President Biden on Tuesday thanked a bipartisan group of six governors for their efforts as he convened a virtual meeting from the White House on “best practices” in vaccinating citizens from the coronavirus. Biden also announced some new federal steps to encourage vaccinations, including free rides to vaccination sites from Lyft and Uber.

“It isn’t Democratic progress and Republican progress. It’s American progress. And now we’ve got to take the next step together,” Biden said, as he emphasized his goal of getting at least 70 percent of U.S. adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4.

Here’s what to know:

  • Lines of panicked drivers overwhelmed gas stations in the Southeast, as rising prices fed fears of shortages in the aftermath of a ransomware attack that forced the nation’s largest fuel pipeline offline. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that the region can expect a “crunch” that will take several days to alleviate.
  • House Republicans will hold a vote Wednesday on whether to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) from her position as the third-ranking Republican leader in the House.
  • The White House said it is directing the Labor Department to work with states on reimposing work-search requirements for Americans collecting unemployment benefits.
  • More than 1 million Americans have signed up for Affordable Care Act health plans during a special pandemic-era enrollment period that began Feb. 15, Biden said in a statement.
1:29 a.m.
Link copied

In defiant floor speech, Rep. Liz Cheney declares, ‘Our election was not stolen, and America has not failed’

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said during a speech on the House floor on May 11 that "remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar." (The Washington Post)

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) renewed her criticism of Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen, accusing the former president and his defenders of being “at war with the Constitution” on the eve of a vote by her colleagues to oust her from her role as the No. 3 House Republican.

In a defiant floor speech, Cheney said Trump has “resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him” and that he “risks inciting further violence.”

“The election is over,” Cheney said. “That is the rule of law. That is our constitutional process. Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution. … Our election was not stolen, and America has not failed.”

The House Republican conference is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning to vote on Cheney’s ouster from the leadership ranks. Few of her fellow Republicans have defended her in recent days. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and others have thrown their support behind Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) for the No. 3 spot.

On Tuesday night, Cheney’s GOP colleagues took to the House floor one after another to denounce “cancel culture.” Cheney, the last speaker of the evening, alluded to the irony as she opened her remarks.

“I know the topic tonight is cancel culture. I have some thoughts about that,” Cheney said before announcing that she was going to talk about “freedom” instead.

Cheney delivered her speech to a very quiet — and nearly empty — chamber. There were no Democrats in the room, and the sole GOP lawmaker present for her remarks was Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.), who was introducing the night’s speakers. Four aides also were present.

Pinned to Cheney’s jacket was a replica of George Washington’s battle flag that was given to her by her mother.

“Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Cheney said, echoing the argument she made in an op-ed published in The Washington Post last week. “I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said in a television interview Tuesday night that he expects Wednesday’s vote to oust Cheney from leadership “will be very quick.”

“It is untenable to have an ‘America Last,’ establishment politician like Liz Cheney as the spokesperson of our movement,” Gaetz, who is under investigation over possible sex trafficking, said during an appearance on Newsmax.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), meanwhile, defended Cheney in a tweet. “This is leadership. This is integrity. This is Liz Cheney. And I’m damn proud to support her,” said Kinzinger, who like Cheney has been a vocal Trump critic.

Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.

12:08 a.m.
Link copied

Biden administration, House Democrats reach agreement in Donald McGahn subpoena lawsuit

The Biden Justice Department and lawyers for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have reached an agreement about how to handle a congressional subpoena for testimony from former Trump White House counsel Donald McGahn.

The House Judiciary Committee and the Biden administration announced the deal Tuesday in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The parties told the court they have “an agreement in principle on an accommodation.” Former president Donald Trump is “not a party to the agreement,” the filing states.

No additional details were provided about the negotiated settlement.

It was not known whether the agreement means that McGahn will appear on the Hill to answer lawmakers’ questions. McGahn’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The parties plan to formally ask the D.C. Circuit to remove from its calendar a hearing in the case set for next week.

