President Biden on Friday touted a report showing the economy picked up 559,000 jobs in May and that unemployment hit its lowest level since the pandemic began. In a speech, Biden credited his administration’s policies and declared that “America is on the move again.” He also put in a pitch for his infrastructure plan, saying, “We’re not going to let up now.”

The White House also said that Biden turned down an infrastructure counteroffer from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the GOP point person on infrastructure spending, who proposed a $50 billion increase in spending. The two will speak again on Monday. Negotiations with Republicans are continuing even as Democrats mull trying to move forward through a budget reconciliation process that could allow them to pass a bill without GOP votes.

Here’s what to know:

  • Facebook said that it plans to suspend former president Donald Trump for two years following his comments in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, and will only reinstate him” if the risk to public safety has receded.”
  • Former White House counsel Donald McGahn detailed for the House Judiciary Committee how Trump attempted to stymie a federal probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • Trump threatened to work against the reelection of the leaders of the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania state Senate if they don’t move forward with a recount of last year’s presidential elections.

Don McGahn tells House panel about Trump’s bid to undermine Mueller probe

10:19 p.m.
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Former White House counsel Donald McGahn on Friday detailed for the House Judiciary Committee how former president Donald Trump attempted to stymie a federal probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election — bombshell revelations that might once have fueled additional impeachment charges, were they not already public and had it not taken more than two years for Democrats to secure his testimony.

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), refused to discuss McGahn’s testimony during the closed-door interview, saying only that the terms of their discussion strictly limited its focus to the findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who led the Russia investigation. Nadler departed the interview after about six hours, though it had not yet concluded.

In a statement, Nadler said a full transcript of McGahn’s testimony would be released at a later date, citing an agreement with the Department of Justice that prevented them from commenting on specific details yet.

“But I can say that Mr. McGahn testified at length to an extremely dangerous period in our nation’s history — in which President Trump, increasingly unhinged and fearful of his own liability, attempted to obstruct the Mueller investigation at every turn,” Nadler said. “Mr. McGahn was clearly distressed by President Trump’s refusal to follow his legal advice, again and again, and he shed new light on several troubling events today.”

The committee’s top Republican, Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), decried the session as “re-litigating the Mueller report” and a waste of time. Added panel member Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.): “We’ve learned nothing new.”

Biden says Sen. Capito’s infrastructure counteroffer ‘did not meet his objectives’

9:37 p.m.
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President Biden released more details from his conversations Friday with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), revealing that Capito presented a Republican counteroffer to Biden’s infrastructure plan that consisted of about a $50 billion increase in spending across a number of infrastructure programs.

Ultimately, the president told Capito that the revised counteroffer “did not meet his objectives,” according to a statement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

“The president expressed his gratitude for her effort and goodwill, but also indicated that the current offer did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs,” Psaki said. “He indicated to Sen. Capito that he would continue to engage a number of senators in both parties in the hopes of achieving a more substantial package.”

The two agreed to speak again Monday, continuing the weeks-long negotiation process on infrastructure that both parties have described as “healthy” and “productive” but that so far has not yielded any compromises.

Biden and DeFazio, who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, “agreed on the benefits of continued engagement with Democratic and Republican senators as the House work on infrastructure advances this coming week,” Psaki said.

The committee will begin marking up a bill on Wednesday. Biden administration officials have said they want a “clear direction” on the infrastructure plan by Monday, when Congress returns from a week-long recess.

LGBT activists slam DeSantis veto of funds for Pulse survivors before 5-year anniversary: ‘It’s shameful'

9:17 p.m.
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Brandon Wolf says that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) made him a promise when he visited Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, where Wolf survived a shooting that killed 49 and injured dozens of others.

“He looked me in the eyes and told me that he would always support those of us who had been impacted by the shooting,” Wolf told The Washington Post of their 2019 meeting.

So Wolf said he felt betrayed when DeSantis used a line-item veto this week to nix $150,000 that would have funded a program offering mental health services for Pulse survivors and their families at an Orlando LGBT center.

