately, the data and other evidence did not tie the committee to the leaks, and investigators debated whether they had hit a dead end and some even discussed closing the inquiry. But William P. Barr revived languishing leak investigations after he became attorney general a year later. He moved a trusted prosecutor from New Jersey with little relevant experience to the main Justice Department to work on the Schiff-related case and about a half-dozen others, according to three people with knowledge of his work who did not want to be identified discussing federal investigations.” See also, Trump Justice Department secretly subpoenaed records of two Democrats on House Intelligence Committee, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian, published on Friday, 11 June 2021: “The Justice Department in 2018 secretly subpoenaed Apple for the data of two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the data of their current and former staffers and family members, in an aggressive push by the Trump administration to determine who was leaking classified information to the news media, according to a committee official and one of the affected lawmakers. The department sought data on two lawmakers from California who were prominent critics of President Donald Trump — Rep. Adam B. Schiff, then the panel’s ranking Democrat and now its chairman, and Rep. Eric Swalwell — the committee official and Swalwell said Thursday night. The committee official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains politically sensitive, said that Apple in May had notified at least 12 people connected to the panel of subpoenas for their data, and that one minor was among them. Democrats swiftly condemned the moves, news of which followed three recent disclosures to national media organizations that the Trump Justice Department had secretly sought reporters’ phone and email records in an effort to identify the sources of leaks.” See also, The Trump Administration’s Extraordinary Leak Investigations, The New Yorker, Isaac Chotiner, published on Wednesday, 16 June 2021.

6 Men Said to Be Tied to Three Percenters Movement Are Charged in Capitol Riot. The indictment marks the first charges lodged against conspirators linked to the radical gun rights group or involved with planning any of the political events held the week of the attack. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Matthew Rosenberg, Thursday, 10 June 2021: “Federal prosecutors filed a wide-ranging conspiracy indictment on Thursday accusing six California men said to be connected to a radical gun rights movement called the Three Percenters with plotting to assault the Capitol on Jan. 6, in the first charges lodged against anyone involved with planning any of the political events held the week of the attack. The 20-page indictment was also the first to be brought against a group of alleged Three Percenters, a loosely organized movement that takes its name from the supposed 3 percent of the U.S. colonial population that fought against the British. The new charges, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, came on the same day that Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, testified in front of a House committee that prosecutors were pursuing additional conspiracy charges against some of the rioters who stormed the Capitol. Investigators have said for months that several extremist groups were involved in the attack, but while the Three Percenters have been occasionally mentioned in court filings, most accused extremists have come from two other groups: the Oath Keepers militia and the far-right nationalist group the Proud Boys. The new charges could suggest that prosecutors have started to pay attention not only to those who directly took part in the Capitol attack, but also to those who helped foment the assault.” See also, Alleged supporters of right-wing Three Percenters group charged in new January 6 Capitol riot conspiracy, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu and Rachel Weiner, Thursday, 10 June 2021: “Six Southern California men, including four self-described members of the Three Percenters movement, were arrested Thursday and charged with conspiracy in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. The new indictment adds the Three Percenters to the list of right-wing groups — mainly the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys — whose alleged associates have been charged with conspiring to impede police or thwart Congress’s confirmation of the 2020 presidential election results. The 28-page indictment unsealed Thursday accuses the men of felony counts of conspiracy and aiding and abetting the obstruction of a joint session of Congress, although only one defendant allegedly entered the Capitol.”

Environmental Protection Agency to Review Rules on Soot Linked to Deaths, Which Trump Declined to Tighten. The Biden administration says it will consider tougher limits on a deadly air pollutant that disproportionately affects low-income and minority communities. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Thursday, 10 June 2021: “The Biden administration will reconsider federal limits on fine industrial soot, one of the most common and deadliest forms of air pollution, with an eye toward imposing tough new rules on emissions from power plants, factories and other industrial facilities. The announcement, made Thursday by Michael S. Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, comes after the Trump administration declined last year to tighten pollution limits, despite warnings from federal scientists and others that doing so could save more than 10,000 lives a year, particularly in urban areas. Recent scientific studies have also linked fine soot pollution with higher rates of death from Covid-19. Black and brown communities tend to be especially exposed to soot and other air pollution because they are frequently located near highways, power plants and other industrial facilities. And the Biden administration suggested the move was part of its strategy to address environmental justice.”

A New Giuliani Tape Shows Key Witness Kurt Volker Didn’t Testify Accurately in the First Trump Impeachment. Volker said he didn’t know Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden. New audio indicates he did. Mother Jones, Dan Friedman, Thursday, 10 June 2021: “The testimony of a key witness in Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial is under new scrutiny by the House Intelligence Committee following a report this week that undercuts the veracity of his claim that he was unaware of a Trump effort to pressure Ukraine into mounting a meritless investigation of Joe Biden. On Monday, CNN reported new details of a July 2019 call between Rudy Giuliani, then–US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, and Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During that call, Giuliani, then Trump’s personal lawyer, aggressively pressed Ukraine to announce investigations into dubious accusations about Biden and about alleged Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election. Portions of this conversation have previously been reported by BuzzFeed News and Time, but CNN published the full audio of the 40-minute call. The recording of the conversation contradicts Volker’s sworn testimony to Congress that he never witnessed any attempt on the part of Trump and Giuliani to muscle Ukraine into launching an investigation of Biden, Trump’s possible opponent in the upcoming presidential election.”

 

Friday, 11 June 2021:

 

The Justice Department’s Independent Inspector General Launches Inquiry into Trump-Era Seizure of Lawmakers’ Data. The announcement from the Justice Department’s independent inspector general followed one by Senate Democrats, who announced that they would open their own investigation into the Trump Justice Department’s decision to go after records associated with Congress. The New York Times, Friday, 11 June 2021:

  • Justice Dept. watchdog and Senate Democrats promise to investigate secret seizure of lawmakers’ data.

  • Merrick Garland announces Justice Dept. plans to protect voting access.

  • Handshake diplomacy returns as leaders gather to confront global crises.

  • Biden plans to restore protections for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest that were stripped away by Trump.

  • Afghan interpreters, in the Taliban’s cross hairs, fear being left behind when the U.S. withdraws.

  • A dissenter visiting Washington pressed Google to keep YouTube running in Russia.

  • U.S. lifts some sanctions on Iranians before nuclear talks.

  • A federal judge in Wisconsin has halted the Biden administration’s debt relief program for minority farmers, issuing a restraining order that will freeze the $4 billion initiative while a lawsuit filed by a group of white farmers claiming discrimination proceeds.
  • Policing reform negotiations sputter in Congress amid partisan bickering.
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is under investigation over his 2020 election lawsuit. The State Bar of Texas is investigating whether Attorney General Ken Paxton committed professional misconduct by challenging President Biden’s victory in the courts, which a complaint called a ‘frivolous lawsuit’ that wasted taxpayer money.

G-7 leaders commit to donating 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines as summit begins, The Washington Post, Eugene Scott, Felicia Sonmez, Amy B Wang, and John Wagner, Friday, 11 June 2021: “The Group of Seven leaders committed Friday to donating 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines, including 500 million from the United States, to other countries as they launched their summit in Cornwall, England, with a focus on the pandemic. Before gathering for a session centering on recovery from the coronavirus, President Biden and other G-7 leaders posed for a traditional ‘family photo,’ this one taken on the beach. The first day of the gathering also includes a reception with members of the British royal family.

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

  • The G-7 leaders are expected to formally endorse a minimum global tax rate on corporations of at least 15 percent, an initiative pushed by Biden that was endorsed last weekend by finance ministers of the member nations.
  • Queen Elizabeth II played a more prominent role than anticipated at the G-7 summit, meeting world leaders at a reception Friday evening.
  • Ahead of the formal start of the summit, the White House announced that Biden would welcome one of its leaders — German Chancellor Angela Merkel — to Washington next month as he continues seeking to repair relationships that frayed under his predecessor.
  • Photos: Biden is visiting Europe in his first presidential overseas trip.

Attorney General Merrick Garland Announces Justice Department Plans to Protect Voting Access, The New York Times, Katie Benner, Friday, 11 June 2021: “Attorney General Merrick B. Garland laid out a detailed plan on Friday for protecting voting rights, announcing that the Justice Department would double enforcement staff on the issue, scrutinize new laws that seek to curb voter access and act if it sees a violation of federal law. Mr. Garland announced his plan as Republican-led state legislatures push to enact new restrictive voting laws, and amid dwindling chances for sweeping federal voter protection laws introduced by Democrats.” See also, Attorney General Merrick Garland announces expansion of Justice Department’s voting rights unit, vowing to scrutinize Republican-backed voting restrictions and ballot reviews, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner and Sean Sullivan, Friday, 11 June 2021: “Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged Friday to double the size of the Justice Department’s voting rights enforcement staff to combat efforts to restrict ballot access and prosecute those who threaten or harm election workers. In an expansive speech that invoked the nation’s long and, at times, faltering progress toward ensuring every American’s right to vote, Garland likened the fight against efforts to curtail ballot access to past campaigns enshrining voting rights for Black Americans in the Constitution and the seminal Voting Rights Act of 1965. Garland said the additional trial attorneys, which he plans to hire over the coming 30 days, will scrutinize new laws and existing practices across the nation for potential discrimination against Americans of color, including in new measures GOP state lawmakers are pushing. They will enforce provisions of the Voting Rights Act by challenging such laws or practices in court — and prosecute anyone found to intimidate or threaten violence against election officials.” See also, Attorney General Merrick Garland declares voting rights expansion ‘central’ to democracy. His speech comes as voting rights legislation faces dire odds in Congress. Politico, Nick Niedzwiadek, Friday, 11 June 2021: “Attorney General Merrick Garland affirmed Friday the expansion of voting rights as a “central pillar” to American democracy, building upon the Biden administration’s commitment as the issue has gained prominence in the aftermath of the 2020 elections. ‘We know that expanding the ability of all eligible citizens to vote is a central pillar,’ Garland said. ‘That means ensuring that all eligible voters can cast a vote; that all lawful votes are counted; and that every voter has access to accurate information.’ Garland also promised that the Justice Department will continue to ‘protect the democracy to which all Americans are entitled.’ He said that within 30 days the department would double the Civil Rights Division’s voting rights enforcement staff and committed to working with other agencies to combat voting-related disinformation. ‘There are many things that are open to debate in America, but the right of all eligible citizens to vote is not one of them,’ he said. ‘The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, the right from which all other rights ultimately flow.'”

Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department’s Independent Inspector General, and Senate Democrats Promise to Investigate the Trump Administration’s Secret Seizure of Data From House Democrats and Reporters, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Charlie Savage, Friday, 11 June 2021: “The Justice Department’s independent inspector general opened an inquiry on Friday into the Trump administration’s secret seizure of data from House Democrats and reporters as prosecutors sought to hunt down the sources of leaks of classified information. In a statement, Michael E. Horowitz, the inspector general, announced he would review the department’s use of subpoenas and other legal maneuvers to secretly access communications records of Democratic lawmakers, aides, and at least one family member, which was first reported on Thursday by The New York Times. Mr. Horowitz also said he will look at other recently disclosed actions to secretly seize data about reporters. The Biden Justice Department in recent weeks has disclosed that prosecutors during the Trump administration also sought and obtained phone records for journalists at The Washington Post, CNN, and The New York Times and then sought to stop the information from becoming public. ‘The review will examine the department’s compliance with applicable D.O.J. policies and procedures, and whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations,’ Mr. Horowitz said.” See also, Justice Department watchdog to investigate data seizure as House Democrats discuss impacts of the leak investigation into former President Donald Trump’s political enemies, CNN Politics, Clare Foran, Lauren Fox, Evan Perez, and Manu Raju, Friday, 11 June 2021: “The Justice Department’s inspector general will investigate the department’s handling of a leak investigation into former President Donald Trump’s political enemies that included a subpoena to collect metadata of lawmakers, staff and some family members, the office announced Friday. The request comes as House Intelligence Committee Democrats held a briefing led by Chairman Adam Schiff. A source said that members were ‘animated’ in trying to figure out who at the Justice Department and in the Trump administration were behind the effort to seize their records. The activity follows the bombshell revelation that prosecutors in the Trump administration Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of House Intelligence Committee Democrats along with their staff and family members as part of a leak investigation. The prosecutors were looking for the sources behind news stories about contacts between Russia and Trump associates.”

The Biden Administration Plans to Restore Environmental Protections to Alaska’s Tongass National Forest in Alaska. The Protections Were Stripped by Former President Donald Trump. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Friday, 11 June 2021: “The Biden administration plans to restore environmental protections to Tongass National Forest in Alaska, one of the world’s largest intact temperate rain forests, that had been stripped away by former President Donald J. Trump. The administration intends to ‘repeal or replace’ a Trump-era rule which opened about nine million acres, or more than half of the forest, to logging and road construction, according to a White House document published on Friday. The Tongass, in southeastern Alaska, is home to more than 400 species of wildlife, fish and shellfish, including nesting bald eagles, moose and the world’s highest concentration of black bears. Among its snowy peaks, fijords and rushing rivers are stands of red and yellow cedar and Western hemlock as well as Sitka spruce trees at least 800 years old. The forest also plays a key role in combating climate change. One of the world’s largest carbon sinks, its trees and soil absorb and store millions of tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, where it would trap heat and add to global warming.”

Campaign of Fear: Trump-inspired death threats are terrorizing election workers. Election officials and their families are living with threats of hanging, firing squads, torture, and bomb blasts, interviews and documents reveal. The campaign of fear, sparked by Trump’s voter-fraud falsehoods, threatens the U.S. electoral system. Reuters Investigates, Linda So, Friday, 11 June 2021: “Late on the night of April 24, the wife of Georgia’s top election official got a chilling text message: ‘You and your family will be killed very slowly.’ A week earlier, Tricia Raffensperger, wife of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, had received another anonymous text: ‘We plan for the death of you and your family every day.’ That followed an April 5 text warning. A family member, the texter told her, was ‘going to have a very unfortunate incident.’ Those messages, which have not been previously reported, illustrate the continuing barrage of threats and intimidation against election officials and their families months after former U.S. President Donald Trump’s November election defeat. While reports of threats against Georgia officials emerged in the heated weeks after the voting, Reuters interviews with more than a dozen election workers and top officials – and a review of disturbing texts, voicemails and emails that they and their families received – reveal the previously hidden breadth and severity of the menacing tactics.”

Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded George Floyd’s murder, is awarded Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, USA Today, Grace Hauck, Friday, 11 June 2021: “The teenager who recorded the infamous video showing George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police was awarded a 2021 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation on Friday. Darnella Frazier won the citation ‘for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice,’ according to the Pulitzer Prize Board. The award comes with a monetary prize consistent at least with the other prizes, $15,000, according to Edward Kliment, a spokesperson for the Columbia University Pulitzer Prize organization. Previous special citations have been awarded to Ida B. Wells, Aretha Franklin and Duke Ellington.”

Saturday, 12 June 2021:

 

G7 News: Leaders Turn to Cooperation to Prepare for Next Health Crisis, The New York Times, Saturday, 12 June 2021:

  • Leaders gathered for the G7 are set to outline a plan to offset the toll of future pandemics.

  • At the G7, Biden tries to rally Western nations to counter Chinese influence.

  • Biden will hold a solo news conference rather than pairing with Putin after their summit.

  • Europe and U.S. agree China’s influence is concerning. Coming together on next steps is harder.

  • President Biden and Jill Biden will meet with the queen at Windsor Castle.

  • In a sign of confidence, French president says United States is ‘definitely’ back.

  • In pictures: Protesters use balloons, costumes and electronic waste to make their point.

  • Merkel is the only female leader of a G7 nation at the summit. Again.

  • As leaders pledge to help the world tackle the pandemic, the U.K. faces its own tough questions.

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has said he was not aware of subpoena for lawmakers’ data, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz and Pamela Brown, Saturday, 12 June 2021: “Ex-top Trump Justice Department official Rod Rosenstein has told people in recent days he was not aware of a subpoena that targeted the data of Democratic members of Congress while he was deputy attorney general, a source familiar with Rosenstein told CNN on Saturday. The attorney general at the time of the Apple subpoena, Jeff Sessions, was recused from all matters related to the Russia probe so a related leak investigation would have fallen under Rosenstein, CNN has reported. Former Attorney General Bill Barr, who took office a year after the subpoena was issued, told Politico on Friday he does not recall discussing a probe of lawmakers. Rosenstein’s distancing from the controversial investigation comes as details released by Apple show the government presented the company with a broad subpoena for data connected to many numbers and emails and then put it under a gag order preventing disclosures to customers. The subpoena did not describe the nature of the investigation. The gag order was renewed three times but was not extended this year. That freed Apple last month to finally inform those whose data was taken. It is at that point that Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell — both California Democrats on the Intelligence Committee who were Trump opponents — as well as committee staff and other staff, some family and even a minor learned their data was taken. Records seized included those from staff members who had nothing to do with issues related to Russia or former FBI Director James Comey, including Schiff’s personal office staff, a House Intelligence Committee source told CNN.”

 

Sunday, 13 June 2021:

 

G7 News: Summit Ends With Agreement on Global Minimum Tax and Common Threats, The New York Times, Sunday, 13 June 2021:

  • G7 leaders come together on a global minimum tax and democratic ideals.

  • President Biden says Queen Elizabeth reminds him of his mother.

  • A unified front against threats by China and Russia becomes a priority of the G7 leaders.

  • China warns that a ‘small’ bloc of nations does not dictate global policy.

  • G7 powers fail to agree on firm date to stop burning coal.

  • Global summit marks a return of international diplomacy.

  • The ‘sausage wars’ flare again between Britain and the E.U.

Live Updates: G-7 leaders wrap up summit; Biden says ‘America is back at the table,’ The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Paulina Firozi, Tyler Pager, and John Hudson, Sunday, 13 June 2021: “President Biden and the other Group of Seven leaders wrapped up their summit Sunday in Cornwall, England, adopting Biden’s vow to ‘build back better’ and promising to end the coronavirus pandemic and combat climate change in a joint communique. ‘America is back at the table,’ Biden said at a news conference. ‘The lack of participation in the past and in full engagement was noticed significantly not only by the leaders of those countries, but by the people in the G-7 countries, and America’s back in the business of leading the world alongside nations who share our most deeply held values.’ Later in the day, Biden and first lady Jill Biden met with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle, before traveling to Brussels for a meeting of NATO heads of state and government.

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

Apple Is Said to Have Turned Over Data in 2018 on Trump’s White House Counsel Donald McGahn, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Charlie Savage, Sunday, 13 June 2021: “The Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for information in February 2018 about an account that belonged to Donald F. McGahn II, President Donald J. Trump’s White House counsel at the time, and barred the company from telling him about it, according to two people briefed on the matter. Apple told Mr. McGahn about the subpoena last month, said one of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. Mr. McGahn’s wife also received a similar notice from Apple, the person said. It is not clear what F.B.I. agents were investigating, whether Mr. McGahn was their specific focus or whether he was swept up in a larger net because he had communicated with someone who was under scrutiny. As the top lawyer for the 2016 Trump campaign and then the White House counsel, Mr. McGahn was in contact with numerous people who may have drawn attention either as part of the Russia investigation or a later leak inquiry. Still, the disclosure that agents had collected data of a sitting White House counsel, which they kept secret for years, is extraordinary.” See also, Trump’s Justice Department secretly sought data from Apple on former White House counsel Donald McGahn, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Tom Hamburger, Sunday, 13 June 2021: “The tech company Apple recently notified former White House counsel Donald McGahn and his wife that the Justice Department had secretly requested their information in 2018, an individual familiar with the request said Sunday. The notification to McGahn came last month, and the notification to his wife came before that, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the politically sensitive case. It was not immediately clear what was being investigated that prompted the Justice Department to seek the data. The move was first reported Sunday by the New York Times. Seizing a White House counsel’s data is striking. The latest development comes amid widespread criticism of Trump-era leak investigations involving members of Congress and journalists. Meanwhile, Republicans have questioned the pursuit of records of Rudolph W. Giuliani, former president Donald Trump’s personal attorney.”

Israel’s Parliament Approves New Government, Ousting Netanyahu, The New York Times, Sunday, 13 June 2021:

  • Bennett is in and Netanyahu is out, all by a single-vote margin.

  • Is Israel’s new prime minister an ideologue or a pragmatist?

  • Netanyahu’s rise, rule and fall: A quarter-century in the spotlight.

  • A day of tumult and change in Israel’s Knesset.

  • In Tel Aviv, a dance party celebrates the exit of the ‘crime minister.’

 

Monday, 14 June 2021:

 

Attorney General Merrick Garland Says Justice Department to Tighten Rules on Seizing Congressional Data. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the Justice Department ‘must ensure that full weight is accorded to separation-of-powers concerns moving forward.’ The New York Times, 14 June 2021:

  • Garland says the Justice Dept. will tighten rules on seizing legislative branch data.

  • McConnell suggests he would block a Biden nominee for the Supreme Court in 2024.

  • Biden extends temporary work permissions for some undocumented immigrants who are victims of crime.

  • Reality Winner, the former intelligence contractor found guilty of leaking a document about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, is released to a halfway house.

  • Biden, on a global stage, has harsh words on Trump.

  • Democrats consider their options after a bipartisan group proposes an infrastructure framework.

  • A Justice Department official will step down amid an uproar over a leaks inquiry.

  • Governor Ralph Northam, once a political pariah, is now the most racially progressive governor in Virginia’s history.
  • New voting restrictions would disproportionately affect disabled voters.

Biden says ‘NATO stands together’ in show of unity ahead of meeting with Putin, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, Eugene Scott, and Felicia Sonmez, Monday, 14 June 2021: “NATO allies took a far more aggressive posture toward China than in years past in a communique released at their summit Monday in Brussels, voicing concerns about China’s expanding nuclear ambitions and ‘assertive’ behavior. Biden told reporters that the NATO treaty ‘is rock solid and unshakable’ …  after meeting with allies at the headquarters of the 30-member military alliance that has long been focused on the threat posed by Russia. NATO allies announced that they will gather in Spain next year. Biden also met on the sidelines of the summit with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a time of strained relations between the two countries.

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

  • In the coming days, Biden will participate in a meeting with European leaders before finishing his first overseas trip as president with a high-stakes encounter Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Although Biden’s presence was embraced at the NATO meeting, deep divisions still remain about how much to focus on Beijing as well as concerns that Biden’s unilateral approach to the Afghanistan pullout was similar to Trump’s.
  • Biden said Queen Elizabeth II reminded him of his mother after he had tea with the British monarch at Windsor Castle, his last set-piece event before concluding the first leg of his overseas trip on Sunday.

NATO News: As Putin Meeting Nears, Biden Says U.S. Does Not Seek ‘Conflict,’ The New York Times, Monday, 14 June 2021:

  • Biden, ahead of meeting, says he isn’t seeking conflict with Putin.

  • For the first time, NATO sees China’s growing military might as ‘presenting challenges.’

  • Biden calls the alliance ‘critically important for U.S. interests,’ a sharp contrast to Trump.

  • Erdogan, after antagonizing NATO for years, is softening his stance.

  • Support for a nuclear weapons ban is growing within NATO, an advocacy group says.

  • Biden, on a global stage, has harsh words on Trump.

Biden nominated as many minority women to be judges in four months as Trump had confirmed in four years, The Washington Post, Adrian Blanco, Monday, 14 June 2021: “President Biden and the Democrat-led Senate have moved quickly to boost minority and female representation on the federal courts following Donald Trump’s four-year push to remake the judiciary, in which he nominated a large share of White, male justices. Biden’s early judicial slate represents a departure from his recent predecessors; his initial picks are more diverse, and Biden rolled out more nominations earlier in his presidency than others. Fifteen of his 19 nominees so far are women, including 11 women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The Senate confirmed U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson — widely considered a Supreme Court contender — to the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Monday. Additionally, it gave final approval to Zahid Quraishi, a magistrate judge from New Jersey and the first Muslim confirmed as a federal judge, in a bipartisan vote on Thursday.”

The House Judiciary Committee Will Investigate Trump Department of Justice Surveillance of Lawmakers and Journalists, NPR, Benjamin Swasey, Monday, 14 June 2021: “The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee will open an investigation into efforts by the Trump-era U.S. Department of Justice to seize metadata from devices belonging to members of Congress, journalists and the then-White House counsel. Word of the partisan probe came as current Attorney General Merrick Garland, said the DOJ will “strengthen” its policies on obtaining records from lawmakers…. There are important questions that must be resolved in connection with an effort by the department to obtain records related to Members of Congress and Congressional staff,’ Garland said in a statement Monday. He added of the department inspector general’s inquiry: ‘If at any time as the investigation proceeds action related to the matter in question is warranted, I will not hesitate to move swiftly.’ Garland added that while that review is pending, he has asked Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco ‘to evaluate and strengthen the department’s existing policies and procedures for obtaining records of the Legislative branch.'”

Judge Amy Berman Jackson rules the Justice Department can keep the William Barr memo on not charging Trump with obstruction of justice secret for now, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Monday, 14 June 2021: “Judge Amy Berman Jackson is allowing the Justice Department to keep secret part of a key memo to then-Attorney General William Barr from his top advisers in March 2019 that backed his decision not to charge then-President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice. This Barr memo, and Jackson’s recent commentary on it, have reignited criticism of Barr’s handling of the Mueller Report’s public rollout. Jackson had been especially unhappy with representations by federal lawyers to her court about what was in the memo, as a public transparency group fought for its release. ‘The concern that led to the Court’s ruling was that in its attempt to shield the Barr Memo from public view, DOJ inaccurately described the decision-making process that was supposedly underway,’ she wrote on Monday. She ordered the release of the memo in full in last month. Then the Justice Department, led by now-Attorney General Merrick Garland, chose to release part of it — Section I — which showed that the top department officials under Trump considered the public relations need of a memo clearing the President, even when the Mueller report had not exonerated him and they had already known he would not be charged with a crime. Garland’s DOJ asked to appeal the release of the memo’s Section II, wanting to keep the meatier legal analysis of Mueller’s obstruction findings secret. Jackson agreed to allow this while they appeal, according to her nine-page decision Monday. The judge said the public’s interest in how the Justice Department leaders examined obstruction evidence Mueller found did not outweigh the potential damage to the DOJ if the rest of the memo were to be released immediately.”

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Wants to Restore Environmental Safeguards for Three National Monuments. Haaland has advised President Biden to reinstate boundaries at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, and also in a marine area off New England. All were reduced by former President Donald J. Trump. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Monday, 14 June 2021: “Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has advised President Biden to restore sweeping environmental protections to three major national monuments that had been stripped away by former President Donald J. Trump. In a report sent to the White House earlier this month that has not been made public, Ms. Haaland recommended that Mr. Biden reinstate the original boundaries, which included millions of acres at Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante, two rugged and pristine expanses in Utah defined by red rock canyons, rich wildlife and archaeological treasures…. Mr. Trump had sharply reduced the size of both national monuments at the urging of ranchers and many Republican leaders, opening them to mining, drilling and development. At the time, it was the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history.”

 

Tuesday, 15 June 2021:

 

Biden Names Ambassadors for Mexico and Israel, The New York Times, Tuesday, 15 June 2021:

  • Biden names his picks for ambassador to Mexico and Israel.

  • A bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday clears the Senate.

  • Harris welcomes the women of the Senate for dinner, building bridges with homemade cheese puffs.

  • A federal judge blocks Biden’s suspension of new leases for drilling on public lands.

  • Biden taps Chesley Sullenberger to serve as aviation ambassador.

  • House lawmakers question top security officials about the failure to stop the Jan. 6 riot.

  • Confrontation, but not lunch, is on the menu of Wednesday’s Biden-Putin meeting in Geneva.

  • Lina Khan, a critic of Big Tech newly confirmed to the F.T.C., is expected to be named the agency’s chair.

