Apr 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate Intel to hold confirmation hearing for Ratcliffe nomination next week

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate Intelligence Committee has noticed a May 5 confirmation hearing for President Trump's nominee for director of national intelligence, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas).

The big picture: Trump had previously sought to nominate Ratcliffe in July 2019, but the Texas congressman withdrew his name in August as questions arose about his qualifications.

  • Trump nominated Ratcliffe again in February to replacing acting DNI Richard Grenell, another staunch loyalist.
  • Ratcliffe rose to prominence in part by defending the president during the Mueller investigation and Ukraine impeachment inquiry.
  • Despite safety risks posed by the coronavirus, the Senate is returning on Monday in part to fulfill Trump's requests of approving his executive branch nominations.

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Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimated 4.8% contraction — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

2 hours ago - Economy & Business