With Jordan Erb
Here’s what we’re talking about today:
1. THE ART OF THE POST-PRESIDENCY: Former President Trump feels great. This may not be his best life. After all, he still faces wide legal exposure including to his namesake company; left office as the only twice-impeached president; and senior members of his party blame him for inciting an insurrection. But advisors say he’s taking this new chapter with a renewed zest.
Here’s a peek at our story:
- Gone are the spray tan and bleached highlights: Florida life means plenty of time to work on a real tan. The famously image-conscious Trump is also starting to let his gray show a little.
- He’s lost somewhere between 15 to 20 pounds: “He was eating all those M&Ms on [Air Force One] all the time,” said one Trump advisor who’s watched him trim up since leaving Washington. “He’s a big man with a big frame, and he’s lost a lot of weight. I can’t tell you how much, but it’s a lot. You can see it in his suits.”
- Even more time for golf: Advisors chalked up part of his weight loss to extended time on the links.
“I think there’s something to be said about no longer having the weight of the free world on your shoulders,” an advisor who recently spoke to Trump about his health said.
2. There’s hope for a bipartisan infrastructure deal, but divisions remain: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia balked at a potential Republican plan that could range from $600 billion to $800 billion, a drastic counteroffer to Biden’s $2.3 trillion package. Manchin said he would support a $4 trillion plan as long as it’s paid for. Republicans continue to insist that raising corporate
is a “red line,” and some GOP lawmakers advocate fees to be paid by drivers.
- Meanwhile, AOC wants fellow Democrats to ditch a fight over SALT: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said members of her party were favoring “a giveaway to the rich” by fighting to undo the federal cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction that was a major part of Trump’s 2017 tax plan. More on the SALT debate.
3. 8 dead in a mass shooting in Indianapolis: Eight people were killed during a shooting at a FedEx facility near the city’s airport on Thursday night. Four others were taken to local hospitals with injuries. The suspect appeared to have taken his own life. Here’s what else we know.
4. Both sides rest in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. He will not take the stand: Chauvin’s defense lasted only two days and focused on George Floyd’s heart condition and drug use, despite multiple medical experts saying it was Chauvin’s actions that killed Floyd. The jury could begin deliberations as soon as Monday.
Video shows a Chicago officer killing a 13-year-old: Video shows officer Eric Stillman chasing Adam Toledo, 13, before yelling at him to show his hands. Less than one second later, Toledo is shot as he raises his hands. An attorney for Toledo’s family said the video did not immediately determine whether he was holding a gun, but said that wasn’t relevant. Toledo appears to be holding something in his hand at one point, which police claim is a gun. More on the story here. (Note: The footage is in the story and is graphic.)
5. People will likely need a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine within a year: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the extra dose will be key in fighting COVID-19 variants. It’s possible that people will need yearly shots, he said. As for Moderna, its CEO Stéphane Bancel said that the drugmaker is hoping to a get booster authorized this summer and in arms before fall. More on the latest vaccine news.
6. Washington moves of the week: Rep. Matt Gaetz promoted a former Democratic staffer who has quickly climbed the ranks in his office. Here are some of the other biggest moves this week.
Isabela Belchior, who previously worked for Democratic Rep. Sylvia Garcia, is now a legislative director for Gaetz.
Jeff Lowenstein will become staff director on the House Intelligence Committee; Patrick Boland will become chief of staff for Rep. Adam Schiff, the panel’s chairman. Jonathan Carter, who previously served in Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office, is joining Tesla as a policy advisor.
7. Biden says he could have gone further with Russian sanctions, but stuck with a “proportionate” response: The US expelled 10 diplomats in retaliation for Russia’s involvement in the SolarWinds hack and interference in the 2020 election. Moscow retorted that the US can expect a “decisive rebuff.” More on the sanctions here.
- Buried in the new actions was a Mueller-related development: The Treasury Department said Konstantin Kilimnik, a close associate of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, is a “known Russian agent.” Former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said on MSNBC that the revelation that Kilimnik provided Russian intelligence with internal polling data and campaign strategy he received from Manafort is “the complete link.”
8. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:
- 10:30 a.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top officials hold a news briefing about the pandemic
- 11:00 a.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing
- 4:15 p.m.: Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide in the Rose Garden
9. Senior Democrats question expanding the Supreme Court: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has “no plans” to bring a bill to floor that would expand the high court from 9 to 13 justices. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin of Illinois, another key leader, is also not ready to support such a step. But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York not only supports it, he’s one of the bill’s authors. Inside the debate here.
10. Royal drama: Prince William and Prince Harry will not walk side-by-side at their grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral. Instead, their cousin will walk between them. Reports of conflict between the brothers have abounded since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, but Buckingham Palace insists the separation was a practical change.
- “This is a funeral and we are not going to be drawn into perceptions of drama,” a spokesperson said.
The funeral is tomorrow. Here’s how you can watch.
One last thing.
Today’s trivia question: How many people were in George Washington’s original cabinet? Bonus points if you can name the positions. Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected].
That’s all for now. Have a wonderful weekend!