  • Cyberweapons are the new nukes at international summits.
  • Trump pushed the Justice Department to investigate his false claims of voter fraud.
  • Republicans call Biden ‘soft’ on Russia, leaving out Trump’s defense of Putin.
  • The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan federal government watchdog, backs the legality of Biden’s suspension of wall construction along the Mexican border.
  • West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin stays away from a lunch at which Texas lawmakers urge Senate Democrats to pass a broad voting rights bill.
  • The F.B.I. warns that some QAnon believers could turn to violence as predictions fail to bear fruit.
  • The White House is proposing a new strategy to combat domestic terrorism.

Biden arrives in Geneva ahead of Putin summit after meeting with E.U. leaders in Brussels, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Eugene Scott, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “President Biden arrived in Geneva on Tuesday in advance of his highly anticipated summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin following a meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels, where he encouraged more transatlantic trade and technological cooperation. While in Brussels, Biden and European Union leaders announced a deal to put to rest a 17-year trade dispute about subsidies for aircraft manufacturers. The meeting was the latest stop on a trip that Biden started last week at the Group of Seven gathering in Britain. He is scheduled to return to the United States after his meeting with Putin on Wednesday.

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

  • Leaders of the United States and the European Union agreed to address climate change, combat the coronavirus pandemic and strive for a more peaceful world after their meeting.
  • U.S. officials expect Biden’s meeting with Putin to last at least four hours Wednesday and touch on an array of topics, including nuclear arms, cyberattacks and human rights.
  • As Biden met with allies abroad, the White House released an unprecedented national strategy devoted solely to fighting domestic terrorism.
  • ‘Part of the club’: Biden relishes revival of alliances that Trump dismissed.

Emails Show Trump Began Pressuring His Incoming Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to Take Up His False Claims of Election Fraud Even Before Announcing That His Predecessor William Barr Was Stepping Down, The New York Times, Katie Benner, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “An hour before President Donald J. Trump announced in December that William P. Barr would step down as attorney general, the president began pressuring Mr. Barr’s eventual replacement to have the Justice Department take up his false claims of election fraud. Mr. Trump sent an email via his assistant to Jeffrey A. Rosen, the incoming acting attorney general, that contained documents purporting to show evidence of election fraud in northern Michigan — the same claims that a federal judge had thrown out a week earlier in a lawsuit filed by one of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers. Another email from Mr. Trump to Mr. Rosen followed two weeks later, again via the president’s assistant, that included a draft of a brief that Mr. Trump wanted the Justice Department to file to the Supreme Court. It argued, among other things, that state officials had used the pandemic to weaken election security and pave the way for widespread election fraud…. The emails, turned over by the Justice Department to investigators on the House Oversight Committee and obtained by The New York Times, show how Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Rosen to put the power of the Justice Department behind lawsuits that had already failed to try to prove his false claims that extensive voter fraud had affected the election results. They are also the latest example of Mr. Trump’s frenzied drive to subvert the election results in the final weeks of his presidency, including ratcheting up pressure on the Justice Department. And they show that Mr. Trump flouted an established anticorruption norm that the Justice Department acts independently of the White House on criminal investigations or law enforcement actions, a gap that steadily eroded during Mr. Trump’s term.” See also, New emails detail Trump’s efforts to have the Justice Department take up his false election-fraud claims, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Matt Zapotosky, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “President Donald Trump’s staff began sending emails to Jeffrey Rosen, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, asking him to embrace Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election at least 10 days before Rosen assumed the role of acting attorney general, according to new emails disclosed Tuesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. On the same day the electoral college met to certify the election results — which was also the day Trump announced that William P. Barr would be stepping down as attorney general — the president’s assistant sent Rosen an email with a list of complaints concerning the way the election had been carried out in Antrim County, Mich.” See also, New emails show how Trump and his allies pressured Justice Department to try to challenge 2020 election results, CNN Politics, Whitney Wild, Jeremy Herb, Lauren Fox, Zachary Cohen, and Ryan Nobles, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “New emails from Justice Department and White House officials show how President Donald Trump‘s allies pressured then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to consider false and outlandish allegations that the 2020 election had been stolen at the same time that Rosen was being elevated to lead the Justice Department in December 2020. The emails show how Trump’s White House assistant, chief of staff and other allies pressured the Justice Department to investigate claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election — and how Trump directed allies to push Rosen to join the legal effort to challenge the election result, according to a batch of emails released by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday.”

Federal Judge Says Biden Cannot Pause New Leases for Drilling on Public Lands. President Biden suspended new oil and gas drilling leases on federal lands. A judge in Louisiana ruled those leases could not be temporarily halted. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked the Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, in the first major legal roadblock for President Biden’s quest to cut fossil fuel pollution and conserve public lands. Judge Terry A. Doughty of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday against the administration, saying that the power to pause offshore oil and gas leases ‘lies solely with Congress’ because it was the legislative branch that originally made federal lands and waters available for leasing. Judge Doughty also ruled that 13 states that are suing the administration over its temporary halt to new leases ‘have made a showing that there is a substantial likelihood that President Biden exceeded his powers.’ Jeff Landry, the Republican attorney general of Louisiana and attorneys general from 12 other states, all Republicans, filed suit in March to lift the White House executive order that temporarily halted new drilling leases on federal lands and waters. Mr. Biden had signed the order during his first week in office in January, saying he wanted a pause in order to conduct a comprehensive review of the program. Judge Doughty ruled that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and her agency ‘are hereby enjoined and restrained from implementing the pause of new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters.’ until the states’ legal case against the administration is decided. He wrote that the pause on new leasing should end nationwide and noted that such sweeping preliminary injunctions against federal actions were exceedingly rare. But the judge, who was appointed by President Donald J. Trump, concluded that the 13 states had demonstrated that their economies could be irreparably harmed by the pause on drilling.”

The F.B.I. Is Pursuing ‘Hundreds’ in Capitol Riot Inquiry, F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray Tells Congress, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “The F.B.I. is pursuing potentially hundreds more suspects in the Capitol riot, the agency’s director told Congress on Tuesday, calling the effort to find those responsible for the deadly assault ‘one of the most far-reaching and extensive’ investigations in the bureau’s history. ‘We’ve already arrested close to 500, and we have hundreds of investigations that are still ongoing beyond those 500,’ Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, told the House Oversight Committee. His assurances of how seriously the agency was taking the attack by a pro-Trump mob came as lawmakers pressed him and military commanders on why they did not do more to prevent the siege despite threats from extremists to commit violence.”

Biden’s domestic terrorism strategy details unprecedented focus on homegrown threats, The Washington Post, Hannah Allam and Ellen Nakashima, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “The White House on Tuesday released a first national strategy devoted solely to fighting domestic terrorism after more than two decades of successive administrations focusing almost exclusively on the militant Islamist threat. The strategy comes after a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol and a resurgence in far-right violent extremism that the Trump administration — with rare exceptions — was loath to acknowledge. For many terrorism analysts, the strategy was long overdue. Violent far-right extremists have posed the deadliest and most active domestic threat for more than 15 years, although federal resources remained heavily focused on countering foreign terrorism. The 32-page strategy seeks to coordinate efforts across the government in law enforcement and prevention, some of which were already underway. It calls for new spending at the Justice Department and FBI to hire analysts, investigators and prosecutors; greater information-sharing between the federal government and state and local partners as well as with tech companies; and addressing the factors contributing to the problem, such as systemic racism.” See also, White House unveils new strategy to counter domestic terrorism’ laser-focused on violence,’ NBC News, Ken Dilanian, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “The Biden administration on Tuesday rolled out what it said is a new strategy to counter domestic terrorism: a series of changes to elevate the federal government’s response to an urgent problem, with renewed efforts to deter, detect and prosecute those who would use violence in pursuit of political aims. ‘What we are focused on is violence,’ Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told NBC News’ Pete Williams in an exclusive interview. ‘The incitement of violence, the drive to violence, the commission of violent acts.’… The strategy and an accompanying White House fact sheet call for more scrutiny of public social media posts and better coordination among security agencies. But after a 100-day review, the White House didn’t make a decision about what might be the biggest policy question with regard to what it says is the most urgent security threat to the U.S.: whether to seek a law with specific criminal penalties for committing or supporting domestic terrorism. White House officials said they didn’t have enough information and asked the Justice Department to further review the issue. There is no crime of domestic terrorism and no direct domestic equivalent to the ‘material support for terrorism’ statute, which has allowed federal prosecutors to win long prison terms for people convicted of helping Al Qaeda and the Islamic State terrorist group, no matter how modest their support. Many experts and civil liberties advocates argue that the government doesn’t need more legal authority to prosecute terrorism. Some FBI agents assert the opposite, saying a new law would help quantify the problem and add more prosecutorial tools.” See also, Biden Administration Lays Out Broad Strategy for Targeting Domestic Terrorism, The Wall Street Journal, Rachael Levy and Sadie Gurman, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “The Biden administration is seeking increased funds for the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation and promoting programs for civic education and digital literacy to counter a rise in domestic terrorism, according to a broad new strategy released Tuesday morning. The 32-page policy, developed during a monthslong review, presents a governmentwide approach to President Biden’s campaign promise to reduce attacks by domestic extremists. It includes several actions already under way, such as increased funding for state and local programs to combat domestic violent extremism. The White House’s plans were released by the National Security Council as violent attacks perpetrated by American extremists have increased to the highest level in more than 25 years, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan Washington think tank. Most ideologically motivated killings in recent years were committed by far-right extremists such as white supremacists, according to the think tank and Department of Homeland Security figures. In March, U.S. intelligence agencies found that white supremacists and antigovernment militia extremists pose the most lethal threat among domestic violent extremists, echoing findings from DHS and testimony last year by FBI Director Christopher Wray. Attacks and plots inspired by left-wing ideology, while less prevalent, also rose last year, according to CSIS.” See also, White House Unveils Strategy to Combat Domestic Extremism/Terrorism, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “The Biden administration on Tuesday unveiled a national strategy to combat domestic extremism, calling for aggressive steps such as hiring more intelligence analysts and screening government employees for ties to hate groups. The 32-page plan highlights a shift in the government’s approach to counterterrorism, which for decades has prioritized fighting foreign terrorists. But violent attacks by American extremists are growing, a problem laid bare by the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6.”

The F.B.I. Warns That Some QAnon Believers Could Turn to Violence as Predictions Fail to Bear Fruit, The New York Times, Katie Benner, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “The F.B.I. said this month that QAnon adherents could turn to violence as some of the conspiracy theory’s major predictions, including that Democrats would be subject to mass arrest and detention, have not come to pass. The conspiracy theory holds that a corrupt cabal of global elites and career government employees who run a Satan-worshiping, child sex-trafficking ring will soon be rounded up and punished for their misdeeds; and that former President Donald J. Trump will be restored to the presidency. QAnon has grown online, with believers watching message boards for new information and directives from Q, an anonymous figure who posts predictions and tells adherents to ‘trust the plan.’ But the arrests have not happened and Mr. Trump did not return to the White House as predicted this spring, sowing doubts among some believers whose once decentralized community is now a large, real-world and global movement. The F.B.I. said in a June 4 threat assessment that as people increasingly believe that they can no longer ‘trust the plan,’ they could be compelled to shift ‘toward engaging in real-world violence — including harming perceived members of the ‘cabal’ such as Democrats and other political opposition — instead of continually awaiting Q’s promised actions which have not occurred.'”

21 House Republicans vote against awarding Congressional Gold Medal to all police officers who responded to the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Tuesday, 15 January 2021: “Twenty-one House Republicans on Tuesday voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to all police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 violent attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The measure passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support from 406 lawmakers. But the 21 Republicans who voted “no” drew immediate condemnation from some of their colleagues, and the vote underscored the lingering tensions in Congress amid efforts by some GOP lawmakers to whitewash the events of that day.”

U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpasses 600,000, Axios, Oriana Gonzalez, Tuesday, 15 June 2021: “More than 600,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It’s a higher death toll than the number of American soldiers killed in combat during the Vietnam War, World War I and World War II combined. The number represents approximately 15% of the world’s total coronavirus death toll, which stands at over 3.8 million.”

 

Wednesday, 16 June 2021:

 

Bill to Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday Heads to Biden’s Desk. The House approved the measure, which would designate June 19 as a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Senator Joe Manchin III put forth a list of voting rights measures he would support as a broader bill stalls largely because of his opposition to it. The New York Times, Wednesday, 17 June 2021:

  • House sends bill to Biden designating Juneteenth a federal holiday.

  • Manchin presents his wish list for a voting rights and ethics bill.

  • Bipartisan infrastructure talks gain support even as Democrats discuss going it alone.

  • Biden and Putin say the talks went well, but divisions remain on issues like cyberattacks and human rights.

  • Justice Dept. ends a Trump policy that limited asylum for survivors of gang violence and domestic abuse.

  • Progressive groups step up calls for Justice Breyer to retire.

  • Texas says it will finish the wall, and asks donors to pay for it.

  • Justice Department ends its criminal inquiry into John Bolton’s book.
  • Education Department extends Title IX protections to transgender students.
  • Kamala Harris tells Texas Democrats they’re ‘American patriots’ for holding off Republican voting bill.
  • The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint by an ally of President Donald J. Trump accusing the Democratic Party and one of its former consultants of violating campaign finance laws by working with Ukraine to help Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign by damaging Mr. Trump’s.
  • The end of a federal eviction moratorium looms as the affordable housing crisis intensifies.
  • The Education Department cancels $500 million in debt for defrauded ITT students.
  • Philanthropists are bankrolling a commission to study the pandemic.

Biden and Putin hold ‘positive’ summit but divisions remain over human rights, cyberattacks, Ukraine, The Washington Post, Isabelle Khurshudyan, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, Eugene Scott, and Amy B Wang, Wednesday, 16 June 2021: “President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin emerged from their summit Wednesday with the Russian leader deeming it ‘constructive’ and the U.S. president calling it ‘positive.’ But back-to-back news conferences made clear that the two sides remain at odds over human rights, cyberattacks and Ukraine. Biden said he raised the case of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny as well as two ‘wrongly imprisoned’ Americans held in Russia. ‘The bottom line is I told President Putin that we need to have some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by,’ Biden told reporters after his first face-to-face meeting as president with Putin.

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

  • In an earlier news conference, Putin called the talks ‘quite constructive’ and said he and Biden agreed to return their ambassadors to their respective posts in Washington and Moscow. Putin also said he and Biden had reached an agreement to start discussions on cybersecurity.
  • The White House felt compelled Wednesday to clarify what Biden intended to convey with a nod during the opening moments of the meeting with Putin. Biden was not responding to a reporter’s question about whether he trusts Putin, aides said.
  • Putin’s trip to Switzerland marked the first time the Russian president has traveled outside Russia in more than a year in response to the pandemic.

Summit Over, Putin and Biden Cite Gains, but Tensions Are Clear, The New York Times, Wednesday, 16 June 2021:

  • Biden and Putin say the talks went well, but divisions remain on issues like cyberattacks and human rights.

  • A tale of two summits: Trump at Helsinki, and Biden at Geneva.

  • Biden: ‘I did what I came to do.’

  • Putin: ‘Glimmers’ of hope.

  • Putin, then Biden, addressed the media separately after their summit.

  • After Biden and Putin met in her hometown, an antinuclear Nobel winner criticized them both.

  • In pictures: Putin’s meetings with previous U.S. presidents.

U.S. Ends Trump Policy Limiting Asylum for Gang and Domestic Violence Survivors. The decision will affect tens of thousands of cases moving through backlogged immigration courts. The New York Times, Katie Benner and Miriam Jordan, Wednesday, 16 June 2021: “Attorney General Merrick B. Garland reversed on Wednesday Trump-era immigration rulings that had made it all but impossible for people to seek asylum in the United States over credible fears of domestic abuse or gang violence, marking one of the Justice Department’s most significant breaks with the previous administration. His decisions came in closely watched cases where his predecessors, the former attorneys general Jeff Sessions and William P. Barr, broke with precedent to overturn decisions by immigration appeals judges that would have allowed such asylum claims. The decisions — applicable to all cases in the system, including appeals — will affect tens of thousands of migrants. Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans fleeing gang extortion and recruitment and women fleeing domestic abuse have arrived in the United States since 2013, and many cases are still being adjudicated, given an enormous backlog in immigration courts. In vacating the Trump administration’s stance, Mr. Garland said the Justice Department should follow the earlier precedent. ‘These decisions involve important questions about the meaning of our nation’s asylum laws, which reflect America’s commitment to providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people,’ the associate attorney general, Vanita Gupta, wrote in a memo to the Justice Department’s Civil Division.” See also, The Justice Department Overturns Policy That Limited Asylum for Survivors of Violence, NPR, Joel Rose, Wednesday, 16 June 2021: “Survivors of domestic and gang violence have better odds of getting asylum in the U.S. as the Justice Department reverses controversial rulings from the Trump administration. In a pair of decisions announced Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland is vacating several controversial legal rulings issued by his predecessors — in effect, restoring the possibility of asylum protections for women fleeing from domestic violence in other countries, and families targeted by violent gangs.”

Education Department Says Title IX Protections Extend to Transgender Students. Using a Supreme Court ruling as its guide, the department will issue guidance that says discrimination against gay and transgender students is prohibited under the 1972 law. The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Wednesday, 16 June 2021: “A year after the Supreme Court ruled that protections in the Civil Rights Act against discrimination in the workplace extended to gay and transgender people, the Education Department plans to say on Wednesday that it has interpreted the ruling to mean that those protections also extend to students. The department will say that discrimination against gay and transgender students is prohibited under Title IX, a 1972 law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools. The law has become a political cudgel in the culture wars over sex and education.” See also, Education Department says Title IX protections apply to LGBTQ students, CNN Politics, Chandelis Duster and Devan Cole, Wednesday, 16 June 2021: “The Education Department on Wednesday issued guidance that Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a reversal of the Trump administration’s stance that gay and transgender students are not protected by the law. The department cited in its decision the Supreme Court’s ruling just a year ago that federal civil rights law protects transgender, gay and lesbian workers — a ruling the Biden administration has been using during its early months to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans in a number of different areas of life.”

Congress votes overwhelmingly to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. The day commemorates the end of slavery in Texas in 1865. The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Wednesday, 16 June 2021: “Congress on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday, elevating the day marking the end of slavery in Texas to a national commemoration of emancipation amid a larger reckoning about America’s turbulent history with racism. It is the first new federal holiday created by Congress since 1983, when lawmakers voted to establish Martin Luther King Jr. Day after a 15-year fight to commemorate the assassinated civil rights leader. The vote was heralded by the bill’s supporters as a milestone in the effort to foster a greater recognition of the horrors of slavery in the United States and the long history of inequality that followed emancipation and continues to this day.”

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin outlines demands on voting legislation, creating an opening for potential Democratic compromise, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Wednesday, 16 June 2021: “Sen. Joe Manchin III, the lone Senate Democrat who is not sponsoring a sweeping voting rights and campaign finance bill, has outlined for the first time a list of policy demands on election legislation — opening the door to a possible compromise that could counter a bevy of Republican-passed laws that have rolled back ballot access in numerous states. A three-page memo circulated by Manchin’s office this week indicates the West Virginia centrist’s willingness to support key provisions of the For the People Act, the marquee Democratic bill that the House passed in March — including provisions mandating at least two weeks of early voting and measures meant to eliminate partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts. But Manchin’s memo also sketches out several provisions that have historically been opposed by most Democrats, including backing an ID requirement for voters and the ability of local election officials to purge voter rolls using other government records. According to two Democratic aides familiar with Manchin’s views, he has also signaled to colleagues that he opposes a public financing system for congressional elections that has emerged as one of the most controversial parts of the For the People Act. The aides spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe Manchin’s private communications with other lawmakers.” See also, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin Lists Demands for Voting Rights in Bid for Compromise, Bloomberg, Laura Litvan and Steven T. Dennis, Wednesday, 16 June 2021: “Democratic Senator Joe Manchin delivered a list of changes he wants in voting rights legislation in a bid for a compromise on an issue that has put him at odds with the rest of his party. Manchin is the only Senate Democrat who hasn’t signed on to the Senate version of a sweeping overhaul of election laws that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will try to bring to the floor next week despite a lack of any Republican support. With the Senate split 50-50 between the parties, 10 GOP votes would be needed to end a filibuster under Senate rules even with Manchin’s backing. Manchin released on Wednesday dozens of proposals that he could support in a compromise bill to address voting rights, ethics and campaign finance. Some are likely to appeal to Democrats, such as minimum standards for early voting, a ban on partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts and a federal holiday for election day. But the proposal also includes voter identification requirements, which generally are opposed by many Democrats.”

‘Pure insanity’: How Trump and his allies pressured the Justice Department to help overturn the election. New documents and emails reveal how far Trump and his supporters were willing to go to try to keep Donald Trump in office in a frenzied three-week stretch that tested Justice Department leaders. The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Rosalind S. Helderman, Amy Gardner, and Karoun Demirjian, Wednesday, 16 June 2021: “The Justice Department leaders were losing their patience. For weeks, President Donald Trump and his allies had been pressing them to use federal law enforcement’s muscle to back his unfounded claims of voter fraud and a stolen election. They wanted the Justice Department to explore false claims that Dominion Voting Systems machines had been manipulated to alter votes in one county in Michigan. They asked officials about the U.S. government filing a Supreme Court challenge to the results in six states that Joe Biden won. The president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, even shared with acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen a link to a YouTube video that described an outlandish plot in which the election had been stolen from Trump through the use of military satellites controlled in Italy. ‘Pure insanity,’ Rosen’s deputy Richard Donoghue wrote to him privately. In the last weeks of 2020 and the first of 2021, the demands from Trump and his allies pushed the department to the brink of crisis. Though most scoffed at their increasingly far-fetched and desperate claims, one relatively high-ranking Justice Department lawyer seemed to entertain Trump’s requests — pushing internally to have the department assert that fraud in Georgia was cause for that state’s lawmakers to disregard its election results and appoint new electors. Trump contemplated installing him as attorney general, as other Justice Department leaders considered resigning en masse. The new details laid out in hundreds of pages of emails and other documents released Tuesday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee show how far Trump and his allies were willing to go in their attempts to use the Justice Department to overturn Biden’s win — a campaign whose full contours are still coming into view five months after Trump left office.” See also, Read: Justice Department documents related to the 2020 election, Wednesday, 16 June 2021.

Thursday, 17 June 2021:

 

Biden Signs Juneteenth Bill, Saying ‘All Americans Can Feel the Power of This Day.’ The measure designates June 19 as a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery. The House repealed an authorization it gave President George W. Bush in 2002 to invade Iraq that was repeatedly applied well beyond its original intent. The New York Times, Thursday, 17 June 2021:

  • Biden signs law making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

  • The House votes to repeal the 2002 authorization for the invasion of Iraq.

  • Republicans slam Manchin’s narrower voting rights bill after Democrats get behind it.

  • The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare for a third time, a decisive moment in an epic battle.

  • Two more Guantánamo detainees are cleared for transfer to other nations.

  • Democrats weigh a plan as large as $6 trillion as a bipartisan group pursues a narrower infrastructure deal.

  • The U.S. Embassy in Kabul locks down, hit by a coronavirus outbreak surging across Afghanistan.

  • The U.S. will spend $3 billion on developing antiviral pills to treat Covid-19.

Biden signs bill making Juneteenth a national holiday; federal workers to get Friday off, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, Eugene Scott, and Amy B Wang, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “President Biden on Thursday signed into law a bill creating a federal holiday to commemorate Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in Texas. Because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, most federal employees will get this Friday off. Great nations don’t ignore the most painful moments. They don’t ignore those moments in the past. They embrace them,’ Biden said in remarks in the East Room before a crowd that included lawmakers and 94-year-old Opal Lee, who campaigned to make the day a national holiday. The president, who spoke of efforts in some states to restrict voting rights, said the date doesn’t just celebrate the past but is a call for action.

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

  • The Supreme Court dismissed the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, saying Republican-led states do not have the legal standing to try to upend the law.
  • Biden hailed the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act and referenced a colorful phrase he used to describe the landmark law at the time President Barack Obama signed it.
  • The House voted to repeal a 19-year-old military authorization Congress passed to give legal backing to the Iraq War with the support of Democrats, Republicans and the White House.
  • Prominent voting rights activist Stacey Abrams said she could ‘absolutely’ support compromises floated by Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), the lone Senate Democrat who is not sponsoring a sweeping elections bill in the chamber.
  • St. Louis couple who pointed guns at protesters plead guilty and will give up firearms.

Affordable Care Act Survives Latest Supreme Court Challenge. The court sidestepped the larger issue in the case, whether the 2010 health care law can stand without a provision that required most Americans to obtain insurance or pay a penalty. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “The Affordable Care Act on Thursday survived a third major challenge as the Supreme Court, on a 7-to-2 vote, turned aside the latest effort by Republicans to kill the health care law. The legislation, President Barack Obama’s defining domestic legacy, has been the subject of relentless Republican hostility. But attempts in Congress to repeal it failed, as did two earlier Supreme Court challenges, in 2012 and 2015. With the passing years, the law gained popularity and became woven into the fabric of the health care system. On Thursday, in what Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. called, in dissent, ‘the third installment in our epic Affordable Care Act trilogy,’ the Supreme Court again sustained the law. Its future now seems secure and its potency as a political issue for Republicans reduced. The margin of victory was wider than in the earlier cases, with six members of the court joining Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s modest and technical majority opinion, one that said only that the 18 Republican-led states and two individuals who brought the case had not suffered the sort of direct injury that gave them standing to sue.” See also, Affordable Care Act survives third Supreme Court challenge, as case from Republican-led states and endorsed by the Trump administration is rejected, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “The third attempt to derail the Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court suffered the same unsuccessful fate of the first two on Thursday, and jubilant Democrats praised the decision preserving the law that now delivers health-care coverage to millions of Americans. On a 7-to-2 vote, the court dismissed the latest challenge from Republican-led states and endorsed by the Trump administration. Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s somewhat technical opinion said neither the states nor individual plaintiffs had legal standing to challenge the law, which also survived challenges in 2012 and 2015. ‘This ruling reaffirms what we have long known to be true: the Affordable Care Act is here to stay,’ tweeted former president Barack Obama. The act is the landmark domestic achievement of his presidency, and is now known by both supporters and detractors as Obamacare. President Biden said he plans to build on the program to offer more Americans health-care coverage.” See also, Supreme Court Leaves Affordable Care Act Intact, The Wall Street Journal, Brent Kendall, Jess Bravin, and Stephanie Armour, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act from Republican-led states in a 7-2 decision, ruling that they lacked standing to bring the case. Texas and other Republican-leaning states, backed by the Trump administration, had sought to strike down the law on technical arguments after Congress reduced to zero the tax penalty for failing to carry health insurance. Thursday’s decision, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, concluded that none of the plaintiffs suffered any injury from zeroing out the penalty and thus lacked legal standing to bring the lawsuit at all. It was the third time the court has preserved the 2010 healthcare law.”

Supreme Court Backs Catholic Agency in Case on Gay Rights and Foster Care. The unanimous ruling was further evidence that claims of religious liberty almost always prevail in the current court. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday that a Catholic social services agency in Philadelphia could defy city rules and refuse to work with same-sex couples who apply to take in foster children. The decision, in the latest clash between antidiscrimination principles and claims of conscience, was a setback for gay rights and further evidence that religious groups almost always prevail in the current court. The court’s surprising consensus on a case that pitted gay rights against religious rights masked deep divisions, with the three most conservative justices issuing caustic concurring opinions criticizing the decision as excessively timid and so narrow as to be meaningless. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for six members of the court, focused narrowly on the terms of the city’s contract with foster care agencies, which forbids discrimination based on, among other things, sexual orientation. But the contract allows city officials to make exceptions, he wrote, and that doomed the requirement that the Catholic agency must screen same-sex couples.”

