President Biden reminisced about his frequent rail travel Friday as he celebrated Amtrak’s 50th anniversary and promoted his sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure package, which would spend $80 billion on improving rail service throughout the country. Standing near trains at the Philadelphia station, Biden said that on at least four occasions he fell asleep on a late-night train from Washington to Wilmington, Del., and woke up in Philadelphia.

His trip is part of a “Getting America Back on Track Tour” that the White House is holding to promote spending plans that Biden detailed in his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. As part of the tour, Vice President Harris participated in a roundtable discussion on infrastructure during a trip to Cincinnati on Friday.

Here’s what to know:
  • The Biden administration will restrict travel from India because of spiking coronavirus caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the country, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
  • The Biden administration said it has canceled border wall projects paid for with funds diverted from Department of Defense accounts, a widely-expected move that follows Biden’s decision to suspend construction activity on former president Donald Trump’s signature project.
  • The Biden administration is charting a new course in an attempt to end North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program.
  • The FBI warned Rudolph W. Giuliani in late 2019 that he was the target of a Russian influence operation aimed at circulating falsehoods intended to damage Biden politically.
3:06 p.m.
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Liz Cheney hits back again at Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) pushed back against former president Donald Trump’s attempt to commandeer the term “Big Lie,” commonly used to refer to the false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, and accused him and those who perpetrate the falsehoods of “poisoning” democracy.

Trump released a statement Monday morning asserting that “the Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!” The statement came as an oversight board for Facebook is expected to rule this week on whether to allow Trump back on the social media platform after he was suspended in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump is known to take criticisms about him and flip them against his critics until the terms lose meaning, such as “fake news.” His hope is that his allies will begin referring to the 2020 election itself as the “Big Lie.”

But Cheney, who is in hot water among many of her Republican peers because of her unabashed criticism of Trump’s attempts to subvert the election results, immediately spoke out against him.

“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” Cheney tweeted. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

Cheney was among the few House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for inciting the riot at the Capitol. Some Republicans demanded she be stripped of her leadership post over it, but she beat back an initial challenge.

11:37 p.m.
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Analysis: The electorate keeps getting less White. The results aren’t getting much more Democratic.

Earlier this week, the Census Bureau released its semiannual assessment of turnout during the most recent federal election. It includes data on who was registered to vote and who voted, by age, race and state. It overlaps turnout data with questions about why someone did or didn’t vote and background information such as types of residence.

It is, in other words, the most thorough official assessment of who voted that the country generates. And the new data shows that a 30-year-long trend has continued: The electorate is getting less White.

Given that non-White voters also tend to be more heavily Democratic, we would expect, at least on the surface, for the national results to skew more Democratic as the density of non-White votes increases. But that hasn’t really happened. In 2008, for example, Democrats won more votes in House seats nationally by a 10.6-point margin. Six years later, with the same non-White density, Republicans won by 5.7 points.

10:09 p.m.
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TSA extends mask mandate for planes, public transportation in U.S. until September

The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday it has extended its orders requiring people to wear masks in transportation settings, including at airports, on commercial aircraft and on buses and trains, through Sept. 13.

TSA officials said the extension of its mask requirements is consistent with updated policies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The TSA requirements had been set to expire May 11.

“The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” Darby LaJoye, a senior TSA official, said in a statement. “About half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic.”

Children under 2 and those with certain disabilities are exempt from the mask requirement, but others could face penalties if they refuse to comply. Under TSA rules, penalties for noncompliance start at $250 and increase to $1,500 for repeat offenders.

9:42 p.m.
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McConnell, other GOP lawmakers demand removal of ’1619 Project’ from federal grant programs

In a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and about three dozen other GOP lawmakers demand the removal of certain curriculums from federal grant programs, criticizing them as “activist indoctrination that fixates solely on past flaws.”

The letter, which was sent Thursday, focused on the “1619 Project,” published in 2019 by the New York Times Magazine to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of a ship that carried enslaved Africans to the would-be United States.

“No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed,” the project stated, noting that it aimed “to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”

Republicans have since seized on the project — and the curriculum based on it — in the culture wars, and have attempted in several states to ban schools from teaching it. In Thursday’s letter to Cardona, McConnell (R-Ky.) and other GOP lawmakers argued that “taxpayer-supported programs should emphasize the shared civic virtues that bring us together, not push radical agendas that tear us apart.”

The letter also mocked other curriculums the lawmakers deemed “divisive,” including an “anti-racist math workshop” in Oregon and a program in New York that discusses “cis-gender privilege.”

“Americans never decided our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil,” the letter stated, echoing a partisan argument that exploded anew earlier this week over whether the United States is a racist country.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator of the 1619 project, hit back at Republicans’ criticism on Twitter: “No one is pushing laws mandating the teaching of the #1619Project, but Republicans across the U.S. are pushing laws to mandate ‘patriotic’ education & to prohibit the teaching of the #1619Project and [about the] nation’s racist past,” she tweeted.