11:48 p.m.
Link copied

As Hamas and Israel exchange rocket fire, Biden’s national security adviser speaks with Israeli counterpart

National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Tuesday spoke with his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat, as clashes in Jerusalem escalated into an exchange of rockets and bombs between the militant group Hamas and the Israeli military.

According to National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne, Sullivan “condemned the ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.” He also expressed President Biden’s “unwavering support for Israel’s security and for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians.” And he spoke earlier Tuesday with the government of Egypt about the situation, Horne said.

By Tuesday evening, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, Israeli airstrikes had killed 30 Gazans, including 10 children, and injured about 200 others.

The Israeli airstrikes came after Hamas fired seven rockets at Jerusalem — the first time the city had been targeted since 2014 — and 200 more at southern Israel. Earlier in the day, violent clashes near al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City between Israeli police and Arab protesters left more than 300 Palestinians injured.

Sullivan “conveyed the United States’ encouragement of steps toward restoring a sustainable calm,” Horne said.

9:31 p.m.
Link copied

Former Trump acting defense chief defends ‘every decision’ he made on Jan. 6

Christopher C. Miller, who was the Trump administration’s acting Pentagon chief, will defend his decisions regarding the timing and manner of National Guard deployment to the Capitol on Jan. 6, telling a congressional committee on Wednesday that he stands by “every decision I made that day.”

“Those of you with military experience or who understand the nature of military deployments will recognize how rapid our response was,” Miller will say, according to prepared remarks. “I am keenly aware of the criticism regarding the Department of Defense’s response to the January 6 events at the Capitol. I believe that this criticism is unfounded and reflects inexperience with, or a lack of understanding of, the nature of military operations or, worse, that it is simply the result of politics.”

Miller will describe how the Defense Department approved Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s request for an unarmed military presence in D.C. on Jan. 6. He also will tell lawmakers that he was reluctant to lean on the military too heavily after the optics of using uniformed service members to clear racial justice protesters outside the White House in June 2020 so President Donald Trump could pose for a photo with a Bible.

“I agreed only to deploy our Soldiers in areas away from the Capitol, avoiding amplifying the irresponsible narrative that your Armed Forces were somehow going to be co-opted in an effort to overturn the election,” Miller is expected to say.

Miller will offer a timeline that he says shows a rapid response by the military. He learned of the breach at the Capitol about 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., met with other leaders at 2:30 to discuss a response, and at 3 p.m. approved the activation of the National Guard to the Capitol. The Guard arrived at the Capitol at 5:22 p.m.

“This isn’t a video game where you can move forces with a flick of the thumb or a movie that glosses over the logistical challenges and the time required to coordinate and synchronize with the multitude of other entities involved, or with complying with the important legal requirements involved in the use of such forces,” he is expected to say.

Miller will reiterate that he believes Trump encouraged the mob on Jan. 6 but maintain that he’s not able to “make an official assessment of his responsibility.”

9:12 p.m.
Link copied

Harris pledges administration’s commitment to Asian Americans in meeting with lawmakers

Vice President Harris told Asian American lawmakers Tuesday that the Biden administration is committed to addressing issues affecting Asian Americans, including the rise in hate crimes and community investment.

“I want to say to every Asian American, every native Hawaiian, every Pacific Islander, our administration sees you, cares about you, and [you] will never be alone,” she said.

Harris, the first person of Asian descent to be vice president, met with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The session came as a string of violent attacks against Asian Americans has dominated headlines.

The administration was criticized by Asian American lawmakers in the Senate for a lack of representation in the Cabinet, leading Biden to appoint Erika Moritsugu as deputy assistant to the president and Asian American and Pacific Islander senior liaison last month. Since then, the White House has been trying to improve its relationship with Asian American lawmakers, a group that played a key role in helping increase turnout among Asian American voters in the 2020 election.

“Let me be clear, a harm against one of us is a harm against all of us,” Harris said, while discussing the importance of encouraging all Americans to stand-up against anti-Asian hate.

