Jan 30, 2017

Kochs signal SCOTUS move

Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP.

The Koch donor network, helmed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, is poised to join the fray on President Trump's behalf. At their retreat in Indian Wells, Calif., top Koch officials said they're waiting for the nominee's identity to be revealed, but they liked the initial list of names Trump released.

Why this matters: The Kochs have the biggest political infrastructure and the most cash of any outside group on the right, and they want to be helpful to Trump where they align with his policies, including on regulatory reform, tax cuts, and now, SCOTUS. Charles Koch, 81, has made it abundantly clear to donors and officials that he's not going anywhere.

What's next: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to get Trump's nominee through the traditional way: Marshaling 60 votes in the Senate. He'd rather not break precedent and use the so-called "nuclear option" for the highest court (ramming the nominee through with 51 votes.) To do that, Republicans need to pressure eight Democrats into supporting the nominee.

Outside groups matter in this battle: The Judicial Crisis Network "will lead a $10 million effort encouraging 10 Senate Dems up for re-elect in 2018 to vote to confirm nominee or face losing their seats in 2018," says conservative operative Greg Mueller.

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,898,613 — Total deaths: 399,832 — Total recoveries — 3,087,714Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,920,061 — Total deaths: 109,802 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
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George Floyd updates

Protesters gather north of Lafayette Square near the White House during a demonstration against racism and police brutality, in Washington, D.C. on Saturday evening. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have been rallying in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events on Saturday.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct. A memorial service was held for Floyd in Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all flags to fly at half-staff to honor him until sunset.

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In photos: People around the world rally against racism

Despite a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters rally against racism in front of the American Embassy in Paris on June 6. Photo: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people have continued to rally in cities across the world against racism and show their support this week for U.S. demonstrators protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the discussion of racism and discrimination onto the global stage at a time when most of the world is consumed by the novel coronavirus.