Supreme Court Limits Human Rights Suits Against Corporations.  Six citizens of Mali had sued Nestlé USA and Cargill, accusing the companies of profiting from child slavery on Ivory Coast cocoa farms. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in favor of two American corporations accused of complicity in child slavery on Ivory Coast cocoa farms. The decision was the latest in a series of rulings imposing strict limits on lawsuits brought in federal court based on human rights abuses abroad. The case was brought by six citizens of Mali who said they were trafficked into slavery as children. They sued Nestlé USA and Cargill, saying the firms had aided and profited from the practice of forced child labor. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for an eight-member majority, said the companies’ activities in the United States were not sufficiently tied to the asserted abuses. The companies, he wrote, drawing on the plaintiffs’ suit, ‘did not own or operate farms in Ivory Coast. But they did buy cocoa from farms located there. They also provided those farms with technical and financial resources — such as training, fertilizer, tools and cash — in exchange for the exclusive right to purchase cocoa.’ The plaintiffs said the companies ‘knew or should have known’ that the farms were using enslaved children but failed to use their economic power to stop the practice. (The companies have denied complicity in child labor.) The flaw in the plaintiffs’ case, Justice Thomas wrote, was its failure adequately to tie the companies’ asserted conduct to their activities in the United States.”

Senator Joe Manchin and the Magic 50th Vote for Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill. Democrats know that their election overhaul has no chance as long as the filibuster exists, but they are eager to show that all that stands in its way are Republicans. The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “Democrats and progressive activists who have been working for months on a sweeping voting rights bill quickly embraced on Thursday a new, far narrower plan suddenly put forward by Senator Joe Manchin III, their party’s sole holdout on the issue. Their decision to do so did nothing to improve the chances that the legislation could get through the Senate, but it reflected another significant goal for Democrats: uniting the party around what it has billed as its highest priority and showing that, were it not for Republican opposition and the filibuster, the elections overhaul would become law. Much to the growing consternation of Senate Republicans, the alternative ideas put forward by Mr. Manchin — a centrist from West Virginia and the only Democrat who has refused to support what is known as S. 1 — quickly gained traction with progressive Democrats and activists, most notably Stacey Abrams, the voting rights champion in Georgia. On Thursday, she praised his plan, even though it is more limited in scope than the original Democratic measure. The proposal would make Election Day a holiday, require 15 days of early voting and ban partisan gerrymandering, among other steps.” See also, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vows to block voting legislation, spurning Manchin’s compromise offer, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Vanessa Williams, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “Senate Republicans vowed Thursday to block voting legislation from advancing later this month, rejecting a key Democratic senator’s compromise offer that adopted some GOP ideas in a bid to break partisan gridlock on the issue. The pledge from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) all but guarantees that Republicans will filibuster a sweeping voting bill that Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) is sending to the floor Tuesday. Parts of the bill are meant to overrule provisions contained in a host of GOP-passed state laws that have placed restrictions on early voting, mail-in voting, ballot drop boxes and other policies that make it easier to cast a ballot, in response to former president Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen 2020 presidential election.”

Juneteenth holiday marking the end of slavery becomes law after decades of inaction, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “President Biden on Thursday signed into law a measure that establishes Juneteenth as a federal holiday, taking advantage of sudden and broad bipartisan agreement to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States after years of debate and inaction. In signing the measure — which resulted in an unexpected day off Friday for federal workers — Biden also used the occasion to advocate for more aggressive action on voting access and other racial equity measures that have been at the heart of his administration’s agenda.”

The House Voted to Repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Invasion of Iraq, and the Senate Will Consider Doing So as Well in a Rare Debate Over War Powers, The New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “The House voted on Thursday to revoke the authorization it gave in 2002 to invade Iraq, a step that would rein in presidential war-making powers for the first time in a generation. The bipartisan action reflected growing determination on Capitol Hill to revisit the broad authority that Congress provided to President George W. Bush following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks through measures that successive presidents have used to justify military action around the world. The 2002 authorization was repeatedly applied well beyond its original intent, including in a campaign much later against the Islamic State in Iraq and for the killing of the Iranian general Qassim Suleimani last year. The vote was 268 to 161, with 49 Republicans joining 219 Democrats in favor of the bill. The debate now moves to the Senate, which is expected to take up similar legislation as the United States military completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan after nearly two decades of fighting there.”

In a first, U.S. charges January 6 defendant with bringing firearms to Capitol under controversial federal rioting law, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “U.S. prosecutors for the first time have charged a defendant in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach with violating a federal law that makes it a crime to transport a firearm or explosive for unlawful use in a riot. The rare weapons charge was handed up Wednesday in a five-count superseding indictment against Guy Wesley Reffitt, 48, who prosecutors say brought a rifle and semiautomatic handgun to Washington and recruited members to a right-wing Texas Three Percenters group claiming he had created a new security business to circumvent gun laws.”

In secret recording, Florida Republican William Braddock threatens to send Russian-Ukrainian ‘hit squad’ after rival, Politico, Marc Caputo, Thursday, 17 June 2021: “A little-known GOP candidate in one of Florida’s most competitive congressional seats was secretly recorded threatening to send ‘a Russian and Ukrainian hit squad’ to a fellow Republican opponent to make her ‘disappear.’ During a 30-minute call with a conservative activist that was recorded before he became a candidate, William Braddock repeatedly warned the activist to not support GOP candidate Anna Paulina Luna in the Republican primary for a Tampa Bay-area congressional seat because he had access to assassins. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), who is running for governor. ‘I really don’t want to have to end anybody’s life for the good of the people of the United States of America,’ Braddock said at one point in the conversation last week, according to the recording exclusively obtained by POLITICO. ‘That will break my heart. But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Luna is a f—ing speed bump in the road. She’s a dead squirrel you run over every day when you leave the neighborhood.'”

 

Friday, 18 June 2021:

 

Democrats Embrace Senator Joe Manchin’s Voting Rights Proposal. A plan put forward by Senator Joe Manchin III is narrower than the sweeping voting rights bill Democrats have been working on for months, but the senator has been the party’s lone holdout on the issue. Infrastructure talks remain in flux. The New York Times, Friday, 18 June 2021:

  • Democrats rally around Manchin’s narrower voting rights bill.

  • Unlikely to meet his July 4 vaccination goal, Biden focuses on a different milestone.

  • Catholic bishops advance a contentious communion plan that targets Biden.

  • Bipartisan legislation aims to help Afghans who aided the U.S. military get visas.

  • A new report shows that the risk of sexual assault for women in the Army is highest at Fort Hood.

  • Housing and Urban Development, at the center of Biden’s social justice plans, confronts a staffing crisis.

  • Trump endorsed Kelly Tshibaka on Friday in her race against Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, giving his support to an outsider candidate who promoted false claims of election fraud last year and has written articles in support of gay conversion therapy.
  • Missouri bans local police from enforcing federal gun laws.

Biden marks milestone of 300 million coronavirus vaccination shots in 150 days, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Eugene Scott, and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 18 June 2021: “President Biden marked the milestone of the United States administering 300 million coronavirus vaccination shots in 150 days during a speech Friday from the White House. He also acknowledged that there is more work to be done in the battle against the pandemic. ‘The truth is that deaths and hospitalizations are drastically down in places where people are getting vaccinated. But unfortunately, cases of hospitalizations are not going down in many places,’ Biden said in pleading with Americans to get vaccinated. Vice President Harris is also focusing on the pandemic by visiting a pop-up vaccination clinic at a Baptist church in Atlanta and attending a ‘vaccination mobilization event’ at a local university. The focus comes as coronavirus cases are declining and jurisdictions are dropping restrictions, but as the country is also on track to fall short of Biden’s goal of administering at least one vaccination shot to 70 percent of adults by July 4.

Here are a few significant developments included in this article.

  • Biden called on Americans to commit to ‘eradicate systemic racism’ in a proclamation issued Friday ahead of the observance of Juneteenth, the nation’s newest federal holiday.
  • Former vice president Mike Pence was heckled onstage at a conference of social conservatives, with a dozen or so activists shouting ‘traitor’ as he introduced himself.
  • The White House laid down a tougher marker against raising the federal gas tax to help pay for an infrastructure package, saying it would violate the president’s promise not to raise taxes on people making less than $400,000.
  • Catholic bishops voted to create guidelines on the meaning of Communion, a move that could be an early step toward limiting the serving of the Eucharist to Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights.
  • Biden announced his plan to nominate Christi A. Grimm as the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, seeking to elevate a longtime government employee whom then-President Donald Trump sought to supplant last year.

 

Saturday, 19 June 2021: Juneteenth

 

How Republican States Are Expanding Their Power Over Elections. In Georgia, Republicans are removing Democrats of color from local boards. In Arkansas, they have stripped election control from county authorities. And they are expanding their election power in many other states. The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein, Saturday, 19 June 2021: “Republican state lawmakers have introduced at least 216 bills in 41 states to give legislatures more power over elections officials, according to the States United Democracy Center, a new bipartisan organization that aims to protect democratic norms. Of those, 24 have been enacted into law across 14 states…. The maneuvers risk eroding some of the core checks that stood as a bulwark against former President Donald J. Trump as he sought to subvert the 2020 election results. Had these bills been in place during the aftermath of the election, Democrats say, they would have significantly added to the turmoil Mr. Trump and his allies wrought by trying to overturn the outcome. They worry that proponents of Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories will soon have much greater control over the levers of the American elections system.”

 

Sunday, 20 June 2021:

 

The push for LGBTQ civil rights stalls in the Senate as advocates search for Republican support, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Sunday, 20 June 2021: “The long march toward equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender Americans — whose advocates have eyed major advances with complete Democratic control in Washington — has run into a wall of opposition in the U.S. Senate. Floundering alongside other liberal priorities such as voting rights, gun control and police reform, legislation that would write protections for LGBTQ Americans into the nation’s foundational civil rights law have stalled due to sharpening Republican rhetoric, one key Democrat’s insistence on bipartisanship, and the Senate’s 60-vote supermajority rule. While Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) hinted at a potential action this month — the annual LGBTQ Pride Month — Senate aides and advocates say there are no immediate plans to vote on the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes of the 1964 Civil Rights Act alongside race, color, religion and national origin. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), one of two openly gay senators, said that she has quietly been lobbying Republican colleagues on the issue and that there has been only ‘incremental progress,’ though efforts are continuing.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs Plans to Offer Gender-Affirming Surgeries for Transgender Veterans, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Sunday, 20 June 2021: “The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to offer gender confirmation surgery to transgender veterans, Denis McDonough, the secretary of veterans affairs, announced over the weekend at a Pride event in Orlando, Fla., in a major shift in available care for former service members. ‘This process will require changing V.A.’s regulations and establishing policy that will ensure the equitable treatment and safety of transgender veterans,’ Mr. McDonough said on Saturday at the event, noting that the change would take time. But he said the surgical needs of transgender veterans had been ‘deserved for a long time.’ Gender-affirming procedures reconstruct sexual organs to match the gender with which an individual identifies and have proved to mitigate serious health concerns like substance abuse, suicide and suicidal ideation, an administration official said, explaining the decision to change the policy. The procedures, which were once considered to be akin to cosmetic surgery, are now widely seen as effective treatment for such issues. The process for changing health care benefits for transgender veterans could take years, and it is not known how many veterans would seek gender confirmation surgeries. The administration official said internal estimates showed that fewer than 4,000 veterans would be interested in the care. There are more than 134,000 transgender veterans, according to an estimate from the National Center for Transgender Equality.”

 

Monday, 21 June 2021:

 

Democrats Plan Debate on Voting Rights Bill. Republicans are united in their opposition, and Democrats are not fully united behind the major overhaul. ‘We are going to see where everyone stands,’ Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, said last week in announcing the debate. The New York Times, Monday, 21 June 2021:

  • The Senate is set to debate this week Democrats’ expansive voting rights bill.

  • Infrastructure talks collide with Democrats’ goal to tax the rich.

  • Over 250 patent judges were not properly appointed, the Supreme Court rules.

  • The V.A. plans to offer gender-confirming surgeries for transgender veterans.

  • U.S. is preparing more sanctions against Russia, national security adviser Jake Sullivan says.

  • Liz Cheney, once Republican royalty, is now a lone warrior.

  • The pandemic stimulus in the U.S. was front-loaded. That could mean a bumpy year.

Regulators tell Biden that the financial system is in ‘strong condition,’ White House says, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Eugene Scott, and Colby Itkowitz, Monday, 21 June 2021: “President Biden met Monday afternoon with financial regulators, including Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, to discuss issues such as climate change and inclusion. ‘The regulators reported that the financial system is in strong condition,’ the White House said in a readout of the meeting. Separately, Vice President Harris traveled to Pittsburgh to mark Monday as Child Tax Credit Awareness Day, a designation created by the administration to ensure that low- and middle-income families know about the expanded credit made available in the American Rescue Plan. Later, she spoke at a roundtable with a local union to discuss the importance of workers’ organizing.

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

  • The economy is roaring back, but it looks very different than it did before the pandemic.
  • Voting rights will be center stage this week as the Senate prepares to take its first procedural vote Tuesday on the For the People Act.
  • Liberal Democrats are pushing back against a bipartisan Senate infrastructure proposal that would raise the gas tax, creating another hurdle for Biden.
  • Trump firm sues New York to regain control of Bronx golf course.

Attorney General Merrick Garland tries to untangle the Trump legacy at the Justice Department, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Monday, 21 June 2021: “Three months into his new job, judge-turned-attorney-general Merrick Garland, who inherited a demoralized and politicized Justice Department, is facing criticism from some Democrats that he is not doing enough to quickly expunge Trump-era policies and practices. On a host of issues ranging from leak investigations to civil and criminal cases involving former president Donald Trump, Garland has been beset by a ­growing chorus of congressional ­second-guessers, even as he insists he is scrupulously adhering to the principles of equal justice under the law. How he charts his way through the current controversies and still-unresolved politically sensitive cases is likely to determine how much of a long-term impact the Trump presidency has on the Justice Department.”

FBI agent acknowledges in court filing that Trump backers discussed ‘revolution’ before January 6. Language in an FBI court document contrasts with how Director Wray has portrayed what experts call a vast trove of intel pointing to potential violence. NBC News, Ken Dilanian, Monday, 21 June 2021: “The FBI director and other senior officials have consistently downplayed the intelligence value of social media posts by Trump supporters prior to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, suggesting the bureau had no ‘actionable’ warning that the Capitol would be targeted by a mob. But according to a document entered into court records last week, an FBI agent acknowledged in a February investigative report that angry Trump supporters were talking openly in the days before the riot about bringing guns to the Capitol to start a ‘revolution.’ ‘A review of open source and social media posts leading up to and during the event indicates that individuals participating on the “Stop the Steal,” rally were angered about the results of the 2020 presidential election and felt that Joseph Biden had unlawfully been declared President-Elect,’ said the report by FBI Special Agent Patricia Norden. ‘Users in multiple online groups and platforms discussed traveling to the Capitol armed or making plans to start a ‘revolution’ on that day.'”

New book offers fresh details about chaos and conflicts inside Trump’s pandemic response. At one point, Trump mused about transferring US citizens infected with Covid to Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. The Washington Post, Dan Diamond, Monday, 21 June 2021: “In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil. ‘Don’t we have an island that we own?’ the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. ‘What about Guantánamo? We import goods,’ Trump specified, lecturing his staff. ‘We are not going to import a virus.’ Aides were stunned, and when Trump brought it up a second time, they quickly scuttled the idea, worried about a backlash over quarantining American tourists on the same Caribbean base where the United States holds terrorism suspects. Such insider conversations are among the revelations in ‘Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,’ a new book by Washington Post journalists Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta that captures the dysfunctional response to the unfolding pandemic. The book — which draws on interviews with more than 180 people, including multiple White House senior staff members and government health leaders — offers new insights into last year’s chaotic and often-bungled response, portraying the power struggles over the leadership of the White House coronavirus task force, the unrelenting feuds that hampered cooperation and the enormous efforts made to prevent Trump from acting on his worst instincts. The Post obtained a copy of the book ahead of its June 29 publication.”

 

Tuesday, 22 June 2021:

 

Republicans Use Filibuster to Block Voting Rights Bill, The New York Times, Tuesday, 22 June 2021:

  • Republicans block a sweeping voting rights bill, dealing Biden and Democrats a defeat.

  • For Democrats and voting rights groups, the push for federal voting protections is far from over.

  • This is how the Democrats’ strategy on a voting rights bill morphed over two years.

  • 4 in the Saudi team that killed Khashoggi got paramilitary training in the U.S., a Times investigation finds.

  • Suicides among post-9/11 veterans are four times as high as combat deaths, a new study finds.

  • Garland will not review the Justice Department’s actions under Trump.

  • Sanders signals openness to adjusting SALT cap to retain key votes as he maneuvers to pass Biden’s agenda.

  • The Senate confirms Kiran Ahuja, Biden’s nominee to run the Office of Personnel Management.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says the United States needs ‘more inclusive prosperity.’
  • A Senate committee on Tuesday discussed legislation that would establish Washington, D.C., as the nation’s 51st state, after the House passed the measure along party lines earlier this year.
  • Priorities USA, one of the biggest Democratic super PACs, announced on Tuesday that it will pump $20 million into voting rights initiatives ahead of the 2020 election cycle, aiming to combat Republican-led election laws with digital ads and organizing as well as in the courts.

Democrats and the White House regroup on expanding voting access after Republicans block debate on the For the People Act, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Donna Cassata, Eugene Scott, and Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 22 June 2021: “The White House and Democrats are regrouping on expanding ballot access after Senate Republicans blocked an expansive voting rights bill, dealing a blow to federal efforts to counter state-imposed limits in Republican-led states. In a statement after the vote Tuesday, President Biden said, ‘This fight is far from over. Senate Republicans opposed even a debate — even considering — legislation to protect the right to vote and our democracy. It was the suppression of a bill to end voter suppression — another attack on voting rights that is sadly not unprecedented,’ Biden said. The president met in the afternoon with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell to discuss how the agency is preparing for natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires this summer.

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

  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) wrote a Washington Post op-ed about her opposition to eliminating the filibuster.
  • Vice President Harris cast the tiebreaking vote on advancing the nomination of Kiran Ahuja, Biden’s choice to lead the Office of Personnel Management.
  • New Yorkers are voting in a primary to choose a candidate to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).
  • Former president Donald Trump’s company is suing the city of New York over the cancellation of a contract to run a city-owned golf course in the Bronx.

Senate Republicans block Democrats’ sweeping elections reform bill, Politico, Marianne Levine and Zach Montellaro, Tuesday, 22 June 2021: “Senate Republicans blocked Democrats’ sweeping elections and ethics reform bill on Tuesday, renewing calls from progressives to nix the legislative filibuster. In a 50-50 vote, the Senate failed to move forward on the legislation, a top priority for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The path forward is now murky at best on an issue that Democrats say they need to resolve before the 2022 midterms. Following the vote, Schumer vowed that Democrats would explore ‘every last one of our options’ and pledged that the issue would come up for debate again in the Senate. ‘Democrats are going to keep going all summer, all fall, as long as it takes,’ Schumer said. ‘This concerns the very core of our democracy. So we will not let it go. We will not let it die. This voter suppression cannot stand. And we are going to work tirelessly to see that it does not stand.'” See also, Republicans Block Voting Rights Bill, Dealing Blow to Biden and Democrats, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 22 June 2021: “Republicans on Tuesday blocked the most ambitious voting rights legislation to come before Congress in a generation, dealing a blow to Democrats’ attempts to counter a wave of state-level ballot restrictions and supercharging a campaign to end the legislative filibuster. President Biden and Democratic leaders said the defeat was only the beginning of their drive to steer federal voting rights legislation into law, and vowed to redouble their efforts in the weeks ahead.”

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Blocks Ruling That Overturned California’s Assault Weapons Ban. The decision by a three-judge panel leaves the three-decade-old ban in place while litigation continues. The New York Times, Azi Paybarah, Tuesday, 22 June 2021: “A federal appeals court on Monday put a hold on a federal judge’s ruling that overturned California’s 32-year-old ban on assault weapons. The state law, which dates to 1989, was challenged in a 2019 lawsuit filed against the state’s attorney general by plaintiffs including James Miller, a California resident, and the San Diego County Gun Owners, a political action committee. On June 4, Judge Roger T. Benitez of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California said in a decision that the state law defining assault weapons and restricting their use was unconstitutional. ‘Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment,’ Judge Benitez wrote in the first line of a 94-page decision…. But the judge granted a 30-day stay of the ruling at the request of California’s attorney general, Rob Bonta, a move that allowed Mr. Bonta to appeal it. In a decision on Monday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit further extended Judge Benitez’s stay, pending resolution of another case challenging the ban. ‘The stay shall remain in effect until further order of this court,’ the judges wrote.”

Saudi Operatives Who Killed Khashoggi Received Paramilitary Training in the U.S. The training, approved by the State Department, underscores the perils of military partnerships with repressive governments. The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti, Julian E. Barnes, and Michael LaForgia, Tuesday, 22 June 2021: “Four Saudis who participated in the 2018 killing of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi received paramilitary training in the United States the previous year under a contract approved by the State Department, according to documents and people familiar with the arrangement. The instruction occurred as the secret unit responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s killing was beginning an extensive campaign of kidnapping, detention and torture of Saudi citizens ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, to crush dissent inside the kingdom. The training was provided by the Arkansas-based security company Tier 1 Group, which is owned by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. The company says the training — including ‘safe marksmanship’ and ‘countering an attack’ — was defensive in nature and devised to better protect Saudi leaders. One person familiar with the training said it also included work in surveillance and close-quarters battle. There is no evidence that the American officials who approved the training or Tier 1 Group executives knew that the Saudis were involved in the crackdown inside Saudi Arabia. But the fact that the government approved high-level military training for operatives who went on to carry out the grisly killing of a journalist shows how intensely intertwined the United States has become with an autocratic nation even as its agents committed horrific human rights abuses.”

Trump asked whether the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission could investigate Saturday Night Live after it mocked him, Business Insider, Sinéad Baker, Tuesday, 22 June 2021: “President Donald Trump asked advisors and lawyers to look into how ‘Saturday Night Live’ and other late-night shows could be punished after they mocked him, The Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley reported on Tuesday. Two sources told the outlet that Trump had asked aides in 2019 to look at what the Federal Communications Commission, US courts, and the Department of Justice could do about ‘SNL’ and other shows, like ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live.’ Trump tweeted in March 2019 that he wanted federal agencies to investigate ‘SNL.’ ‘It’s truly incredible that shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of the other side,’ he said. ‘Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this? There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia!’ The Daily Beast report is the first indication that Trump took further action on the matter. Sources told the outlet that Trump had to be repeatedly advised that the shows are satire, meaning they’re protected. They added that Trump seemed disappointed that there was no way he could legally challenge them.”

 

Wednesday, 23 June 2021:

 

Biden Pushes New Efforts to Tackle Gun Violence. The president made clear that he intends to approach crime prevention by investing in, rather than defunding, the police. Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to El Paso on Friday with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. The New York Times, Wednesday, 23 June 2021:

  • Biden addresses rising gun violence amid continued calls for police reform.

  • Facing mounting pressure, Harris will travel to the southern border Friday.

  • Senators to meet with Biden on Thursday after potential breakthrough on a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

  • Biden administration forces out Border Patrol chief, a supporter of Trump’s policies.

  • The first person to be sentenced in connection to the Capitol riot will serve no prison time.

  • Cindy McCain is Biden’s choice for ambassador to the U.N.’s food program.

  • General Milley pushes back on Republican accusations of a ‘woke’ military.

  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin endorses a plan to remove sexual assault cases from commanders.
  • The defeat of the voting rights bill could open up new paths to reform.
  • The Biden administration plans to extend the federal moratorium on evictions for another month.

Biden outlines steps on gun-crime prevention as he warns of spike in summer, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Eugene Scott, and Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 23 June 2021: “President Biden delivered remarks Wednesday afternoon on his administration’s plan to prevent gun crime, amid a recent rise in homicides and other violent crime across the country. ‘Crime historically rises during the summer. As we emerge from this pandemic, with the country opening back up again, the traditional summer spike may be more pronounced than it usually would beBiden said. The president announced that he is directing his administration to revoke the licenses of gun sellers who neglect to run required background checks or are caught willfully selling a weapon to a person who is not permitted to have one. He will also allow $350 billion in federal stimulus money to be used instead to fund police departments in areas that have recorded an increase in crime. On Wednesday morning, Biden attended the funeral of the late senator John Warner (R-Va.) at Washington National Cathedral, where he praised his longtime Senate colleague as a statesman who ‘understood that democracy is more than a form of government.’

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

  • Vice President Harris will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday, amid mounting criticism from Republicans that neither she nor Biden has traveled to the country’s southern border.
  • Prominent Democrats have increasingly softened their opposition to voter identification requirements that activists have long vilified as an insidious method of keeping minorities from the ballot box.
  • New York’s Democratic primary for mayor was left unsettled on Tuesday night, with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams appearing to have the advantage.
  • Socialist India Walton ousted four-term Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in Tuesday’s Democratic primary and is all but certain to win in November in the heavily Democratic city, New York’s second-biggest.

Supreme Court Rules Against Union Recruiting on California Farms. The case concerned a unique state regulation allowing labor representatives to meet with farm workers at their workplaces for up to three hours a day for as many as 120 days a year. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 23 June 2021: “The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a California regulation allowing union organizers to recruit agricultural workers at their workplaces violated the constitutional rights of their employers. The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said that ‘the access regulation grants labor organizations a right to invade the growers’ property.’ That meant, he wrote, that it was a taking of private property without just compensation. The decision did away with a major achievement of the farmworkers’ movement led by Cesar Chavez in the 1970s, which had argued that allowing organizers to enter workplaces was the only practical way to give farmworkers, who can be nomadic and poorly educated, a realistic chance to consider joining a union. The ruling was the latest blow to unions from a court that has issued several decisions limiting the power of organized labor.” See also, Supreme Court strikes down California regulation allowing union access to farmworkers on growers’ land, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Wednesday, 23 June 2021: “The Supreme Court split along ideological lines Wednesday in ruling that a California regulation that gives union organizers access to workers on the state’s farms violates the rights of the property owners. ‘The access regulation grants labor organizations a right to invade the growers’ property,’ Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for himself and the court’s other conservatives in the 6-to-3 ruling. That is the kind of uncompensated ‘taking’ of private property by the government that the Constitution forbids, he wrote. At stake was a landmark law, unique to California, passed in 1975 to ‘ensure peace in the agricultural fields’ between workers and growers. It was the first to recognize farmworkers’ collective bargaining rights, the product of the movement led by César E. Chávez, Dolores Huerta and others. The state gives union organizers access, with advance notice, to growers’ property three times a day for no more than four 30-day periods in a calendar year. It restricts organizers to meeting with workers one hour before work, one hour during their lunch break and one hour after work. In reality, California and the unions argued, organizing efforts rarely last that long. The court’s decision was the latest in a string of setbacks for organized labor at the high court, and a long-sought victory for property rights groups.”

Michigan Republicans Debunk Voter Fraud Claims in Unsparing Report. The report, produced by a Republican-led committee in the State Senate, exposes false claims made about the 2020 election by Trump allies in Michigan and other states. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Wednesday, 23 June 2021: “A committee led by Michigan Republicans on Wednesday published an extraordinary debunking of voter fraud claims in the state, delivering a comprehensive rebuke to a litany of accusations about improprieties in the 2020 election and its aftermath. The 55-page report, produced by a Michigan State Senate committee of three Republicans and one Democrat, is a systematic rebuttal to an array of false claims about the election from supporters of former President Donald J. Trump. The authors focus overwhelmingly on Michigan, but they also expose lies perpetuated about the vote-counting process in Georgia. The report is unsparing in its criticism of those who have promoted false theories about the election. It debunks claims from Trump allies including Mike Lindell, the chief executive of MyPillow; Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former president’s lawyer; and Mr. Trump himself. Yet while the report eviscerates claims about election fraud, its authors also use the allegations to urge their legislative colleagues to change Michigan’s voting laws to make absentee voting harder and limit the availability of drop boxes for absentee ballots, as Republicans have done in other swing states as they try to limit voting.”

