Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day. Send your tips and suggestions to [email protected] or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.
Here's what you need to know:
- Biden wants a real infrastructure week, no malarkey.
- A messy divorce case has led Manhattan prosecutors to more documents about Trump's finances.
- A progressive think tank is churning out policy wonks for the White House.
1. BIDEN LEAVES OTHER ISSUES FOR LATER: "Infrastructure Week" was a punchline during the Trump administration. Meanwhile, President Biden is so insistent on tackling the issue that he's willing to leave immigration and gun control on the back burner. Biden's refusal to budge was abundantly clear in his comments to reporters during his first press conference as president.
- Biden said infrastructure is "the next major initiative" after beginning his presidency focusing on the pandemic: "As you've all observed, successful presidents - better than me - have been successful, in large part, because they know how to time what they're doing - order it, decide and prioritize what needs to be done," he told reporters. He said other issues like immigration and guns "are long-term problems," suggesting they'll be dealt with later.
He upped his goal to 200 million vaccinations in 100 days: Biden initially pledged to get 100 million vaccinations in that time frame, but that goal was met last week. Like his original goal, Biden's new mark would only require the US to continue its current vaccination pace.
America's longest war may soon be over: Biden said he "can't picture" US troops being in Afghanistan next year. But the president also said he was unlikely to withdraw all troops by May 1, a deadline set by the Trump administration.
Questions about immigration dominated the briefing: Biden repeated the White House's message that Trump is to blame for the crisis.
- The question that wasn't asked: Not a single question was asked about the pandemic.
Biden said he expects to run for reelection in 2024: Presidents usually wait to make such announcements, though Trump upended precedence by running for reelection from his inauguration day.
2. Inside the conveyor belt into Biden's administration: At least 56 alumni of the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, are now working at the White House and agencies across the federal government, an Insider analysis found.
CAP alumni fill some of the most important positions in Washington. More in our in-depth report.
3. Georgia's sweeping election-reform bill is now law: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who faces reelection next year, signed the legislation on Thursday. The law makes it a crime to give food or water to voters waiting in line. Here are 5 other notable changes.
- A Democratic state representative was arrested while protesting the law: Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon was arrested and charged with obstruction for continuing to knock on the door of Kemp's office while he was signing the bill. That's a felony charge.
- Her arrest was caught on livestream, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Greg Bluestein.
Biden called GOP-led efforts to pass voting restrictions "un-American": He singled out Georgia in his comments, adding that efforts in legislatures around the country "makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle."
4. Lawmakers grilled tech CEOs, again: House lawmakers pressed Google, Facebook, and Twitter's top executives, furthering calls for more regulation of large tech companies. But like in the past, there appeared to be little agreement on how the federal government should reform laws like Section 230.
- Mark Zuckerberg said Trump should be responsible for his statements before the Capitol riot: The Facebook CEO added that the reason his social network is named so frequently in cases against accused rioters is that it's been so helpful to police. Only Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged his platform bore some responsibility for the riot.
5. The Suez Canal holdup is costing the global economy an estimated $400 million per hour: A vessel called the Ever Given has been lodged in the canal since early Tuesday. The canal, which runs through Egypt, provides a vital shipping route connecting Europe to Asia. It could take weeks to dislodge the ship.
6. Prosecutors investigating the Trump Organization received boxes of documents from a messy divorce case: Jennifer Weisselberg, now a cooperating witness in investigations into Trump's finances, told us she got "seven boxes" of financial documents and gave them to investigators last fall. She was once the daughter-in-law of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. Her ex-husband, Barry Weisselberg, is also a key employee.
7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:
- 10:15 a.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the White House pandemic team hold a news briefing.
- 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House daily news briefing.
- 2:35 p.m.: VP Harris, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, and other top officials hold a listening session at a New Haven Boys and Girls club on how Biden's relief plan addresses child poverty.
- 3:00 p.m.: Sen. Bernie Sanders meets with Amazon workers in Alabama to support their unionization drive.
8. USC will pay the largest-ever settlement for sex-abuse cases in higher education history: The University of Southern California will pay $1.1 billion to former patients of George Tyndall, a former campus gynecologist, the Los Angeles Times reports. He awaits trial on dozens of sexual-assault charges.
9. Washington moves of the week: A three-woman trio is now leading Senate security for the first time. Here are some of the other biggest moves this week.
Karen Gibson was sworn in as the Senate's Sergeant at Arms (her predecessor resigned after the January 6 riot); Hilton Beckham, a former Trump administration official, is now communications director to Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona; and Amir Avin, a former Biden campaign flack, will become deputy communications director for Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
Elsewhere in Washington, Stephanie Psaki, the White House press secretary's sister, was appointed senior advisor on human rights and gender equity at the Office of Global Affairs.
- If you're looking for a job in Washington ... Here's how you can land one in the Biden administration, as a congressional staffer on Capitol Hill, or as a lobbyist on K Street influencing policy and politicians.
10. Remembering Jessica Walter: "Walter, whose Emmy-winning acting career included roles on 'Arrested Development' and 'Archer,' has died. She was 80. She was perhaps best known for her role as Lucille Bluth, the matriarch of the Bluth family, on 'Arrested Development.'" More on her life here.
Today's trivia question: Today marks the anniversary of Dr. Jonas Salk announcing the creation of the polio vaccine. A famous celebrity later helped convince younger Americans to get the shot. Who was it? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected].
- Yesterday's answer: First lady Abigail Adams used the unfinished East Room to dry the laundry.
That's all for this week. Have a great weekend!