10 Things in Politics: Manchin is the VIP for Biden's agenda

10 Things in Politics: Manchin is the VIP for Biden's agenda
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

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Here's what we're talking about:

One thing to watch for: President Joe Biden will attend the first day of the G7 summit in the UK. World leaders are set to toast marshmallows and be serenaded by sea shanties.

With Jordan Erb


1. THE CHARM OFFENSIVE: Progressives are fuming at Sen. Joe Manchin, but the White House continues to woo the West Virginia Democrat, including with the occasional dinner on his houseboat. Insider dived into the charm offensive between Washington's far-from-average Joes as infrastructure, voting rights, and the rest of Biden's agenda hang in the balance.

Here's a peek at what we found:

The list of favors continues to grow: "I've never had an administration pay this much attention," Manchin recently told a local news outlet.

  • That list includes: Biden nominated Manchin's wife, Gayle Conelly Manchin, to cochair the Appalachian Regional Commission, a patronage job that involves promoting economic development in the region. (She previously served as secretary of education and the arts for West Virginia.) While Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm spent two days with Manchin, announcing research and innovation in the state. The two later had dinner with their spouses on Manchin's houseboat.

But all the doting has its limits: Manchin reaffirmed his opposition to his party's sweeping voting-rights bill. He also has consistently defended keeping the filibuster, the Senate's de facto 60-vote threshold for most legislation intact.

Progressives are also losing their patience with Manchin: The Poor People's Campaign, an anti-poverty group, has planned another march more directly targeting the lawmaker, dubbed the Moral March on Manchin, in Charleston, West Virginia, next week. Manchin's public squabbles with progressives and occasional stiff-arming of his party only further burnish his image in a state Biden lost by nearly 40 points.

  • But political strategists warn that sticks won't sway the senator: "I think the president and his team are doing exactly what they need to do," said Jim Manley, a former spokesman for then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, warning against "unduly antagonizing" Manchin.

Read more about how Manchin is playing hard to get.

2. Trump DOJ reportedly seized phone records from Democratic lawmakers: President Donald Trump's Justice Department seized records from Apple belonging to Democrats in Congress while investigating leaks, The New York Times reports. Officials targeted the California Democrats Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Eric Swalwell. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the revelation "harrowing" and echoed Schiff's call for an investigation.

3. Bipartisan Senate group says it has an infrastructure deal: The 10 senators say they reached a framework on infrastructure just days after different bipartisan talks with the White House collapsed. But there's confusion over the extent or even existence of a deal, Politico reports. Still, this is probably the last best chance at a bipartisan deal on the core of Biden's domestic agenda.

10 Things in Politics: Manchin is the VIP for Biden's agenda

4. Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck a warm tone after first meeting: The two world leaders signed an updated version of the historic Atlantic Charter that Churchill and FDR signed just months before America entered World War II, the Associated Press reports. Biden said they "affirmed the special relationship."


5. Popular inflation measure climbed more than expected in May: The consumer-price index climbed by 0.6% from April to May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said, a rate that exceeded what economists had expected. The May increase came mostly from a 7.3% jump in the prices of used cars and trucks, accounting for about one-third of the seasonally adjusted all-items increase.

  • But could a cooldown be on the way?: The 5% CPI increase on a year-over-year basis was stark: the strongest one-year growth since August 2008. But economists say that is to be expected after last year's comparative figure dipped during lockdowns. Other indicators also show the surge may be slowing.

6. Florida bans critical race theory amid wave of conservative backlash: The Florida Board of Education unanimously voted to adopt a rule with Gov. Ron DeSantis' backing that would prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in state classrooms. Critical race theory is not something that was or is being taught in Florida schools, and its inclusion was a late-meeting amendment. The decision makes Florida one of the largest school systems yet to conform to conservative attempts to ban critical race theory.

7. Bipartisan policing talks are on the verge of collapse: "The devil's in the details, and we're now meeting the devil," Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who is helping lead the negotiations, told The New York Times. The two sides are bickering over a proposal from Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey who suggested changes to qualified immunity as well as to make it easier for federal prosecutors to charge officers. The proposal divided top police lobbying groups. The end of the month could be a breaking point if no deal is reached.

8. Trump tells Biden to give Putin 'my warmest regards': Trump again denied the fact that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election to aid his campaign, saying he trusted President Vladimir Putin more than the US intelligence community. The comments come just days before Biden is set to meet with Putin.

10 Things in Politics: Manchin is the VIP for Biden's agenda
Imaad Zuberi with then-Vice President Joe Biden.social media


9. Superdonor to both Hillary Clinton and Trump says he was secretly a spy for the CIA: According to legal documents, Imaad Zuberi is claiming that his former CIA handler was involved in one of his lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Zuberi was a top Clinton bundler who later donated a staggering $900,000 to Trump's inauguration. He is facing 12 years in federal prison for campaign-finance violations. If his allegations are true, they could violate rules governing CIA conduct on US soil.

10. Potatoes used for McDonald's fries are reportedly grown on Bill Gates' farmland: As the largest private farmland owner in the US, Gates owns 269,000 acres of farmland across 18 states - and apparently, some of those acres are used to grow the potatoes that McDonald's uses to make its french fries. The fields of potatoes, which are in Washington state, are so vast that you can see them from space.

Today's trivia question: On the heels of Queen Elizabeth II's meeting with Biden this weekend, can you name either of the teams that played before British royalty in 1957 in what is thought to be the queen's first and only college football game? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

That's all! Have a wonderful weekend.