“I had hope that [meeting] was the beginning of a new kind of relationship with the governor’s mansion,” Wolf told The Post. “But it turns out two years later that it was a lie.”

D.C. statehood could cost more than $1 billion. City officials aren’t fazed.

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Halfway through an April markup on the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, Rep. Frederick B. Keller (R-Pa.) appeared on the Zoom screen with a practical question:

How would D.C. pay for statehood?

“Democrats say the city is now financially self-sufficient. But the numbers do not add up,” Keller said, referring to the hundreds of millions of dollars the federal government spends each year on the city’s court system and education programs.

In congressional hearings, D.C. officials have provided scant detail on how they would absorb those costs, instead remaining more focused on the moral argument that 700,000 people should not be denied representation.

But privately, the city has come up with a price tag — and the beginnings of a plan.

Biden, Capito to speak again Monday about infrastructure bill

7:56 p.m.
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President Biden and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) spoke by phone Friday about the infrastructure package but apparently did not reach any agreements, according to a statement on the call from Capito’s office.

The two will speak again Monday, the readout said, signaling that negotiations between Democrats and Republicans will continue, despite increasing pressure on Democrats to consider moving forward on their infrastructure proposal without GOP support.

“This afternoon, Senator Capito participated in a phone conversation with President Biden where they continued negotiating a bipartisan infrastructure package,” Capito spokeswoman Kelley Moore said in a statement. “During the call, the two discussed the Republican infrastructure framework and the Biden administration’s proposal. Senator Capito and President Biden agreed to connect again on Monday.”

Biden administration officials have said they want a “clear direction” on the infrastructure plan by Monday, when Congress returns from a week-long recess.

When asked Sunday whether Democrats would push their infrastructure plan if they do not reach an agreement with Republicans by June 7, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that the conversations, while “healthy,” could not go on “forever” and that they were “getting pretty close to a fish-or-cut-bait moment.”

Asked about UFOs, Psaki says White House takes any air incursions, ‘identified or unidentified,’ seriously

7:32 p.m.
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From former president Barack Obama to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), here's what lawmakers have said about UFOs in the past. (The Washington Post)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the administration was taking concerns about unexplained aerial phenomena coming within the United States’ airspace seriously and that government officials are actively working on a report with updated information on sightings of UFOs.

“We take reports of incursions into our airspace by any aircraft, identified or unidentified, very seriously and investigate each one. Safety and security of our personnel, of our operations, are of paramount concern,” she said during a news briefing. “There’s a requirement to put out this report, and certainly our appropriate teams are working on finalizing it.”

Government officials said Thursday that a report due to Congress as early as this month will not provide a definitive explanation for dozens of sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena. The report on UAPs — which are more commonly referred to as UFOs — has found no proof of extraterrestrial activity but does not rule of the existence of such activity.

“This is a DOD report,” Psaki told reporters Friday. “And so I would certainly refer to them on the status of the report. Their work with [the Office of the Director of National Intelligence] is ongoing. The team’s actively working on it. But it’s not at a conclusion phase, as I understand.”

Former president Donald Trump had signed legislation ordering that the director of national intelligence work with the defense secretary on the report in his coronavirus relief bill. The $2.3 trillion package included a provision detailing everything the government had discovered about UAPs.

Psaki says she can’t envision a scenario where Biden would fire Fauci

6:37 p.m.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday called Anthony S. Fauci a “renowned … career civil servant” and said she could not envision any scenario in which Biden would fire the nation’s top infectious-disease official in the wake of the disclosure of hundreds of his emails from a key juncture of the pandemic.

During a White House news briefing, Psaki was asked about criticism, primarily from Republicans, that the emails suggest that Fauci sometimes would say different things publicly from what he said privately as he sought to help guide the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci is a renowned public servant, civil servant, I should say, career civil servant,” Psaki said. “He’s overseeing management of multiple global health crises. And the attacks and attacks launched on him are certainly something we wouldn’t stand by.”

Psaki later was asked whether should could imagine any circumstance in which Biden would fire Fauci.

“No,” she said.

Earlier Friday, Biden himself expressed confidence in Fauci. Following remarks on the May jobs report in Rehoboth Beach, Del., a reporter asked a question about that issue.

“Yes, I’m very confident in Dr. Fauci,” Biden replied.

Social media platforms have ‘responsibility’ to crack down on disinformation, White House says

6:26 p.m.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that social media companies have a “responsibility” to combat disinformation on their platforms, hours after Facebook announced that it plans to suspend Trump for two years over his comments inciting violence in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

At a White House news briefing, Psaki declined to answer directly when asked whether she believes Facebook’s action was a “reasonable consequence” of the former president’s words. She argued that, more broadly, social media companies must take steps to address false information that is spreading online.

“As always, it’s a decision for the company to make, and any platform to make,” Psaki said. “And clearly, they’ve come out and made their decision. Our view continues to be, though, that every platform … has a responsibility to crack down on disinformation, to crack down on false information, whether it’s about the election or even about the vaccine, as we’re trying to keep the American public safe and get more people — return to normal out in society.”

Facebook has said it will reinstate Trump only “if the risk to public safety has receded,” according to a blog post on the company’s website. Psaki suggested Friday the White House is not optimistic that the former president will change his behavior.

“As we look at it, we learned a lot from President Trump — er, the former president — over the last couple of years, about his behavior and how he uses these platforms,” she said. “It feels pretty unlikely that the zebra is going to change his stripes over the next two years. We’ll see.”

Biden administration moves to bring back endangered species protections undone under Trump

6:06 p.m.
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The Biden administration announced plans Friday to reverse policies implemented under President Donald Trump that weakened the Endangered Species Act, a half-century-old law credited with the recovery of the bald eagle, humpback whale, grizzly bear and dozens of other species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service are both moving to undo much of the Trump administration’s work altering the ways habitats of plants and animals on the verge of extinction are kept from total collapse.

The decision to bolster the federal government’s power to protect vanishing plants and animals comes as the world finds itself in the midst of what United Nations scientists say is a worldwide decline in biodiversity that threaten to erode food systems and other key parts of the global economy.

Facebook suspends Trump for 2 years in response to Oversight Board ruling

5:39 p.m.
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Facebook said Friday that it plans to suspend Trump for two years following his comments inciting violence in the wake of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.

The social media giant will only reinstate him “if the risk to public safety has receded,” according to a blog post on the company’s website.

Facebook’s new policy refers specifically to the behavior of public figures during periods of heightened violence or unrest, according to the blog post. Facebook says it will now initiate time-bound suspensions for violators, starting with a one-month suspension, and look to experts to help reevaluate the situation at the end of each period.

In a statement after the announcement, Trump called Facebook’s ruling “an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election.”

“They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our Country can’t take this abuse anymore!” he said.

Trump threatens to work against reelection of Pa. lawmakers if they don’t approve a recount of last year’s election results

4:45 p.m.
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Former president Donald Trump on Friday threatened to work against the reelection of the leaders of the Republican-controlled state Senate in Pennsylvania if they don’t move forward with a recount similar to one taking place in Arizona of last year’s presidential elections.

In a statement, Trump praised as “great patriots” three GOP state lawmakers — Sens. Doug Mastriano and Cris Dush, and Rep. Rob Kauffman — who traveled this week to Maricopa County to observe the ongoing work of a Florida-based private contractor called Cyber Ninjas that was hired by Republicans to conduct the audit.

The company has been criticized for running an opaque process and failing to follow state rules for elections and recounts. Its audit has been embraced by Trump and his allies as the key to overturning his election loss, and has spawned a wave of unfounded theories about how the Maricopa County vote could have been rigged.

In his statement, Trump said the visiting lawmakers had seen “the best practices for conducting a full Forensic Audit of the 2020 General Election.”

“Now the Pennsylvania Senate needs to act,” he said, mentioning several members with leadership positions by name.

“The people of Pennsylvania and America deserve to know the truth,” Trump said. “If the Pennsylvania Senate leadership doesn’t act, there is no way they will ever get re-elected!”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, both Democrats, have heavily criticized the trip by the three GOP lawmakers.

And some key Republicans are not on board with the idea.

Rep. Seth Grove, a Republican who chairs the House State Government Committee, said this week that his chamber would not be moving forward with another audit.

“The PA House of Representatives will not be authorizing any further audits on any previous election,” he tweeted. “We are focused on fixing our broken election law to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

On Friday, Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman (D) also weighed in.

“Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by over 80,000 votes," he said in a statement. "And the only voter fraud we found in Pennsylvania in 2020 was the handful of dead relatives who all voted for Donald Trump.”

Leaders of the Problem Solvers Caucus stress bipartisanship in push for infrastructure deal

4:26 p.m.
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Leaders of the Problem Solvers Caucus stressed the importance of bipartisanship in reaching a deal on infrastructure and expressed optimism that the White House and Republicans can find common ground.

The group of nearly 60 lawmakers has focused on being on the same page about supporting funding for physical infrastructure projects, including bridges, roads, rails, tunnels and more, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) told The Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany on Washington Post Live.

“It shows if you stay at it and stay in the room and are willing to, over pizza late at night, and keep hammering away at this, you can get there,” said Gottheimer, the caucus co-chair. He was joined by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), the other co-chair, who echoed his points on bipartisanship.

Republicans have been slow to back Biden’s infrastructure plan in part because of the president’s desire to finance it by raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent and reversing GOP-supported corporate tax cuts passed during the Trump era.

The caucus was formed in January 2017 after the deeply polarizing 2016 presidential election to provide an alternative to the extreme partisanship that appeared to be growing in popularity among certain wings of both parties.

“In the Problem Solvers, our whole mission is when we get to 75 percent of us agreeing, we stand as a block and agree to vote together,” Gottheimer said. “That’s 58 members of Congress — more than 10 percent of the House of Representatives.”

The group hopes to play a key role in moving infrastructure legislation forward that has been delayed because of Republicans disapproval of several more left-leaning initiatives Biden wants to include in the bill, as well as disagreement on the price tag.

Biden planned to talk to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the GOP point person on the issue, Friday afternoon as part of ongoing negotiations.

“The idea is to really build that spirit of cooperation,” Gottheimer said. “Brian is a proud Republican. I’m a proud Democrat. And we still disagree on plenty. But we try to do it in a way we’re supposed to do it: civilly.”

Biden vows his support for the ‘critical role’ the arts play in America

4:03 p.m.
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President Biden welcomed artists Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks, Midori and Dick Van Dyke as 2021 Kennedy Center Honorees. (The White House)

Biden celebrated the role of the arts and artists in American society on Friday, using the Kennedy Center Honors as a moment to reflect on their powerful contributions, which he said were especially evident this year.

“In this year of profound loss and pain, repair and renewal, the artist's vision is as important as ever in the search for greater meaning in our lives. We discovered and rediscovered the power of art in every form,” Biden said in a video saluting the 43rd class of Kennedy Center honorees.

Biden hosted the Kennedy Center honorees at the White House on May 20, spending an hour with Joan Baez, country musician Garth Brooks, dancer-choreographer-actor Debbie Allen, violinist Midori and actor Dick Van Dyke as part of the week-long celebration.

Analysis: Politicians will no longer get a free pass from Facebook

3:37 p.m.
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In a move with global ramifications for online political speech, Facebook plans to change a policy under which it generally spares toxic speech by major political figures from content-moderation rules it applies to everyone else.

At issue is a rule, first unfurled in October 2016, under which the social media giant tolerates inflammatory and untrue posts from influential people on grounds they’re “newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest — even if they might otherwise violate our standards.”

Facebook won’t do away completely with the controversial policy, according to the Verge’s Alex Heath, who was first to report the news, but it will be more transparent when it’s invoked.