GOP fealty to ‘dear leader’ Trump testing party unity, Republican governor says
The Biden administration has promised a robust response to a cyber attack that shut down a vital US pipeline, vowing to deliver an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to restore operations and avoid disruptions in the energy supply.
It comes as the temporary halting of operations on the pipeline that carries gasoline and other fuel from Texas to the northeast coast stretched into a third day.
Meanwhile, as House Republicans are push ahead with their expected ousting of Representative Liz Cheney from her leadership spot for voting to impeach Donald Trump after the Capitol insurrection, her colleague Adam Kinzinger – who also voted to impeach – compared the party to the Titanic, and warned of a “circular firing squad” over Ms Cheney’s various remarks.
In the strongest sign yet that Ms Cheney faces defeat in a party vote expected on Wednesday, the top Republican in the House of Representatives said he would back congresswoman Elise Stefanik to replace the Wyoming Republican as chair of the 212-member House Republican Conference.
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the Biden administration and other political developments from Washington.
Matt Mathers10 May 2021 09:18
All out war set to grip Republican Party as Trump loyalists gear up to oust Cheney
All out war is set to grip the Republican Party this week as Trump loyalists sharpen their knives in a bid to oust Liz Cheney from a senior post.
Congresswoman Cheney, chair of the Republican Conference and daughter of former vice president, Dick Cheney, is expected to be punished for her public criticism of President Trump’s role in the Capitol riot in January this year.
Ms Cheney, seen as an establishment figure, was one of 10 Republicans who voted for Mr Trump to be impeached. House Republicans could vote on Wednesday to remove her from the conference role, one of the most senior within the party.
My colleague Alex Woodward has more on this story below:
Matt Mathers10 May 2021 09:32
Cyberattacks on US are ‘here to stay’, Biden official warns
Following a ransomware attack on the largest US gasoline pipeline, an official in Joe Biden’s administration has said such cyberattacks against the country’s infrastructure are “here to stay”.
My colleague Vishwam Sankaran has more details on this story:
Matt Mathers10 May 2021 09:42
Biden to join meeting of NATO’s eastern members by video link
US President Joe Biden will join a meeting by video link of presidents of countries on NATO’s eastern flank being held on Monday in the Romanian capital, according to the offices of the Romanian and Polish presidents.
The presidents gathering represents the so-called Bucharest Nine, a group of the easternmost members of the Western military alliance. Most of them share a concern about Russia’s attempts to reassert its influence over their region, their anxieties growing after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the host, said on Twitter that he was glad to be welcoming Biden, and that the meeting was in preparation for a full NATO summit next month.
He said Monday’s meeting, co-hosted by Polish President Andrzej Duda, would include discussions of defence and deterrence on the alliance’s Eastern flank, and that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was also participating.
Matt Mathers10 May 2021 10:00
Biden’s policy on North Korea welcomed in South Korea
In a nationally televised news conference, South Korea President Moon Jae-in said he welcomes the direction of the Biden administration’s North Korea policy, which he said was finalised after consultations with South Korea.
South Korea’s leader said he will use his upcoming summit with President Joe Biden to push to restart diplomacy with North Korea, saying the US has opted for a diplomatic, phased approach to resolve the nuclear crisis.
The White House recently said officials completed a review of the country’s North Korea policy and suggested the Biden administration would seek a middle ground between Donald Trump’s “grand bargain” and Barack Obama’s “strategic patience” approaches as a way to curb the North’s nuclear ambitions.
The Biden administration has not disclosed details of its North Korea policy review.
But administration officials have signalled they are trying to set the stage for incremental progress, in which denuclearisation steps by the North would be met with corresponding actions, including sanctions relief, rather than a Trump-style push for an immediate, comprehensive deal through a leader-to-leader summit.
Matt Mathers10 May 2021 10:15
White House chief of staff says he won’t ‘underestimate’ Donald Trump if he chooses to run again
White House chief of staff Ron Klain has said he will not “estimate or underestimate” Donald Trump as an opponent to Joe Biden in 2024, if both of them are again going head-to-head for the presidency.
My colleague Shweta Sharma has more details below:
Matt Mathers10 May 2021 10:23
Republican governors reject unemployment aid to force Americans back to work
Republican governors in three states announced this week that they are cutting off extended federal unemployment aid to residents that was set to expire in September.
My colleague Alex Woodward reports:
Matt Mathers10 May 2021 10:35
Inside Arizona’s election audit, GOP fraud fantasies live on
On the floor of Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where Sir Charles Barkley once dunked basketballs and Hulk Hogan wrestled King Kong Bundy, 46 tables are arrayed in neat rows, each with a Lazy Susan in the middle.
Seated at the tables are several dozen people, mostly Republicans, who spend hours watching ballots spin by, photographing them or inspecting them closely.
They are counting them and checking to see if there is any sign they were flown in surreptitiously from South Korea. A few weeks ago they were holding them up to ultraviolet lights, looking for a watermark rumoured to be a sign of fraud.
Arizona is struggling to move on from President Trump’s election defeat. Full report:
Matt Mathers10 May 2021 10:55
Sanders opposed to reintroduction of SALT
Bernie Sanders has said he is opposed to the re-introduction of Salt – state and local tax deductions which benefit wealthier residents of Democratic states.
Senior party figures including Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are among those lawmakers pushing for the move.
But in an interview with Axios on Sunday, Vermont senator Mr Sanders said bringing back SALT would send a “terrible message”.
He said: “It sends a terrible, terrible message when you have Republicans telling us that this is a tax break for the rich.
“In fairness to Schumer and Pelosi, it is hard when you have tiny margins, but you have got to make it clear which side you are on — and you can’t be on the side of the wealthy and powerful if you’re going to really fight for working families.”
Matt Mathers10 May 2021 11:09
New White House task force to separate politics and science
A new White House task force is looking back at instances when politics interfered with science and trying to come up with ways to prevent that from happening again.
Eager to turn the page on the Trump years, the Biden White House is launching an effort to unearth past problems with the politicization of science within and to tighten scientific integrity rules for the future.
A new 46-person federal scientific integrity task force with members from more than two dozen government agencies will meet for the first time on Friday. Its mission is to look back through 2009 for areas where partisanship interfered with what were supposed to be decisions based on evidence and research and to come up with ways to keep politics out of government science in the future.
The effort was spurred by concerns that the Trump administration had politicized science in ways that put lives at risk, eroded public trust and worsened climate change.
“We want people to be able to trust what the federal government is telling you, whether it’s a weather forecast or information about vaccine safety or whatever,” said Jane Lubchenco, the deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
People need to know “it’s not by fiat, somebody’s sort of knee-jerk opinion about something,” added Alondra Nelson, the science office’s deputy director for science and society.
Matt Mathers10 May 2021 11:20