“House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s latest pledge to cut spending—intended to again mollify hard-right members of his party—has put Congress on a collision course with a potential government shutdown later this year,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“To become House speaker in January, the California Republican promised deep spending reductions. To reach a debt-ceiling deal with the White House, he tacked to the middle, agreeing to smaller constraints than conservatives wanted. Eleven Republicans revolted this month, withholding procedural votes and bringing the House to a halt. That prompted the speaker to promise another crack at cuts, this time in the appropriations process now getting under way.”
“This latest pledge drew howls from Democrats who said he was reneging on the bipartisan spending deal. The fight is expected to come to a head this fall when the GOP-controlled House and Democratic-run Senate try to pass an annual spending package. On the line: a possible lapse in government funding that many lawmakers see as increasingly probable, and, once again, McCarthy’s job if he is forced to make concessions hard-liners don’t like.”
“The Justice Department on Friday released an account of systemic abuses and discrimination by the police in Minneapolis, the result of a multiyear investigation that began after the murder of George Floyd in police custody ignited protests across the country,” the New York Times reports.
“The report included evidence that it said showed the Police Department has discriminated against people based on race and disability and that officers have frequently used excessive force. Investigators also found that the department failed to address persistent issues with discriminatory practices and rogue officers.”
Wall Street Journal: “If there’s one thing that voters of both parties—and independents—agree on, it’s that few are looking forward to the run-up to November 2024. The two leading candidates, Trump and President Biden, look to be heading for a repeat of 2020, and few see much to relish in that.”
“The two men are universally known, robbing the electorate of the potential to fall in love with someone new.”
“Within their own parties, Biden and Trump stoke plenty of anxiety to match whatever enthusiasm they can generate from the faithful. Polling suggests a substantial majority of Democrats don’t want Biden to run for office again. Trump remains the dominant force within the Republican Party, but many say they are open to someone new who doesn’t bring the former president’s combative divisiveness—or the distraction of a grueling court battle.”
“And no one can claim with a straight face that Biden, at 80 years old—or Trump, 77—represents the youthful vigor or embodiment of America’s bright future that many have found appealing in past presidential candidates.”
Rolling Stone: “In the days since Donald Trump was indicted, his allies have had a unified demand of his GOP primary rivals: promise to pardon the Donald — or else.”
“It’s not an accident: In the days leading up to his arraignment, the former president worked the phones to vent about the case to his allies and discuss the way forward. According to a person familiar with the matter and another source briefed on it, Trump had one repeated request for his supporters: go on TV and social media and trash Ron DeSantis for refusing to commit to pardoning Trump.”
“Trump’s demand advances two goals: The first is to protect himself from legal consequences if he loses both the GOP primary and his federal court case. But given that Trump is telling allies he’ll trounce DeSantis and all other primary challengers, the demand for a pardon pledge appears to be more a political move. The question itself offers a trap for any Republican who tries to engage with it: either side with Trump and use the occasion to keep him in the campaign spotlight or share some uncomfortable real estate on the side of Joe Biden and the Justice Department.”
A new Gallup poll finds 69% of Americans now — compared to 62% last year — say transgender athletes should only be allowed to compete on sports teams that conform with their birth gender.
PRRI: “Overall, 65% of all Americans believe there are only two gender identities, while 34% disagree and say there are many gender identities.”
“But inside those numbers are sharp differences. Fully 90% of Republicans say there are just two genders, versus 66% of independents and 44% of Democrats who believe the same.”
Gallup: “Last year, a record-high 71% of U.S. adults said gay or lesbian relations are morally acceptable. The figure has fallen back this year to 64%, returning to a level last seen in 2019.”
“The decline in the percentage of Americans believing gay or lesbian relations are morally acceptable is mainly a result of fewer Republicans holding that view — 41% do now, down from 56% a year ago.”
“Even when he was president, Donald Trump lacked the legal authority to declassify a U.S. nuclear weapons-related document that he is charged with illegally possessing, security experts said, contrary to the former U.S. president’s claim,” Reuters reports.
“The secret document, listed as No. 19 in the indictment charging Trump with endangering national security, can under the Atomic Energy Act only be declassified through a process that by the statute involves the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.”
“Talk of federal indictments, classified documents and anything related to the president’s predecessor are out. Bridge repair, ‘junk fees’ and prescription drug prices are in,” the New York Times reports.
“As President Biden ramps up his re-election campaign, his team is focused not on the various investigations into former President Donald Trump but rather on spotlighting the ways, however mundane, his administration can assist Americans in their daily lives.”