Top U.S. military leader General Mark A. Milley: ‘I want to understand White rage. And I’m White.’ Milley gave a fiery response to criticism from Republican Representative Mike Waltz  of the military’s handling of race. The Washington Post, Alex Horton, Wednesday, 23 June 2021: “Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admonished lawmakers over questions about critical race theory at a Wednesday hearing, saying it is important for leaders to be well-versed in many schools of thought. ‘I’ve read Mao Zedong. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist,’ Milley told the House Armed Services Committee. ‘So what is wrong with understanding … the country which we are here to defend?’ Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) criticized reports that the U.S. Military Academy at West Point teaches a course involving the theory, which broadly explores the idea that racism reaches beyond individual prejudice and affects minorities at the institutional level, particularly in criminal justice. A guest lecturer at the academy included phrases such as ‘White rage,’ Waltz claimed, and he pressed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the nation’s first Black Pentagon chief, to investigate further. Soon after, when the committee gave Milley a chance to expand, he launched into an impassioned defense of inquiry about U.S. society and its racial dynamics. He emphasized that the U.S. Military Academy is a university.”

‘The Tea Party to the 10th power’: Trumpworld bets big on critical race theory. Republicans aren’t coy about what they are trying to do. It’s not just about changing curricula. It’s about taking back Congress. Politico, Theodoric Meyer, Maggie Severns, and Meridith McGraw, Wednesday, 23 June 2021: “Former top aides to President Donald Trump have begun an aggressive push to combat the teaching of critical race theory and capitalize on the issue politically, confident that a backlash will vault them back into power. These officials, including Trump’s former campaign chief and two former budget advisers, have poured money and organizational muscle into the fight. They’ve aided activists who are pushing back against the concept that racism has been systemic to American society and institutions after centuries of slavery and Jim Crow. And some of them have begun working with members of Congress to bar the military from holding diversity trainings and to withhold federal funds from schools and colleges that promote anything that can be packaged as critical race theory.”

This sedition is brought to you by… Total corporate and industry spending on Sedition Caucus members, CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), Wednesday, 23 June 2021: “In the wake of the Capitol insurrection on January 6th, nearly two hundred corporations and industry groups said they would pause or altogether stop making political contributions to the 147 members of Congress who voted against certifying the election and continue to propagate the Big Lie that led to the attack. In the months since, corporate and industry interests have had to choose whether to do their part to uphold our democracy by turning off the flow of corporate donations to these members, also known as the Sedition Caucus, or to continue to support them in order to seek political influence. Many have failed this test, some reneging on a promise to change their giving while others made no commitment and are giving like nothing ever happened. By continuing to fund members of Congress who would undermine American democracy, these corporations and industry groups are sacrificing democratic government for access and influence…. Note: the data on this page will update daily, so please check back often for new totals.”

U.S. to admit asylum-seekers whose cases were closed during the Trump administration, CBS News, Camilo Montoya-Galvez, Tuesday, 22 June 2021: “The Biden administration will be allowing asylum-seekers who were ordered to be deported for not attending their court hearings under the Trump-era ‘Remain-in-Mexico’ program to enter the U.S. and re-start their proceedings here, according to a notice sent to Congress and obtained by CBS News. Asylum-seekers whose cases were terminated will also be eligible for admission starting Wednesday under this phase of the Biden administration’s draw down of the Remain-in-Mexico program, which required 70,000 non-Mexican migrants to wait outside the U.S. for their court hearings. The Biden administration has already admitted more than 11,000 asylum-seekers who were previously required to wait in Mexico. The first phase benefitted asylum-seekers with pending cases….”

 

Thursday, 24 June 2021:

 

Biden Agrees to Bipartisan Group’s Infrastructure Plan, Saying ‘We Have a Deal.’ The plan is expected to increase federal spending by nearly $600 billion but leave many of President Biden’s economic proposals, including investments in child care and much of his climate agenda, for a future bill.  The New York Times, Thursday, 24 June 2021:

  • Biden signs on to a bipartisan infrastructure compromise, but says it must be accompanied by a larger package.

  • Here’s what made it into the bipartisan infrastructure plan.

  • Pelosi says she will create a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

  • New York court suspends Giuliani’s law license, citing Trump election lies.

  • Two top travel officials for Kamala Harris are departing, just as a rush of touring begins.

  • The Biden administration will relocate thousands of Afghans, at risk for helping American troops, to third countries.

  • The C.D.C. grants a one-month extension of the national moratorium on evictions.

  • The Bidens hit the road as part of a high-profile ‘ground game’ to boost vaccinations.

  • The Biden administration has defended a contentious pipeline project that would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil through Minnesota’s delicate watersheds, urging in a court brief that a challenge brought by local tribes and environmental groups be thrown out.
  • A federal judge appointed by Bush halts loan forgiveness payments to minority farmers.
  • Here’s why some Democrats are softening their resistance to voter ID laws.
  • After the defeat of a voting rights bill, the filibuster fight has entered a new phase.
  • Meet India Walton, who is poised to become the first socialist at the helm of a large U.S. city (Buffalo) in decades.

Biden casts bipartisan deal on infrastructure as path to job creation, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Felicia Sonmez, Eugene Scott, and Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 24 June 2021: “President Biden announced a deal on an infrastructure package Thursday after meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House. The president stood in the White House driveway with the senators and said both sides had to make ‘serious compromises.’ ‘This agreement signals to the world that we can function, deliver and do significant things,’ Biden said in later remarks about the deal. ‘These investments represent the kind of national effort that throughout our history has literally not failed.’ In the afternoon, Biden traveled to Raleigh, N.C., to visit a mobile vaccination unit at a community center as part of the White House’s effort to persuade hesitant Americans to get vaccinated. ‘If you’re vaccinated … you’re safe,’ he said in remarks on the importance of getting the coronavirus vaccine. ‘And unvaccinated people are incredibly vulnerable.’

Here are a few significant developments included in this article.

  • Debate over massive new spending in the infrastructure bill comes as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is warning lawmakers that the nation’s debt ceiling must be raised by August.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that House Democrats will form a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to form an independent, bipartisan commission.
  • New York state suspended Rudolph W. Giuliani from practicing law Thursday, months after the former New York mayor battled to overturn the settled results of the presidential election on behalf of President Donald Trump.
  • 2024 watch: Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will be the keynote speaker at the Iowa GOP’s annual Lincoln Day dinner. Former vice president Mike Pence will speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute in Los Angeles on ‘critical questions facing the future of the Republican Party.’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Will Move to Create a Select Panel to Investigate the Capitol Riot, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Thursday, 24 June 2021: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she would move to create a select committee to further investigate the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, promising a meticulous look into the riot and its root causes after Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan push to form an independent commission to do so. The effort came after Ms. Pelosi had signaled for weeks that she planned to take matters into her own hands after Republicans thwarted attempts to scrutinize the storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump loyalists who sought to disrupt Congress’s counting of electoral votes to formalize President Biden’s victory. It would require the approval of the Democratic-controlled House.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces creation of select committee to investigate January 6 violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, CBS News, Zak Hudak and Grace Segers, Thursday, 24 June 2021: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday the creation of a select committee to examine the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. She told House colleagues of her intention to do so earlier on Thursday morning. ‘It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day, and ensure that an attack of that kind cannot happen and that we root out the causes of it all. The select committee will investigate and report on the facts and the causes of the attack and it will make report recommendations for the prevention of any future attack,’ Pelosi said during her weekly press conference. She said that the investigation would take ‘two paths’: looking at the ‘root causes’ of the attack, and the failures in security of the Capitol.”

New York State Appellate Court Temporarily Suspends Giuliani’s Law License, Citing Trump Election Lies. The former mayor of New York, once the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, is temporarily barred from practicing law in the state and faces possible disbarment. The New York Times, Nicole Hong, William K. Rashbaum, and Ben Protess, Thursday, 24 June 2021: “Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former top federal prosecutor, New York City mayor and lawyer to a president, had his law license suspended after a New York court ruled on Thursday that he made ‘demonstrably false and misleading statements’ while fighting the results of the 2020 election on behalf of Donald J. Trump. The move was a humbling blow to a man who was once known as a law-and-order crusader and whose political ambitions and creative courtroom tactics against mob bosses turned him into a fixture on national television. The New York State appellate court temporarily suspended Mr. Giuliani’s law license on the recommendation of a disciplinary committee after finding he had sought to mislead judges, lawmakers and the public as he helped shepherd Mr. Trump’s legal challenge to the election results. For months, Mr. Giuliani, who was Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, had argued without merit that the vote had been rife with fraud and that voting machines had been rigged. In its 33-page decision, the court said that Mr. Giuliani’s actions represented an ‘immediate threat’ to the public and that he had ‘directly inflamed’ the tensions that led to the Capitol riot in January. ‘The seriousness of respondent’s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated. This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden,’ the decision read.”

Department of Homeland Security is concerned about Trump reinstatement conspiracy theory, top official says. DHS’s top counterterrorism official told members of Congress about the department’s concerns in a private briefing. Politico, Betsy Woodruff Swan, Thursday, 24 June 2021: “The conspiracy theory that Donald Trump will be reinstated as president in August has sparked concerns at the Department of Homeland Security, a top official there told members of Congress on Wednesday. The exchange came in a members-only briefing that John Cohen, the department’s top counterterrorism official, gave to the House Committee on Homeland Security. Three people familiar with the briefing described it to POLITICO. They requested anonymity to discuss the private conversation.”

QAnon fans are thrilled after OAN (One America News) host pushes mass ‘execution’ for people who ‘stole’ the election from Trump, Raw Story, Brad Reed, Thursday, 24 June 2021: “Believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory are enthusiastically circulating a video of a contributor at the Trump-loving One America News calling for the mass execution of the former president’s enemies. Via The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer, an OAN contributor this week went off on a rant in which he falsely claimed that ‘voter fraud’ cost former President Donald Trump the 2020 election, and said it was time to think about how to deal with the purported perpetrators. ‘Exactly how many people were involved in these efforts to undermine the election?’ he asked. ‘Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? How many people does it take to carry out a coup against the presidency?’ He then pivoted to the consequences that the purported coup plotters will face once their treachery is exposed. ‘In the past, America had a very good solution for dealing with such traitors: Execution,’ he said. According to Sommer, the clip has gone viral in QAnon chat rooms.”

 

Friday, 25 June 2021:

 

Biden Meets With President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, The New York Times, Friday, 25 June 2021:

  • Biden meets President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan at the White House.

  • During a visit prompted by G.O.P. criticism, Harris says immigration ‘cannot be reduced to a political issue.’

  • Biden signs bill creating National Pulse Memorial and commemorates Pride Month.

  • The Justice Department sues Georgia over its new voting law.

  • U.S. has no explanation for unidentified objects and doesn’t rule out aliens.

  • D.C. police officer injured on Jan. 6 will meet with Representative Kevin McCarthy, the leader of House Republicans.

  • Supreme Court sides with Alaskan Natives in dispute over coronavirus aid.

  • A bipartisan infrastructure deal teeters just a day after it was announced.
  • House votes to restore Obama-era regulations on methane.
  • They seemed like Democratic activists. They were secretly conservative spies.
  • The Biden administration is in the later stages of planning how to phase out a Trump-era public health rule that has allowed border agents to rapidly turn away most migrants who have arrived at the southern border during the pandemic, according to two administration officials.

‘Pride is back at the White House’: Biden commemorates LGBTQ Pride Month, The Washington Post, Eugene Scott, Felicia Sonmez, and Amy B Wang, Friday, 25 June 2021: “President Biden on Friday commemorated LGBTQ+ Pride Month, signing legislation designating the National Pulse Memorial and urging passage of the Equality Act. ‘Pride Month represents so much,’ Biden said at a White House gathering. ‘It stands for courage. … And above all, Pride month stands for love.’ Also Friday, Biden met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House. Biden pledged that the United States will remain committed to Afghanistan after U.S. forces leave the country, but said that after nearly two decades of war, the future of the country is in its own hands. Vice President Harris traveled to El Paso, where she visited a Border Patrol station, met with immigration advocates and delivered remarks. For weeks, Republicans have criticized Harris for not traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border areas where the country’s immigration problems are unfolding most acutely. In a tacit acknowledgment of the criticism, Harris told reporters: ‘I said in March I was going to come to the border. This is not a new plan. But the reality of it is we have to deal with causes and we have to deal with the effects.’

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

  • Justice Department officials announced a federal lawsuit against Georgia over new statewide voting restrictions that federal authorities allege purposefully discriminate against Black Americans.
  • Biden signed legislation Friday designating the National Pulse Memorial. In 2016, the Orlando nightclub Pulse was the site of the country’s deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community. Biden also delivered remarks at the White House to commemorate Pride Month.
  • If passed by Congress, a bipartisan infrastructure deal would show that Biden has found a way to bridge a divided Washington and achieve an agreement that eluded his predecessor.
  • Former vice president Mike Pence on Thursday defended his actions on Jan. 6, telling a Republican crowd that it would have been unconstitutional to reject electoral votes already certified by the states.
  • Biden signs executive order to further equity and inclusiveness in federal hiring.

What Happened at Derek Chauvin’s Sentencing for George Floyd’s Murder. A prison sentence of over 22 years brings a measure of closure to a case that set off protests across the nation over police abuse of Black people. The New York Times, Friday, 25 June 2021: “After an extraordinary sequence of emotional testimony in a Minneapolis courtroom on Friday, a judge sentenced Derek Chauvin, a former police officer, to 22 and a half years in prison for murdering George Floyd while on duty by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes as he pleaded for air. The sentence came more than two months after Mr. Chauvin’s trial concluded with a guilty verdict on all three counts, which included the most serious charge of second-degree murder, as well as third-degree murder and manslaughter. But the courtroom drama continued on Friday with powerful testimony from both sides.” See also, Derek Chauvin Is Sentenced to 22 1/2 Years for the Murder of George Floyd, NPR, Bill Chappell, Friday, 25 June 2021: “A Minnesota judge sentenced Derek Chauvin to 22 1/2 years in prison Friday for the murder of George Floyd — a punishment that exceeds the state’s minimum guidelines but falls short of prosecutors’ request of a 30-year sentence. As he issued the sentence, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said Chauvin will be credited for the 199 days he has already served. The sentence ‘is one of the longest a former police officer has ever received for an unlawful use of deadly force,’ Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said, calling it a ‘moment of real accountability.’ Cahill detailed his reasoning in a 22-page legal memorandum. In court, he spoke about pain — something he said has marked this case. ‘I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family,’ Cahill said. ‘You have our sympathies, and I acknowledge and hear the pain that you are feeling.'”

Officer Michael Fanone, Who Was Seriously Injured by the Pro-Trump Mob During the January 6 Capitol Riot, Asks Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy to Publicly Disavow the Lies Republican Lawmakers Have Been Telling About the Deadly Attack. He Came Away Disappointed. The New York Times, Luke Boradwater, Friday, 25 June 2021: “For weeks, Michael Fanone, a Washington police officer who was seriously injured during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, had asked to meet privately with Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the top House Republican, to discuss the assault, to no avail. So on Friday, when Officer Fanone finally got his session with Mr. McCarthy at the Capitol, he had a clear request at the ready: for the minority leader to publicly denounce the lies Republican lawmakers have been telling about the deadly attack. He wanted Mr. McCarthy to push them to stop downplaying the storming of the building, blaming left-wing extremists for an assault carried out by former President Donald J. Trump’s right-wing supporters and spreading the baseless conspiracy theory that the F.B.I. secretly planned it. He came away disappointed. ‘He said he would address it at a personal level, with some of those members,’ Officer Fanone told reporters after the roughly hourlong meeting. ‘I think that as the leader of the House Republican Party, it’s important to hear those denouncements publicly.'”

Justice Department Sues Georgia Over Voting Restrictions Law. The lawsuit came after Republicans blocked ambitious federal legislation this week to protect voting rights. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Nick Corasaniti, and Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 25 June 2021: “The Justice Department sued Georgia on Friday over a sweeping voting law passed by the state’s Republican-led legislature, the first significant move by the Biden administration to challenge state-level ballot restrictions enacted since the 2020 election. ‘The rights of all eligible citizens to vote are the central pillars of our democracy,’ Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a news conference at the Justice Department. ‘They are the rights from which all other rights ultimately flow.’ The complaint accuses the Georgia law of effectively discriminating against Black voters and seeks to show that state lawmakers intended to violate their rights. It says that several of the law’s provisions ‘were passed with a discriminatory purpose,’ Kristen Clarke, the head of the department’s civil rights division, said at the news conference.” See also, Justice Department Says  Georgia’s New Voting Law Aims to Restrict Black Vote. Biden administration launches federal lawsuit challenging state’s changes to voting regulations. The Wall Street Journal, Aruna Viswanatha and Cameron McWhirter, Friday, 25 June 2021: “The Biden administration sued the state of Georgia on Friday, alleging its new voting law aims to restrict the rights of Black voters, marking the administration’s first such challenge to Republican-backed efforts in multiple states to tighten voting laws. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Atlanta, alleges that Georgia violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act when it earlier this year enacted changes to the state’s election requirements, including altering how people cast absentee ballots and where people can drop off their ballots.” See also, Justice Department sues state of Georgia over new voting restrictions, The Washington Post, David Nakamura and Devlin Barrett, Friday, 25 June 2021: “Justice Department officials announced a federal lawsuit Friday against Georgia over new statewide voting restrictions that federal authorities allege purposefully discriminate against Black Americans, the first major action by the Biden administration to confront what it describes as efforts by Republican-led jurisdictions to limit election turnout. The legal challenge takes aim at Georgia’s Election Integrity Act, which was passed in March by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R). The law imposes new limits on the use of absentee ballots, makes it a crime for outside groups to provide food and water to voters waiting at polling stations, and hands greater control over election administration to the legislature.”

Georgia judge dismisses most of lawsuit that alleged fraudulent absentee ballots in Fulton CountyThe Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Friday, 25 June 2021: “A Georgia judge on Thursday dismissed most of a lawsuit that alleged there were fraudulent mail-in ballots in Fulton County from the 2020 presidential election, dealing a potential blow to a group of local voters that has pushed to inspect all 147,000 absentee ballots cast in the state’s largest county last November. Superior Court Judge Brian Amero on Thursday dismissed seven of the lawsuit’s nine claims against Fulton County officials on the basis of Georgia’s sovereign immunity laws. Amero did not dismiss two counts in the lawsuit that sought digital images of the mail-in ballots through the state’s open records law. Fulton County election officials and local representatives have repeatedly asserted that there has been no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, a claim perpetuated by former president Donald Trump, who has continued to baselessly allege that the election was stolen from him. President Biden won Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes, the first time the state had gone for a Democrat since 1992.”

Department of Justice to launch task force to address rise in threats against election officials, CNN Politics, Evan Perez and Christina Carrega, Friday, 25 June 2021: “The Justice Department announced on Friday that it is launching a task force to address the rise in threats against election officials, according to a memo sent to all federal prosecutors and the FBI.‘ The Department of Justice has a long history of protecting every American’s right to vote, and will continue to do so. To that end, we must also work tirelessly to protect all election workers—whether they be elected officials, appointed officials, or those who volunteer their time—against the threats they face,’ according to the memo written by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. Jurisdictions across the country, especially with high-stake local elections like in Fulton County, Georgia, reported receiving threats and racist taunts.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland backs legislation to end subpoenas for reporters’ records. He says he has barred such demands, but action by Congress is the only way to make protection ‘durable.’ Politico, Josh Gerstein, Friday, 25 June 2021: “Attorney General Merrick Garland has endorsed the idea of legislation to create an enduring ban on federal prosecutors subpoenaing reporters or their phone or email records in federal investigations, but he stopped short of announcing an official endorsement on behalf of the Biden administration. During a press conference at Justice Department headquarters Friday, Garland reiterated that he is planning both an informal directive and new regulations to implement the policy change he announced last month ending such demands. That move followed public statements from President Joe Biden expressing outrage at recent disclosures that the Justice Department sought phone and email records from The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN reporters in connection with leak investigations.”

Trump Organization Could Face Criminal Charges in Manhattan District Attorney Inquiry, The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, and Jonah E. Bromwich, Friday, 25 June 2021: “The Manhattan district attorney’s office has informed Donald J. Trump’s lawyers that it is considering criminal charges against his family business, the Trump Organization, in connection with fringe benefits the company awarded a top executive, according to several people with knowledge of the matter. The prosecutors had been building a case for months against the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, as part of an effort to pressure him to cooperate with a broader inquiry into Mr. Trump’s business dealings. But it was not previously known that the Trump Organization also might face charges. If the case moves ahead, the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., could announce charges as soon as next week, the people said. Mr. Vance’s prosecutors have been conducting the investigation along with lawyers from the office of the New York State attorney general, Letitia James.”

House passes resolution that would repeal a Trump-era Environmental Protection Agency rule on methane emissions, CNN Politics, Daniella Diaz and Kristin Wilson, Friday, 25 June 2021: “The House voted Friday to repeal a Trump-era rule that rolled back regulations of methane emissions from oil and gas industries, sending a resolution to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature as his administration looks to combat climate change. The final vote was 229-191. All Democrats supported the resolution, and 12 Republicans broke ranks and supported it as well. The resolution would restore an Obama-era rule that controlled leaks of methane from oil and gas operations.”

Biden executive order aims to further equity and inclusiveness in federal hiring, The Washington Post, Joe Davidson, Friday, 25 June 2021: “President Biden issued an executive order Friday to ‘advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the Federal Government.’ The directive builds on Biden’s Inauguration Day promise for ‘an ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda,’ according to a White House fact sheet accompanying the order. The White House statement said ‘the enduring legacies of employment discrimination, systemic racism, and gender inequality are still felt today. Too many underserved communities remain under-represented in the Federal workforce, especially in positions of leadership.’ The order, the White House said, is designed to ‘take a systematic approach to embedding’ diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in federal hiring and employment. Not limited to diversity based on race and gender, the executive order includes, among others, immigrants, first-generation professionals, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, rural residents, seniors facing age discrimination and religious people who need workplace accommodations at work.”

Trump Aides Prepared Insurrection Act Order in June 2020 During Debate Over Protests. President Donald Trump never invoked the act, but fresh details underscore the intensity of his interest last June in using active-duty military to curb unrest. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 25 June 2021: “Responding to interest from President Donald J. Trump, White House aides drafted a proclamation last year to invoke the Insurrection Act in case Mr. Trump moved to take the extraordinary step of deploying active-duty troops in Washington to quell the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd, two senior Trump administration officials said. The aides drafted the proclamation on June 1, 2020, during a heated debate inside the administration over how to respond to the protests. Mr. Trump, enraged by the demonstrations, had told the attorney general, William P. Barr, the defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, that he wanted thousands of active-duty troops on the streets of the nation’s capital, one of the officials said. Mr. Trump was talked out of the plan by the three officials. But a separate group of White House staff members wanted to leave open the option for Mr. Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act to call in the military. They decided it would be prudent to have the necessary document vetted and ready in case the unrest in Washington worsened or the city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, declined to impose measures like a citywide curfew, which she ultimately put in place.”

A caravan of Trump backers tried to run a Biden-Harris bus off the road in October 2021. Now they’re being sued under an anti-Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. The Washington Post, Jaclyn Peiser, Friday, 25 June 2021: “Timothy Holloway clutched the wheel of a Biden-Harris campaign bus last October, swerving and dodging as one hostile car bearing a Trump flag after another tried to run him off a Texas highway. ‘We were terrified,’ Holloway said in a news release. ‘They were clearly trying to scare us and prevent us from arriving at our destination in peace.’ The tactic worked — the Biden campaign canceled the rest of the day’s events, saying it feared for the safety of campaign staffers, supporters and local political candidates. Some prominent Republicans cheered the effort by the self-proclaimed ‘Trump Train,’ while President Donald Trump himself lauded their efforts, calling the drivers ‘patriots’ who ‘did nothing wrong.’ Now, Holloway — along with a White House staffer, a former Texas lawmaker and a campaign volunteer — are suing several members of the caravan, accusing them of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which bars violent election intimidation, as well as local Texas laws. The group is also suing local law enforcement, claiming they failed to provide protection.”

They Seemed Like Democratic Activists. They Were Secretly Conservative Spies. Operatives infiltrated progressive groups across the Western U.S. to try to manipulate politics and reshape the national electoral map. They targeted moderate Republicans, too–anyone seen as threats to hard-line conservatives. The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Adam Goldman, Friday, 25 June 2021: “The young couple posing in front of the faux Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas fit right in, two people in a sea of idealistic Democrats who had arrived in the city in February 2020 for a Democratic primary debate. Large donations to the Democratic National Committee — $10,000 each — had bought Beau Maier and Sofia LaRocca tickets to the debate. During a cocktail reception beforehand, they worked the room of party officials, rainbow donkey pins affixed to their lapels. In fact, much about them was a lie. Mr. Maier and Ms. LaRocca were part of an undercover operation by conservatives to infiltrate progressive groups, political campaigns and the offices of Democratic as well as moderate Republican elected officials during the 2020 election cycle, according to interviews and documents…. In more than two dozen interviews and a review of federal election records, The New York Times reconstructed many of the operatives’ interactions in Wyoming and other states — mapping out their associations and likely targets — and spoke to people with whom they discussed details of their spying operation. Publicly available documents in Wyoming also tied Mr. Maier and Ms. LaRocca to an address in Cody used by the former spy, Richard Seddon. What the effort accomplished — and how much information Mr. Seddon’s operatives gathered — is unclear. Sometimes, their tactics were bumbling and amateurish. But the operation’s use of spycraft to manipulate the politics of several states over years greatly exceeds the tactics of more traditional political dirty tricks operations.”

 

Saturday, 26 June 2021:

 

Trump, Seeking to Maintain Republican Sway, Holds First Rally Since January 6. The former president’s speech in Ohio, made on behalf of a challenger to a Republican congressman who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, reflected both his power over the party and his diminished status. The New York Times, Jeremy W. Peters, Saturday, 26 June 2021: “Former President Donald J. Trump returned to the rally stage on Saturday evening after a nearly six-month absence, his first large public gathering since his “Save America” event on Jan. 6 that resulted in a deadly riot at the Capitol. On Saturday, the same words — ‘Save America’ — appeared behind Mr. Trump as he addressed a crowd of several thousand at a county fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, about 35 miles southwest of Cleveland. He repeated familiar falsehoods about fraudulent 2020 votes. He attacked Republican officials for refusing to back his effort to overturn the election results — including Representative Anthony E. Gonzalez of Ohio, who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, and whose primary challenger, Max Miller, was the reason for Mr. Trump’s visit. The former president praised Mr. Miller as they appeared onstage together. Mr. Trump remains the most powerful figure in the Republican Party, with large numbers of G.O.P. lawmakers parroting his lies about a stolen 2020 election and fearful of crossing him, and many in the party waiting to see whether he will run again for the White House in 2024. Yet in the audience and on the stage, the scene in Ohio on Saturday was reflective of how diminished Mr. Trump has become in his post-presidency, and how reliant he is on a smaller group of allies and supporters who have adopted his alternate reality as their own. One of the event’s headliners was Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, the far-right Republican who has promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory.” See also, Trump Hints at Another Run and Disputes Past Election at Ohio Fairgrounds. The former president repeats unfounded fraud claims at his first rally since the January 6 Capitol riot. The Wall Street Journal, Michael C. Bender, Saturday, 26 June 2021: “Former President Donald Trump on Saturday disputed the 2020 presidential election results and repeated many of the baseless claims of voter fraud he leveled at his last campaign-style rally nearly six months ago. Mr. Trump’s previous rally, on Jan. 6, preceded a riot in the U.S. Capitol in which pro-Trump supporters attempted to stop then-Vice President Mike Pence and a bipartisan majority of Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory. The nation has continued to grapple with both political and legal repercussions of that day. House Democrats plan a select committee to investigate the events that led to the attack; Senate Republicans blocked the formation of a bipartisan, independent commission, which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said was an unnecessary political exercise that Democrats would weaponize against Republican candidates. Meanwhile, more than 500 Americans have been arrested and charged with crimes in connection to the violence, including at least 100 accused of assaulting police.”

