Friday Top News Executive Summary
Economy chugs along, Baltimore mayor out, judicial progress, religious liberty safeguards, Facebook censorship, and more.
ECONOMY DEFIES NAYSAYERS (AGAIN): “The economy generated a stronger than expected 263,000 new jobs in April, helping to drive down the unemployment rate to a 49-year low of 3.6%. … The average wage paid to American workers rose 6 cents, or 0.2%, to $27.77 an hour. … The government revised the increase in new jobs in March to 189,000 from a preliminary 196,000. February’s gain was raised to 56,000 from 33,000.” (MarketWatch)
EMBATTLED BALTIMORE MAYOR CALLS IT QUITS: “Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh resigned Thursday amid a mushrooming corruption scandal. Pugh’s resignation is effective immediately, her attorney Steve Silverman said at a press conference that she herself did not attend. … Pugh, 69, came under fire for selling $500,000 in copies of her ‘Healthy Holly’ children’s books to the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) while serving on its board. She also sold 20,000 copies of the books to Kaiser Permanente for $114,000 from 2015 to 2018, and 10,000 copies to Associated Black Charities for nearly $80,000 from 2011 and 2016.” (National Review)
JUDICIAL PROGRESS: “President Trump hit another milestone in his efforts to reshape the federal judiciary, with the Senate clearing his 100th judicial nominee Thursday. The president and Republican-controlled Senate have made judicial nominations a top priority, and the confirmation of Rodolfo Ruiz to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida brought the number of Trump’s judicial appointments into triple digits. In addition to confirming Ruiz, the Senate is also set to clear two more nominees to federal district courts in Puerto Rico and Pennsylvania. If those two nominations win approval, Trump will have tapped 102 judges to the federal bench.” (Washington Examiner)
PELOSI IMPLIES BARR IS A CRIMINAL: Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi inveighed, “What is deadly serious … is the attorney general of the United States of America is not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime.” But even CNN isn’t buying it.
TRUMP SAFEGUARDS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: “President Donald Trump spoke out on religious freedom Thursday, as he vowed to protect conscience rights and to combat anti-Semitism. ‘Just today, we finalized new protections of conscience rights for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, students, and faith-based charities,’ Trump said at a White House Rose Garden event with faith leaders from across the country on hand for the National Day of Prayer. … The Department of Health and Human Services’ final rule protects both employers and employees. The rule protects providers, individuals, and other health care entities from having to provide, participate in, pay for, pay for coverage of, or refer for, services such as abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide to which they might have religious objections.” (The Daily Signal)
UN AMBASSADOR POST GETS A NOMINEE: “President Donald Trump has officially nominated Kelly Knight Craft as the new United States ambassador to the United Nations. If confirmed by the Senate, Craft would be filling a role formerly held by Nikki Haley. The position has not been filled since Haley’s resignation in the end of 2018.” (ABC News)
FACEBOOK CENSORS FREE SPEECH: According to the Washington Examiner, “Facebook announced on Thursday they permanently banned several controversial figures from their site for being ‘dangerous’… The people banned from the site include: Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, InfoWars host Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, and Paul Joseph Watson.” Matt Walsh observes, “The fact that Facebook banned these high profile accounts all at once just proves that this is not a fair and objective enforcement of the rules. … If Facebook wanted to ban Alex Jones for the Sandy Hook conspiracy stuff (which was truly insane and morally debased), why didn’t they do it 5 years ago?”
MOORE BAILS: “A week after Herman Cain withdrew his name from consideration from the Federal Reserve board, Stephen Moore has done the same. His announcement comes amidst a brewing storm over his past comments on gender roles. … There’s no ill will on the side of the president either. Trump praised Moore’s character and wished him well.” (Townhall)
BIDEN SCOFFS AT CHINA: “Former Vice President Joe Biden expressed his lack of concern over China as a global competitor to the U.S. at a rally on Wednesday,” Fox News reports, “prompting a grim response from Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah. … ‘This will not age well,’ Romney predicted.” As pointed out by Erick Erickson, “Perhaps he said something so ludicrous to distract from his own Russia scandal: His son sat on the board of a Ukrainian company with ties to the Russians and only resigned once his dad decided to run for President. Some allege that Biden previously helped pressure Ukraine into firing a prosecutor looking into that company.”
FBI’S CURIOUS RUSSIA-PROBE TACTICS: Fox News reports: “An informant working for U.S. intelligence posed as a Cambridge University research assistant in September 2016 to try to probe George Papadopoulos, then a Trump foreign policy adviser, on the campaign’s possible ties to Russia, according to a new report. And, Papadopoulos told Fox News on Thursday, the informant tried to ‘seduce’ him as part of the ‘bizarre’ episode. … The FBI sent a woman using the alias Azra Turk to meet Papadopoulos at a London bar, where she asked, conspicuously and directly, whether the Trump team was working with Russia.” On a related note, The Hill’s John Solomon reveals that “the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington says a Democratic National Committee (DNC) insider during the 2016 election solicited dirt on Donald Trump’s campaign chairman and even tried to enlist the country’s president to help.” Collusion?
POLICY: A real plan to end the war in Yemen (Foreign Affairs)
POLICY: To fix the student-loan crisis, teach kids about finances (Washington Examiner)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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