9:22 p.m.
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Texas GOP candidate contacts law enforcement about robocall falsely accusing her of killing her husband

The Trump-backed Republican candidate in Saturday’s special House primary in Texas has contacted law enforcement about a mysterious, 11th-hour robocall that falsely accuses her of killing her husband.

“There’s not a sewer too deep that some politicians won’t plumb,” candidate Susan Wright said in a statement. “Imagine it: someone is attacking my late husband, the love of my life, a man who gave me such joy in life.”

Wright’s husband, Rep. Ron Wright, died in February after a battle with cancer and covid-19. Susan Wright, a local party activist who had not sought office before, entered the race to replace him, joined by 22 other candidates.

The robocall, which also includes Wright’s home address, was obtained independently by The Washington Post on Friday; Politico first reported that the candidate had contacted the FBI. No campaign has taken responsibility for the call, which falsely claims that there is an active FBI investigation of Ron Wright’s death. Several of Susan Wright’s rivals rushed to condemn it.

“This malicious, false attack on Susan is one of the most vile, cowardly acts I’ve ever witnessed in politics,” tweeted state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R), one of her opponents. “Whoever did it must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Internal polling by several campaigns had found Wright in a close race with Ellzey; Republican Brian Harrison, who served as chief of staff in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration; and Democratic activist Jana Lynne Sanchez. The top two finishers will head to a runoff if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote.

Former president Donald Trump stayed out of the race until the final days, as the early-voting period wrapped up. But he then endorsed Wright, a move that narrowed other Republicans’ path to the runoff.

9:02 p.m.
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Biden cancels border wall projects Trump paid for with diverted military funds

The Biden administration said Friday it has canceled border wall projects paid for with funds diverted from Defense Department accounts, a widely expected move that follows President Biden’s decision to suspend construction activity on President Donald Trump’s signature project.

Trump diverted about $10 billion from military construction accounts and counternarcotics programs to pay for hundreds of miles of steel barriers along the Mexico border, an effort that Biden has denounced as wasteful and ineffective.

“The Department of Defense is proceeding with canceling all border barrier construction projects paid for with funds originally intended for other military missions and functions such as schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account,” Jamal Brown, deputy Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. “Today’s action reflects this Administration’s continued commitment to defending our nation and supporting our service members and their families.”

8:17 p.m.
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Biden’s court pick Ketanji Brown Jackson has navigated a path few Black women have

When Ketanji Brown Jackson was a student at Harvard, one of her classmates draped a Confederate battle flag outside a dorm window in the middle of Harvard Yard, the center of the university’s campus.

Jackson, who was active in the Black Students Association, helped plan rallies and circulate petitions to protest the university’s response, later joining calls to hire more faculty in the African American studies department. She wore black instead of the school’s crimson and white to an annual Harvard-Yale football game as part of a demonstration to “embarrass the university in front of the alumni,” Jackson told the local newspaper in 1990.

Three decades later, Jackson, who is President Biden’s pick to replace Merrick Garland on the influential federal appeals court in Washington, recalled thinking it was unfair that in addition to being victimized and getting little support from the university, Black students missed classes and “could not just be regular students” while protesting the flag display.

7:41 p.m.
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A nostalgic Biden reminisces on his years riding the train at celebration of Amtrak’s 50th

At Amtrak’s 30th Street Station in Philadelphia — where Biden as a senator on occasion ended up after sleeping past his stop in Wilmington on his daily commute home from Washington — the president shared memories of how the railway allowed him to be both a U.S. lawmaker and a dad.

Biden, there to celebrate Amtrak’s 50th anniversary, said he “wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”

“Amtrak became my family,” he said, so much so that he began holding annual Christmas parties for Amtrak employees and their families.

When his daughter was just 6, Senate votes were going late into the evening on Biden’s birthday, and she was upset that he wouldn’t be home to blow out candles on the cake she’d baked him. He asked then-Republican Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) how long until the next vote; Dole asked him how long he needed.

So, as Biden tells it, he hopped on the 5 p.m. train out of D.C.’s Union Station; got off in Wilmington, where his wife, Jill, and daughter were waiting with the cake. He blew out the candles, gave them a kiss and was on the 6:28 p.m. train back to Washington.

I’ve come to see that Amtrak doesn’t just carry us from one place to another,” Biden said. “It opens up enormous possibilities, and especially now it makes it possible to build an economy, the future and one that we need.

7:30 p.m.
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As he reemerges onto the public stage, Pence sticks to the same strategy he used by Trump’s side: Total fealty

COLUMBIA, S.C. — When former vice president Mike Pence reemerged for his first post-White House appearance at a convention center chicken dinner here Thursday night, he did not mention how then-President Donald Trump's supporters marauded through the Capitol on Jan. 6, threatening to hang him. Or that the president attacked him on Twitter as lacking "courage" as the Secret Service rushed him to safety that day. Or the criticism Trump has leveled toward his former No. 2 in recent weeks.