“A week after Donald Trump’s federal indictment, some Democrats are breaking with President Joe Biden’s decision to stay silent about his opponent’s legal troubles, warning that Trump can’t be allowed to shape voters’ views of a criminal case that could decide the 2024 election,” NBC News reports.
Politico: “After inching forward earlier this year at such a slow pace that it worried Democrats, Biden is kicking his reelection bid into a higher gear. He’s hosting a series of fundraisers, rolling out new staff members and announcing key endorsements.”
“The flurry of activity is likely to calm the nerves of at least some Democrats as Biden begins to show the urgency that they felt was lacking when he first announced he was running for reelection in April. But it almost certainly won’t appease others in the party who are concerned that Biden is still not moving at the clip needed to take on former President Donald Trump or, perhaps, a younger, more formidable Republican opponent.”
Stephen Collinson: “Trump’s showmanship bolstered a strategy of putting his legal woes at the center of a campaign already rooted in claims he’s the blameless victim of a politicized justice system.”
“But Tuesday’s political choreography showed this approach is more than a political strategy. It revealed a deeper, emerging reality about the 2024 campaign. Trump’s legal defense strategy is now entirely fused with his electoral one. His bid to regain the White House is no longer a mere political campaign but has now become about self-preservation. As his court battles grind on, his biggest aim appears to be recapturing the presidential authority that might give him the power to make his potential criminal liability – and even the threat of jail time, if convicted – go away.”
A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll finds that by almost 4-1 — 23% to 6% — those whose views on abortion have changed in the past year said they have become more supportive of legal abortion, not less supportive. By almost 2-1 — 58% to 30% — those surveyed opposed the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“In the coming years, Xi Jinping will come under pressure to do something he’s never done before: oversee nationwide tax increases that could alienate China’s wealthy and its middle class,” Bloomberg reports.
“The Chinese leader has presided over the largest tax cuts in the country’s history. Tax revenue equaled 21% of gross domestic product in 2021, compared with about 27% in the US. Less than 10% of China’s population pays any income tax at all.”
Miami New Times: “The local press was on hand to capture footage of the large crowd milling outside to greet their man. Inside the bakery, Trump supporters fawned over their man, regaling the soon-to-turn-77-year-old with a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ a day early and holding a group prayer…”
“A glad-handing Trump was heard to declare: ‘Food for everyone!’”
“So, New Times wondered, did Trump — who famously fancies his chicken from KFC and his steaks well-done and slathered with ketchup but isn’t exactly known for picking up the check — treat his fan club to a spread of croquetas, pastelitos, and cubanos chased with cafecitos?”
“It turns out no one got anything. Not even a cafecito to-go.”
“Vladimir Putin on Friday said Russia has delivered tactical nuclear warheads to neighboring Belarus and warned his country could use similar weapons in Ukraine, though he said there was ‘no need’ to do so more than a year into his full-scale invasion,” the Financial Times reports.
“The transfer, if confirmed, would be the first time Russia has deployed nuclear weapons outside its borders since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia will retain control over the tactical nuclear arms, which are to be kept in refurbished Soviet-era storage facilities.”
“A month after Japan downgraded Covid-19 to a status on par with that of seasonal flu, the nation may be on the cusp of a ninth Covid-19 wave, with the number of new infections increasing to nearly twice the level seen before the downgrade,” the Japan Times reports.
Playbook: “Nevada Republican congressional candidate David Flippp last week tweeted a photo of a makeshift hut with the caption, ‘This is not a village in a 3rd world country, this is the US border!’”
“What it actually is is the latest instance of a campaign’s use of online stock photography gone awry. The photo, in fact, was taken in rural Africa.”
“A rare House Republican who supports stricter gun control measures said he won’t back a Democratic effort to end-run Speaker Kevin McCarthy and force a vote on a trio of bills to implement those restrictions,” NBC News reports.
Said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA): “At some point we need to start thinking about getting things done rather than sending messages across the floor of the House.”
“Warren County residents want a special election to vote for a new county auditor after it came to light that newly appointed auditor David Whipple has a history of promoting conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the 2020 election,” Iowa Starting Line reports.
“Once considered natural political allies, the Republican Party and big business are drifting apart. One sign of their estrangement: GOP lawmakers are weaning themselves off money from corporate political-action committees,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Republicans are now less dependent on corporate and industry PACs than at any time in the past three decades… Instead, they are turning to smaller donations from millions of individuals who tend to be wary of big-businesses priorities such as free trade.”
“Nikki Haley’s husband deployed Saturday for a yearlong stint in Africa with the South Carolina Army National Guard, a mission that will encompass most of the remainder of her campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination,” the AP reports.