 

Sunday, 27 June 2021:

 

Trump Organization attorneys given Monday deadline to persuade prosecutors not to file charges against it, The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs, Josh Dawsey, and David A. Fahrenthold, Sunday, 27 June 2021: “Prosecutors in New York have given former president Donald Trump’s attorneys a deadline of Monday afternoon to make any final arguments as to why the Trump Organization should not face criminal charges over its financial dealings, according to two people familiar with the matter. That deadline is a strong signal that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) — now working together, after each has spent more than two years investigating Trump’s business — are considering criminal charges against the company as an entity.”

Inside William Barr’s Breakup With Trump. In the final months of the administration, the doggedly loyal attorney general finally had enough. The Atlantic, Jonathan D. Karl, Sunday, 27 June 2021: “Donald Trump is a man consumed with grievance against people he believes have betrayed him, but few betrayals have enraged him more than what his attorney general did to him. To Trump, the unkindest cut of all was when William Barr stepped forward and declared that there had been no widespread fraud in the 2020 election, just as the president was trying to overturn Joe Biden’s victory by claiming that the election had been stolen. In a series of interviews with me this spring, Barr spoke, for the first time, about the events surrounding his break with Trump. I have also spoken with other senior officials in the Trump White House and Justice Department, who provided additional details about Barr’s actions and the former president’s explosive response. Barr and those close to him have a reason to tell his version of this story. He has been widely seen as a Trump lackey who politicized the Justice Department. But when the big moment came after the election, he defied the president who expected him to do his bidding.” See also, The Buried Lede in Jon Karl’s Flattering Bill Barr Story: Mitch McConnell Was Willing to Risk American Democracy to Save the Senate for Republicans, Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen, Sunday, 27 June 2021: “Lots of people are buzzing today about Jon Karl’s piece in the Atlantic in which Bill Barr portrays himself in standing up to Trump and his claims of election fraud. As is typical in pieces where people from Barr world are sources (in this case Barr himself), this paints Barr in the best possible light. The piece does not even mention how Barr put forward outrageous and ludicrous statements about voter fraud before the election, suggesting that foreign governments would be mailing in thousands of absentee ballots. Barr continues on his rehabilitation tour. But that’s not the part of the story I want to highlight. It is about how Mitch McConnell utterly failed in squelching the Trump voter fraud claims because he was trying to preserve his Senate majority.” See also, Bill Barr was in favor of baseless election fraud claims before he was against them, The Washington Post, Olivier Knox, published on Tuesday, 29 June 2021: “The latest revelations about former attorney general William P. Barr, much like the Mueller report, are not an exoneration, however much he might like that to be the case. ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported this weekend in the Atlantic on the series of events that led Barr, grudgingly, in between bites of salad, nearly a month after the 2020 election, to mumble his rejection of President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that voter fraud had cost him a second term…. Barr ultimately denied Trump’s false claims, which eventually led to the deadly Jan. 6 riot by supporters of the outgoing president, angry Americans who believed he’d been robbed of a second term. But in the run-up to the election, when Trump was priming those same supporters to believe the falsehoods that he could only lose if cheated and mail-in voting was rife with fraud — setting the table for the post-election chaos — Barr wasn’t just silently letting those claims sail by, uncorrected. He was making them himself.”

Infrastructure Deal Is Back on Track After Biden’s Assurances, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Sunday, 27 June 2021: “A fragile bipartisan infrastructure deal appeared to be moving forward once again on Sunday, as moderate Republicans said they had been reassured that President Biden would not hold it hostage while Democrats simultaneously work on a larger, partisan economic package. After 48 hours of chaos, the statements by leading Republicans prompted a sigh of relief for the White House, where Mr. Biden and top aides had worked through the weekend to keep the eight-year, $1.2 trillion investment to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure from falling apart. G.O.P. negotiators even suggested that they could now begin drafting the bill and said they believed it would win enough Republican votes to pass the Senate next month.”

 

Monday, 28 June 2021:

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi May Include a Republican on a Committee to Investigate the Violent Attack on the Capitol on January 6 by Supporters of Then-President Donald Trump, The New York Times, Monday, 28 June 2021:

  • Pelosi may put a Republican on a proposed committee to investigate the Capitol riot.

  • President Biden met with Israel’s outgoing president on Monday.

  • The Supreme Court won’t hear a case challenging transgender bathroom rights.

  • California bans state-funded travel to 5 states over anti-L.G.B.T.Q. laws. The states are Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia.

  • Supreme Court revives a case on excessive force by the police.

  • Iraqi officials condemn U.S. airstrikes on Iranian-backed militias near the Syrian border.

  • Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra says care of migrant children is improving, but urges Congress to act.
  • House and Senate put forward dueling proposals for scientific innovation. The House broke with the Senate by passing legislation to strengthen scientific research.
  • The House plans a vote to speed visas for Afghans who helped the U.S. government.

Biden hosts Israel’s outgoing president for Oval Office visit as countries reset relationship, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, Eugene Scott, and John Wagner, Monday, 28 June 2021: “President Biden welcomed outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to the White House on Monday as the two countries seek to reset their relationship under new governments. The two leaders met in the Oval Office in the afternoon. On Capitol Hill, the House is preparing for some high-profile votes this week, including one on a resolution to create a select committee to look into the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. The full House is expected to vote on the measure Wednesday.

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

  • The Supreme Court declined to hear a legal battle over the rights of transgender students, handing a victory to Gavin Grimm over the Virginia school board that had denied him the right to use the boys’ restroom.
  • Iraq condemned a U.S. airstrike against Iranian-linked militias on its soil, describing the overnight attack as a ‘blatant’ violation of national sovereignty that breached international conventions.
  • Prosecutors in New York have given Trump’s attorneys a deadline of Monday afternoon to make any final arguments as to why the Trump Organization should not face criminal charges over its financial dealings.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised Biden for having ‘delinked’ passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill to separate legislation that calls for substantial spending on other Democratic priorities and urged Democratic congressional leaders to do the same.
  • Biden says Trump did ‘incredible damage’ to America’s relations with allies abroad.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tries to derail Democratic infrastructure strategy. Now that a deal is clinched, the Republican leader has his eyes on stopping a bill that’s likely to raise taxes on corporations and spend trillions of dollars. Politico, Burgess Everett, Monday, 28 June 2021: “Mitch McConnell is pressuring President Joe Biden and congressional Democratic leaders to further weaken the link between a bipartisan infrastructure deal and a bigger liberal-leaning spending bill, warning Monday that Biden’s party wants to ‘hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process.’ The Senate GOP leader called on Biden to request that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi decouple passage of the bipartisan bill from a second, Democrats-only effort set to raise corporate taxes while spending on education, child care and fighting climate change. Biden on Saturday reversed a vow to not sign the bipartisan bill until he also has the separate, more progressive bill in hand.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduces legislation that would establish select committee to investigate January 6 violent and deadly attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Monday, 28 June 2021: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday introduced legislation that would create a select committee to probe the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, with an aide suggesting the speaker may include a Republican among her appointees. The House Rules Committee considered the legislation Monday night. The House will hold a procedural vote on the measure Tuesday, and a vote on the legislation itself is expected Wednesday…. Pelosi’s move to form a select 13-member committee comes one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to create an independent, bipartisan commission. The panel will investigate the facts and causes of the assault that left five dead and nearly 140 officers attacked as they faced rioters armed with ax handles, bats, metal batons, wooden poles, hockey sticks and other weapons, authorities said. The riot led to the impeachment of President Donald Trump on a charge of ‘incitement of insurrection.'”

Supreme Court turns away transgender bathroom dispute in win for student Gavin Grimm, CBS News, Melissa Quinn, Monday, 28 June 2021: “The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a yearslong legal battle over a Virginia school board’s policy prohibiting transgender students from using the restroom and locker room facilities that reflect their gender identity. In an unsigned order, the court denied the request from the Gloucester County School Board to review a lower court ruling that struck down its policy, leaving the decision in favor of transgender student Gavin Grimm intact. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said they would have heard the case.” See also, The Supreme Court won’t hear a case challenging transgender bathroom rights, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 28 June 2021: “The Supreme Court turned down a request from a Virginia school board to reinstate its policy barring a transgender boy from using the boys’ bathroom. As is the court’s practice, it gave no reasons for declining to hear the appeal. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. said they would have granted the school board’s petition seeking Supreme Court review. An appeals court had ruled that the policy violated the Constitution and a federal law by prohibiting the student, Gavin Grimm, from using the same bathrooms as other boys. The school said Mr. Grimm could use a private bathroom.”

Trump attorneys meet with New York prosecutors to argue that his company should not be criminally charged over its business practices, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey, and Shayna Jacobs, Monday, 28 June 2021: “Attorneys for the Trump Organization met with New York prosecutors on Monday to argue that former president Donald Trump’s company should not be criminally charged over its business dealings, according to three people familiar with the meeting. Previously, the prosecutors — working for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) — had set Monday as the last day for the organization’s lawyers to make their case. After Monday’s session, spokespeople for both Vance and James declined to comment. No charges were announced on Monday. Vance has convened a grand jury in Manhattan to vote on potential indictments in the investigation, but so far, no person or entity connected to Trump has been charged. It remains possible that none will be. Those familiar with the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private meetings.”

Arizona’s Maricopa County will replace voting equipment, fearful that Republican-backed election review has compromised security, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Monday, 28 June 2021: “Arizona’s Maricopa County announced Monday that it will replace voting equipment that was turned over to a private contractor for a Republican-commissioned review of the 2020 presidential election, concerned that the process compromised the security of the machines. Officials from Maricopa, the state’s largest county and home to Phoenix, provided no estimates of the costs involved but have previously said that the machines cost millions to acquire.”

 

Tuesday, 29 June 2021:

 

House Votes to Remove Confederate Statues at the Capitol. The bill, which now heads to the Senate, would remove statues honoring Confederate and other white supremacist leaders from public display. On a daylong visit to Wisconsin, President Biden called an emerging bipartisan infrastructure deal ‘a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.’ The New York Times, Tuesday, 29 June 2021:

  • The House votes to remove Confederate statues from view at the Capitol.

  • The House approves a bill to speed visas to Afghans who worked alongside U.S. troops.

  • Biden’s day in Wisconsin: reassurances on his infrastructure deal and the promise to fight for more.

  • ‘Ready to take further action’: Biden officially notifies Congress of his airstrikes on Iran-allied militias.

  • A member of a privacy watchdog board says its secret report on an N.S.A. surveillance system fell short.

  • The Bidens will visit the site of the Florida building collapse on Thursday.

  • New Jersey cannot block a natural gas pipeline, the Supreme Court rules.

  • The Supreme Court keeps in place the moratorium on evictions.
  • The Number 3 House Democrat, James Clyburn, endorses the opponent of Nina Turner, a Bernie Sanders ally in Cleveland.
  • Jill Biden will be on the cover of Vogue.

Biden, in Wisconsin, pitches bipartisan infrastructure deal as a ‘generational investment,’ The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 29 June 2021: “President Biden, during a visit Tuesday to Wisconsin, pitched a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure deal struck by a bipartisan group of senators as a ‘generational investment’ that would help replace structurally deficient bridges and aging water lines, and shore up the nation’s energy grid. ‘America has always been propelled into the future by landmark national investments,’ Biden said. His appearance in La Crosse comes as the White House seeks to navigate divisions among Democrats on Capitol Hill about how to proceed toward passage and secure enough Republican votes to claim a bipartisan victory.

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

  • The top American military commander in Afghanistan expressed deep concern that the country could slide into all-out civil war and face ‘very hard times.’
  • The House approved legislation to remove statues of Confederate leaders from the U.S. Capitol and replace the bust of Roger B. Taney, the U.S. chief justice who wrote the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision of 1857 that said people of African descent are not U.S. citizens.
  • Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel Thursday to Surfside, Fla., where a condo building collapsed last week, leaving 12 confirmed dead and 149 people still unaccounted for while the search for survivors continues.
  • House Republicans remained noncommittal about whether they would participate in a select committee proposed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to probe the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

 

Wednesday, 30 June 2021:

 

House Votes to Create Committee to Investigate Capitol Riot. The vote, mostly along party lines, came after Republicans blocked the creation of an independent panel to scrutinize the assault. The New York Times, Wednesday, 30 June 2021:

  • Over G.O.P. opposition, the House forms a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

  • Biden pledges federal aid as a record heat wave and wildfires roil the West.

  • Donald Rumsfeld, defense secretary for Bush and Ford, is dead at 88.

  • Exxon worked to undermine Biden’s efforts on climate change, a lobbyist says in a video.

  • Trump visits the border and falsely claims he was months from completing a wall.

  • ‘I don’t have a clue if it’s legal.’ South Dakota’s use of private money to deploy guard troops raises questions.

  • Biden is being pushed to declare atrocities in Myanmar as genocide, which Trump refused to do.

  • Watch ‘Day of Rage,’ our Visual Investigations team’s in-depth look at the Capitol riot.
  • The State Department will no longer require medical documents proving gender for U.S. passport applicants.
  • Transportation Department distributes nearly $1 billion in infrastructure grants with focus on climate and racial equity.
  • Biden’s Supreme Court reform commission debates reducing justices’ power to strike down laws.
  • Trump, who read little as president, leaves a trail of books in his wake.

Biden pledges better pay for firefighters as he hosts virtual meeting of Western governors. Biden signs three bills undoing regulations enacted late in the Trump administration having to do with greenhouse gas emissions, predatory lending, and employer discrimination. The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “President Biden announced a short-term boost in pay for federal firefighters and pledged to work for longer-term improvements in compensation as he convened a virtual meeting Wednesday with governors from Western states to combat what is shaping up to be a brutal wildfire season. On Capitol Hill, the House voted to establish a select committee to probe the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. Two Republicans — Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — joined Democrats in supporting the measure.

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

  • Ballot counting in the New York mayoral race has taken a turn for the chaotic, with the city Board of Elections announcing that it had mistakenly included 135,000 test vote records in an initial tally.
  • Trump declared that both U.S. elections and U.S. immigration policies are ‘sick’ during an event in Texas, at which he overstated his administration’s progress in reaching his marquee goal of building a border wall.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised a transportation funding bill that is expected to be passed by the chamber Wednesday afternoon, calling it a rare opportunity to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

House votes to establish committee to investigate January 6 violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, NBC News, Teaganne Finn and Sahil Kapur, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “The House voted Wednesday to establish a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, the only step needed to formalize the panel’s creation. The House voted 222 to 190, with two Republicans joining all present Democrats in authorizing the committee. Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming were the only Republicans to vote in favor of the committee.” See also, House Opens January 6 Investigation Over Republican Opposition, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “The House voted mostly along party lines on Wednesday to create a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, pushing ahead over near-unanimous Republican opposition with a broad inquiry controlled by Democrats into the deadliest attack on Congress in centuries. The panel, established at the behest of Speaker Nancy Pelosi after Senate Republicans blocked the formation of a bipartisan independent commission to scrutinize the assault, will investigate what its organizing resolution calls ‘the facts, circumstances and causes relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack.’ The 13-member panel, which has subpoena power, will have eight members named by the majority party and five with input from Republicans, and is meant to examine President Donald J. Trump’s role in inspiring the riot. While the measure creating it does not mention him, it charges the committee with looking at the law enforcement and government response to the storming of the Capitol and ‘the influencing factors that fomented such an attack on American representative democracy while engaged in a constitutional process.’ It passed by a vote of 222 to 190, with only two Republicans joining Democrats to support it.”

U.S. arrests more than a dozen in connection with the violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, among the most made public in a single day, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu and Rachel Weiner, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “More than a dozen arrests in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot were announced or unsealed Wednesday, revealing charges against alleged supporters of extremist right-wing groups including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Boogaloo Bois, and individuals accused of attacking the property of news media. The arrests ranked among the most made public in a single day and came as an alleged Oath Keepers member reached an unexpected plea deal with prosecutors in the largest conspiracy case brought against those accused of obstructing Congress as it met to confirm the 2020 election results.”

Inside the Capitol Riot: An Exclusive Video Investigation, The New York Times, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “In the six months since an angry pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, immense efforts have been made not only to find the rioters and hold them accountable, but also — and perhaps more important — to dig into the details of Jan. 6 and slowly piece together what actually happened that day. Congressional committees have looked into police and intelligence failures. The Justice Department has launched a nationwide investigation that has now resulted in more than 500 arrests. And while Republicans in Congress blocked the formation of a blue-ribbon bipartisan committee, House Democrats are poised to appoint a smaller select committee. Even now, however, Republican politicians and their allies in the media are still playing down the most brazen attack on a seat of power in modern American history. Some have sought to paint the assault as the work of mere tourists. Others, going further, have accused the F.B.I. of planning the attack in what they have described — wildly — as a false-flag operation. The work of understanding Jan. 6 has been hard enough without this barrage of disinformation and, hoping to get to the bottom of the riot, The Times’s Visual Investigations team spent several months reviewing thousands of videos, many filmed by the rioters themselves and since deleted from social media. We filed motions to unseal police body-camera footage, scoured law enforcement radio communications, and synchronized and mapped the visual evidence. What we have come up with is a 40-minute panoramic take on Jan. 6, the most complete visual depiction of the Capitol riot to date. In putting it together, we gained critical insights into the character and motivation of rioters by experiencing the events of the day often through their own words and video recordings. We found evidence of members of extremist groups inciting others to riot and assault police officers. And we learned how Donald J. Trump’s own words resonated with the mob in real time as they staged the attack.”

Trump Organization and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg Indicted on Tax Charges. The first criminal allegations stemming from New York prosecutors’ prpbe into the former president’s business affairs will be made public Thursday in court. The Wall Street Journal, Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “A New York grand jury has indicted the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer with tax-related crimes that will be made public Thursday in court, people familiar with the matter said, marking the first criminal charges against the former president’s company since prosecutors began investigating it three years ago. The charges against the company and longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg are a blow to former President Donald Trump, who has fended off multiple criminal and civil probes during and after his presidency. But the initial charges won’t implicate Mr. Trump himself, his lawyer said, falling short of expectations about the high-profile probe that included a battle over his tax returns decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the prosecutors’ favor.” See also, New York grand jury said to return criminal indictments against Trump’s company and its CFO, the first from prosecutors probing the former president’s business dealings, The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs, Josh Dawsey, David A. Fahrenthold, and Jonathan O’Connell, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “A grand jury in Manhattan filed criminal indictments Wednesday against former president Donald Trump’s company and its longtime chief financial officer, according to two people familiar with the indictments. The indictments against the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg, will remain sealed until Thursday afternoon, leaving the specific charges against them unclear. Earlier Wednesday, people familiar with the case said the charges were related to allegations of unpaid taxes on benefits for Trump Organization executives. Weisselberg is expected to surrender Thursday morning at the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D), two people familiar with the plan said. He is expected to be arraigned later in the day in front of a state court judge. The Trump Organization will also be arraigned, represented in court by one of its attorneys. The criminal charges against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg are the first to result from the investigations by Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and represent a dramatic turn in the long-running probes.” See also, Grand jury indicts Trump Organization and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg on tax crimes, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, NBC News, Adam Reiss, Tom Winter, and Rebecca Shabad, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the New York Attorney General’s Office have obtained indictments against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, two people familiar with the matter told NBC News on Wednesday. The charges, handed up by a New York grand jury, are expected to be unsealed in court Thursday afternoon in Manhattan, one Trump representative told NBC News. The charges stem from a scheme to pay compensation to Weisselberg and possibly others ‘off the books’ by the Trump Organization.” See also, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, ‘Soldier’ for Trump, Faces Criminal Charges and Test of His Loyalty, The New York Times, Michael Rothfeld, Jonah E. Bromwich, and Ben Protess, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “In nearly a half-century of service to Mr. Trump’s family businesses, Mr. Weisselberg, 73, has survived — and thrived — by anticipating and carrying out his boss’s dictates in a zealous mission to protect the bottom line. Now, Mr. Weisselberg’s fealty and the rewards he and his family reaped from it have landed him in serious legal jeopardy. He has been indicted in an ongoing investigation of Mr. Trump and Mr. Trump’s company by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who has been working with the New York State attorney general, Letitia James. The charges are expected to be announced Thursday afternoon. The indictment, which comes after a tax investigation into the fringe benefits and bonuses that Mr. Weisselberg received, amplifies the pressure that prosecutors have exerted on him for months to turn on Mr. Trump and cooperate with their broader investigation into the former president’s business dealings. Mr. Trump’s business, the Trump Organization, is also expected to be indicted on Thursday. Interviews with 18 current and former associates of Mr. Weisselberg, as well as a review of legal filings, financial records and other documents, paint a portrait of a man whose unflinching devotion to Mr. Trump will now be put to the test.”

Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina approves tenure for journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones after uproar over inaction on job protection, The Washington Post, Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “Trustees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted Wednesday to grant tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones, after weeks of controversy over why the university initially chose to hire the award-winning journalist as a professor without that level of job protection. The board’s 9-to-4 vote in favor of tenure came after a lengthy closed-session meeting on the final day of the terms of several members of the public university’s board of trustees. It also came a day before Hannah-Jones had originally been set to start working for UNC…. The decision to award tenure to Hannah-Jones could defuse what had become an extraordinary showdown over the academic appointment and the degree of influence of politicians and donors in faculty affairs. A decision to deny tenure could have plunged Chapel Hill into deeper acrimony and infuriated faculty who saw the case as a test of equity for Black women in academia.” See also, After Contentious Debate, University of North Carolina Grants Tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones, NPR, David Folkenflik, Wednesday, 30 June 2021: “Trustees for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted Wednesday afternoon at a closed session to give tenure to star New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones several months after refusing to consider her proposed tenure. The case inspired a bruising debate over race, journalism and academic freedom. It led both to national headlines and anger and distress among many Black faculty members and students at UNC. Some professors there have publicly said they were reconsidering their willingness to remain at the university over the journalist’s treatment.”

 

Thursday, 1 July 2021:

 

Justice Department Pauses Federal Executions. The move reverses the Trump administration’s decision to resume executions of death row inmates last year after a nearly two-decade hiatus. Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose Representative Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, for one of her eight spots on the committee investigating the Capitol riot. The New York Times, Thursday, 1 July 2021:

  • Merrick Garland pauses federal executions a year after his predecessor resumed them.

  • Cheney accepts Pelosi’s appointment to the Jan. 6 committee, angering McCarthy.

  • California finally has a date for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall election. It’s Sept. 14.

  • J.D. Vance, the ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author, enters the wide-open Senate race in Ohio.

  • Biden meets with families of victims in Surfside: ‘We’re here for you as one nation.’

  • A U.S. proposal for a 15% global minimum tax is backed by 130 countries.

  • In a major voting rights case, the Supreme Court upholds restrictions in Arizona.

  • Britney Spears’s case leads 2 senators to question the country’s conservatorship systems.

  • A Homeland Security watchdog delayed an inquiry until after the election, a complaint says.
  • The House passes a $715 billion transportation and water bill, laying out its marker for infrastructure talks.
  • Intelligence agencies expose new details of Russia’s hacking campaign.
  • Traffickers took advantage of the pandemic to exploit more women, children, and migrants, a U.S. report finds.
  • The Supreme Court rejects a California law requiring charities to disclose their major donors.

Attorney General Merrick Garland halts federal executions pending Justice Department review of Trump-era policies, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, and John Wagner, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday ordered a moratorium on federal executions while a review of the Justice Department’s Trump-era policies and procedures is pending. Earlier Thursday, the Supreme Court issued the final opinions of its term, including one that upheld Arizona voting restrictions that a lower court had said discriminated against minority voters, as speculation swirled around whether Justice Stephen G. Breyer will retire. In New York, prosecutors charged the Trump Organization with a 15-year ‘scheme to defraud’ the government and charged its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg with grand larceny and tax fraud. Weisselberg and an attorney for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty. The charges are the first to result from an investigation of former president Donald Trump’s company by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).

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

  • President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited Florida to meet with first responders and families in the aftermath of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) will chair the select committee that will probe the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will serve as a member.
  • The House passed a more than $700 billion transportation and water infrastructure bill, a measure that stakes out the chamber’s position in a debate over how to rebuild the nation’s roads, transit networks, water-supply pipes and sewers.
  • The Biden administration claimed an important victory in its drive for a global minimum corporate tax with an announcement from Paris that 130 countries had signed on to the plan.
  • Trump, fighting to toss out subpoena, offered to give House Democrats a peek at financial statements.

Trump Organization Is Charged With Running 15-Year Employee Tax Scheme. The company was accused of helping its executives evade taxes on compensation by hiding luxury perks and bonuses. The New York Times, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, and Johan E. Bromwich, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “The Trump Organization, the real estate business that catapulted Donald J. Trump to tabloid fame, television riches and ultimately the White House, was charged Thursday with running a 15-year scheme to help its executives evade taxes by compensating them with fringe benefits that were hidden from the authorities. The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which has been conducting the investigation alongside the New York attorney general, also accused a top executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, of avoiding taxes on $1.7 million in perks that should have been reported as income. Mr. Weisselberg, Mr. Trump’s long-serving and trusted chief financial officer, faced grand larceny, tax fraud and other charges. ‘To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme,’ Carey Dunne, general counsel for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said during an arraignment in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.” See also, What We Know About the Trump Organization Indictment, The New York Times, Ben Protess, Kate Christobek, and William K. Rashbaum, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Thursday announced criminal charges against Donald J. Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, as well as its chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg. The indictment, which marked a major turning point in the long-running investigation by the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., centered on the failure to pay taxes on a variety of valuable perks that Mr. Weisselberg and other executives received from the Trump Organization.” See also, Prosecutors allege a 15-year tax fraud scheme as the Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg are arraigned on multiple criminal charges, The Washington Post, Syayna Jacobs, David A. Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey, and Jonathan O’Connell, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “Prosecutors charged former president Donald Trump’s business with a 15-year ‘scheme to defraud’ the government and charged its chief financial officer with grand larceny and tax fraud in a Manhattan courtroom Thursday, describing what they said was a wide-ranging effort to hide income from tax authorities. In charging papers, prosecutors alleged that the Trump Organization effectively kept two sets of books. In one — for internal use — it carefully tallied the value of benefits given to executives as part of their compensation: apartments, cars, furniture, tuition payments, even money for holiday gifts. But in the documents that the Trump Organization sent to tax authorities, prosecutors said, those benefits were omitted. Prosecutors said the result was that the Trump Organization and its executives avoided taxes on their full compensation: CFO Allen Weisselberg, they said, avoided paying more than $900,000.” See also, 4 takeaways from the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg indictments, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Thursday, 1 July 2021. See also, Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg Are Charged With Tax Crimes. Charges in a New York Court launch the first criminal case resulting from a probe into former President Donald Trump’s business affairs. The Wall Street Journal, Corinne Ramey, Deanna Paul, and Rebecca Ballhaus, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “New York prosecutors on Thursday unveiled a 15-count indictment charging the Trump Organization and its finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, with a wide-ranging conspiracy to avoid paying taxes, launching the first criminal case resulting from a multiyear investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business affairs. In a Manhattan courtroom, prosecutors described a 15-year-long tax-fraud scheme involving off-the-books payments to employees at the Trump Organization. Executives took perks such as car leases and Manhattan apartments without the company or the recipient paying taxes, prosecutors said. The indictment said Mr. Weisselberg, a confidant of Mr. Trump who has worked for the Trump family for almost 50 years, had illegally avoided paying taxes on $1.76 million in benefits since 2005. ‘There’s no clearer example of a company that should be held to account,’ said prosecutor Carey Dunne in court. ‘It’s not about politics.’ He said the investigation was ongoing. Mr. Weisselberg, appearing in handcuffs, pleaded not guilty. He was released pending trial, though he was required to surrender his passport after prosecutors said he was a flight risk. His lawyers said he would fight the charges.”

Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Voting Restrictions. The decision, a test of what remains of the Voting Rights Act, suggests that challenges to many new measures making it harder to vote may not be successful. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “The Supreme Court on Thursday gave states new latitude to impose restrictions on voting, using a ruling in a case from Arizona to signal that challenges to laws being passed by Republican legislatures that make it harder for minority groups to vote would face a hostile reception from a majority of the justices. The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent. The decision was among the most consequential in decades on voting rights, and it was the first time the court had considered how a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 applies to restrictions that have a particular impact on people of color. The six conservative justices in the majority concluded that the relevant part of the act can be used to strike down voting restrictions only when they impose substantial and disproportionate burdens on minority voters, effectively blocking their ability to cast a ballot — a standard suggesting that the Supreme Court would not be inclined to overturn many of the measures Republicans have pursued or approved around the country…. In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the majority had done violence to the Voting Rights Act, a civil rights landmark. ‘Wherever it can, the majority gives a cramped reading to broad language,’ she wrote. ‘And then it uses that reading to uphold two election laws from Arizona that discriminate against minority voters.’ Justice Kagan said the court’s action was a devastating blow to the nation’s ideals.” See also, Supreme Court upholds Arizona voting laws that lower court found were unfair to minorities, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld two Arizona voting restrictions that a lower court had said discriminated against minority voters, a ruling that suggests that it will be harder to successfully challenge a spate of new laws passed by state legislatures in the aftermath of the 2020 election.” See also, The Supreme Court Deals a New Blow to Voting Rights, Upholding Arizona Restrictions, NPR, Nina Totenberg, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday gutted most of what remains of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The court’s decision, while leaving some protections involving redistricting in place, left close to a dead letter the law once hailed as the most effective civil rights legislation in the nation’s history. The 6-3 vote was along ideological lines, with Justice Samuel Alito writing the decision for the court’s conservative majority, and the liberals in angry dissent. At issue in the case were two Arizona laws: one banned the collection of absentee ballots by anyone other than a relative or caregiver, and the other threw out any ballots cast in the wrong precinct. A federal appeals court struck down both provisions, ruling that they had an unequal impact on minority voters and that there was no evidence of fraud that would have justified their use.”

Supreme Court Backs Donor Privacy for California Charities. The 6-to-3 decision held that a state requirement infringed on the First Amendment. The court’s liberal members suggested it could erode disclosure laws for political campaigns. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that California may not require charities soliciting contributions in the state to report the identities of their major donors. The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, rejected the state’s requirement, saying it violated the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of association.” See also, Supreme Court strikes down California law requiring charities to disclose top donors to attorney general, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down California’s law that required charities to privately disclose their top donors to the state attorney general, a ruling that could carry implications for political donation disclosures and ‘dark money’ spending. The issue divided the court along ideological lines, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the conservative majority. He said California’s demand for information about donors violated the constitutional right of freedom of association. ‘California casts a dragnet for sensitive donor information from tens of thousands of charities each year, even though that information will become relevant in only a small number of cases involving filed complaints,’ Roberts wrote. He said that could chill the First Amendment rights of donors who might not contribute if their names became public. The decision drew fire from Democratic members of Congress, who called it a victory for ‘dark money’ political groups. And the court’s three liberals said it could endanger other forms of disclosure. ‘Today’s analysis marks reporting and disclosure requirements with a bull’s eye,’ wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by colleagues Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan.”

After Biden Meets Putin, U.S. Exposes Details of Russian Hacking Campaign. The revelations, which dealt with a Russian espionage campaign, came after President Biden demanded that President Vladimir V. Putin rein in more destructive ransomware attacks. The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and David E. Sanger, Thursday, 1 July 2021: “Two weeks after President Biden met President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and demanded that he rein in ransomware attacks on U.S. targets, American and British intelligence agencies on Thursday exposed the details of what they called a global effort by Russia’s military intelligence organization to spy on government organizations, defense contractors, universities and media companies. The operation, described as crude but broad, is ‘almost certainly ongoing,’ the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, known as GCHQ, said in a statement. They identified the Russian intelligence agency, or G.R.U., as the same group that hacked into the Democratic National Committee and released emails in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald J. Trump. Thursday’s revelation is an attempt to expose Russian hacking techniques, rather than any new attacks, and it includes pages of technical detail to enable potential targets to identify that a breach is underway. Many of the actions by the G.R.U. — including an effort to retrieve data stored in Microsoft’s Azure cloud services — have already been documented by private cybersecurity companies. But the political significance of the statement is larger: It underscored the scope of hacking efforts out of Russia, which range from the kind of intelligence gathering engaged in by the G.R.U. and the intelligence agencies of many states to the harboring of criminal groups like the one that brought down Colonial Pipeline.”

 

Friday, 2 July 2021:

 

Biden Backs Removing Commanders from Military Sex Assault Cases. Biden endorsed a recommendation to remove the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases from the control of military commanders, which officials had long resisted. Congress would have to act, and a bill has the support of 70 senators. The New York Times, Friday, 2 July 2021:

  • Biden endorses a major change in how the military handles sexual assault cases.

  • The United States leaves its last Afghan base, effectively ending operations.

  • The Supreme Court turned down the case of a florist who refused work for same-sex wedding.

  • Biden thanks new citizens for choosing America at a White House naturalization ceremony.

  • Biden names University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann as ambassador to Germany.

  • Here’s how Biden plans to reduce vehicle emissions and combat climate change.
  • News analysis: Legal threats hover over Donald J. Trump as he hints at a 2024 bid for president.

As Biden touts new jobs report, he credits relief legislation passed with only Democratic votes, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, Amy B Wang, and John Wagner, Friday, 2 July 2021: “President Biden on Friday credited relief legislation that was passed with only Democratic votes as he touted an increase of 850,000 jobs in June, proclaiming in remarks from the White House that ‘our economy is on the move and we have covid-19 on the run.’ His speech came on a day full of public events. Biden welcomed the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 2020 World Series champions, to the White House, and hosted a naturalization ceremony. He also delivered remarks at a meeting of the National Education Association.

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

Trump Is Said to Have Called Arizona Official After Election Loss. Donald Trump tried to reach the top Republican in metropolitan Phoenix as his allies were trying to overturn the state’s 2020 results, according to the official, who said he did not pick up the calls. The New York Times, Michael Wines and Reid J. Epstein, Friday, 2 July 2021: “President Donald J. Trump twice sought to talk on the phone with the Republican leader of Arizona’s most populous county last winter as the Trump campaign and its allies tried unsuccessfully to reverse Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s narrow victory in the state’s presidential contest, according to the Republican official and records obtained by The Arizona Republic, a Phoenix newspaper. But the leader, Clint Hickman, then the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said in an interview on Friday that he let the calls — made in late December and early January — go to voice mail and did not return them. ‘I told people, Please don’t have the president call me,’ he said. At the time, Mr. Hickman was being pressed by the state Republican Party chairwoman and Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to investigate claims of fraud in the county’s election, which Mr. Biden had won by about 45,000 votes.”

 

Saturday, 3 July 2021:

 

FBI launches flurry of arrests over attacks on journalists during Capitol riot, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Saturday, 3 July 2021: “Nearly six months after the U.S. Capitol riot, the Justice Department has begun arresting a new category of alleged criminals — those who attacked reporters or damaged their equipment as journalists documented the violence perpetrated by supporters of President Donald Trump. The first such charge came last week, when 43-year-old Shane Jason Woods of Illinois was charged with engaging in violence on the Capitol grounds Jan. 6, as well as assaulting a law enforcement officer. Authorities say Woods was caught on video knocking down a cameraman…. After he was taken into custody Monday in Texas, [Zvonimir] Jurlina posted a video online in which he called himself a ‘political prisoner.’ On the video, which has since been taken down, Jurlina said: ‘Donald Trump, please pay for my legal fees because this all happened because of you . . . and I did nothing wrong.'”

 

Tuesday, 6 July 2021:

 

A Cyberattack on the Republican National Committee (R.N.C.) Was Likely Carried Out by Russians, Posing a Challenge for Biden, The New York Times, Tuesday, 6 July 2021:

Biden announces door-to-door outreach and outlines other strategies to boost vaccinations, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Eugene Scott, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 6 July 2021: “President Biden outlined several strategies Tuesday to persuade more Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, including ‘door-to-door outreach’ in targeted communities and stepped-up efforts to get vaccine to primary-care doctors and pediatricians who can encourage adolescents to get shots as they head back to school or get ready for fall sports. ‘It’s a year of hard-fought progress. We can’t get complacent now. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family and the people you care about the most is get vaccinated,’ Biden said in remarks at the White House complex on the federal government’s coronavirus response, after falling shy of his self-imposed July 4 deadline for 70 percent of U.S. adults to have received at least one vaccination shot. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday that by the end of the week, nearly 160 million people in the United States will be fully vaccinated.

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

  • Democrats have a chance to pass sweeping infrastructure, tax, climate and social policy measures that would transform American life — but doing so will require them to pull off an incredibly difficult legislative high-wire act over the next few weeks.
  • The House Problem Solvers Caucus announced its support for an infrastructure deal crafted by a bipartisan group of senators, giving a boost to a package that Biden is heavily promoting and signaling that it could attract some Republican support in the House.
  • A sprawling bipartisan Senate proposal that passed last month and would spread $250 billion across several key industries to counter China’s growing technological and economical prowess is being viewed warily in the House.
  • Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams projected as winner of New York’s Democratic mayoral primary.

Weeks after Holocaust Museum visit, Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene makes another Nazi-era comparison in opposing vaccination push, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Tuesday, 6 July 2021: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Tuesday used a Nazi-era comparison in opposing the Biden administration’s push to encourage all Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, calling the individuals leading those efforts ‘medical brown shirts.’ Members of the paramilitary organization that helped Hitler and the Nazi Party rise to power were known as ‘brownshirts.’ Greene’s remarks, made in a tweet, came weeks after she visited the Holocaust Museum and apologized for previously comparing coronavirus face-mask policies to the Nazi practice of labeling Jews with Star of David badges. ‘Biden pushing a vaccine that is NOT FDA approved shows covid is a political tool used to control people,’ Greene tweeted Tuesday afternoon. ‘People have a choice, they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations. You can’t force people to be part of the human experiment.'”

Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, says he can’t be sued for inciting Capitol riot because he is a federal employee, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Tuesday, 6 July 2021: “Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) has asked to be dismissed from a federal lawsuit alleging that he incited the Jan. 6 mob assault on the U.S. Capitol, claiming that he can’t be held liable because he was acting as a federal employee while challenging the 2020 election results in a fiery speech just before the riot began. Brooks said in a motion Friday that he should be dropped as a defendant or represented by the Justice Department in the case, filed March 5 by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). The lawsuit names former president Donald Trump, Brooks, Donald Trump Jr. and Rudolph W. Giuliani and seeks damages in connection with their statements to a crowd near the White House that the former president told to march to the Capitol. ‘Today is the day American patriots start taking down names,’ Brooks said, echoing Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was rigged. Brooks told people in the crowd that they were victims of a historic theft and asked whether they were ready to sacrifice their lives for their country.”

 

Wednesday, 7 July 2021:

 

The Fencing Built Around the Capitol After the January 6 Riot Is Coming Down. The fence was viewed by many as a physical manifestation of the consequences of the Capitol riot. The New York Times, Wednesday, 7 July 2021:

Biden pitches bipartisan infrastructure deal along with his plan to boost spending on education, child care, and health care, The Washington Post, Eugene Scott, Felicia Sonmez, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 7 July 2021: “President Biden on Wednesday pitched the bipartisan infrastructure deal along with his plan to boost spending on education, child care and health care during a trip to Crystal Lake, Ill., a conservative area in a liberal state. The White House is angling to pass the latter with the support of only Democrats. In a dig at former president Donald Trump, Biden said, ‘We’re not going to have 40 weeks of This is Infrastructure.’ Before heading to Illinois, the president convened leaders from the State Department, the Justice Department and other agencies to discuss ransomware attacks and the government’s efforts to counter them.

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

  • Trump announced plans to file class-action lawsuits targeting Facebook, Google and Twitter and their CEOs, escalating his long-running battle with the companies following their suspensions of his accounts.
  • Biden said he was ‘shocked and saddened’ to learn of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, a killing Biden called ‘horrific’ in a statement issued by the White House.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and other Republicans who have questioned a new door-to-door push from the federal government to educate people about the value of coronavirus vaccines.
  • Remaining fencing surrounding U.S. Capitol to be removed starting Friday.

Trump told chief of staff John Kelly that Hitler ‘did a lot of good things, new book by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal says, The Guardian, Martin Pengelly, Wednesday, 7 July 2021: “On a visit to Europe to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, Donald Trump insisted to his then chief of staff, John Kelly: ‘Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.’ The remark from the former US president on the 2018 trip, which reportedly ‘stunned’ Kelly, a retired US Marine Corps general, is reported in a new book by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal. Frankly, We Did Win This Election has been widely trailed ahead of publication next week. The Guardian obtained a copy. Bender reports that Trump made the remark during an impromptu history lesson in which Kelly ‘reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict’ and ‘connected the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities.'”

Trump files class action lawsuits targeting Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube over ‘censorship’ of conservatives, The Washington Post, Cat Zakrzewski and Rachel Lerman, Wednesday, 7 July 2021: “Former president Donald Trump on Wednesday filed class-action lawsuits targeting Facebook, Google and Twitter, escalating his long-running battle with the companies following their suspensions of his accounts. Legal experts and business associations immediately criticized the claims, predicting they had little chance of succeeding in court. But the lawsuits, filed in federal district court in Miami, raised a series of legal claims that will find favor among Trump’s most fervent supporters who have long argued that the social media companies treat conservative voices unfairly. ‘We’re demanding an end to the shadowbanning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing and canceling that you know so well,’ Trump said. The suits allege that the companies violated Trump’s First Amendment rights in suspending his accounts and argues that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which is owned by Google, no longer should be considered private companies but ‘a state actor’ whose actions are constrained by First Amendment restrictions on government limitations on free speech. Traditionally, the First Amendment constrains only government actions, not those of private companies.” See also, Trump sues Big Tech CEOs, Axios, Sara Fischer, Wednesday, 7 July 2021: “Former President Donald Trump, who has complained about censorship by social media giants, filed class-action lawsuits Wednesday against Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergTwitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. It’s the latest escalation in Trump’s yearslong battle with Twitter and Facebook over free speech and censorship. Trump is completely banned from Twitter and is banned from Facebook for another two years. Trump announced at an 11am press conference Wednesday that he is the lead class representative in a lawsuit being filed with the Southern District of Florida. The filing, Trump said, seeks immediate injunctive relief to allow the prompt restoration of his social media accounts. He also said he is asking the court to impose ‘punitive damages’ on the three social media giants. Trump’s legal effort is supported by the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a nonprofit focused on perpetuating Trump’s policies, through a new legal entity called the Constitutional Litigation Partnership. AFPI’s president and CEO Brooke Rollins and board chair Linda McMahon, both former Trump officials, accompanied him during the announcement.”

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, mouths to Republican luncheon that climate change is ‘bullshit,’ CNN, Em Steck, Andrew Kaczynski, and Drew Myers, Wednesday, 7 July 2021: “Sen. Ron Johnson insisted again last week that he is not a climate change denier, but CNN’s KFile found video of him from just weeks earlier telling a Republican group that it is ‘bullsh*t. I don’t know about you guys, but I think climate change is — as Lord Monckton said — bullsh*t,’ the Wisconsin Republican said, without uttering the expletive but mouthing it, and referring to British conservative climate change denier Lord Christopher Monckton. ‘By the way, it is.’ Johnson, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, continued that ‘there are more and more scientists’ writing books ‘just laying this to waste’ and questioned why the US was focused on the climate crisis at all.”

FBI infiltrates group whose members wanted to test homemade bombs, surveil the Capitol, and secede from the US, court records show, CNN Politics, Hannah Rabinowitz and Katelyn Polantz, Wednesday, 7 July 2021: “The FBI has infiltrated a ‘Bible study’ group in Virginia that after the January 6 riot had members discussing surveilling the US Capitol and their wish for secession from the US, and investigators closely followed one member’s plans to build and test Molotov cocktails, according to recently unsealed court records. The startling new case, landing six months after the pro-Trump insurrection, adds to the more than 500 Capitol riot federal criminal cases already in court and fleshes out what’s known about the Justice Department’s understanding of the continued interests of right-wing extremists to allegedly interfere with the US government and discuss with each other how to do so. The new case highlights one group member’s apparent interest in a second American civil war. The newly disclosed criminal case against Virginia man Fi Duong — who also goes by ‘Monkey King’ and ‘Jim,’ according to the court record — arose after Duong interacted with undercover law enforcement officers several times on January 6 and into recent months, when the FBI ultimately gained access to his group in Virginia then accompanied him to an old jail as Duong allegedly pursued bomb-building. Law enforcement’s undercover interactions with Duong and his contacts since January are laid out in a 14-page statement from the FBI filed in court in recent days to support his arrest and initial charges.”

 

Thursday, 8 July 2021:

 

Texas Republicans Propose New Bills That Would Limit Voting Access, The New York Times, Thursday, 8 July 2021:

Texas Republicans Reveal Bills of Far-Reaching Voting Restrictions. In their second attempt to pass a sweeping elections overhaul, Republican lawmakers followed the broad outlines of the first, including a wide range of measures to limit voting access. The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti, Thursday, 8 July 2021: “Republicans in the Texas Legislature on Thursday fully unveiled their plans to overhaul the state’s election apparatus, outlining a raft of proposed new restrictions on voting access that would be among the most far-reaching election laws passed this year. The G.O.P. bills in the State Senate and State House, which will be debated in the coming days during the Legislature’s special session, largely resemble those from the Republicans’ initial attempt to pass a sweeping voting bill, which failed in the last legislative session after Democrats staged a late-night walkout. Among many new changes and restrictions to the state’s electoral process, both bills would ban 24-hour voting and drive-through voting; prohibit election officials from proactively sending out absentee ballots to voters who have not requested them; add new voter identification requirements for voting by mail; limit third-party ballot collection; increase the criminal penalties for election workers who run afoul of regulations; limit what assistance can be provided to voters; and greatly expand the authority and autonomy of partisan poll watchers. But the new bills do not include two of the most contentious provisions from the previous iteration. There is no longer a limitation on Sunday voting (it can now begin at 9 a.m.) and there is no provision making it easier to overturn an election.” See also, Texas Republicans renew efforts to pass voting restrictions in special session, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Thursday, 8 July 2021: “Republican lawmakers in Texas on Thursday launched their second effort this year to pass new voting restrictions after Democrats blocked them in May with a dramatic walkout at the state Capitol. The legislature convened Thursday for a special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to enact a laundry list of conservative priorities, including a ban of transgender athletes on youth sports teams and beefed-up border security. But Abbott has made clear that “election integrity” is a top priority, and Republicans filed bills in the House and Senate that include many of the same voting provisions they sought to enact earlier in the year. The new election proposals include a number of restrictions championed by former president Donald Trump. The measures would ban several election programs implemented last year to help people vote during the coronavirus pandemic, including drive-through voting and 24-hour and late-night voting. Voting rights advocates noted that voters of color used these programs disproportionately, meaning they could disproportionately feel the impact of the restrictions.”

Trump charged Secret Service nearly $10,200 in May for agents’ rooms in Bedminster, New Jersey, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Thursday, 8 July 2021: “Former president Donald Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., charged the Secret Service nearly $10,200 for guest rooms used by his protective detail during Trump’s first month at the club this summer, newly released spending records show. The records — released by the Secret Service in response to a public-records request — show that the ex-president has continued a habit he began in the first days of his presidency: charging rent to the agency that protects his life. Since Trump left office in January, U.S. taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $50,000 for rooms used by Secret Service agents, records show. The Washington Post reported previously that Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club — where he lived from January, when he left the White House, to early May — charged the Secret Service more than $40,000 so that agents could use a room near Trump. These newly released records provide the first proof that, when Trump moved north to Bedminster, the invoices kept coming. The Secret Service released a bill it paid to Trump Bedminster in May, totaling $10,199.52. The agency redacted the nightly rate, but the dollar amount itself offered a clue: The bill was an exact multiple of what Trump Bedminster charged the Secret Service while Trump was still in office: $566.64 per night for a four-bedroom ‘cottage’ on the property.”

 

Friday, 9 July 2021:

 

Biden Urges Putin to ‘Take Action to Disrupt’ Russia-Based Hackers Behind Ransomware Attacks, The New York Times, Friday, 9 July 2021:

 

Monday, 12 July 2021:

 

The Senate Returns to a Complicated Agenda, Seeking to Pass Infrastructure and Other Economic Priorities. Democratic leaders have mapped out a monthlong sprint for senators, warning them to prepare for late nights and even the cancellation of part of their beloved August recess. The New York Times, Monday, 12 July 2021:

Texas Democrats Flee State to Highlight Republican Voting Restrictions. The move is an attempt to block Republicans from passing a new voting bill while also applying pressure on Congress to pass legislation at the federal level. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein and Nick Corasaniti, Monday, 12 July 2021: “Texas Democrats fled the state on Monday in a last-ditch effort to prevent the passage of a restrictive new voting law by the Republican-controlled Legislature, heading to Washington to draw national attention to their cause. The group left Austin in midafternoon on a pair of chartered flights that arrived at Dulles International Airport just before sunset. Fifty-one of the 67 State House Democrats flew on the planes, leaders of the delegation said, and several others arrived separately in Washington; that’s enough to prevent Texas Republicans from attaining a quorum, which is required to conduct state business. The hastily arranged departure added a cinematic element to the partisan wrangling in a state with a colorful political history. Democrats have fled to neighboring states in the past to try to block legislation, including in 2003, when they traveled to New Mexico and Oklahoma in an effort to avoid Republican attempts to redraw congressional districts.” See also, Texas Governor Greg Abbott says Democratic lawmakers who left the state to stop passage of voting restrictions could face arrest when they return, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner and Eva Ruth Moravec, Monday, 12 July 2021: “Democratic lawmakers in Texas fled the state on Monday, potentially torpedoing an ongoing special session called by Republicans to take up new voting restrictions and drawing threats of arrest by Gov. Greg Abbott. At least 50 House Democrats landed in Washington late Monday. The exodus denies Republicansthe required two-thirds attendance level to conduct business, calling into doubt whether plans to take up voting legislation this week could proceed.” See also, Texas House Democrats flee the state in move that could block voting restrictions bill and bring the Legislature to a halt, The Texas Tribune, Alexa Ura and Cassandra Pollock, Monday, 12 July 2021: “Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives left the state Monday afternoon en route toWashington, D.C., in a bid to again deny Republicans the quorum needed to pass new voting restrictions with 26 days left in a special legislative session called largely for that purpose. Upping the ante in both the legislative fight at home and the national debate over voting rights, most House Democrats boarded two planes out of Austin headed for the U.S. capital without a set return date.At least 51 of the 67 Democratic representatives — the number needed to break quorum — were in the process of leaving Monday afternoon, most arriving at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Monday to board chartered flights that departed around 3:10 p.m. The House is set to reconvene Tuesday morning, but the absent Democrats would mean there will not be enough members present to conduct business under House rules.’

‘This is really fantastical’: Federal judge Linda V. Parker in Michigan presses Trump-allied lawyers on 2020 election fraud claims in sanctions hearing, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Monday, 12 July 2021: “The latest effort to hold former president Donald Trump and his allies accountable for months of baseless claims about the 2020 election played out Monday in a Michigan courtroom, where a federal judge asked detailed and skeptical questions of several lawyers she is considering imposing sanctions against for filing a lawsuit seeking to overturn the results. U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker said she would rule on a request to discipline the lawyers in coming weeks. But over and over again during the more than five-hour hearing, she pointedly pressed the lawyers involved — including Trump allies Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood — to explain what steps they had taken to ensure their court filings in the case filed last year had been accurate. She appeared astonished by many of their answers. While their suit aimed to create a broad impression that the vote in Michigan — and specifically Detroit’s Wayne County — had been troubled, the affidavits filed to support those claims included obvious errors, speculation and basic misunderstandings of how elections are generally conducted in the state, Parker said.” See also, Federal Judge Linda Parker ‘concerned’ about ‘bad faith’ by Trump lawyers who filed Michigan election case. The lawsuit alleging widespread fraud was voluntarily dropped after a judge in December found nothing but ‘speculation and conjecture.’ NBC News, Rebecca Shabad and The Associated Press, Monday, 12 July 2021: “A federal judge is considering whether to order financial penalties or other sanctions against some of former President Donald Trump’s lawyers who signed onto a lawsuit last year challenging Michigan‘s election results. U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in Detroit held a six-hour hearing Monday by video conference. She said she plans to make a decision about sanctions at a later date. The judge said that the court is “concerned” that affidavits included in the lawsuit ‘were submitted in bad faith.’ Some of the affidavits, Trump’s lawyers admitted, were repurposed from other cases. The lawsuit alleging widespread fraud was voluntarily dropped after a judge in December found nothing but ‘speculation and conjecture’ that votes for Trump somehow were destroyed or switched to votes for Joe Biden, who won Michigan by 2.8 percentage points. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the city of Detroit now want the plaintiffs and a raft of attorneys, including Trump allies Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood, to face the consequences of pursuing what they call frivolous claims.”

Justin Riemer, the Republican National Committee’s chief counsel, called election fraud arguments by Trump’s lawyers a ‘joke’ that could mislead millions, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Monday, 12 July 2021: “The Republican Party’s top lawyer warned in November against continuing to push false claims that the presidential election was stolen, calling efforts by some of the former president’s lawyers a ‘joke’ that could mislead millions of people, according to an email obtained by The Washington Post. Justin Riemer, the Republican National Committee’s chief counsel, sought to discourage a Republican Party staffer from posting claims about ballot fraud on RNC accounts, the email shows, as attempts by Donald Trump and his associates to challenge results in a number of states, such as Arizona and Pennsylvania, intensified.”

Trump Organization removes indicted top finance officer Allen Weisselberg from leadership roles at dozens of subsidiaries, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold and Shayna Jacobs, Monday, 12 July 2021: “The Trump Organization has removed indicted chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg from his leadership roles at more than 40 subsidiary companies, according to corporate filings in the United States and Scotland. The changes were made Thursday and Friday, a week after a grand jury in Manhattan indicted Weisselberg on 15 felony counts, including grand larceny and tax fraud. Weisselberg was accused by New York prosecutors of helping run a 15-year scheme to evade income taxes by concealing executives’ salaries — including more than $1.7 million of his own income — from tax authorities. Two Trump corporate entities were indicted alongside Weisselberg. On Thursday, the Trump Organization removed Weisselberg as a director of the company that runs its golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, according to British corporate records.”

 

Tuesday, 13 July 2021:

 

‘Have you no shame?’ Biden frames voting rights as a moral reckoning. The president tried to reinvigorate the fight for voting rights, but he made no mention of rolling back the filibuster, which some see as the only way to beat back Republican-let efforts to restrict ballot access. The New York Times, Tuesday, 13 July 2021:

Texas Democratic lawmakers who left the state to block restrictive voting law plead with Congress to act, The Washington Post, Eugene Scott and Eva Ruth Moravec, Tuesday, 13 July 2021: “Texas Democratic lawmakers who left the state to prevent passage of restrictive voting legislation said Tuesday that it was imperative for Congress to act to ensure federal voting rights because there are limits to their last-ditch effort to stop Republicans. Standing before the U.S. Capitol, the Democrats were defiant but pragmatic after their second hasty exodus in three months. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) threatened to have them arrested when they return, and the state House passed a motion Tuesday morning that effectively orders state troopers to arrest missing members within state boundaries.”

