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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Grassley questions Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on June 3 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Thursday that he will block the confirmation of two of President Trump's nominees until the White House provides "adequate explanations" for why the inspectors general for the intelligence community and State Department were ousted in the past two months.

Why it matters: It's a rare attempt by a Republican to hold Trump accountable for his recent purge of federal watchdogs. Grassley has long considered himself a defender of inspectors general.

  • In the past two months, Trump has moved to oust Intelligence Community IG Michael Atkinson, State Department IG Steve Linick, acting Pentagon IG Glenn Fine, and acting Health and Human Services IG Christi Grimm.
  • Linick was removed at the recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Trump told reporters that he has offered to fire any Obama-appointed inspector general.

Details: Grassley said he is refusing to consider the White House nomination of Christopher C. Miller as director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Miller was nominated on May 4.

  • Grassley will also block the nomination of Marshall Billingslea as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, which the White House announced for consideration on May 1.

Go deeper: Top Democrats to investigate ouster of State Department watchdog

Go deeper

Trump says he'll nominate Chad Wolf to be DHS secretary

Chad Wolf. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he will nominate acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to be the permanent head of the agency.

Why it matters: It's been more than 500 days since a Senate-confirmed secretary led the Department of Homeland Security — a record for any administration.

What happens now that emergency orders are lifting

Expand chart
Data: National Academy for State Health Policy and various governor declarations; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Soon, more than half the states will have ended their formal emergency declarations for the pandemic — which could have ripple effects across the economy.

Why it matters: Lifting those orders will allow businesses to serve more customers, but will also end certain safety nets, including expanded food and housing assistance, as well as eviction protections.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

500 Hong Kong police officers raid pro-democracy newspaper

Chief Operations Officer Chow Tat Kuen (front 2nd R) is escorted by police from the Apple Daily newspaper offices before being put into a waiting vehicle in Hong Kong on Thursday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong's Apple Daily said 500 police officers searched the pro-democracy newspaper's offices and arrested five senior executives on Thursday.

Why it matters: The arrests of the paper's chief editor, Ryan Law, along with its chief operating officer, two other editors and the CEO of Next Digital, which operates Apple Daily, were made under China's national security law — which gives the government broad power to limit people's political freedom.

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