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Vernon Jordan. Photo: Andy Kropa/Getty Images

Vernon Jordan, the Civil Rights Movement pioneer who served as a close adviser to former President Clinton, died on Monday evening, CNN reports. He was 85.

Why it matters: The former National Urban League president was influential in American politics — from his service in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s civil rights conference to his position in leadership at the NAACP.

  • He was best known for his close friendship with then-President Clinton, to whom he served as an informal adviser.
  • He successfully sued the University of Georgia for its admission policies, saying they discriminated on the basis of race.

What they're saying: "His powerbroker persona is most manifest in his decades-long friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton," wrote Financial Times in a 2018 profile of Jordan. "To jaded voters on the left and right, he is the ultimate Washington insider, a man whose seamless waltz between business and politics has fueled resentment at an incestuous system."

"Yet his successes in the boardroom and the smoke-filled backroom have, by now, obscured a distinguished role in the civil rights movement — and an upbringing in the segregated Deep South. Born into a world that had little use for his talents, Vernon Jordan would make himself indispensable."
— Sujeet Indap on Vernon Jordan for FT (subscription)

Go deeper

Lawmakers reach deal on bipartisan commission to investigate Jan. 6

Speaker Pelosi outside the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House negotiators have reached an agreement on the parameters of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the "facts and circumstances" surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the House Homeland Security Committee announced Friday.

Why it matters: The formation of a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission had been delayed for months, after some Republicans insisted that the scope of the investigation be expanded to include violence by far-left protesters last summer.

Elise Stefanik elected No. 3 House Republican after Liz Cheney ouster

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on May 12. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

House Republicans voted 134-46 in a secret ballot Friday to appoint Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) as the chair of the GOP conference, replacing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

Why it matters: Stefanik's appointment underscores how important loyalty to former President Trump remains to the Republican Party.

Retail sales flat in April after huge surge in March

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

April retail sales in the U.S. were unchanged from March, which saw a surge revised up to 10.7%, according to the latest Commerce Department report published Friday.

Why it matters: The U.S. has been entering a period of growing optimism in the wake of the vaccine rollout, falling new COVID-19 cases and deaths, and a slowly recovering labor market. Retail sales were up 51% year-over-year compared to April 2020.