President Biden said Friday that he and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reaffirmed the U.S.-Japan alliance while agreeing to take on the challenges of China and other issues. Suga was the first foreign leader to visit the White House in person during Biden’s presidency.

The visit is taking place as the nation grapples with yet another mass shooting. In a statement Friday, Biden said the shooting late Thursday at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis is further evidence that gun violence “stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation.”

Here’s what to know:
9:57 p.m.
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Biden says Iran’s uranium enrichment is ‘contrary to the agreement’ it made in 2015

Asked about Iran’s decision to begin enriching its uranium at the highest levels yet, Biden on Friday said the move was “contrary to the agreement” Iran had made in 2015 but struck a cautiously optimistic tone that negotiations between the two countries were continuing.

“We do not support and do not think it’s at all helpful that Iran is saying it’s going to move to enrichment to 60 percent. It is contrary to the agreement,” Biden told reporters at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Biden was referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, a nuclear deal negotiated in 2015 aimed at getting Tehran to limit its nuclear enrichment. Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. left the deal in 2018. The United States and Iran are currently in talks in Vienna to try to revive the deal.

“We are, though, nonetheless pleased that Iran has continued to agree to engage in discussions, in direct discussions with us and with our partners, on how we move forward and what is needed to allow us to move back into the JCPOA … without us making concessions that we’re just not willing to make,” Biden added. “The discussions are underway. I think it’s premature to make a judgment as to what the outcome will be, but we’re still talking.”

9:40 p.m.
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Biden defends gun control approach, calls gun violence a ‘national embarrassment’

President Biden said he is still urging Congress to pass gun control legislation on April 16 following a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. (The Washington Post)

Biden on Friday rejected criticism that he is prioritizing infrastructure legislation over pressing Congress to take up gun control or police reform efforts.

I’ve never not prioritized this. No one has worked harder to deal with the violence used by individuals using weapons than I have,” Biden said. “I’m the only one ever to have passed an assault weapons ban. I mean, only one that ever got a 10-year ban on assault weapons and clips of more than 10 bullets.”

Biden said he’s still pushing Congress to pass universal background check laws and continues to support banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But he said the onus is on Congress to act.

“It doesn’t mean that I can’t also be working at the same time on the economy and on covid,” he said.

He urged the Senate to bring up the House-passed bill on background checks “now,” calling the daily mass shootings across the country a “national embarrassment” that “has to end.”

He also reiterated his opposition to people owning assault weapons.

Who in God’s name needs a weapon that can hold 100 rounds or 40 rounds or 20 rounds? It’s just wrong,” he said. “And I’m not going to give up till it’s done.”

9:05 p.m.
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After outrage over refugee cap, White House says it will make final decision on May 15

White House officials on Friday said President Biden would set a “final, increased refugee cap” for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15, a reversal of plans to keep the historically low 15,000-person refugee cap set by former president Donald Trump, according to a senior administration official.

That decision triggered an avalanche of outrage from Democratic lawmakers, refugee aid groups and human rights activists, who said Biden had broken his promise of raising the refugee cap to 62,500. At the current pace, Biden is set to accept the lowest number of refugees of any modern president, including Trump.

Late Friday afternoon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that those who were upset had been confused by Biden’s directive announced Friday, which reversed Trump’s actions banning refugees from certain regions.

“Last week, he sent to Congress his budget for the fiscal year starting in October 2021, which honors his commitment,” she said in a statement. “For the past few weeks, he has been consulting with his advisers to determine what number of refugees could realistically be admitted to the United States between now and October 1.”

Psaki also appeared to try to lower expectations for the final figure, to be set May 15.

“Given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited, and burdens on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, his initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely,” she said.

7:46 p.m.
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America First Caucus promotes U.S. as ‘uniquely Anglo-Saxon,’ calls for pause on immigration

Hard-right Republicans in the House are forming an “America First Caucus” that promotes nativist policies outlined in materials obtained by Punchbowl News.

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.) are reportedly behind it, with Reps. Barry Moore (Ala.) and Louie Gohmert (Tex.) signed on as early members.

Greene’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The seven-page document lays out policy positions for the caucus that include nativist language and perpetuate the falsehood that there was widespread fraud and corruption in the 2020 election. The group says it is advancing former president Donald Trump’s legacy, which means stepping “on some toes” and sacrificing “sacred cows for the good of the American nation.”

In a section on immigration, it describes the United States as a place with “uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and argues that “societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country, particularly without institutional support for assimilation and an expansive welfare state to bail them out should they fail to contribute positively to the country.”

The document also calls for a pause on all immigration. “These pauses have been absolutely essential in assimilating the new arrivals and weeding out those who could not or refused to abandon their old loyalties and plunge head-first into mainstream American society,” the document says.

On infrastructure, it calls for the construction of roads, bridges and buildings that reflect “the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture, whereby public infrastructure must be utilitarian as well as stunningly, classically beautiful, befitting a world power and source of freedom.”

The caucus criticizes U.S. foreign aid, coronavirus restrictions — “The America First Caucus will work to make sure we do not overreact to a pandemic in this same way again.” — and education that “is actively hostile to the civic and cultural assimilation necessary for a strong nation.”

Responding to Greene and Gosar, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted: “As an immigrant, I served on active duty in the US military to defend your right to say stupid stuff. What makes America great is that we don’t judge you based on bloodline, we look at your character.”

Lieu said they could take their nativist rhetoric and “shove it.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who faces federal and House Ethics Committee investigations over allegations of sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, tweeted that he was joining Greene in the caucus. “We will end wars, stop illegal immigration & promote trade that is fair to American workers,” he said. He denies all the allegations against him.

6:40 p.m.
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‘Unacceptable:’ Biden’s decision not to raise refugee cap angers Democrats

Congressional Democrats wasted little time expressing their disappointment and anger over Biden’s decision not to allow more refugees to come to America, instead keeping former president Donald Trump’s cap in place.

“Due to the delay, your Administration is on track to fall well short of welcoming a scant 15,000 refugees for FY21, itself an appallingly low admissions level set by the previous administration,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (N.J.) wrote to Biden in a letter.

Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called it “unacceptable.”

“Facing the greatest refugee crisis in our time there is no reason to limit the number to 15,000,” Durbin said. "Say it ain’t so, President Joe.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, offered a blunter assessment, saying Biden had “broken his promise to restore our humanity.”

“It is simply unacceptable and unconscionable that the Biden Administration is not immediately repealing Donald Trump’s harmful, xenophobic, and racist refugee cap that cruelly restricts refugee admissions to a historically low level,” Jayapal said. “After four painful years of fighting Trump’s all-out draconian assault on immigrants, President Biden promised to restore America as a beacon of hope and committed to increasing our refugee resettlement numbers.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) tweeted that Biden’s decision was “completely and utterly unacceptable.”

“Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise. Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong,” she wrote.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), who came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia, also tweeted sharply.

“There are simply no excuses for today’s disgraceful decision,” Omar wrote. “It goes directly against our values and risks the lives of little boys and girls huddled in refugee camps around the world. I know, because I was one.”

6:39 p.m.
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Full House scheduled to vote Thursday on D.C. statehood

A bill to make D.C. the nation’s 51st state will get a vote in the full House on Thursday, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said, fulfilling promises by House leadership to prioritize the legislation within President Biden’s first 100 days.

“I expect to bring #HR51 to the House Floor for a vote on Thursday, April 22 to grant #DCStatehood to the more than 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia,” Hoyer tweeted Friday. “The voice of every American citizen deserves to be heard — it’s past time that we make statehood a reality for DC.”

With at least 212 co-sponsors, House Democrats expect to pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act for the second consecutive year. (The record reflects 216 co-sponsors, but three of them have joined the Biden administration and Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) died this month.)

5:04 p.m.
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Biden administration to keep refugee cap at Trump’s level, far less than what it proposed to Congress

Biden has decided not to lift the cap on refugees for the current fiscal year from the level set by the Trump administration, according to a senior administration official, a shift from a previous proposal to Congress to allow more refugees to come to the United States.

Biden plans to keep the refugee cap at 15,000, according to the official. He had previously proposed to Congress lifting the cap to 62,500 and pushing it to 125,000 for the following year.

The administration will issue the directive later Friday. It will change the regional allocation of refugees. Under former president Donald Trump’s directive, strict restrictions were placed on accepting refugees on certain African and majority-Muslim countries.

4:53 p.m.
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Russia to expel 10 U.S. diplomats in response to Biden administration sanctions

MOSCOW — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Russia would expel 10 U.S. diplomats and blacklist eight U.S. officials in response to U.S. sanctions and expulsions.

The expected tit-for-tat measures by Russia deepen the strains between the two countries, but Moscow kept its response relatively proportional to some of the U.S. steps. The Kremlin also signaled willingness to consider a summit between President Vladimir Putin and Biden even as tensions grow.

Lavrov said Russia would soon announce which eight U.S. officials would be barred by Russia. Moscow would also stop activities of American organizations and funds that it finds “interfere” in its affairs.

4:24 p.m.
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Biden says gun violence ‘stains our character’ as he reacts to Indianapolis shootings

Biden said Friday that gun violence “stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation” as he reacted to the mass shooting in Indianapolis and ordered that flags at the White House and other federal properties be lowered to half-staff yet again.

In a statement in which he called gun violence an “epidemic,” Biden also reiterated his call for Congress to pass universal background checks and an assault weapon ban.

“We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives,” Biden said.

Biden said that he and Vice President Harris had been briefed on the shooting at a FedEx facility, where a gunman killed at least eight people before apparently taking his own life.

“Today’s briefing is just the latest in a string of tragedies, following closely after gunmen firing bullets in broad day light at spas in and around Atlanta, Georgia, a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and so many other shootings,” Biden said.

He noted that just a week ago he announced several executive actions on gun control during an event at the Rose Garden in the White House and that the Indianapolis shootings came just before the 14th anniversary of a mass shooting at Virginia Tech in which a gunman killed 32 people.

