Here’s what we’re talking about:
With Phil Rosen.
1. INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE: Washington’s version of the “KHive” is swarming to defend Vice President Harris. Her team includes some of the most powerful women in Washington who have long played defense for male politicians like Bill Clinton, Mike Bloomberg, and Bernie Sanders.
Here are some of the members of her team:
- Minyon Moore: Moore was a guest at a recent DC-area dinner focused on how to help Harris fight back against negative press, per Axios. The Chicago native and principal at Dewey Square Group is a longtime friend of Tina Flournoy, Harris’ chief of staff, and confidant to Hillary Clinton.
- Ashley Etienne: Norm Eisen once dubbed Etienne the Democrats’ “secret weapon in the war against Trump.” As a Hill veteran, Etienne shaped the party’s messaging during Trump’s first impeachment while serving as a top advisor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
- Symone Sanders: As Harris’ chief spokesperson, Sanders has publicly pushed back on reports of office disfunction. She joined Sanders’ 2016 campaign and then became one of Biden’s key public voices in 2020.
See the full list of Harris’ high-profile defenders.
2. The Taliban is making lofty promises as it takes power: Taliban leaders are pledging a peaceful future for Afghanistan and a more moderate view on women’s rights — stark contrasts to the brutal history of its 1990s-era rule, The New York Times reports. But this desire to rebrand already runs counter to reports of abuse and of local commanders prohibiting girls from attending school. One of the first signs of what’s to come will be who serves in the new government, especially given reports that the US-backed President Hamid Karzai may be involved.
Other top stories on Kabul:
3. White House expected to announce booster-shot advice today: Top health officials will outline their advice on why most Americans should get an extra dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna shot eight months after their second dose. Americans who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will eventually receive guidance on what to do as well. The FDA still needs to issue its approval. If that happens, boosters could begin as soon as next month.
4. Death toll for Haiti quake reaches nearly 2,000: Rescue efforts were suspended in some areas as rains and mudslides from Tropical Storm Grace slammed the country, The Washington Post reports. Officials said the weekend earthquake was stronger than the devastating 2010 quake that led to the deaths of more than 220,000 people, but it was centered farther from the densely-populated capital. The latest on the disaster response.
5. Florida is ready to crack down on school districts that impose mask mandates: Florida education officials voted to punish two school districts that violated Gov. Ron DeSantis’ law banning such mandates. The decision is the first punitive move made against school districts since DeSantis threatened to withhold paychecks from districts that shirked the law last week. More on the fallout.
6. Pelosi braces for a showdown over infrastructure: Top House Democrats are plowing ahead with their plan to vote on an outline for a $3.5 trillion social-spending plan next week, opting against demands from more centrist lawmakers to pass the bipartisan infrastructure deal into law first, The Wall Street Journal reports. Pelosi pressed lawmakers to support the strategy in a letter last night, hoping to avoid a fight between the party’s wings. More on the intraparty squabbles and the future of Biden’s domestic agenda.
7. Policing talks reportedly axe qualified immunity: Long-running negotiations on a major police-reform bill in Congress no longer include changes to the controversial legal doctrine that protects officers from civil legal liability, Politico reports. The bipartisan talks have repeatedly blown past deadlines, including the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s killing. The focus now is on a much more scaled-down bill.
8. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is a new parent: Buttigieg said that the “process isn’t done yet,” but he and his husband Chasten Buttigieg will share more soon. The Buttigiegs had been trying to adopt a child for a year, Chasten told The Post last month. More on the exciting news.
9. Sen. Marco Rubio wants to ban TikTok: Rubio is asking Biden to block the video-sharing app in the US after news surfaced that the Chinese government bought a stake in its parent company, resurrecting a Trump-era push to ban the popular app. The request follows China’s increased regulatory crackdowns.
10. The newest way to get a job in crypto: A hacker who stole $600 million from a cryptocurrency firm was invited to be the firm’s chief security advisor. The invitation came days after the DeFi platform offered the same hacker $500,000 for returning stolen money. The hacker had said he only did the heist for fun — but now could be set for a real career shift.
Today’s trivia question: Thanks to a new project, you can now see what the White House would have looked like had different designs — including one proposed by Thomas Jefferson — been chosen. What president later made the “White House” nickname official? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected]