Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. I’m Brent Griffiths. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day.
Here’s what you need to know:
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, already besieged, is now facing impeachment threats.
- Democrats will try once again to pass sweeping police reforms.
- Biden says there should be enough vaccine for all adults by the end of May
Breaking this morning: An air base in Iraq hosting US troops was hit by a rocket attack early Wednesday. Here is Insider’s report on what is known.
1. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Today, marks one year since New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a sweeping expansion of his powers into law. State lawmakers now have a deal to remove those powers, possibly by the end of the week. It’s by the far the least of his worries.
- What’s changed: He was once feted for his leadership during the pandemic. Now the FBI is investigating his handling of nursing home deaths. He was held up as a shining light for the Democratic Party, but now Cuomo now faces calls to resign from within it. Meanwhile, the New York attorney general has started an independent investigation into multiple allegations of sexual harassment. (Cuomo has apologized for past behavior that was “misinterpreted.” He’s also largely defended his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.)
Impeachment?: Insider obtained a letter from six state lawmakers, who all identity as socialist, who want to impeach Cuomo. But such a step would require large-scale defections by fellow Democrats. Impeachment would roughly follow the same process used by Congress.
- It’s only happened once before: Gov. Charles Sulzer was convicted and removed from office in 1913 under charges of using campaign contributions to buy stocks – mostly it was for angering the Tammany Hall political machine.
Other options: New York doesn’t have recall elections like California, meaning voters will have to wait until next year’s election to express their feelings. Besides impeachment, that leaves resignation or sticking it out à la Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. And should Cuomo decide to seek a fourth term, there’s already talk of a primary challenger and Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin announced that he’s exploring a run.
- What they’re saying: “Many privately express spite toward him, but few in his party have dared to take him on,” The New York Times reports. “The promised investigation of Cuomo’s behavior has given many elected officials political cover, allowing them to express concern about the allegations, while asserting that they are still, at this point, just that: allegations, albeit from three women who have given on-the-record accounts.”
2. There will be enough vaccines for every American adult by end of May: President Biden made the declaration while also announcing that pharmaceutical giant Merck will be partnering with Johnson & Johnson to produce more of its COVID-19 vaccine, producing 100 million doses of the shot by the end of May. Biden says the US is halfway to his 100-day goal of 100 million vaccinations.
3. Biden lost his first Cabinet pick: The president said he accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Tanden said she saw “no path forward to gain confirmation” after senators reacted negatively to her old tweets attacking some of them. Biden said Tanden will still serve in his administration.
- The shortlist: Shalanda Young, who Biden tapped to be the #2 at OMB, is well-liked on Capitol Hill where she works on the House Appropriations Committee. Read the rest of our list.
4. Democrats take another swing at police reform: The House is expected to vote on The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act later this week. The legislation would make it easier to prosecute cops by overhauling qualified immunity. Read more in our exclusive report on how experts are skeptical of what will really change if it does become law.
- What else is in the bill: It would prohibit racial profiling, create a Justice Department-run national registry on police misconduct, federally ban chokeholds, and require law enforcement officers to use dashboard and body cameras.
5. FBI director says domestic terrorism is “metastasizing around the country”: Christopher Wray defended the bureau’s handling of intelligence warning of violence at the Capitol a day before the insurrection took place. He said the FBI tried to notify the proper people but will review its procedures. Wray also dismissed Republican conspiracy theories that the rioters were actually far-left “antifa” actors.
- There’s also a new top prosecutor of rioters: Channing Phillips, a former career federal prosecutor, is now the acting US attorney in Washington, DC. More from Insider’s scoop.
6. Texas is set to reopen “100%”: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is now allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity and will lift his state’s mask mandate next week, defying the Biden administration’s request to stay the course as more Americans get vaccinated. Meanwhile, Texas still has more hotspot counties than any other state.
7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:
- 10:00 a.m.: The commanding general of the D.C. National Guard and other top officials testify before a joint Senate hearing on the Capitol riots.
- 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing.
- 1:00 p.m.: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats hold an event outside the Capitol on their voting rights legislation.
- 5:00 p.m.: Biden participates in a virtual event with House Democrats.
8. The Pentagon’s watchdog is set to issue a scathing rebuke of Ronny Jackson: Jackson, while he was the White House’s top physician, made “sexual and denigrating” comments about a female subordinate, drank on the job, and took prescription-strength sleep medication, CNN reports. More on the findings which are expected to be released today. Jackson, now a Texas GOP congressman, denied consuming alcohol on duty and claimed the report is a political attack due to his allegiance to former President Trump.
9. Remembering Vernon Jordan: “Jordan, who rose from humble beginnings in the segregated South to become a champion of civil rights before reinventing himself as a Washington insider and corporate influencer, has died, according to a statement from his daughter. He was 85.“
10. “Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine, she’s begging you please don’t hesitate”: Country legend Dolly Parton received her shot on Tuesday, the very same Moderna vaccine she helped finance with a $US1 ($1) million donation. She retooled one of her iconic hits for the occasion. She offered this final plea “[D]on’t be such a chicken squat, get out there and get your shot!”
One last thing.
Today’s trivia question: Today marks the anniversary of the first presidential veto override in American history. Do you know what commander-in-chief was on the receiving end? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected].
- Yesterday’s answer: Judy Garland was the first woman to win a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1962 for a recording of her legendary concert at Carnegie Hall. (My apologies, I had the year wrong in yesterday’s hint.)