“Gun violence is an epidemic in America,” Biden said. “But we should not accept it. We must act. … Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation.”

3:59 p.m.
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Founding member of Oath Keepers set to enter first guilty plea in Jan. 6 Capitol breach

A founding member of the Oath Keepers arrested in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate against others in the case — the first defendant to potentially flip in the sprawling domestic terrorism investigation that has led to charges against more than 400 people.

The scheduled plea comes exactly 100 days after Jon Ryan Schaffer and hundreds of other supporters of former president Donald Trump allegedly stormed the Capitol hoping to prevent Joe Biden from being confirmed as the next president. Prosecutors hope Schaffer’s plea spurs others to provide additional evidence in hopes of avoiding long prison sentences.

The plea marks a new stage in the historic investigation, as prosecutors seek to work up the chain of defendants to gather evidence and better understand the full scope of any planning and organizing of the violence — particularly among groups like the far-right Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. Dozens of members from both groups appeared to act in concert to storm the building, prosecutors have alleged.

3:57 p.m.
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Analysis: As Chauvin verdict looms, Biden puts hopes – and pressure – on Congress

Whatever the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, the White House has bet the safest and surest path to solving the nation’s policing crisis runs through Congress — not the courts, not the streets, and definitely not a blue-ribbon commission.

Closing arguments in the Chauvin trial are due to begin Monday, after he opted not to take the stand and give his account of what led to the death of George Floyd, who died after Chauvin knelt on his neck and back for over nine minutes.

3:56 p.m.
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White House memo touts polling on Biden’s agenda

As Biden gears up for a legislative fight over his infrastructure package, his administration is using polling to try to show his allies on Capitol Hill and outside groups that he has support for his agenda.

But the memo from Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to the president, is in part reliant on partisan polling, including from Navigator Research, to buoy the administration’s argument.

Independent polls this month find Biden’s approval rating ranging from 48 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll to 59 percent in a Pew Research Center survey. The Quinnipiac poll found 44 percent of Americans supported Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan while 38 percent opposed it, though support rose to 53 percent if it is paid for by raising taxes on corporations.

“As we continue to push forward with implementing the President’s American Rescue Plan, advocating for the American Jobs Plan, and soon introducing the American Families Plan, President Biden remains committed to governing across party lines — putting forward policies that he believes will benefit Americans in their daily lives, especially lower- and middle-income Americans who have far too often been left behind,” Dunn writes in the memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post.

The focus on polling follows the Biden administration’s approach to the passage of the stimulus package, when administration officials said the package had bipartisan support. No Republicans in Congress voted to support the bill. Independent polls showed a clear majority of Republicans opposed the stimulus package overall even as they supported some specific parts of the bill.

3:45 p.m.
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Harris says ‘this violence must end’ as she addresses Indianapolis shootings ahead of meeting with Japanese prime minister

Vice President Harris addressed the mass shooting in Indianapolis, saying “this violence must end,” ahead of a meeting Friday with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in her ceremonial office in the White House complex.

Speaking to reporters as she and Suga stood in front of U.S. and Japanese flags, Harris began her remarks by referencing the shootings that left eight people dead before the gunman apparently took his own life.

“Yet again we have families in our country that are grieving the loss of their family members because of gun violence,” Harris said. “There is no question that this violence must end and we are thinking of the families that lost their loved ones.”

She said Biden would speak about the episode in Indianapolis later Friday.

Suga is scheduled to hold meetings with Biden and other U.S. officials Friday afternoon and stage a joint news conference with Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House.

“The president and I are very excited about the conversations we will have,” Harris said, adding that it was a “personal point of privilege” to meet with Suga.

“As you know, I come from California, where we have a very strong and vibrant Japanese community who has made great contributions not only to the state but to the country,” she said.

3:26 p.m.
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Biden has been briefed on Indianapolis shootings, wants action from Congress, Psaki says

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on April 16 again called on Congress to strengthen background checks and called gun violence a public health crisis. (The Washington Post)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that Biden had been briefed on the Indianapolis mass shooting and stressed steps that he has urged Congress to take, including strengthening background checks and reinstating a ban on assault weapons.

We can’t afford to wait as innocent lives are taken,” Psaki said, ticking off some actions Biden has taken by executive order, including new rules regulating what are known as “ghost guns” — firearms that are assembled at home, which lack serial numbers and are harder to track.

“There’s more we can do and must do,” she said. “The Senate should take up and pass the three bills, strengthening background checks, that passed the House with bipartisan majorities and have the overwhelming support of the American people. They should heed the president’s call to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and an immunity for gun manufacturers.”

Psaki stressed gun control has long been a priority for Biden, dating to his days as a senator from Delaware, and that he would continue to make it a priority.

“We can’t give up just because it’s hard, just because the politics are perplexing,” she said.

Psaki said that key Biden aides, including his chief of staff and homeland security adviser, had been in touch with local leaders and law enforcement officials in Indianapolis.