Welcome to Day 139.
Today in one sentence: The U.S. reported an average of about 14,500 daily coronavirus cases over the past week; Joe Manchin vowed to block the federal election reform bill; Trump’s chief of staff repeatedly pushed the Justice Department to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories about election fraud; Rep. Mo Brooks was finally served a lawsuit alleging that he and other pro-Trump allies were partially accountable for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol; the Justice Department imposed a gag order on New York Times executives over an attempt to obtain four NYT reporters’ email logs from Google; and Earth’s atmospheric carbon dioxide hit levels not seen in more than 4 million years.
Joe Manchin vowed to block the federal election reform bill. “I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed. “Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.” The House approved the For the People Act in March with no Republican support. In the Senate, the bill would require at least 10 GOP votes or require elimination of the filibuster to be passed. Later, in a Fox News interview, Manchin called voting reform bill – which would require states to offer at least 15 days of early voting, universal access to mail-in voting, same-day registration for federal races, and make Election Day a national holiday – “the wrong piece of legislation to bring our country together and unite our country, and I’m not supporting that, because I think it would divide us more. I don’t want to be in a country that’s divided any further.” A national security adviser, meanwhile, called protecting the rights of Americans to vote is a national security issue, saying “we are not updating, refurbishing, revamping our own democratic processes and procedures to meet the needs of the modern moment.”
Trump’s chief of staff repeatedly pushed the Justice Department to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories about election fraud. In five emails sent during the last week of December and early January, Mark Meadows asked Jeffrey Rosen, then the acting attorney general, to examine debunked claims of election fraud and baseless conspiracies. Rosen declined to open the investigations.
Rep. Mo Brooks was finally served a lawsuit alleging that he and other pro-Trump allies were partially accountable for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. According to court filings, Rep. Eric Swalwell’s legal team had been trying since March to serve Brooks and had hired a private investigator to serve the suit.