Donald Trump's post-White House office is funded by taxpayers like you
Here's what we're talking about:
- SCOOP: Documents reveal how Trump is spending taxpayer money on his postpresidential offices
- Biden calls for a cease-fire as Israeli-Palestinian fighting worsens
- One of Biden's biggest challenges may be rooting out extremists in federal law enforcement
One thing to look out for today: President Joe Biden is visiting the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. He's scheduled to speak from there at 1:40 p.m. ET.
With Jordan Erb
1. THE PERKS DON'T STOP: Former President Donald Trump's advisor Stephen Miller lost his White House access on January 20, but he continues to pocket a government paycheck - and is set to do so until late July, according to government records.
- Miller is one of at least 17 people who continued to receive taxpayer-funded salaries: Trump's postpresidential staff is expected to receive about $1.3 million in federal salary and benefits from January 20 to July 21, when the formal presidential transition period ends, according to an estimate prepared by the General Services Administration.
Insider exclusively obtained details about how taxpayer cash is funding Trump's postpresidential operation, expenditures which are allowed under the law.
Here's a peek at what we found:
- The aide who played a major role in Trump's Twitter persona is the highest-paid staffer: Dan Scavino, who served as deputy chief of staff in the Trump White House, makes $172,500 at the annual rate, the highest pay that's allowed.
- Trump's team has expensed everything from a plastic floor mat to go under the former president's desk chair to printer toner: The former first couple also bought a stationary package of 46,250 cards - some engraved with their initials "DJT" and "MT" - for a total cost of $34,775.94.
Trump is also receiving his government pension: He has received more than $65,000 in federal pension payments since leaving office. He is entitled to an annual taxpayer-funded pension of $221,400.
Believe it or not, you're on the hook for a lot of perks for former presidents: Under a different law, President Bill Clinton received $16 million to fund his post-White House life, Politico reported in 2015. At that time, Clinton received more than any other living former president. Among those expenses was a Cinemax subscription, per The Daily Caller.
- Lawmakers have tried to rein in this support: Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire previously sought to cap some of the benefits.
2. Biden calls for a cease-fire as Israeli-Palestinian fighting worsens: Biden urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work toward a cease-fire, a move that came as Democrats increasingly pressured the White House to do more to address the violence. Israel continued another wave of airstrikes Tuesday morning, while Palestinian militants fired more rockets into Israel, the Associated Press reports. Officials say airstrikes have killed at least 212 Palestinians, including 61 children. Rocket attacks have killed 10 Israelis, including a 5-year-old boy.
3. The Biden administration may struggle with rooting out extremists in federal law enforcement: The administration still has no comprehensive strategy for identifying and removing federal law-enforcement officers who may have ties to white supremacist groups, an investigation reveals. Insider found in a survey of 63 federal agencies that employ uniformed law-enforcement officers and personnel that their vetting processes varied and sometimes contradict one another.
4. Supreme Court to hear case that could erode abortion rights: Justices agreed to hear a challenge to a Mississippi law that was intended to get the high court to reexamine the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Citing decades of precedent, lower courts have blocked the law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, which is significantly earlier than fetal viability. This is set to be the biggest abortion case the court will hear since Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
5. Sen. Tim Scott and other Black Republicans say they don't need anyone's pity or platitudes: One of just eight Black Republicans elected to Congress over the past 30 years - compared with the nearly five dozen Democrats currently involved with the Congressional Black Caucus - Scott embraces the idea of leading by example, tackling thorny issues aplenty. "I think it's perhaps a mischaracterization to say that I have to go it alone," Scott said of how friends and his faith helped him.
- Key quote: "I don't need any white man or woman to tell me how hard it is to be a Black Republican. I just need you to understand why it's hard … and get why sometimes you're part of the problem," the former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said.
6. America to send 20 million vaccines abroad by the end of June: Biden's commitment includes the first inclusion of US-authorized shots that come in addition to the already-promised 60 million doses of Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccines, NBC News reports. International officials have intensely criticized the lack of vaccine sharing, including the World Health Organization's chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said the world had reached a "vaccine apartheid."
7. Biden administration to kick-start $300 monthly child tax credit in July: The Treasury Department and the IRS said they'd start issuing the payments July 15 and continue each month, the first time the federal government has committed to issuing the checks monthly. The $1.9 trillion stimulus law revamped the $2,000 child tax credit. An estimated 39 million households would receive the cash without needing to sign up for it.
8. Maricopa County officials are pushing back on Republican-led election audit: The GOP-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is dismissing a GOP-led state Senate audit of the 2020 presidential election vote as a "sham" and a "con" while calling for it to end, The Washington Post reports. This is their most vehement protest of an effort that has explored far-fetched conspiracy theories like bamboo ballots.
9. Apple is reportedly making big concessions to China: Apple has increasingly bowed to China's demands as it relies more heavily on its supply chain, The New York Times details in a blockbuster report. CEO Tim Cook reportedly approved using servers run by Chinese state-owned companies to store customer data. China wouldn't accept Apple's use of encryption technology that it typically uses in its data centers, so the company agreed to abandon it. More on how the tech giant is said to be complying with the Communist Party's censorship demands.
10. Breakfast might get more expensive: Americans are expected to continue feeling the pinch from rising prices on staples including breakfast cereal, cheese, and wine as a result of pent-up demand, pandemic-related delays, manufacturing issues, and logistical tangles. But even as some companies like Clorox, General Mills, and Whirlpool sound the alarm on price hikes, the Federal Reserve has said it believes the spikes are temporary. More on the sticker shock you might face in the coming weeks.
Today's trivia question: This current Supreme Court justice once joked that their dog helped them make decisions. Who is it? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Yesterday's answer: The Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert, a last-minute addition to the crew, radioed mission control to make sure someone would file an extension for his taxes. Yes, even in space you still answer to the IRS.
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