Court documents show Trump Justice Department effort to learn source of leaks for Washington Post stories came in William Barr’s final days as Attorney General, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Spencer S. Hsu, Tuesday, 13 July 2021: “Newly unsealed court documents show the Trump Justice Department sought a court order for the communications records of three Washington Post reporters in the final days of William P. Barr’s tenure as attorney general in 2020, as prosecutors sought to identify sources for three articles written in 2017. The papers also reveal the service provider that was the recipient of the secret court order: Proofpoint Corporation, a firm that supplies data security services. Using Proofpoint as a means of trying to get the reporters’ email records suggests prosecutors were thinking creatively about where they might be able to find reporters’ data, beyond just standard email providers like Google or Microsoft. Representatives for Proofpoint did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In addition, the documents indicate the extent to which federal investigators strongly suspected the disclosures of classified information were coming from Congress.” See also, Attempt to Seize Post Reporters’ Email Data Came Day Before Attorney General William Barr Left Office, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 13 July 2021: “The Justice Department sought the email records of three Washington Post reporters the day before William P. Barr stepped down as attorney general in a last-ditch effort to identify who had told the newspaper about conversations between Trump campaign officials and the Russian ambassador, newly unsealed court documents show. The Dec. 22 request, one of Mr. Barr’s last acts in office, was part of a major escalation by the Trump administration during its final weeks in power of a yearslong campaign to crack down on leaks of classified information to the news media. The Trump Justice Department also sought New York Times reporters’ records in that period. The Biden Justice Department had disclosed the effort — which also included seizing the reporters’ phone records — last month, leading to the unsealing of the Post docket. The files shed new light on what happened, including listing the day prosecutors applied for the email records order and identifying three Post articles that were the subject of a leak investigation.”

Trump said whoever ‘leaked’ info on his White House bunker stay should be ‘executed,’ new book claims, CNN Politics, Devan Cole, Tuesday, 13 July 2021: “Then-President Donald Trump told a number of his advisers in 2020 that whoever leaked information about his stay in the White House bunker in May of that year had committed treason and should be executed for sharing details about the episode with members of the press, according to excerpts of a new book, obtained by CNN, from Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender. Trump, along with then-first lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron, were all taken to the underground bunker for a period of time during the protests spurred by the police killing of George Floyd as protesters gathered outside the building. Bender writes in the book, titled ‘Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,’ that Trump, in the days following his time in the bunker, held a tense meeting with top military, law enforcement and West Wing advisers, in which he aired grievances over the leak. ‘Trump boiled over about the bunker story as soon as they arrived and shouted at them to smoke out whoever had leaked it. It was the most upset some aides had ever seen the president,’ Bender writes. ‘Whoever did that, they should be charged with treason!’ Trump yelled. ‘They should be executed!’ the book reads.”

Top Tennessee Vaccine Official Says She Was Fired Over Shots for Teens. Michelle Fiscus, that state’s immunization leader, was only the latest state public health official to depart amid the pandemic. The New York Times, Rick Rojas, Tuesday, 13 July 2021: “First came public service ads alerting teenagers in Tennessee that they were eligible to get vaccinated for Covid-19. Then, the state’s top immunization leader, Dr. Michelle Fiscus, distributed a memo that suggested some teenagers might be eligible for vaccinations without their parents’ consent. By this week, Dr. Fiscus said she was fired — a circumstance she attributed to pushback among Republican lawmakers in the state, who have complained that the Tennessee Department of Health had gone too far in its efforts to raise awareness of the shot among young people. Dr. Fiscus, the health department’s medical director for vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization programs, is one of scores of public health officials across the United States who have quit or been forced from their jobs in a pandemic that was unlike anything they had tackled before and in a political climate that has grown increasingly split over the coronavirus and the vaccines. A review published in December by Kaiser Health News and The Associated Press found that at least 181 state and local public health leaders in 38 states had resigned, retired or been fired since April 1, 2020. ‘It’s just a huge symptom of just how toxic the whole political landscape has become,’ Dr. Fiscus said in an interview on Tuesday. ‘This virus is apolitical — it doesn’t care who you are or where you live or which president you preferred.’ Still, she added, ‘It’s just been a very difficult thing for us to overcome.’… The Tennessean, the Nashville newspaper that earlier reported Dr. Fiscus’s dismissal, also reported on Tuesday that the health department was pulling back its vaccination outreach efforts to children for all diseases — not just the coronavirus — amid the backlash from lawmakers.” See also, Tennessee’s Top Vaccine Official Says She Was Fired for Saying that Teens Don’t Need Parental Consent for Vaccines, NPR, Bill Chappell, Tuesday, 13 July 2021: “Tennessee’s top vaccine official says she has been fired as punishment for doing her job in the face of political pushback. Dr. Michelle Fiscus was caught up in a controversy after she passed along legal guidance to health providers saying teenagers do not need parents’ consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot — a position established by decades of state law. ‘Specifically, it was MY job to provide evidence-based education and vaccine access so that Tennesseans could protect themselves against COVID-19,’ Fiscus said in a scathing statement about her firing. ‘I have now been terminated for doing exactly that.'”

‘I Alone Can Fix It’ book excerpt: Inside Trump’s Election Day and the birth of the ‘big lie.’ At the end of a tumultuous day, the defiant president refused to accept the signs that he was losing the White House contest to Joe Biden. ‘I won in a landslide and they’re taking it back,’ Trump told advisers. The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker, Tuesday, 13 July 2021: “Part one of an excerpt from “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.” Leonnig and Rucker will discuss this book during a Washington Post Live event on July 20.”

 

Wednesday, 14 July 2021:

 

Evacuations for Afghans Who Helped U.S. Troops Will Begin This Month. The White House Kept crucial details under wraps, including who would ultimately be eligible and where evacuees could safely be sent while their visa applications were reviewed. The New York Times, Wednesday, 14 July 2021:

Europe Unveils plan to Shift From Fossil Fuels, Setting Up Potential Trade Spats. The proposal would impose tariffs on some imports from countries with looser environmental rules. It would also mean the end of sales in the European Union of new gas and diesel powered cars in just 14 years. The New York Times, Steven Erlanger and Somini Sengupta, Wednesday, 14 July 2021: “In what may be a seminal moment in the global effort to fight climate change, Europe on Wednesday challenged the rest of the world by laying out an ambitious blueprint to pivot away from fossil fuels over the next nine years, a plan that also has the potential to set off global trade disputes. The most radical, and possibly contentious, proposal would impose tariffs on certain imports from countries with less stringent climate-protection rules. The proposals also include eliminating the sales of new gas- and diesel-powered cars in just 14 years, and raising the price of using fossil fuels. ‘Our current fossil fuel economy has reached its limit,’ the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said at a news conference in Brussels.”

‘They’re not going to f**king succeed’: Top generals feared Trump would attempt a coup after the election, according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb, Marshall Cohen, Elizabeth Stuart, and Barbara Starr, Wednesday, 14 July 2021: “The top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, was so shaken that then-President Donald Trump and his allies might attempt a coup or take other dangerous or illegal measures after the November election that Milley and other top officials informally planned for different ways to stop Trump, according to excerpts of an upcoming book obtained by CNN. The book, from Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, describes how Milley and the other Joint Chiefs discussed a plan to resign, one-by-one, rather than carry out orders from Trump that they considered to be illegal, dangerous or ill-advised. ‘It was a kind of Saturday Night Massacre in reverse,’ Leonnig and Rucker write. The book, ‘I Alone Can Fix It,’ scheduled to be released next Tuesday, chronicles Trump’s final year as president, with a behind-the-scenes look at how senior administration officials and Trump’s inner circle navigated his increasingly unhinged behavior after losing the 2020 election. The authors interviewed Trump for more than two hours.” See also, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Mark A. Milley feared potential ‘Reichstag moment’ aimed at keeping Trump in power, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Wednesday, 14 July 2021: “In the waning weeks of Donald Trump’s term, the country’s top military leader repeatedly worried about what the president might do to maintain power after losing reelection, comparing his rhetoric to Adolf Hitler’s during the rise of Nazi Germany and asking confidants whether a coup was forthcoming, according to a new book by two Washington Post reporters. As Trump ceaselessly pushed false claims about the 2020 presidential election, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, grew more and more nervous, telling aides he feared that the president and his acolytes might attempt to use the military to stay in office, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker report in ‘I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.’ Milley described ‘a stomach-churning’ feeling as he listened to Trump’s untrue complaints of election fraud, drawing a comparison to the 1933 attack on Germany’s parliament building that Hitler used as a pretext to establish a Nazi dictatorship. ‘This is a Reichstag moment,’ Milley told aides, according to the book. ‘The gospel of the Führer.’ A spokesman for Milley declined to comment. Portions of the book related to Milley — first reported Wednesday night by CNN ahead of the book’s July 20 release — offer a remarkable window into the thinking of America’s highest-ranking military officer, who saw himself as one of the last empowered defenders of democracy during some of the darkest days in the country’s recent history.”

Democrats Roll Out $3.5 Trillion Budget to Fulfill Biden’s Broad Agenda. ‘We’re going to get a lot done’ President Biden said, as Senate Democrats began drafting the details on a social and environmental bill that could yield transformative change. The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman, Emily Cochrane, and Jim Tankersley, Wednesday, 14 July 2021: “President Biden and congressional Democrats vowed on Wednesday to push through a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint to vastly expand social and environmental programs by extending the reach of education and health care, taxing the rich and tackling the warming of the planet. The legislation is far from passage, but top Democrats have agreed on working to include several far-reaching details. They include universal prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds, two years of free community college, clean energy requirements for utilities and lower prescription drug prices. Medicare benefits would be expanded, and green cards would be extended to some undocumented immigrants.”

Trump decides he’ll try to influence Georgia’s lieutenant governor’s race too, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Maya T. Prabhu, Wednesday, 14 July 2021: “Since losing the presidential election to Joe Biden, Donald Trump has vowed to oust Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — Georgia officials he said did not do enough to overturn the results in his favor. Now he’s turning his attention to the state’s No. 2 slot. The former president said Wednesday night that he will not “support or endorse” Republican Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller’s candidacy to become Georgia’s next lieutenant governor. Trump sent a press release saying Miller refused ‘to work with other Republican Senators on voter fraud and irregularities in the state.’ Trump called on ‘strong and effective’ challengers to enter the Republican primary.”

The Amazon rainforest is now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs. Cutting emissions is more urgent than ever, say scientists, with the forest producing more than a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. The Guardian, Damian Carrington, Wednesday, 14 July 2021: “The Amazon rainforest is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it is able to absorb, scientists have confirmed for the first time. The emissions amount to a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, according to a study. The giant forest had previously been a carbon sink, absorbing the emissions driving the climate crisis, but is now causing its acceleration, researchers said. Most of the emissions are caused by fires, many deliberately set to clear land for beef and soy production. But even without fires, hotter temperatures and droughts mean the south-eastern Amazon has become a source of CO2, rather than a sink. Growing trees and plants have taken up about a quarter of all fossil fuel emissions since 1960, with the Amazon playing a major role as the largest tropical forest. Losing the Amazon’s power to capture CO2 is a stark warning that slashing emissions from fossil fuels is more urgent than ever, scientists said.”

 

Thursday, 15 July 2021:

 

Acknowledging Disagreements, Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel Signal Warmer U.S.-German Ties, The New York Times, Thursday, 15 July 2021:

“You’re Gonna Have a Fucking War”: Mark Milley’s Fight to Stop Trump From Striking Iran, The New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser, Thursday, 15 July 2021: “The last time that General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with President Donald Trump was on January 3, 2021. The subject of the Sunday-afternoon meeting, at the White House, was Iran’s nuclear program. For the past several months, Milley had been engaged in an alarmed effort to insure that Trump did not embark on a military conflict with Iran as part of his quixotic campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election and remain in power. The chairman secretly feared that Trump would insist on launching a strike on Iranian interests that could set off a full-blown war. There were two ‘nightmare scenarios,’ Milley told associates, for the period after the November 3rd election, which resulted in Trump’s defeat but not his concession: one was that Trump would try ‘to use the military on the streets of America to prevent the legitimate, peaceful transfer of power.’ The other was an external crisis involving Iran. It was not public at the time, but Milley believed that the nation had come close—’very close’—to conflict with the Islamic Republic. This dangerous post-election period, Milley said, was all because of Trump’s ‘Hitler’-like embrace of the ‘Big Lie’ that the election had been stolen from him; Milley feared it was Trump’s ‘Reichstag moment,’ in which, like Adolf Hitler in 1933, he would manufacture a crisis in order to swoop in and rescue the nation from it.” See also, Trump reportedly ended a meeting with his national security advisers on an ominous note days before the Capitol riot Yahoo!News, Summer Meza, published on Friday, 16 July 2021: “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was on the outs with former President Donald Trump for months before he left office, but their final interaction reportedly left things on an ominous note. The New Yorker reports that Trump gathered Milley, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and other advisers for a Jan. 3 meeting about Iran, hoping to take military action. The national security team finally persuaded Trump against a missile strike, so Trump pivoted to chat about his upcoming rally on Jan. 6, the day Congress was set to certify his election loss. Trump, who had already promised a ‘wild’ protest, reportedly commented: ‘It’s gonna be a big deal … You’re ready for that, right?’ It was reportedly the last interaction Milley had with Trump. According to other reports, like an upcoming book by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, Milley had been fearing for several months that Trump would attempt a coup to stay in power, calling it one of his two ‘nightmare scenarios’ (the other being a war with Iran). Milley reportedly met repeatedly with the Joint Chiefs to urge them against taking unlawful orders from Trump, and reassured concerned lawmakers that ‘Trump might attempt a coup, but he would fail because he would never succeed in co-opting the American military,’ writes The New Yorker. Trump, for his part, said Wednesday that he’s ‘not into coups.'”

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia Says No Filibuster Exception for Voting Rights Bill, Bloomberg,  Sophia Cai, Thursday, 15 July 2021: “Senator Joe Manchin said he wouldn’t carve out an exemption to the chamber’s filibuster rule for voting rights legislation, effectively dashing chances that Democrats could maneuver around Republican opposition to overhauling the nation’s elections laws. The West Virginia Democrat made the remarks after meeting with a group of Texas House Democrats who left the state to stall a vote on Republican-backed legislation that they say would restrict voting.”

Biden touts ‘historic’ effort to reduce child poverty through expanded child tax credit, CNN Politics, Donald Judd, Tami Luhby, and Kate Sullivan, Thursday, 15 July 2021: “President Joe Biden on Thursday touted the expanded child tax credit, a provision of his administration’s Covid-19 relief package aimed at reducing child poverty that he believes could change the lives of working-class families…. The first monthly installment of the enhanced child tax credit — up to $300 a month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 a month for each one ages 6 to 17 — arrived in parents’ bank accounts on Thursday. Families will receive a total of $3,600 for each child under age 6 and $3,000 for each one ages 6 to 17 for 2021. Half will be paid in monthly installments between now and December, and rest will come next spring, around Tax Day, Biden said.”

The Biden administration proposes sweeping protections for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will end large old-growth sales and bar road construction on 9.3 million acres of forest in a move that would reverse one of Donald Trump’s biggest public land decisions. The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Thursday, 15 July 2021: “The Biden administration announced sweeping protections for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest on Thursday, including an end to large-scale old-growth logging and a proposal to bar road development on more than 9 million acres. The changes mark a major shift for a region that has relied on felling massive trees for more than a century, reversing one of former president Donald Trump’s biggest public land decisions and halting a significant source of future carbon emissions. The Tongass, part of one of the world’s last relatively intact temperate rainforests, is the only national forest where old-growth logging still takes place on an industrial scale. The 16.7 million-acre forest — which once boasted major pulp mills but is now targeted for its fine-grain, centuries-old trees that are coveted for pricey musical instruments, expansive outdoor decks and elegant shingles — has been a political flash point for two decades. While Democrats have sought to scale back logging in the forest over time, the administration’s moves go further than any previous president’s efforts.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland restores discretion for immigration judges that was stripped under Trump, CNN Politics, Priscilla Alvarez, Thursday, 15 July 2021: “Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a ruling Thursday restoring discretion to immigration judges by allowing them to administratively close cases, a move that could prove significant in chipping away at the more than million case backlog facing immigration courts. Thursday’s ruling would allow immigration judges to put cases on hold or remove them from the active docket, if appropriate — an authority that was stripped during the Trump administration to the frustration of some judges. The US immigration court system falls under the Justice Department.”

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signs executive order restricting conversion therapy, ABC Eyewitness News, Josh Skluzacek and Tommy Wiita, Thursday, 15 July 2021: “Gov. Tim Walz bypassed the Minnesota Legislature and restricted conversion therapy in the state on Thursday. Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan participated in a signing ceremony for an executive order on Thursday morning. Conversion therapy, also known as ‘reparative therapy,’ refers to a counseling practice that seeks to change a patient’s gender or sexual orientation. Every leading medical and scientific association including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and National Education Association have strongly and uniformly rejected conversion therapy for minors, citing its harmful effects on the long-term mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. ‘Our kids deserve to grow up in a state that values them for who they are – not one that tries to change them,’ said Walz. ‘This executive order aims to protect young and vulnerable Minnesotans from the cruel and discredited practice of conversion therapy and affirms that the LGBTQ+ community is an integral part of One Minnesota. This is not the end of our work to see this practice become a thing of the past. We will continue to fight for love over hate every single day.'”

The California Legislature has approved the nation’s first state-funded guaranteed income program, ABC News, Adam Beam of The Associated Press, Thursday, 15 July 2021: “California lawmakers on Thursday approved the first state-funded guaranteed income plan in the U.S., $35 million for monthly cash payments to qualifying pregnant people and young adults who recently left foster care with no restrictions on how they spend it. The votes — 36-0 in the Senate and 64-0 in the Assembly — showed bipartisan support for an idea that is gaining momentum across the country. Dozens of local programs have sprung up in recent years, including some that have been privately funded, making it easier for elected officials to sell the public on the idea. California’s plan is taxpayer-funded, and could spur other states to follow its lead.”

Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House, The Guardian, Luke Harding, Julian Borger, and Dan Sabbagh, Thursday, 15 July 2021: “Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a ‘mentally unstable’ Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents. The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present. They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them ‘social turmoil’ in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position. Russia’s three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature. By this point Trump was the frontrunner in the Republican party’s nomination race. A report prepared by Putin’s expert department recommended Moscow use ‘all possible force’ to ensure a Trump victory. Western intelligence agencies are understood to have been aware of the documents for some months and to have carefully examined them. The papers, seen by the Guardian, seem to represent a serious and highly unusual leak from within the Kremlin. The Guardian has shown the documents to independent experts who say they appear to be genuine. Incidental details come across as accurate. The overall tone and thrust is said to be consistent with Kremlin security thinking.”

Republican Representative Matt Gaetz’s campaign paid $25.000 to lawyer who represented Jeffrey Epstein. The fee, for legal consulting, was paid to Manhattan criminal defense attorney Marc Fernich. The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Thursday, 15 July 2021: “Rep. Matt Gaetz’s campaign paid $25,000 in June to a Manhattan criminal defense attorney who lists Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who killed himself in prison, as a notable client, according to a filing Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. The Florida Republican and acolyte of former president Donald Trump is under investigation for possible sex trafficking of a minor. A spokesman for Gaetz did not address the payment but touted the congressman’s fundraising haul, which totaled more than $1.3 million in the second quarter of the year. The June payment, for legal consulting, went to the law office of Marc Fernich, whose website says he specializes in ‘subtle, novel and creative arguments that other attorneys may miss.'”

 

Friday, 16 July 2021:

 

Plans for Free-Pre-K and Community College Could Provide a ‘Ladder Into the Middle Class.’ For at least a decade, many experts and advocates have called for expanding the public education system to level the playing field for students from ‘cradle to career.’ The New York Times, Friday, 16 July 2021:

Arizona county election officials have identified fewer than 200 cases of potential voter fraud out of more than 3 million ballots cast in last year’s presidential election, further discrediting former President Donald Trump’s claims of a stolen election as his allies continue a disputed ballot review in the state’s most populous county, Associated Press, Bob Christie and Christian A. Cassidy, Friday, 16 July 2021: “An Associated Press investigation found 182 cases where problems were clear enough that officials referred them to investigators for further review. So far, only four cases have led to charges, including those identified in a separate state investigation. No one has been convicted. No person’s vote was counted twice. While it’s possible more cases could emerge, the numbers illustrate the implausibility of Trump’s claims that fraud and irregularities in Arizona cost him the state’s electorate votes. In final, certified and audited results, Biden won 10,400 more votes than Trump out of 3.4 million cast. AP’s findings align with previous studies showing voter fraud is rare. Numerous safeguards are built into the system to not only prevent fraud from happening but to detect it when it does. ‘The fact of the matter is that election officials across the state are highly invested in helping to ensure the integrity of our elections and the public’s confidence in them,’ said Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat. ‘And part of that entails taking potential voter fraud seriously.'”

Federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the United States District Court in Houston Rules Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Is Unlawful and Suspends Applications. The judge said President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he created the program, but for now people protected under it will retain the ability to stay and work in the United States. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Friday, 16 July 2021: “A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled unlawful a program that has shielded hundreds of thousands of undocumented young adults from deportation, throwing into question yet again the fate of immigrants known as Dreamers. The judge, Andrew S. Hanen of the United States District Court in Houston, said President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he created the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, by executive order in 2012. But the judge wrote that current program recipients would not be immediately affected, and that the federal government should not ‘take any immigration, deportation or criminal action’ against them that it ‘would not otherwise take.’ The Department of Homeland Security may continue to accept new applications but is temporarily prohibited from approving them, the judge ruled. Immigrants currently enrolled in the program, most of whom were brought to the United States as children, will for now retain the ability to stay and work in the country, though those protections could evaporate if the government is unable to rectify a series of legal shortcomings. Judge Hanen, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, ruled that the creation of the program violated the Administrative Procedure Act, in part because comment from the general public was never sought. ‘D.H.S. failed to engage in the statutorily mandated process,’ he wrote, ‘so DACA never gained status as a legally binding policy that could impose duties or obligations.’ The Biden administration is expected to appeal the ruling, and unless Congress steps in with a legislative remedy, the ultimate legality of DACA is almost certain to be decided by the Supreme Court.” See also, U.S. judge in Texas blocks new applicants to the program that protects undocumented ‘dreamers’ who arrived as children, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Friday, 16 July 2021: “A federal judge in Texas has largely halted an Obama administration initiative that grants work permits and reprieves from deportation to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children — calling the program ‘unlawful’ even as he allowed the more than 600,000 young people already in it to keep their protected status. U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen sided with Texas and other states in his ruling that President Barack Obama overstepped his executive authority when he created the program.”

 

Sunday, 18 July 2021:

 

The Pegasus Project, a global investigation: Private Israeli spyware has been used to hack cellphones of journalists and activists worldwide. An investigation by a consortium of media organizations has found that military grade spyware licensed by Israeli firm NSO Group has been used to hack smartphones. The Washington Post, Dana Priest, Craig Timberg, and Souad Mekhennet, Sunday, 18 July 2021: “Military-grade spyware licensed by an Israeli firm to governments for tracking terrorists and criminals was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, business executives and two women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and 16 media partners. The phones appeared on a list of more than 50,000 numbers that are concentrated in countries known to engage in surveillance of their citizens and also known to have been clients of the Israeli firm, NSO Group, a worldwide leader in the growing and largely unregulated private spyware industry, the investigation found.” See also, Takeaways from the Pegasus Project, The Washington Post, Washington Post Staff, published on Monday, 19 July 2021.

 

Monday, 19 July 2021:

 

Biden Addresses the Economy and pushes for further spending, The New York Times, Monday, 19 July 2021:

Attorney General Merrick Garland bars prosecutors from seizing reporters’ records, Associated Press, Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo, Monday, 19 July 2021: “Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday formally prohibited federal prosecutors from seizing the records of journalists in leak investigations, with limited exceptions, reversing years of department policy. The new policy largely codifies the commitment Garland made in June, when he said the Justice Department would abandon the practice of seizing reporters’ records as part of efforts to uncover confidential sources. It aims to resolve a politically thorny issue that has long vexed Justice Department prosecutors trying to weigh the media’s First Amendment rights against the government’s desire to protect classified information. ‘The United States has, of course, an important national interest in protecting national security information against unauthorized disclosure,’ Garland wrote in his memo. ‘But a balancing test may fail to properly weight the important national interest in protecting journalists from compelled disclosure of information revealing their sources, sources they need to apprise the American people of the workings of their government.’ The memo makes clear that federal prosecutors can, in some cases, obtain journalists’ records. Those exceptions include if the reporters are suspected of working for agents of a foreign power or terrorist organizations, if they are under investigation for unrelated activities or if they obtained their information through criminal methods like breaking and entering. There are also exceptions for situations with imminent risks, like kidnappings or crimes against children.” See also, Justice Department curtails seizure of reporters’ phone and email records in leak investigations, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Monday, 19 July 2021: “Attorney General Merrick Garland has sharply limited how and when prosecutors can secretly obtain reporters’ phone and email records, formalizing a Biden administration decree that the government would stop using secret orders and subpoenas for journalists’ data to hunt for leakers. The memo says the department ‘will no longer use compulsory legal process for the purpose of obtaining information from or records of members of the news media acting within the scope of newsgathering activities.’ The previous Justice Department rules for using reporters’ data to pursue unauthorized disclosures of classified information were widely criticized by First Amendment advocates and members of Congress, who said they gave free rein to prosecutors to secretly pursue such records if they thought telling the news organization in question might harm an investigation. The rules issued Monday do away with that exception, saying the department may seek reporters’ records only if the reporter is the subject or target of an investigation outside their journalistic work or is suspected of working as an agent of a foreign power or with a foreign terrorist group, or if there is an imminent risk of bodily harm or death. The memo makes clear that the policy is not intended to safeguard a journalist engaged in criminality such as insider trading, but rather shield the work of reporting from secret prosecutorial scrutiny.”

First US Capitol rioter convicted of a felony gets 8 months in prison after Department of Justice says stiffer sentence could stop future attacks, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen, Monday, 19 July 2021: “A man who pleaded guilty to breaching the Senate chamber during the US Capitol insurrection was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison in a closely watched case that could influence how hundreds of other rioters charged with the same felony are punished. Paul Hodgkins, a 38-year-old Floridian, is now the first Capitol rioter convicted of a felony to be sentenced. He pleaded guilty last month to obstructing congressional proceedings — specifically, the counting of the electoral votes, which he helped delay on January 6. He spent about 15 minutes inside the Senate chamber, wearing a Donald Trump shirt and carrying a Trump flag. The sentence is far less than the 1.5-year prison term that the Justice Department requested. At a hearing Monday, prosecutors argued that 1.5 years would deter future political violence and send a strong warning to ‘people who may be contemplating a second act’ after January 6. District Judge Randolph Moss departed from that recommendation. He said Hodgkins contributed to a grave offense against democracy but deserved some leniency because he pleaded guilty ‘exceptionally early,’ wasn’t involved in violence and issued a ‘sincere’ apology.”

President Donald Trump’s commerce secretary misled Congress about why he sought to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, according to an investigation from the Office of Inspector General, but Trump’s Justice Department decided not to prosecute, Associated Press, Mike Schneider, Monday, 19 July 2021: “President Donald Trump’s commerce secretary misled Congress about why he sought to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, according to an investigation from the Office of Inspector General, but Trump’s Justice Department decided not to prosecute. The watchdog agency’s probe showed that Wilbur Ross misrepresented the reason for adding a citizenship question to the census questionnaire during two appearances before House committees in March 2018, according to a letter sent last week to congressional leaders by Inspector General Peggy Gustafson. It is a federal crime to make false statements before Congress. The results of the inspector general’s investigation were presented to the Justice Department during Trump’s administration, but department attorneys declined prosecution in January 2020.”

Trump’s Business Hauled in $2.4 Billion During the Four Years He Was President, Forbes, Dan Alexander, Monday, 19 July 2021: ‘In April 2017, Press Secretary Sean Spicer took the podium in the White House briefing room and announced that the president was donating his first-quarter salary to the National Park Service. With a serious look on his face, Spicer pulled out an oversize check with an oversize signature. It was the first of several checks that Donald Trump signed while in office, handing over his $400,000 salary in exchange for good publicity. That was pocket change for Trump. His real money came from the business he refused to divest, not from his government salary. An analysis of documents, some of which only became public in recent weeks, shows just how much Trump’s businesses raked in while he was in office. Dig through everything—including property records, ethics disclosures, debt documents and securities filings—and you’ll find about $2.4 billion of revenue from January 2017 to December 2020.”

