Joe Biden has long campaigned for stricter gun control
Joe Biden’s much-awaited gun control agenda is set to kick into action today as the president lines up six executive actions on what one adviser has called “the gun violence public health epidemic”. Gun safety is one of Mr Biden’s signature issues going back decades, and pressure on him to take aggressive action on it has been intensified by recent mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder.
Mike Pence appears to be getting his ducks in a row for a future in high office, launching an advocacy group to “build on the success” of the Trump administration and hiring key Trump figures to sit on its board. Among them are two of the last four years’ most visible Trumpers: Kellyanne Conway and Larry Kudlow.
The LAPD are under fire over a new video that shows police officers arresting a Black man who smiled at them as they looked for an unrelated suspect. Released on the orders of a federal magistrate, the 11-minute clip shows the music producer and his girlfriend being arrested as he takes out his trash in broad daylight.
Follow Derek Chauvin’s trial
The Independent is keeping track of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes on a busy street last summer.
You can follow our live blog here:
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2021 12:50
An elephantine problem
The GOP may have high hopes of taking back the House and even the Senate in 2022, but it looks like they have a critical long-term problem on their hands: a drop in the number of people who think of themselves as Republicans, one that puts them at a serious disadvantage.
A new survey by Gallup has found that while some 49 per cent of Americans now identify with the Democrats or lean towards them; the Republicans came in at only 40 per cent, with only 25 per cent of Americans describing themselves as Republicans rather than Republican-leaning independents.
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2021 12:30
The ban is the ban
Anyone hoping or dreading that Donald Trump will return to Twitter can now rest assured that it will never happen, with the social media platform making clear that the 45th president is gone for good. The people this will most affect are researchers at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), who are embarked on a project of archiving his tweets to make them available to the public.
Sadly for them, a recent statement from Twitter was unambiguous. “Given that we permanently suspended @realDonaldTrump, the content from the account will not appear on Twitter as it did previously or as archived administration accounts do currently, regardless of how NARA decides to display the data it has preserved.”
Akshita Jain has the story. (And if for some reason you do want to revisit the text of Mr Trump’s deleted tweets, the folks at the Trump Twitter Archive have you covered.)
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2021 12:09
Ted Cruz in trouble
Matt Gaetz isn’t the only hard-right Republican getting dragged into scandal. Ted Cruz, one of the party’s most acerbic and unloved agitators, has been accused by an ethics watchdog of illegally using campaign donations to promote his book on social media.
“Because Cruz receives royalties from book sales,” said the director of the Campaign Legal Centre, “his campaign crossed a legal line by spending donor funds on Facebook ads promoting sales of that book.”
A lawyer for Mr Cruz has denied any impropriety. Graeme Massie has more.
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2021 11:50
Joe Manchin: I won’t support filibuster reform
The thorn in Chuck Schumer’s side, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, has penned a Washington Post op-ed insisting that he will under no circumstances support reforming or abolishing the filibuster – the single most important obstacle to getting Joe Biden’s agenda through Congress (Mr Manchin himself probably ranks second).
This isn’t exactly a surprise, but with a massive infrastructure package, gun control and voting rights legislation all on the docket, it’s bound to set the cat among the pigeons.
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2021 11:29
It’s easy being Greene
Fringe first-term Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has earned herself a reputation as an extremist, embracing bizarre and sometimes violent conspiracy theories like QAnon and haranguing school shooting survivors in the street. But even as other house members take formal action against her, she has pulled in an unbelievable fundraising haul of more than $3m in just a couple of months.
To put that in perspective, even some of the most famous members of Congress have raised a fraction of that amount: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who could scarcely be better known, raised just $728,000 during her first quarter in office.
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2021 11:11
‘We did it’
Survivors of the 2018 Parkland school shooting have shared their joy at the prospect of serious gun control measures after years of campaigning.
“On February 14, 2018 my daughter Jaime was murdered in the Parkland school shooting,” tweeted one bereaved father. “Jaime and I have been on a journey since to save lives. [President Biden], thank you for listening. I am truly emotional at the significance of this. JAIME, WE DID IT!!!”
The massacre saw 17 students killed by a gunman using an AR-15 rifle, a weapon that has drawn more attention from gun control campaigners than any other.
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2021 10:48
Gaetzgate goes on
With friends like these, who needs enemies? With Matt Gaetz struggling to shake off his sex trafficking scandal, attention is increasingly turning to Orlando-area tax collector Joel Greenberg, who has himself been investigated on federal sex trafficking charges.
Precisely how his own alleged doings intersect with the probe into Mr Gaetz is not yet clear, but the two men are well-known to be associates. And whatever the truth, the grubbiness accumulating on both of them isn’t exactly flattering. Oliver O’Connell has this analysis:
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2021 10:30
State Department resumes funding to key Palestinian projects
The Trump administration pursued the most unambiguously pro-Israel foreign policies of any US government in decades – but Joe Biden’s State Department is now pivoting back toward funding the Palestinians. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that the US is planning to restart “economic, development, and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people”, a move that’s already maddened pro-Israel hardliners in Congress.
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2021 10:10
LAPD shown tackling a Black man who smiled at officers
A federal magistrate has ordered the release of an excruciating video in which officers from the Los Angeles Police Department arrest a Black man taking out his trash in broad daylight. They were responding to a call from one of his neighbours, but decided to frisk him down anyway and ended up taking him and his white girlfriend into custody for resisting arrest.
The man, music producer Antone Austin, is now suing the department.
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2021 09:50