Jordan Candler / May 15, 2020

Friday News Executive Summary

Richard Burr search warrant, Pelosi debt-bomb vote, task force expanding, and more.

Above the Fold

  • Republican Richard Burr is one of several senators who, as we previously reported, is suspected of leveraging non-public coronavirus information for insider trading. The North Carolina lawmaker “temporarily stepped aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday after the FBI served a search warrant for his cellphone,” according to the AP. Meanwhile, The Hill adds that “Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) spoke to the FBI and handed over documents last month related to recent stock transactions by her husband.” However, Feinstein’s spokesman says “there have been no follow up actions on this issue.” Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler has also furnished trade documents. Unfortunately, Burr’s recklessness in particular could have political ramifications for Republicans this fall.

  • The House will vote today on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s dreamy debt bomb. According to Fox News, “Pelosi acknowledged Thursday the long odds of the Democrats’ $3 trillion coronavirus relief legislation of becoming law and suggested the massive bill could be a starting point of negotiations with the White House and Senate.” The Hill adds, “Striking a bipartisan deal over a new coronavirus relief bill is becoming increasingly unlikely before June” due to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s legitimate concerns about runaway spending and the Democrats’ statist agenda.

Government & Politics

  • White House will add to coronavirus task force with an emphasis on reopening the country (Washington Examiner)

  • Ousted whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright — who was not under oath — unloads on Trump administration’s coronavirus response in congressional testimony (NBC News)

  • PBS stations that received millions in federal funds partnered with Chinese foreign agent on pro-Beijing film (The Daily Caller)

  • “Hard to capture in words”: Fed survey shows almost 40% of American households making less than $40,000 lost a job in March (The Week)

National Security

  • Trump floats cutting off “whole relationship” with China as punishment (The Daily Caller)

  • Chinese state media warn country will interfere in U.S. election (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Senate passes FISA surveillance bill with new protections, but differences with the House version makes its political fate uncertain (NPR)

  • Trump administration to extend border restrictions until coronavirus no longer poses a “danger”; just two asylum seekers have been granted access since March (National Review)

Culture & Heartland

  • Social distancing in U.S. drops significantly from height of COVID-19 pandemic (USA Today)

  • Of the 5,141 virus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,095 have occurred in the state’s nursing homes — more than 60%, double the percentage even in New York (Boston Herald)

  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer slapped with lawsuit over “drastic” lockdown (The Washington Times)

Other Notables

  • Leaked data from a Chinese military-run university suggests China may have 640,000 coronavirus cases, not 80,000 (New York Post)

  • Profiles of Valor: Staff Sgt. Ron Shurer, Medal of Honor recipient who saved lives in Afghanistan, dead at 41 after cancer battle (Fox News)

  • Trump to ask Supreme Court to stop emoluments lawsuit claiming president profits unlawfully from DC hotel (CNBC)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: How much are we spending to prevent one COVID-19 death — millions, billions, trillions? Nobody knows (Issues & Insights)

  • Policy: Poor savings habits have left Americans vulnerable to economic crises (E21)

  • Humor: Democrat states deploy Greta Thunberg drones to lecture people who go outside (The Babylon Bee)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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