Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) has a message for his party: If you're really for the middle class, prove it by raising the minimum wage every once in a while.
"If you're going to talk the talk about being for the middle class and the working person, if we have the minimum wage, it should be reasonably adjusted from time to time," Pawlenty, CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, said Wednesday in an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
Congressional Republicans have stonewalled Democratic-led efforts to raise the federal minimum wage since late last year. President Obama made raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour a cornerstone of his State of the Union address, and then by executive order hiked the rate for federal contractors to that level. Jon Terbush
Rudy Giuliani, the former federal prosecutor and mayor of New York City, has joined President Trump's legal team. He will specifically join the corps of lawyers representing Trump in the ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Giuliani is a high-profile new addition to a team that has "struggled to recruit new members to its ranks," The Washington Post wrote. Giuliani confirmed his new position in a Thursday interview with the Post, saying, "I'm doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country, and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller."
Trump is currently represented in Mueller's investigation by attorneys Jay Sekulow and Ty Cobb. Giuliani told the Post that he spoke to both men earlier this week about signing on. John Dowd, Trump's personal attorney in the Russia probe, stepped down last month, reportedly after concluding that Trump was ignoring his counsel.
Trump considered appointing Giuliani to be attorney general before ultimately selecting Jeff Sessions. In a statement released by his attorneys, Trump celebrated the hire, saying: "Rudy is great. He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country."
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Trump he isn't a target in the Russia probe, two sources "familiar with the matter" told Bloomberg.
Rosenstein's assurance reportedly came last Thursday, after Trump spent weeks tweeting his displeasure with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling. Rosenstein appointed Mueller to lead the investigation in March 2017.
Rosenstein's disclosure reportedly led the president to slow down his attacks on Mueller's probe. Trump told one source that he doesn't even want to fire either Rosenstein or Mueller now, Bloomberg reports, because a dismissal could stretch out the investigation.
But Rosenstein may have told Trump something that's not quite true, Bloomberg reports. Just because Mueller isn't going after Trump now doesn't mean he won't eventually, a U.S. official "with knowledge of the unfolding investigation" noted. Kathryn Krawczyk
CIA Director Mike Pompeo is vying to become the next secretary of state, and on Thursday his efforts got a significant boost.
Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) announced her support for Pompeo in a statement Thursday, becoming the first Democratic senator to indicate she would vote to confirm Pompeo as America's chief diplomat. Heitkamp said Pompeo is "committed to empowering the diplomats at the State Department so they can do their jobs in advancing American interests."
Full Heitkamp statement on her decision to vote YES on the Pompeo nomination. This just about pushes Pompeo across the finish line (depending on Flake), with a handful of other Dems still making up their minds: pic.twitter.com/vwWQV1t9EJ
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) April 19, 2018
That vote could put Pompeo across the finish line, per CBS News — even if one Republican isn't his favor. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul hasn't backtracked on his intention to vote down or even filibuster the nomination, but Heitkamp's vote would make up for it. Still, Arizona's Republican senators may complicate things, as Jeff Flake is still up in the air and John McCain is away from the Capitol undergoing cancer treatment. Kathryn Krawczyk
America's favorite space telescope celebrated its 28th year among the stars by delivering a remarkable new find.
The Hubble Space Telescope captured two pictures of the faraway Lagoon Nebula. One taken in visible light reveals a rainbow of space gas and dust, while the other taken in infrared reveals countless cosmos and the bright star at the center of the nebula.
— HUBBLE (@HUBBLE_space) April 19, 2018
The Lagoon Nebula is known as a "stellar nursery," as its outermost gas and dust clouds are constantly contracting to form new stars. You can hop onboard the Hubble for a colorful journey through the Lagoon Nebula in this video. Kathryn Krawczyk
White evangelicals have more faith in President Trump than ever before.
A new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute shows 75 percent of white evangelical protestants have a favorable view of Trump. When it comes to 2020, 69 percent of Republican or Republican-leaning evangelicals said they'd support Trump over another candidate.
That's a huge spike from the 2016 election, where evangelical support for Trump stayed below 50 percent until September of that year.
Trump's nationwide popularity is reaching a high, too. PRRI's survey shows 42 percent of Americans see Trump favorably, which is the highest mark his popularity has hit since reaching 43 percent in early 2017.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) made history on Thursday by casting a vote with her newborn baby in tow. The Senate voted Wednesday night to allow babies up to 1 year old on the floor during votes after Duckworth became the first senator to give birth while in office earlier this month.
I may have to vote today, so Maile’s outfit is prepped. I made sure she has a jacket so she doesn’t violate the Senate floor dress code (which requires blazers). I’m not sure what the policy is on duckling onesies, but I think we’re ready pic.twitter.com/SsNHEuSVnY
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) April 19, 2018
Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, who is just 11 days old, accompanied Duckworth as she cast a vote against the nomination of Jim Bridenstine for NASA administrator:
— Amanda Wills (@AmandaWills) April 19, 2018
— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) April 19, 2018
With newborn daughter Maile Pearl in tow, @SenDuckworth arrives at the US Capitol for her first vote since giving birth (and her first vote since the Senate rules were changed to allow her to bring her baby on to the floor during votes): pic.twitter.com/0iWnHZAXy3
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) April 19, 2018
History adorably made. Jeva Lange
The music legend died in April 2016 after taking imitation Vicodin he didn't know was laced with fentanyl, per The New York Times. Law enforcement have since searched for how he may have acquired the counterfeit drug and came up empty.
"There is no reliable evidence showing how Prince obtained the counterfeit Vicodin laced with fentanyl, or who else had a role in delivering the counterfeit Vicodin to Prince," said Carver County attorney Mark Metz in a press conference.
That doesn't mean someone didn't help Prince get the counterfeit Vicodin, Metz clarified. It just means there isn't enough evidence to press criminal charges in the case.
A Minnesota doctor who treated Prince twice before did face civil violation for an illegal prescription, per the Times, and is paying $30,000 to settle the charge after telling police he prescribed Prince an opiate under a friend's name. Kathryn Krawczyk