May 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court temporarily blocks release of Mueller grand jury material

Robert Mueller. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Supreme Court issued a stay on Wednesday denying House Democrats immediate access to secret grand jury materials from the Mueller report in order to give the Trump administration time to appeal a lower court decision.

Why it matters: Democrats say the material could help them determine whether President Trump obstructed the Mueller investigation, possibly requiring new articles of impeachment.

The big picture: The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court earlier this month to temporarily block an appellate ruling that would force the Justice Department to release the grand jury testimony to Congress.

  • Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued to the Supreme Court that the release of the documents would cause irreparable harm to the executive branch.
  • Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee said in a filing this week that "the committee's impeachment investigation related to obstruction of justice pertaining to the Russia investigation is ongoing" and that the grand jury testimony may be relevant.

What to watch: The Supreme Court gave the Trump administration until June 1 to file its appeal.

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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