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Here's what we're talking about:
- Trumpworld shuns Rudy Giuliani amid DOJ investigation.
- Biden is betting big with plans to remake America.
- Capitol Hill staffers talk DC's double standard on weed use.
1. LEAVE IT TO RUDY: Wednesday was supposed to be all about President Joe Biden, as he delivered a primetime address to a joint session of Congress. (More on that later.) But Biden had to share the spotlight after the Department of Justice made explosive headlines by executing a search warrant on Rudy Giuliani.
Biden's speech was forced to compete with the DOJ's Giuliani inquiry. Here's what Democratic insiders told us:
- "Justice moves when it moves," said Christine Pelosi, a lawyer, Dem strategist, and daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "Is it part of their rollout? No. Does it step on their story? Yes." She added: "Unfortunately, we will be splitting our attention."
Trumpworld has shunned Giuliani. The former New York City mayor hasn't been in Donald Trump's orbit since January 6. Former Trump White House officials told us:
- "People should raise their eyebrows and recognize this could be much more serious than has been advertised so far."
- "He was just a reckless guy who would join whoever would pay him."
Plus, the Giuliani investigation is bringing heat on lobbyists with foreign clients. In the months leading up to the search, the DOJ had sent a "blizzard" of requests for information from some of these firms. We have the details here.
2. Biden bets big on America: Biden delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress last night - calling for an ambitious economic-recovery plan focused on jobs, infrastructure, and childcare. Key takeaways from Biden's big speech:
- Biden detailed an ambitious $4 trillion spending program focused on overhauling the American economy and recasting the role of government.
- The president urged Congress to move on healthcare reform and raising the minimum wage.
- Biden again called for comprehensive immigration reform, seeking a path to legal status for millions of immigrants in the United States.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina delivered the GOP rebuttal to Biden's speech: "Our best future won't come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams."
3. There's a double standard when it comes to weed in Washington: In Biden's White House, using marijuana is a fireable offense, and some staffers were recently fired for weed use. But a few miles away on Capitol Hill, staffers have no problem getting high and keeping their job. More than a dozen current and former Capitol Hill staffers have told us that few, if any, offices require drug testing or ask staffers about their previous use.
- "More people smoke on the Hill than you think and you'd be surprised by who does," a former Democratic aide said.
4. What Biden's plan actually means for average taxpayers: Biden's proposed tax plan could raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans - but only about a third of the top 1% would see the effects. So what does this mean? Insider looked at tax data from the IRS to find out how many people the plan would affect. See our full breakdown here, in a chart.
5. Tax enforcement on the wealthy could raise $700 billion in 10 years: The Biden administration has proposed sending $80 billion to the IRS over the next decade - a big boost that the Treasury says could bring in an extra $700 billion in tax revenue over the next decade.
- Plus, here's how IRS audits have collapsed over the past decade as wealthy Americans increasingly hide billions.
6. Democratic senators urge US pharma companies to share vaccine technology: In the next few weeks, more than half of Americans will have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. If current trends continue, much of the developing world won't have a shot until 2022. Senate Democrats - including Elizabeth Warren - are asking vaccine makers what their plans are to share intellectual property.
7. Cuomo's office reportedly hid nursing-home data for months: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office hid New York's nursing-home death toll for at least five months and repeatedly prevented health officials from releasing the actual data, according to a report from The New York Times. These new details come as Cuomo faces an investigation into whether his administration gave false data on nursing-home deaths. More takeaways from the report here.
8. A Trump loyalist was found guilty of making death threats against AOC, Pelosi, and Schumer: Brendan Hunt, 37, faces up to 10 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of making a death threat against elected officials.
- In January, the Queens, New York, native posted an 88-second video titled "KILL YOUR SENATORS: Slaughter them all" to the platform BitChute and posted other threats against lawmakers online. Prosecutors argued that Hunt's speech was not constitutionally protected because he made detailed and specific violent threats.
9. Today in Twitter feuds: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and the "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah duked it out on social media. In a video, Noah lamented that New York lost a congressional district after the 2020 census: "This is unbelievable. You're telling me that if just 89 more New Yorkers had filled out their census, the state wouldn't have lost a House seat?"
Noah then quickly pivoted to mocking a picture of Cruz wearing a baseball hat, prompting a response from the senator. More tweets followed. Here's what went down.
10. A man who was "trapped" on a reality-TV show has been freed: Vladislav Ivanov was working on Produce Camp 2021 as a translator when producers asked him whether he'd like to be part of the cast. Ivanov agreed, but he regretted his decision - and fans wouldn't vote him out.
On the show, performers compete for a spot on an international boy band. Per his contract, Ivanov was unable to leave, so he performed poorly and begged viewers to send him home: "Please don't make me go to the finals, I'm tired." See his performance here.
One last thing.
Today's trivia question: Which president enacted the most laws during his first 100 days in office?
- Yesterday's answer: At least 11 politicians made cameos on "Parks and Recreation" - including Joe Biden, who appeared on two episodes. Here's a full list.
Compiled by Lisa Ryan and Jordan Erb, filling in for Brent Griffiths.