10 Things in Politics: Trump says he'll be president again by August
I hope you enjoyed your weekends and found some time to honor the incredible sacrifice of our fallen heroes.
Here's what we're talking about:
- Trump's not backing down from the "big lie." In fact, he reportedly expects to return to the White House this summer.
- Up to one-fifth of US beef and pork capacity may be shut down after a ransomware attack.
- Politicians are abandoning a bogus fundraising gimmick.
One thing to look out for today: President Biden gives an update on the state of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.
1. HERE WE GO AGAIN: Former President Trump doesn't just believe in the false claim that he won the presidential election. He is now reportedly telling allies that he expects to return to office by August, a completely outlandish outcome that would be laughed out of any room ... if not for the fact that the same voices whose lies fed the deadly Capitol riot have been pushing this claim for months.
- The latest: "Trump has been telling a number of people he's in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August (no that isn't how it works but simply sharing the information)," The New York Times' Maggie Haberman tweeted.
How we got here, again: The lawyer Sidney Powell, who once represented Trump's campaign, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell have both pushed the bizarre "reinstatement" claim that has no basis in the Constitution or reality. Former national security advisor Michael Flynn went even further over the weekend.
- Flynn appeared to call for a violent coup: "It should happen here," Flynn said in response to a question at a QAnon conference in Dallas on why a violent military-led coup like the one in Myanmar "can't happen" in the US. (Flynn now claims he's never encouraged a violent overthrow of the government. Here's the video.)
"I don't think anyone is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters last month. It was clear then and remains clear now that is simply not true. Trump, the "titular head" of the GOP, continues to claim the election was stolen from him.
- States also continue to provide fodder for Trump's claims: The GOP-led audit of Arizona's election continues. A firm without any election audit-related experience is leading the probe as people pursue outrageous conspiracies like trying to detect if there is bamboo in ballots.
- Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, State House Speaker Robin Vos hired retired police officers and an attorney to investigate election fraud, though he says he's not trying to change Biden's election win. His announcement came the same week the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission released a report finding scant evidence of possible voter fraud.
2. Biden commemorates 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre: The president visited Oklahoma on the anniversary of when a white mob burned what was known as "Black Wall Street" and killed as many as 300 people. "We can't just choose to learn what we want to know, and not what we should know," he said of efforts over the years to "erase" the racist violence. Biden also unveiled new initiatives to tackle the racial wealth gap in the US.
3. Politicians are abandoning a bogus fundraising gimmick: Out of more than 150 political committee solicitations Insider reviewed in late May, only a handful still used "match" gimmicks. Just a month before, at least three dozen of the same committees did. The promise to match donations came under scrutiny after the Justice Department called out a political scam artist's use of the ploy. There are still some holdouts, including fundraising messages tied to Trump and another to Michelle Obama.
4. Up to one-fifth of US beef and pork capacity may be shut down after ransomware attack: JBS USA, the world's largest meat-processing company, said it realized on Sunday that it was the target of an "organized cybersecurity attack," and that resolving the attack could delay some of its business. The FBI is investigating what happened. "Even one day of disruption will significantly impact the beef market and wholesale beef prices," a livestock trade publication wrote.
5. Harris tasked with leading voting-rights efforts: Biden tasked Vice President Kamala Harris to lead efforts to pass federal voting rights legislation. Democrats' sweeping legislation, known as HR 1, has stalled in the Senate along with another proposal named after the late Rep. John Lewis that would restore parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Harris' portfolio of issues continues to expand.
- Here's how a former Pence aide responded to the news:
6. Many countries are getting left behind in the vaccine race, taking a toll on healthcare workers: Vaccine inequality is impacting the mental health of healthcare workers, which could further contribute to worker shortages across the globe, former CDC Director Dr. Tom Kenyon told Insider. "There's kind of two worlds right now, our world, which is getting ready to open up and 'normalize,' and the low-income country world where that's not even on anyone's radar," Kenyon said.
7. Biden administration suspends oil leases in Alaska wildlife refuge: The decision to suspend oil and gas leases in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reverses a Trump administration decision, reigniting a decades-long political fight over a remote region that is home to polar bears and other wildlife - and a rich reserve of oil. Per the Associated Press: "Environmental groups and Democrats cheered the Interior Department order, while Alaska's all-Republican congressional delegation slammed it as misguided and illegal."
8. Democrats easily hold House seat in New Mexico election: State Rep. Melanie Stansbury defeated a fellow state lawmaker in a special election to replace Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the AP reports. Stansbury's victory was never really in doubt as Biden carried the district by 23 points and Haaland by 16 points last November. Her victory means Democrats' slim majority remains unchanged.
9. Fauci was freaked out by his overnight fandom: "Our society is totally nuts," Dr. Anthony Fauci wrote in an email last year after being forwarded an article called "'Cuomo Crush' and 'Fauci Fever' - Sexualization of These Men Is a Real Thing on the Internet." Thousands of Fauci's emails were published by The Washington Post and BuzzFeed after records requests, providing insight into the disease expert's personal and professional actions during the pandemic.
10. Eating out might cost more than it used to: Small-restaurant owners nationwide have had to increase their prices because of labor shortages, higher wages, and rising costs of staple foods - including chicken wings and cooking oil. Some owners have had to pass these increased costs onto customers, bumping up the cost of eating out.
Today's trivia question: The first-ever national ad about ALS will air today. The Yankees made history when they did what for Lou Gehrig? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Friday's answer: Before it was used to refer to hit Hollywood movies, "blockbuster" referred to allied bombing during WWII that leveled entire blocks.
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