Harris also used the meeting to champion the Biden administration’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, saying it would immediately help the Asian American community by bringing much-needed jobs and infrastructure projects to their neighborhoods.

8:36 p.m.
Link copied

Scalise, GOP lawmakers send letter to FBI requesting new investigation of 2017 congressional baseball team shooting

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and more than a dozen other House Republicans on Tuesday sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray requesting a new investigation into the 2017 shooting at a GOP congressional baseball practice.

Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, was critically injured in the shooting. He and the other GOP lawmakers on Tuesday questioned the FBI’s determination in November 2017 that the shooter was motivated by “suicide by cop.” The gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, died after the shootout.

In their letter, the House Republicans note that investigators found Hodgkinson had a potential “hit list” of members of Congress in his pocket and that he had asked before opening fire whether the lawmakers on the baseball field were Republicans or Democrats.

“Despite these facts, on November 16, 2017, FBI personnel verbally briefed members of the team that Hodgkinson’s motivation for opening fire was ‘suicide by cop.’ … We fear that the FBI’s inability or unwillingness to fully investigate this shooting as a matter of domestic extremism four years ago leaves a blind spot within the Bureau in fully assessing risks we face today,’” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter comes amid faltering support for an independent probe into the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Initial negotiations aimed at establishing the commission ran aground earlier this year when Republican leaders insisted that it scrutinize left-wing extremism — including the amorphous antifa movement that Trump and other conservatives have blamed for fomenting violence in D.C. and other cities — alongside the far-right and white-nationalist groups suspected of having planned or encouraged the mayhem.

Democrats resisted, accusing the GOP of trying to distract the public from the fact that extremist groups in the Republican base were responsible for the riot.

Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.

7:50 p.m.
Link copied

Republican governors, Biden discuss best practices to increase vaccine rates

A bipartisan group of governors updated Biden on Tuesday on what is going well in their states’ attempts to get as many people vaccinated as possible. The six governors shared some of their “best practices” in the hope that other states can adopt similar tactics.

“I think you’re seeing governors continue to push out and go to where people are,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said on the virtual talk. “We have some health departments literally out knocking on doors. We have mobile clinics going around, and we want to reach people exactly where they are.”

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the first coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children as young as 12 — something that is expected to significantly increase vaccine rates in states with large populations of young people.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) joked about the impact that expanding vaccine eligibility will have in his state, given its sizable percentage of young people, in part due to the significant number of large Mormon families.

We’re very excited for you now to allow younger people to get vaccinated because it has more of them than anywhere else,” he said. “Mr. President, we’re really good at having kids here. So we’re excited to have that opportunity.”'

Reports of high vaccine hesitancy among communities of color have been common, but New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said partnering with health providers in the Native and Hispanic communities has been key to decreasing anxiety among those populations.

I want to tell you, for a multicultural, incredible minority-majority state, 23 sovereign nations in New Mexico, they’re going to have 70 percent or more of their population with two shots by July Fourth and probably earlier,” she said. “And we have some sovereign nations that have a 95 percent, two shots in arms, fully vaccinated population. And it has been a very effective partnership between the sovereign nations and the Indian Health Service.

7:33 p.m.
Link copied

Congressional physician says lawmakers can now remove their masks while speaking on House floor

The attending physician of Congress said Tuesday that lawmakers can now take off their face masks while speaking on the House floor, in the latest step toward relaxing restrictions that have been put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

Brian P. Monahan, the Capitol physician, said in a memo that the guidelines allow “a person speaking at a microphone, following recognition by a Chair or Presiding Officer, to briefly remove their masks and replace it at the conclusion of their remarks following recognition by a Chair or Presiding Officer.”

Even though the use of masks has been recommended by public health experts, some Republican lawmakers have fiercely opposed the restrictions over the past year and have turned the issue into a partisan battle. Now, as more Americans are becoming vaccinated, the federal guidelines on when and where to wear a mask are changing, as well.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters earlier Tuesday that he was planning to take part in more discussions this week on easing rules for members and their staffers to allow more of them to work from their offices.

