Let’s head west for a second. The Biden administration has restored the $929m grant for the high-speed rail project in California that Donald Trump revoked in 2019.
Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, said the action comes after months of negotiations to restore funding and is “proof that California and the Biden-Harris Administration share a common vision – clean, electrified transportation that will serve generations to come”.
To recap: California is a really big state, both land mass-wise and population-wise. In a state that big, transportation is a sticky topic. Because of high housing costs around the coastal hubs of San Francisco, The Angels and San Diego, residents were stuck in traffic, commuting hours a day for work from as far inland as the Central Valley before the pandemic.
High-speed rail has been a pipe dream for the state for decades, but years of protest, lawsuits, politicking and replanning have forced officials to rework plans.
Then as California set itself up as a resistance flagbearer against Trump, the former president withdrew its federal grant, with Trump calling the project a “green disaster”.
The restoration of the funding comes amidst a recall battle for Newsom, and is being viewed as a victory for the governor and his policies.
“Restoring nearly $929m in grant funding back to California’s high-speed rail project will continue to spur job creation, advance the project and move the state one step closer to getting trains running in California as soon as possible,” Newsom said in a statement.
Democratic Florida congresswoman Val Demings reportedly raised $1m the day after she announced that she was running to unseat Republican Marco RubyO in the Senate, the Hill is reporting.
For a Senate race in a year without any regularly scheduled federal elections, $1m in the first 24 hours is a huge haul – for context, Vice-President Kamala Harris raised $1.5m in the first 24 hours of her presidential campaign, while former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke raised more than $ 6m and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders raised $ 5.9m.
But Florida is known to be an expensive market for campaigns, and Rubio reportedly already has $ 4m on hand in his senate campaign war chest.
The White House announced today that Joe Biden will be welcoming Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany for a visit on 15 July, to discuss ending the pandemic, the climate crisis and international security, among other things.
Biden and Merkel, of course, will meet today as the G7 summit officially kicks off in Cornwall. For all things G7, please check out our sister liveblog at the Guardian UK:
Democrats and Republicans may not be agreeing on much in Washington these days, but members on both sides were able to join together to attack Democratic Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her remarks earlier this week.
To recap: Omar posted a tweet of her questioning Secretary of State Antony Blink during a foreign affairs committee hearing about the international criminal court. “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” she tweeted. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.”
Those attacking her apparently believe that she was equating the US and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic leadership have asked her to clarify her statement.
Omar pointed out that the reaction to her question – she has received death threats – just goes to prove that the systems in place aren’t enough for those who suffer the injustices of war crimes.
President Joe Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, are set to meet again with the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, and his wife Carrie Johnson shortly again in Cornwall, following a successful first encounter yesterday. Johnson, eschewing the usual “special relationship” descriptor – he felt it made the UK seem weak and needy – chose to go with the phrase “indestructible relationship”.
The Bidens and Johnsons will then go on to join with other leaders as the G7 summit officially kicks off today.
Democrats outraged over Trump’s DoJ secretly seizing members’ data
Greetings, liveblog readers. Happy Friday.
The New York Times broke the news last night that amid the Russian investigation, the justice department under Donald Trump had subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House intelligence committee.
As part of an aggressive crackdown on leaks, the records of Adam Schiff, then the top Democrat on the committee, and the California Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell, were seized. In all, the records of at least 12 people – aides, former aides and family members. including one who was a minor – were eventually shared.
“Trump repeatedly demanded the DOJ go after his political enemies,” Schiff tweeted last night. “It’s clear his demands didn’t fall on deaf ears.”
The Democratic Florida congresswoman Val Demings, an impeachment manager in Trump’s first trial who is now challenging Senator Marco Rubio for his seat in the Senate, is calling for a “thorough investigation” that will “hold everybody responsible accountable”.
Swalwell described the seizure of his records as “the weaponization of law enforcement”. He told CNN that he believed “they were targeted punitively, not for any reason in law but because Donald Trump identified Chairman Schiff and members of the committee as an enemy of his”.
Read more here: