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Post Politics Now Forecast of severe weather forces Trump to reschedule rally with GOP gubernatorial hopeful in Nebraska

Donald Trump at a June rally in Wellington, Ohio. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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Today, a forecast of severe weather in Nebraska forced former president Donald Trump to reschedule his rally with Republican gubernatorial hopeful Charles Herbster, a longtime political ally who has been accused of sexually assaulting several women. In a statement Friday afternoon, Trump said he will appear Sunday night. His appearance with Herbster underscores the risky play Trump is making by trying to be a kingmaker in GOP primaries. Herbster, who has denied the allegations, is only one of several Trump-endorsed candidates in close primaries on ballots next month.

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In Washington, President Biden spoke by phone with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Migration, an issue Republicans are trying to elevate in the November midterms, was high on the agenda. Biden also met with inspectors general of federal agencies.

Welcome to Post Politics Now, a live experience from The Washington Post that puts the day’s political headlines into context. Each weekday, we’ll guide you through the news with assists from some of the best political reporters in the business providing insights and analysis.

Your daily dashboard

  • 9 a.m. Eastern: The House select subcommittee on the coronavirus held a hearing on “integrity at our nation’s public health agencies.” Watch coverage here.
  • 10:45 a.m. Eastern: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held her weekly news conference. Watch coverage here.
  • 1 p.m. Eastern: Biden had a phone call with López Obrador. The call was closed to reporters.
  • 2 p.m. Eastern: White House press secretary Jen Psaki briefed the press.
  • 3:15 p.m. Eastern: Biden met with inspectors general from federal agencies.

Got a question about politics? Submit it here. At 3 p.m. weekdays, return to this space and we’ll address what’s on the mind of readers.

5:40 p.m.
Headshot of Dino Grandoni
Reporter covering energy and environmental policy
Biden administration attempts to tame inflation with more corn-based fuel — Searching for ways to ease soaring prices, the Biden administration paved the way Friday for gasoline blended with higher levels of corn-based ethanol to be sold widely during the peak summer driving season.A special blend of gasoline, mixed with 15 percent ethanol, normally cannot be sold at gas stations across about two-thirds of the country starting in June. But an emergency waiver issued Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency will lift certain restrictions on the fuel, called E15, as the administration contends with a constrained global oil supply following the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine.Driven by higher energy costs, inflation levels not seen for decades have arrived just months before Biden’s party faces a tough midterm election.Biden had announced the ethanol waiver was coming this month. Seeking to pin blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that Biden is “committed to doing everything he can to address the pain Americans are feeling at the pump as a result of Putin’s Price Hike.But the savings when filling up will be small and available only at the handful of stations nationwide that offer E15.
2:45 p.m.
Headshot of Matt Viser
White House reporter
The White House’s week in review — Biden this week made news on student loan forgiveness (he’s thinking about it), efforts to end Title 42 (he’s still hoping to), pardons (announcing his first batch) and an upcoming foreign trip (to Japan and South Korea).But by far the biggest move from the White House came on Ukraine, with Biden announcing a sweeping request for Congress to approve $33 billion in additional security and humanitarian assistance for the war-torn country.That decision is likely to guide the next few weeks from the administration, with plans to make what press secretary Jen Psaki called “a full-court press” to try to persuade Congress to pass the measure. Biden is also requesting that Congress pass additional coronavirus aid.Biden’s week began with a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Monday, where he was pressed to take action on student debt forgiveness. Later in the week, Biden suggested that he may be open to doing so for $10,000 of student debt — with a decision coming, he said, within weeks — but made clear that he wouldn’t be willing to go as high as the $50,000 some want.His first pardons and commutations, announced Tuesday, were notable and included the first Black Secret Service agent on a presidential detail.His week has also included funerals, one for former secretary of state Madeleine Albright on Wednesday and another on Sunday for former vice president Walter Mondale.On Saturday, Biden is planning to speak at the White House correspondents’ dinner, becoming the first president to attend since 2016, given that Donald Trump skipped the gathering.“I will lower expectations and say it’s not funny at all,” Psaki said. “Just kidding.”
1:22 p.m.
Headshot of David Weigel
National reporter covering politics
Trump comes to Nebraska with Republicans badly divided — The former president will touch down in Nebraska on Friday night to rally with a Republican candidate for governor whom eight women have accused of sexual assault.Charles Herbster, a wealthy rancher and cattle producer who chaired Trump’s agriculture advisory committee during the 2016 campaign, has denied the allegations, comparing himself to Trump as the victim of a “smear campaign.”Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), who has called Herbster “unfit for office,” has endorsed another candidate and won’t appear at the rally at a racetrack 45 miles from Omaha. In interviews leading up to the rally, Herbster praised Trump as a “man of his word” who refused to abandon a friend.But even before the allegations were made, the primary had badly divided Nebraska Republicans, who control every statewide office. Theresa Thibodeau, Herbster’s first running mate, quit last summer and launched her own bid for governor, saying that the rancher’s “chaotic and disorganized” campaign revealed he wasn’t ready to lead the state.No other local Republican candidate is scheduled to appear at the rally, which will feature a few other Trump allies, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and GOP strategist David Bossie, who like Trump have falsely said that the 2020 election was rigged against him.
11:28 a.m.
Headshot of Dan Diamond
National reporter investigating health politics and policy
Republicans try to turn tables at House hearing — A House hearing on Friday allowed Democrats to again hammer the Trump administration for its efforts to muzzle the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the pandemic — but it also doubled as a preview of Republicans’ planned attacks should the party win back control of Congress this November, as is widely expected.The House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis released new evidence that Trump White House officials in May 2020 removed public health advice that urged churches to consider alternatives to in-person gatherings, before vaccines and treatments for the virus were available. The findings were “disturbing,” said Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the panel’s chair, and a parade of witnesses selected by Democrats testified that the Trump administration’s repeated efforts to undercut career experts’ guidance had weakened trust in the nation’s health agencies.But Republicans used the hearing to focus on missteps during the Biden administration, such as claims by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in early 2021 that vaccinated people did not appear to spread coronavirus. Walensky later revised her statement amid evidence that vaccinated people could infect others as the virus evolved and the vaccines’ protection weakened over time.“When the head of the CDC says something that is absolutely false … does that erode trust in public institutions?” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), pressing a representative from the Union of Concerned Scientists who said that her organization had documented more than 200 attacks on scientists by the Trump administration, but was unable to cite more than one example during the Biden administration.Jordan and other Republicans also said that Democrats had ignored a GOP-led investigation that found CDC officials last year shared draft documents and solicited guidance from teachers’ unions before issuing recommendations on whether to reopen schools.
10:11 a.m.
Headshot of Marianna Sotomayor
Congressional reporter covering the House of Representatives
Congress’s return to Washington after a two-week recess was brief but eventful — The House was in session for roughly 48 hours before heading into another week-long recess. But in that time, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) survived scrutiny from his Republican colleagues after audio leaked of him and other GOP leaders criticizing their far-right colleagues days after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.Republicans appeared more concerned about pressing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at two hearings this week than about discussing what McCarthy said over a year ago.House Democrats and all but 10 Republicans voted to send to the president Thursday an update of a 1942 military bill that will ease military lend-lease provisions between the United States and Ukraine. But Democrats were caught off guard when opposition from liberals on a separate surveillance bill led them to pull it from consideration this week.In the Senate, members spent the week confirming a slate of nominees for the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, senators on the Judiciary Committee quizzed several of Biden’s judicial picks, including J. Michelle Childs, who had been under consideration for the Supreme Court this year.Together, Senate and House Democrats unveiled their intention to tackle an outstanding issue affecting all Americans: high gasoline prices. Leaders previewed their goal of penalizing big oil and gas corporations for price gouging through legislation that would allow federal regulators to impose fines and other penalties.