“It’s clear we see some lights at the end of the tunnel, which is very good news for all Americans,” Hoyer said. “Everybody’s talking about when we’re going to get back to normal. … I’ll be discussing with the speaker and with the Capitol physician, but we haven’t had those discussions yet. But I expect to have them this week.”

7:08 p.m.
Link copied

Granholm says Colonial told her ‘full restart’ of pipeline could come Wednesday, but it will take a few days ‘to ramp up operations’

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on May 11 said Colonial Pipeline could make a "full restart" decision Wednesday after it was shut down due to a cyberattack. (The Washington Post)

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday that she has been told by the chief executive of Colonial Pipeline that the company will be in a position to make a “full restart” of its line by the close of business Wednesday but that it could take days to resume full service.

“Even after that decision is made, it will take a few days to ramp up operations,” Granholm told reporters in the White House briefing room, speaking of a pipeline that runs from Houston to New Jersey and was shut down after a cyberattack last week.

“This pipeline has never been shut down before,” she said. “It travels great distances. There is fuel in the pipe, and then there is fuel, the off-take from the refineries that have to be added. So it will take a few days to be up and running.”

Granholm said that a “supply crunch” is expected in several parts of the Southeast but that “things will be back to normal soon.”

Affected areas include North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and “especially southern Virginia,” she said. “Those are the areas that we have the greatest concerns with.”

Granholm said the Environmental Protection Agency issued a fuel waiver in the affected states to allow use of “noncompliant fuel” to boost supply.

Later in the briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the shutdown had not changed the Biden administration’s opposition to new pipeline projects, saying they’d continue to evaluate projects individually, taking into account “the economic impact, as well as the environmental impact.”

7:04 p.m.
Link copied

Louisiana Democrat Troy Carter sworn in to Congress, succeeding Cedric Richmond

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) swore in Troy Carter (D-La.) to his seat in Congress on Tuesday after the former city council member won the closely watched special election to replace Cedric L. Richmond (D), now a senior Biden White House official.

Carter, also a former state legislator, will represent Louisiana’s 2nd District, a majority-Black district that includes large parts of New Orleans.

“I will wake up every day with you on my mind, on my heart, and I will work for you tirelessly,” he said after winning the seat last month. “The work begins tomorrow.”

Carter supports solidly liberal policy ideas, including increasing the minimum wage, overhauling policing and supporting abortion rights, but he built a reputation in New Orleans for working across party lines. He was endorsed by Richmond and every Black state legislator except his opponent, Karen Carter Peterson.

While Troy Carter supports some of the positions that are most popular with the Democratic base’s left wing, such as Medicare-for-all and legalizing recreational marijuana, he did not get the endorsement of high-profile liberals such as voting rights activist Stacey Abrams and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Carter’s swearing-in now puts the number of Democrats in the House at 219, compared with the GOP’s 212.

6:41 p.m.
Link copied

Duct tape covers Trump name at N.J. condominium, the latest building to remove Trump brand

A condominium building in Jersey City called “Trump Plaza” has removed or taped over signs bearing former president Donald Trump’s name — the latest in a series of buildings to remove the Trump brand.

When a reporter visited the building near Jersey City’s waterfront Tuesday, the only remaining sign with the old name was censored with a strip of duct tape over it, so that “Trump” was partly hidden.

Staffers inside said the building would now be known by its address, 88 Morgan Street.

The 55-story building was built in 2008 by a developer who met Trump at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, according to news reports from the time. It is run by a condominium board and not owned by Trump.

Neither the Trump Organization nor the condo board responded to requests for comment Tuesday. The Trump Organization still lists the building, under its old name, on its corporate website.

Since Election Day 2016, the Trump name has come down from at least 16 buildings around the world, according to a count by The Washington Post. That count includes hotels in Toronto, Manhattan, Rio de Janeiro and Panama, as well as condo and apartment buildings in New York, Trump’s longtime home, where he became unpopular after his turn toward hard-right politics.