 

Tuesday, 20 July 2021:

 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California Has Chosen a Pair of Former President Donald Trump’s Staunchest and Most Combative Allies to Be Among His Five Picks to Sit on the Special House Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the Capitol, Signaling a Partisan Brawl, The New York Times, Tuesday, 20 July 2021:

Trump ally Tom Barrack jailed on charges of acting as an agent of a foreign government, CNN Politics, Erica Orden, Tuesday, 20 July 2021: “Tom Barrack, a former adviser to former President Donald Trump, was charged Tuesday with illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates for what federal prosecutors in Brooklyn described as an effort to influence the foreign policy positions of both the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the subsequent incoming administration. Barrack was charged in a seven-count indictment with acting as an agent of the UAE between April 2016 and April 2018. He was also charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal law enforcement agents. Barrack was the chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, and while some of the charged conduct concerns the presidential transition, it appears unrelated to the inaugural festivities.” See also, Thomas Barrack, Trump Fund-Raiser, Is Indicted on Lobbying Charge. Mr. Barrack, the chairman of Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, was accused of failing to regisdter as a lobbyist for the United Arab Emirates, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators. The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere and William K. Rashbaum, Tuesday, 20 July 2021: “Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a close friend of former President Donald J. Trump’s and one of his top 2016 campaign fund-raisers, was arrested in California on Tuesday on federal charges of failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators. A seven-count indictment accused Mr. Barrack, 74, of using his access to Mr. Trump to advance the foreign policy goals of the United Arab Emirates and then repeatedly misleading federal agents about his activities during a June 2019 interview. Federal prosecutors said Mr. Barrack used his position as an outside adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign to publicly promote the Emirates’ agenda while soliciting direction, feedback and talking points from senior Emirati officials. Once Mr. Trump was elected, they said, Mr. Barrack invited senior Emirati officials to give him a ‘wish list’ of foreign policy moves they wanted Washington to take within the first 100 days, first six months, first year and by the end of Mr. Trump’s term, prosecutors said.”

 

Wednesday, 21 July 2021:

 

Biden Says Ditching the Filibuster Would Throw Congress ‘Into Chaos’ and Lead to Gridlock, The New York Times, Wednesday, 21 July 2021:

Pennsylvania decertifies county election equipment following private company audit promoted by pro-Trump state senators, The Washington Post, Eugene Scott, Wednesday, 21 July 2021: “Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of state has decertified a county’s voting system for future elections after it was subjected to a review by a private company in an effort promoted by a group of state senators supporting former president Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Acting secretary of state Veronica W. Degraffenreid said in a statement Wednesday that Wake TSI’s examination of the Fulton County ballots earlier this year violated the state’s election code. Pennsylvania is the second state where officials have decertified election equipment because of questionable audits requested by Republicans. Arizona’s Maricopa County said in June that it will replace voting equipment that was turned over to a private contractor for a Republican-commissioned review of the 2020 election.”

 

Thursday, 22 July 2021:

 

The House Votes to Increase the Number of Visas for Afghans Who Have Helped U.S. Troops, The New York Times, Thursday, 22 July 2021:

Details on F.B.I. Inquiry Into Brett Kavanaugh Draw Fire From Democrats. The F.B.I. said some of the 4,500 tips it received about Justice Brett Kavanaugh were given to the Trump white House, leading some Democrats to call the process a sham. The New York Times, Kate Kelly, Thursday, 22 July 2021: “Nearly three years after Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s tumultuous confirmation to the Supreme Court, the F.B.I. has disclosed more details about its efforts to review the justice’s background, leading a group of Senate Democrats to question the thoroughness of the vetting and conclude that it was shaped largely by the Trump White House. In a letter dated June 30 to two Democratic senators, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Chris Coons of Delaware, an F.B.I. assistant director, Jill C. Tyson, said that the most ‘relevant’ of the 4,500 tips the agency received during an investigation into Mr. Kavanaugh’s past were referred to White House lawyers in the Trump administration, whose handling of them remains unclear. The letter left uncertain whether the F.B.I. itself followed up on the most compelling leads. The agency was conducting a background check rather than a criminal investigation, meaning that ‘the authorities, policies, and procedures used to investigate criminal matters did not apply,’ the letter said. Ms. Tyson’s letter was a response to a 2019 letter from Mr. Whitehouse and Mr. Coons to the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, posing questions about how the F.B.I.’s review of Mr. Kavanaugh was handled. In an interview, Mr. Whitehouse said the F.B.I.’s response showed that the F.B.I.’s handling of the accusations into misconduct by Mr. Kavanaugh was a sham. Ms. Tyson’s letter, Mr. Whitehouse said, suggested that the F.B.I. ran a ‘fake tip line that never got properly reviewed, that was presumably not even conducted in good faith.’ Mr. Whitehouse and six of his Democratic colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee replied to the F.B.I.’s letter on Wednesday with demands for additional details on the agreement with the White House that governed the inquiry. They also pressed for more information on how incoming tips were handled.” See also, Democrats continue to admonish FBI over handling of Kavanaugh complaints, The Washington Post, Eugene Scott, Thursday, 22 July 2021: “Several Democratic senators demanded more answers from the FBI about its handling of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s background investigation three years ago, when decades-old allegations of sexual assault were leveled against President Donald Trump’s nominee to the bench, bitterly dividing lawmakers over his suitability for the lifetime appointment. Their demands follow the FBI’s acknowledgment that it had received thousands of tips after the allegations surfaced — claims Kavanaugh has vehemently denied — but relayed comparatively few to the Trump White House for further scrutiny.”

Democrats’ Divide on Voting Rights Widens as Biden Faces Pressure. The president is increasingly at odds with leaders of the voting rights movement, who see a contrast between his soaring language and his willingness to push Congress to pass federal legislation. The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Nick Corasaniti, Thursday, 22 July 2021: “A quiet divide between President Biden and the leaders of the voting rights movement burst into the open on Thursday, as 150 organizations urged him to use his political mettle to push for two expansive federal voting rights bills that would combat a Republican wave of balloting restrictions. In the letter, signed by civil rights groups including the Leadership Conference and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, activists argued that with the ‘ideal of bipartisan cooperation on voting rights’ nowhere to be found in a sharply divided Senate, Mr. Biden must ‘support the passage of these bills by whatever means necessary.’ The issue is of paramount importance to Democrats: Republicans have passed roughly 30 laws in states across the country this year that are likely to make voting harder, especially in Black and Latino communities, which lean Democratic. Several of the laws give state legislators more power over how elections are run and make it easier to challenge the results. In a fiery speech in Philadelphia last week, Mr. Biden warned that the G.O.P. effort was the ‘most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War.'”

 

Friday, 23 July 2021:

 

Biden Hits the Campaign Trail for the First Time as President, Backing Terry McAuliffe for Virginia Governor, The New York Times, Friday, 23 July 2021:

President Biden on Friday launched a frontal attack on Donald Trump at a campaign rally for Terry McAuliffe, leading a concerted effort to tie the Democrat’s opponent in the Virginia governor’s race to Trump, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan and Karina Elwood, Friday, 23 July 2021: “‘I ran against Donald Trump and so is Terry,’ said Biden, speaking in Arlington as the sun set during his first appearance on the campaign trail since taking office. ‘I whipped Donald Trump in Virginia and so will Terry.’… Biden’s comments amounted to some of his sharpest attacks on Trump since being sworn in. They came after a parade of introductory speakers also sought to tether Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin to Trump. McAuliffe told the crowd Youngkin is ‘not running for you, he’s running for Donald Trump.'”

 

Sunday, 25 July 2021:

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Has Chosen a 2nd Republican, Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger, to Serve on January 6 Panel, NPR, Dustin Jones, Sunday, 25 July 2021: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has appointed Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of the rare vocal critics inside the Republican Party of former President Donald Trump, to serve on the special committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol is set to hold its first hearing on Tuesday. Kinzinger will join Wyoming’s Liz Cheney as one of two Republicans chosen by Pelosi to serve on the nine-person panel. Both Cheney and Kinzinger voted in favor of impeaching Trump following the attack on the Capitol, and were the only GOP members to support the committee’s formation last month. In a statement, Pelosi said that Kinzinger ‘brings great patriotism to the Committee’s mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy.’ Kinzinger’s appointment follows Pelosi’s decision this past week to reject two of the five Republicans tapped for the panel by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. The two Republicans that Pelosi blocked — Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio — are among Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress and each voted against certifying the 2020 election results. Pelosi said she was rejecting their nominations ‘with respect for the integrity of the investigation.’ McCarthy, in turn, said that each of his picks would boycott the panel’s investigation.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appoints Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger to the January 6 House select committee to investigate the attack on the US Capitol, CNN Politics, Daniella Diaz, Melanie Zanona, and Aaron Pellish, Sunday, 25 July 2021: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sunday she has appointed GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger to the House select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, bolstering the Republican presence on the panel after GOP leadership pulled its appointees last week. ‘Today, I am announcing the appointment of Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran and Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard, to serve on the Select Committee,’ Pelosi said in a statement. ‘He brings great patriotism to the Committee’s mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy.’ Kinzinger, a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump who was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for his second impeachment, is joining Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as the only Republicans on the new select committee, which is set to hold its first hearing on Tuesday. ‘Let me be clear, I’m a Republican dedicated to conservative values, but I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution—and while this is not the position I expected to be in or sought out, when duty calls, I will always answer,’ the Illinois Republican said in a statement Sunday. Kinzinger’s appointment may bring additional legitimacy to one of the most consequential investigations ever conducted by Congress and will likely make it harder for Republicans to argue that it’s a partisan endeavor — although they quickly framed Pelosi’s announcement that way.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Appoints Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger to Panel Scrutinizing January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Sunday, 25 July 2021: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday appointed Representative Adam Kinzinger to the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, adding a second Republican who is a forceful critic of former President Donald J. Trump to the panel. The move, which bolsters the committee’s bipartisan credentials, came after Ms. Pelosi rejected two Republicans who are among Mr. Trump’s most vociferous defenders in Congress from joining, saying their conduct suggested they could not be trusted to participate. Mr. Kinzinger, a six-term congressman from Illinois who has drawn censure from his own party for disavowing Mr. Trump and the conspiracy theories the former president perpetuated, said in a statement that he had accepted the post.”

 

Monday, 26 July 2021:

 

Biden Says U.S. Will End Its Combat Mission in Iraq as Its Prime Minister Visits the White House. The agreement to end the combat mission is largely symbolic, since U.S. troops no longer accompany Iraqi forces hunting remaining pockets of Islamic State fighters. The New York Times, Monday, 26 July 2021:

We have started investigating the violent January 6 attack on the Capitol. Nothing will be off-limits. The Washington Post, Bennie G. Thompson, Monday, 26 July 2021. Bennie G. Thompson, a Democrat who represents Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House, is chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “On Jan. 6, a violent mob attacked the citadel of our democracy — the U.S. Capitol — in an attempt to prevent Congress from doing its constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. On Tuesday, the bipartisan Select Committee on the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol begins its work investigating the facts, circumstances and causes of this assault on our democracy…. Many of the Jan. 6 rioters have stated in their court pleadings that they stormed the Capitol believing they were acting on behalf of, or even at the behest of, then-President Donald Trump. The protection of our democracy demands that we comprehensively investigate what drove Americans to riot and violently assault Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police and other law enforcement officers to access the inner sanctum of Congress and private offices of top congressional leaders, including the speaker of the House.”

Questions the January 6 Select Committee Should Ask Its Witnesses, Just Security, Ryan Goodman, Barbara McQuade, and Joyce Vance, Monday, 26 July 2021: “The House select committee established to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold its first public hearing on July 27. Like the 9-11 Commission before it, the select committee is investigating how our nation’s defenses failed and how we can prevent similar attacks from occurring again. In an era when alternative facts have all too often substituted for the truth, it is important for Americans to have a definitive, reliable understanding of what happened. That will be a difficult challenge in today’s hyper-politicized environment, so it is critical that the committee function as a neutral collector of the evidence, acquiring relevant information and following it wherever it leads, without any predetermined outcome. At the outset it is important to distinguish the mission of the select committee from that of the criminal investigations being conducted by the Department of Justice, which has charged more than 500 defendants with crimes. Whereas DOJ’s role is to bring criminal charges, the select committee must instead examine and chronicle what happened leading up to, on the day of, and in the wake of the attack, including the failure by government agencies and officials to properly assess the threat, collect intelligence, share information, act on that information, and provide adequate security for the Capitol and the people who were there that day. By necessity, the inquiry must study the threat of domestic terrorism in America, particularly groups that are motivated by anti-government sentiment and white supremacy. The committee should review the ways these extremists use social media and other communications platforms to recruit members and coordinate activities, and the role of disinformation in fueling violent extremism. The committee should consider the acts and omissions of executive and legislative branch entities and individuals, up to and including former President Donald J. Trump, his associates, and others involved in the runup to the events of Jan. 6, and the use of disinformation to incite violence. Suggesting collection of this evidence is not to presuppose liability; but the country needs an accurate record, collected as contemporaneously to events as possible. Only by understanding all of the factors that did or did not contribute to the attack can we hope to prevent similar attacks in the future. Listed below are some of the topics, witnesses, and documents the committee should seek to obtain voluntarily, or by subpoena where necessary, as well as some of the key questions to be asked. Witnesses, in fulfilling their civic responsibilities, should proactively address some of these questions in their prepared remarks without having to be asked by a member of the committee. Journalists and the general public may also want to keep an eye on these questions as a guide to key areas that should be covered in the hearings and in the select committee’s final report. Finally, the lists below may serve another, indirect purpose. They show current and former U.S. officials who may want to communicate with the committee — including potential whistleblowers — questions of importance to Congress and the American public in uncovering the truth. One issue the select committee will have to consider is whether they will call President Trump to testify. He played a key role in the day’s events and, at a minimum, is a material fact witness. Committee members will have to weigh whether there is unique value in his potential testimony and if so, whether it is worth the spectacle Trump would undoubtedly create if he testified. If he is called, the questions posed to him would be best drafted after the committee develops the record. (We do not include questions for Trump in the list below.) Ultimately, the committee must take the path that best permits it to create a durable record of Jan. 6 that will serve as a history and a basis for preventing a recurrence of an unprecedented attack on our democracy.”

 

Tuesday, 27 July 2021:

 

‘A hit man sent them.’ Police at the Capitol recount the horrors of January 6 as the inquiry begins, The New York Times, Tuesday, 27 July 2021:

Four Police Officers Who Defended the Capitol During the January 6 Riot Testified to House Lawmakers. The officers described in dramatic detail what they witnessed and asked for a thorough investigation into what led to the attack. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 27 July 2021: “One officer described how rioters attempted to gouge out his eye and called him a traitor as they sought to invade the Capitol. Another told of being smashed in a doorway and nearly crushed amid a ‘medieval’ battle with a pro-Trump mob as he heard guttural screams of pain from fellow officers. A third said he was beaten unconscious and stunned repeatedly with a Taser as he pleaded with his assailants, ‘I have kids.’ A fourth relayed how he was called a racist slur over and over again by intruders wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ garb. ‘All of them — all of them were telling us, Trump sent us,’ Aquilino A. Gonell, a U.S. Capitol Police sergeant, said on Tuesday as he tearfully recounted the horrors of defending Congress on Jan. 6, testifying at the first hearing of a House select committee to investigate the attack. One by one, in excruciating detail, Sergeant Gonell and three other officers who faced off with the hordes that broke into the Capitol told Congress of the brutal violence, racism and hostility they suffered as a throng of angry rioters, acting in the name of President Donald J. Trump, beat, crushed and shocked them. More than six months after the assault, the accounts of the four uniformed officers — as precise as they were cinematic — cut through a fog of confusion, false equivalence and misdirection that Republicans have generated to try to insulate themselves politically and placate Mr. Trump.” See also, Police recount mayhem and ‘attempted coup’ in January 6 U.S. Capitol riot, Reuters, Richard Cowan and Sarah N. Lynch, Tuesday, 27 July 2021: “Four police officers on Tuesday told lawmakers they were beaten, taunted with racial insults, heard threats including ‘kill him with his own gun’ and thought they might die as they struggled to defend the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 against a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters. Often tearful, sometimes profane, the officers called the rioters ‘terrorists’ engaged in an ‘attempted coup’ during a 3-1/2 hour congressional hearing in which they also criticized Republican lawmakers who have sought to downplay the attack.’I feel like I went to hell and back to protect the people in this room,’ said District of Columbia police officer Michael Fanone, referring to lawmakers. ‘The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,’ Fanone added, slamming his hand onto the witness table. It was a dramatic first hearing for a Democratic-led House of Representatives committee formed despite opposition by Trump’s fellow Republicans to investigate the worst violence at the Capitol since the British invasion in the War of 1812.” See also, ‘This Is How I’m Going to Die’: Police Sergeant Recalls the Terror of January 6, NPR, Barbara Sprunt, Tuesday, 27 July 2021: “In gripping emotional testimony Tuesday, U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell recounted the ‘horrific and devastating’ violence of Jan. 6 during the first hearing of the select committee investigating the insurrection. ‘My fellow officers and I were punched, pushed, kicked, shoved, sprayed with chemical irritants and even blinded with eye-damaging lasers by a violent mob who apparently saw us law enforcement officers, dedicated to ironically protecting them as U.S. citizens, as an impediment in their attempted insurrection,’ Gonell said…. He described feeling crushed by the rioters. ‘I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself, This is how I’m going to die, trampled defending this entrance,’  he said.” See also, ‘January 6 still isn’t over for me’: Officers testify about mental health and lingering wounds from US Capitol attack, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Tuesday, 27 July 2021: “Four police officers who defended the US Capitol on January 6 made clear Tuesday they are still dealing with physical and mental trauma from the attack, at times becoming visibly emotional while describing those lingering wounds during a hearing before the House select committee investigating the events of that day. The four officers testifying — DC Metropolitan Police Officers Daniel Hodges and Michael Fanone, plus Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell — have shared their stories publicly before, which include accounts of being beaten with a flagpole, being the target of racist slurs, being crushed in a door and being tased by the rioters. During Tuesday’s hearing, the witnesses again detailed their experiences on January 6 and stressed that many officers continue to grapple with the emotional and physical toll from that day — a painful reality they say is only exacerbated by those who have attempted to whitewash the violence.” See also, Police officers deliver emotional testimony about violent day at Capitol on January 6, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Kim Bellware, Karoun Demirjian, Marianna Sotomayor, Jacqueline Alemany, and Mariana Alfaro, Tuesday, 27 July 2021: “Four police officers delivered emotional testimony Tuesday about the physical and verbal abuse they endured defending the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 from a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, as a House select committee held its first hearing on the insurrection. Afterward, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel’s chairman, said that the hearing set ‘the right tone for the work of this committee’ and that the panel would probably hold its next hearing before the end of Congress’s August recess. He said the committee would start issuing subpoenas for additional witnesses ‘soon.’

Here are some things to know:

Cheney warns failure to act on Jan. 6 probe will remain ‘cancer on our constitutional Republic’

What’s happened in today’s hearing:

Justice Department says Republican Representative Mo Brooks may be sued over January 6 speech to Trump supporters, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Rachel Weiner, Tuesday, 27 July 2021: “A Republican congressman’s Jan. 6 speech at a rally ahead of the riot at the U.S. Capitol is not covered by protections for members of Congress and federal employees, the Justice Department said in a court filing Tuesday — drawing a legal line over attempts to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) had argued that he is effectively immune from a lawsuit filed by his colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) that accused Brooks, then-President Donald Trump, and others of fomenting the failed attack on Congress. Past court opinions and Justice Department legal interpretations have given broad safeguards to protect elected officials who are sued over their public statements. But in the case of Brooks, the Justice Department decided he went too far. The agency ‘cannot conclude that Brooks was acting within the scope of his office or employment as a Member of Congress at the time of the incident out of which the claims in this case arose,’ the court filing said. ‘Inciting or conspiring to foment a violent attack on the United States Congress is not within the scope of employment of a Representative — or any federal employee.'”

Daniel Hale, who leaked information on U.S. drone warfare, is sentenced to 45 months in prison, The Washington Post, Rachel Weiner, Tuesday, 27 July 2021: “In 2013, Daniel Hale was at an antiwar conference in D.C. when a man recounted that two family members had been killed in a U.S. drone strike. The Yemeni man, through tears, said his relatives had been trying to encourage young men to leave al-Qaeda. Hale realized he had watched the fatal attack from a base in Afghanistan. At the time, he and his colleagues in Air Force intelligence viewed it as a success. Now he was horrified. It was such experiences, Hale told a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., on Tuesday, that led him to leak classified information about drone warfare to a reporter after leaving the military. ‘I believe that it is wrong to kill, but it is especially wrong to kill the defenseless,’ he said in court. He said he shared what ‘was necessary to dispel the lie that drone warfare keeps us safe, that our lives are worth more than theirs.'”

 

Wednesday, 28 July 2021:

 

Daily Political Report: Senate takes up $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, signaling a breakthrough for a top Biden priority, The New York Times, Wednesday, 28 July 2021:

Pandemic Aid Programs Spur a Record Drop in Poverty. The most comprehensive study yet of the federal response to the pandemic shows huge but temporary benefits for the poor–and helps frame a larger debate over the role of government. The New York Times, Jason DeParle, Wednesday, 28 July 2021: “The huge increase in government aid prompted by the coronavirus pandemic will cut poverty nearly in half this year from prepandemic levels and push the share of Americans in poverty to the lowest level on record, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of a vast but temporary expansion of the safety net. The number of poor Americans is expected to fall by nearly 20 million from 2018 levels, a decline of almost 45 percent. The country has never cut poverty so much in such a short period of time, and the development is especially notable since it defies economic headwinds — the economy has nearly seven million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic.” See also, 2021 Poverty Projections: Assessing the Impact of Benefits and Stimulus Measures, Urban Institute Research Report, Laura Wheaton, Linda Giannarelli, and Ilham Dehry, Wednesday, 28 July 2021: “In an earlier brief, we estimated that the American Rescue Plan Act, enacted in March 2021, would reduce the 2021 annual poverty rate to 8.7 percent (Wheaton et al. 2021). We now project a 2021 poverty rate of 7.7 percent for 2021. The revised projection accounts for improvements in the economy, incorporates updated state-level information on pandemic-related policies, and improves the method for weighting the data to reflect 2021….

Key findings include the following:

  • Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, the annual poverty rate projection for 2021 of 7.7 percent is well below the rate of 13.9 percent that we estimate for 2018.
  • The projected poverty rate for children is 5.6 percent, for adults ages 18 to 64 it is 8.1 percent, and for people age 65 and older it is 9.2 percent.
  • The 2021 poverty rate is projected to be higher for Black, non-Hispanic people (9.2 percent), for Hispanic people (11.8 percent), and for non-Hispanic Asian American and Pacific Islanders (10.8 percent) than for white, non-Hispanic people (5.8 percent).
  • The federal stimulus checks have a larger antipoverty impact than any of the other programs; if all other programs were in place but the stimulus checks had not been paid, we project 12.4 million more people would be in poverty in 2021. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program alone keeps 7.9 million people out of poverty in 2021, and unemployment insurance benefits lower the number in poverty by 6.7 million (assuming all other programs are in place).
  • The combined benefits have the largest impact on children, reducing their projected 2021 poverty rate 81 percent relative to what it would be without any benefits (from 30.1 percent to 5.6 percent).
  • The benefits have the largest impact on Black non-Hispanic people (reducing their 2021 projected poverty rate 74 percent) and the smallest impact on non-Hispanic Asian American and Pacific Islanders (reducing their 2021 projected poverty rate 54 percent).

As Trump pushed for probes of 2020 election, he called acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen almost daily, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett, Wednesday, 28 July 2021: “President Donald Trump called his acting attorney general nearly every day at the end of last year to alert him to claims of voter fraud or alleged improper vote counts in the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the conversations. The personal pressure campaign, which has not been previously reported, involved repeated phone calls to acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen in which Trump raised various allegations he had heard about and asked what the Justice Department was doing about the issue. The people familiar with the conversations spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive legal and political issues that are not yet public. Rosen told few people about the phone calls, even in his inner circle. But there are notes of some of the calls that were written by a top aide to Rosen, Richard Donoghue, who was present for some of the conversations, these people said. Donoghue’s notes could be turned over to Congress in a matter of days, they added, if Trump does not file papers in court seeking to block such a handover. In addition, both Rosen and Donoghue could be questioned about the conversations by congressional committees examining Trump’s actions in the days after the election.”

 

Thursday, 29 July 2021:

 

Daily Political Report: Congress approves a $2.1 billion emergency spending bill for Capitol security and aid for Afghan refugees, The New York Times, Thursday, 29 July 2021:

 

Friday, 29 July 2021:

 

Daily Political Report: The Justice Department says Treasury must turn over Trump’s taxes to the House Ways and Means Committee. The Trump administration had stymied the request, and the committee sued to obtain the documents. The former president could still seek an injunction to stop their release to Congress. The New York Times, Friday, 30 July 2021:

Trump to acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, according to notes taken by Justice Department official Richard Donoghue: ‘Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me,’ The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 31 July 2021: “President Donald Trump pressed senior Justice Department officials in late 2020 to ‘just say the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me’ and Republican lawmakers, according to stunning handwritten notes that illustrate how far the president was willing to go to prevent Joe Biden from taking office. The notes, taken by Justice Department official Richard Donoghue, were released to Congress this week and made public Friday — further evidence of the personal pressure campaign Trump waged as he sought to stay in the White House. In one Dec. 27 conversation, according to the written account, acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen told Trump that the Justice Department ‘can’t + won’t snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election.’ The president replied that he understood but wanted the agency to ‘just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,’ according to the notes written by Donoghue, a participant in the discussion.”

Police shootings continue daily, despite a pandemic, protests, and pushes for reform. Since 2015, police have fatally shot more than 6,400 people, an average of nearly a thousand a year, or almost three each day. The Washington Post, Mark Berman, Julie Tate, and Jennifer Jenkins, Friday, 30 July 2021: “The Washington Post began tracking fatal shootings by on-duty police officers in 2015, the year after a White officer in Ferguson, Mo., shot and killed a Black 18-year old. Over the past six years, officers have fatally shot more than 6,400 people, an average of nearly a thousand a year, or almost three each day. The yearly toll even reached a new high of 1,021 fatal shootings in 2020. Midway through this year, fatal police shootings are down compared with the same period last year. They have fluctuated month to month since the project began, ending near 1,000 annually.”

Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Is a Truth-Teller in a Time of Systemic Deceit and Lethal Secrecy. Hale should be pardoned and released, and the government should pay him restitution. The Intercept, Jeremy Scahill, Friday, 30 July 2021: “Since the arrest and indictment of Daniel Hale on charges that he leaked the documents that formed the basis for The Intercept’s series ‘The Drone Papers,’ as well as documents about the government’s secret watchlisting system, I have wanted to speak publicly about this unjust prosecution. However, due to security concerns, legal advice, and a desire not to hinder, in any way, Hale’s defense or to aid the government in its disgraceful prosecution, I have been unable to do so. Now that the circumstances have changed, I am able to share some aspects of my thoughts. In doing so, I am speaking only for myself and not for The Intercept or anyone else. Daniel Hale is a man of tremendous conscience, courage, and moral clarity. It is an abomination that this brave whistleblower has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison after being convicted of exposing the horrors of the U.S. drone assassination programs, the killing of civilians, and the Kafkaesque ‘terror’ watchlisting system run by the government. President Barack Obama’s Justice Department did not prosecute Hale, but the Trump administration dug up the case and threw the book at Hale in an obvious ploy to stanch leaks about President Donald Trump and his corrupt administration. The indictment Trump’s prosecutors crafted was a dishonest piece of political propaganda intended to criminalize Hale and attack the freedom of the press.”

 

 

 

Now that the Trump administration is no longer in power, I plan to post summaries of the daily political news and major stories relating to this tragic and dangerous period in 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!