In fact, as Pence met privately with about 400 pastors in the cavernous First Baptist Church downtown and traveled across South Carolina, hobnobbing with and fundraising for Christian groups and conservative candidates, he spoke with an almost reverence about the former president.

What was important, he told supporters, was Trump’s accomplishments in office and how close the two men remain.

7:19 p.m.
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Sen. Manchin says he doesn’t support D.C. statehood bill

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) told reporters in his state Friday morning that he does not support the bill to make D.C. the nation’s 51st state, according to audio provided by Manchin’s office and a report from WV News.

Manchin, a key swing vote in the closely divided Senate, said he believed a constitutional amendment, rather than legislation, would be required to admit D.C. as a state. His stance deals a major blow to statehood advocates who were hoping for his support after the bill passed the House last week.

Manchin cited findings from the Justice Department under presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, and comments from former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, in reaching his decision.

“They all came to the same conclusion: If Congress wants to make D.C. a state, it should propose a constitutional amendment. It should propose a constitutional amendment, and let the people of America vote,” Manchin said in a radio interview with Hoppy Kercheval of West Virginia’s MetroNews, the full audio of which was provided to The Washington Post by Manchin’s staff.

6:35 p.m.
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Biden administration to restrict travel from India in response to record coronavirus caseloads

The Biden administration will restrict travel from India because of spiking coronavirus caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the country, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

Psaki said the policy will take effect Tuesday and is based on advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India,” Psaki said in a statement.

The policy is not expected to apply to American citizens or lawful permanent residents. As with other international travelers, however, they will still have to test negative for the coronavirus before travel and quarantine upon arrival if not fully vaccinated, according to an administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak before Psaki made the formal announcement.

India on Friday reported another record number of new cases over the preceding 24 hours, as the army opened its hospitals and patients struggled to access beds, oxygen and lifesaving treatment.

6:08 p.m.
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White House is split over how to vaccinate the world

A high-stakes fight over drug companies’ response to the coronavirus pandemic has split the Biden administration, with activists and progressives urging the White House to back an international petition to waive the companies’ patents — and some senior officials privately signaling they’re open to the idea.

The debate has reignited decades-old tensions in global health, pitting such influential figures as Pope Francis, who backs the patent-waiver proposal, against philanthropist Bill Gates, who is opposed. It has also challenged U.S. officials who have prioritized this nation’s coronavirus response but know the virus’s continued spread and mutation overseas will eventually pose risks to Americans.

The proposal was discussed last week by Anthony S. Fauci, a top coronavirus adviser to President Biden, and Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, who spoke about ways to help the developing world as it reels from a worsening crisis.

5:49 p.m.
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Harris touts benefits of public transportation as she pushes Biden’s infrastructure plan

Harris touted the benefits of public transportation for job growth and reducing greenhouse gas emissions as she participated in a roundtable in Cincinnati designed to promote provisions of Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure package, known as the American Jobs Plan.

Harris was joined by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who moderated a discussion that included a business leader, a union leader, an academic and the president of the local Urban League.

In her remarks, Harris sought to frame investments in public transportation as crucial to job growth, arguing that a strong transit network makes it possible for people to get to work who might not otherwise be able to do so.

“You know, when I think about it, I think good transit equals vibrant communities,” she said. “Right. So if we think about it in terms of an investment in public transit, it is an investment in job creation.”

Harris also argued that public transportation benefits the environment by getting cars off the road.

“That means a lot of folks can get on a bus, and those folks then are not driving, and we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” she said. “We are reducing emissions that are harmful to our climate. … And the American Jobs Plan will help grow that exponentially, which is also the creation of electric vehicles and electric transit, public transit.”

5:49 p.m.
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Buttigieg, Emhoff tell union members Biden infrastructure plan would prioritize trade jobs

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told union workers Friday that the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan would prioritize creating jobs in trades over those requiring higher levels of education.

“These are not mysterious jobs,” he said at Teamsters union Hall in Raleigh, N.C. “We’re talking about needing carpenters and electrical workers.”

Buttigieg visited North Carolina to tout the America Jobs Plan to champion green infrastructure and express the administration support for workers’ right to unionize. Biden’s proposal would create more than one million jobs funded by increasing corporate taxes. The proposal would require $2.3 trillion in spending over an eight-year period to rebuild the country’s bridges and roads and invest in public education.

Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Harris, also participated in the roundtable discussion and mentioned the importance of supporting working-class Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Transit workers are front line workers,” he said. “They need to be treated as such.”

“A lot of people weren’t able to work on Zoom,” Emhoff added. “It’s been a tough year out there taking care of people like you all have.”