That accounts for about a quarter of all the buildings that bore the Trump brand at the time of Trump’s election, by The Post’s count.

6:30 p.m.
Link copied

Kinzinger to attend grass-roots ‘Rally for Liz’ ahead of House GOP vote to remove her from leadership

A grass-roots organization of anti-Trump conservatives is holding a virtual rally in support of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on the eve of the House Republican vote to oust her from leadership.

The group, Principles First, says Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) will be in attendance at the “Rally for Liz” as well as several former GOP representatives such as Barbara Comstock of Virginia, David Jolly of Florida, Denver Riggleman of Virginia and Joe Walsh of Illinois.

“See you there! Come join us,” Kinzinger tweeted.

Kinzinger, an outspoken critic of House Republicans’ continued embrace of former president Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, has been out front the last several days defending Cheney, who is facing a vote to replace her over her lack of fealty to Trump.

“Facts don’t care about House Republicans’ feelings,” Principles First wrote in a description of the event. “The election was not stolen; Donald Trump did not win; and the terrorists who attacked our Capitol on January 6th were not peaceful. They deserve no space or apology in American life. Liz Cheney knows that — and any Republican who votes to remove her from House leadership tells the world that the truth doesn’t matter.”

The group also wrote an open letter to House Republicans opposing the removal of Cheney from her leadership position. The letter currently has just over 2,600 signatures.

The letter asked that House Republicans make the vote on Cheney public, declare their support for Cheney publicly and condemn the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

“If you fail to do any of the above, the American people can and should assume that you have no respect for facts, no respect for truth, and no respect for our constitutional republic,” the letter said.

6:17 p.m.
Link copied

Meeting with governors, Biden pledges ‘serious step toward return to normalcy’ if vaccination goal is met

President Biden on Tuesday thanked a bipartisan group of six governors for their efforts as he convened a virtual meeting from the White House on “best practices” in vaccinating citizens against the coronavirus.

“It isn’t Democratic progress and Republican progress. It’s American progress. And now we’ve got to take the next step together,” Biden said, emphasizing his goal of getting at least 70 percent of U.S. adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4.

If we succeed, we’re going to be able to take a serious step toward return to normalcy by Independence Day,” Biden said.

While seated at a table with the six governors on large screens to his left, Biden also announced some new federal steps, including free rides to vaccination sites from Lyft and Uber.

I think that is really stepping up,” Biden said of the ride-hail companies.

The participating governors were Republicans Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Spencer Cox of Utah and Mike DeWine of Ohio and Democrats Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Janet Mills of Maine and Tim Walz of Minnesota.

After each made a presentation, Biden reflected on the nationwide distribution of vaccines, saying it “may be the most significant major logistical undertaking that we’ve ever done short of war here.”

“I think we get a lot more done at the state level in terms of cooperation among Democrats and Republicans than we do federally," he added. "None of this could have worked without your leadership. I really mean it, I’m not trying to be solicitous. I’m being completely honest. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I think you’re responsible, I know you’re responsible for saving thousands of lives.”

6:13 p.m.
Link copied

New book portrays a Secret Service riven by scandal and growing pains

On Sept. 11, 2001, Secret Service agents raced Vice President Richard B. Cheney to a secure underground bunker below the White House — only to realize that they couldn’t immediately usher him inside to safety, because they didn’t have the tightly guarded S-keys required to open the shelter.

Almost a decade later, Secret Service agents allowed a disoriented homeless man to wander through an unguarded staircase and get within steps of first lady Michelle Obama’s suite at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

Years after that, President Donald Trump — who had a penchant for surrounding himself with people who looked like they were out of central casting — was consumed with getting overweight Secret Service agents removed from their posts, saying he wanted “these fat guys off my detail” and asking, “How are they going to protect me and my family if they can’t run down the street?”

These are among the revelations in “Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service,” a new book by Washington Post reporter Carol D. Leonnig that chronicles the successes, missteps and evolution of the agency tasked with protecting the American president.