10 things you need to know today: April 29, 2021
Biden describes ambitious agenda in 1st address to Congress, investigators search Giuliani's home and office, and more
Biden pitches ambitious agenda in 1st address to Congress
President Biden touted his administration's accomplishments in his first 100 days in office on Wednesday night, telling lawmakers that America is "on the move again" after braving "pandemic and pain," and "insurrection and autocracy." Biden used his first address to a joint session of Congress to unveil his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which calls for increasing spending to provide family leave, child care, health care, preschool, and college education for millions of people, and paying for it largely by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. "We have to prove democracy works," Biden said. He pointed to his $1.9 trillion stimulus package and his proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan as signs of progress since he took office in January, just weeks after an insurrectionist mob attacked the Capitol.
Investigators search Giuliani's home and office
Federal investigators searched Rudy Giuliani's home and office in Manhattan on Wednesday with warrants executed under an escalating investigation into his dealings in Ukraine. The former New York City mayor and personal lawyer to former President Trump is being investigated for possibly illegal lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian officials, and his efforts to dig up dirt on Trump's political rivals. Former U.S. attorney Harry Litman tweeted that "this means that a magistrate judge has found probable cause to believe that [Giuliani's actions in Ukraine] were criminal." "Here we go folks!" tweeted another former Trump lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to multiple charges in 2018 after raids on his home and office. Giuliani's lawyer called the search, in which investigators seized Giuliani's electronic devices, "legal thuggery."
N.C. judge declines to release video of fatal police shooting
A North Carolina judge on Wednesday declined to release to the public body-camera footage showing Pasquotank County sheriff's deputies fatally shooting Andrew Brown Jr., a 42-year-old Black man. Brown's relatives will be allowed to watch some of the body- and dash-cam videos, Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster said. The deputies' faces and name tags will be blurred so they can't be identified. Brown was shot in his car outside his home in Elizabeth City a week ago while deputies were serving search and arrest warrants related to drug charges. The incident, which prompted protests and calls for the videos' release, occurred less than 24 hours after a former Minneapolis police officer was convicted of the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.
Sen. Tim Scott says Biden broke promise to unite Americans
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) delivered the Republican rebuttal to President Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, accusing Biden of breaking his vow to unite the country during his first 100 days in office. "Our president seems like a good man. His speech was full of good words," Scott said. "But President Biden promised you a specific kind of leadership. He promised to unite a nation. To lower the temperature. To govern for all Americans, no matter how we voted." Scott said Biden was "pulling us further apart" by pushing through his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package without GOP support, then proposing another $4 trillion in spending on his infrastructure package and American Family Plan, which Scott called a liberal "wish-list."
Chicago releases video of fatal police shooting after mayor calls for calm
Chicago authorities on Wednesday released body-camera and surveillance video showing a foot chase that ended when a police officer fatally shot 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez early on March 31. The video released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability didn't show the moment Alvarez was shot. It shows officers chasing him down an alley, then catching up to him as he turned a corner and ran across a small lawn. Alvarez appears to be carrying a cellphone in one hand and an object shaped like a pistol in the other, although he doesn't point it toward the officers in the video. After Alvarez is shot, he falls onto the front stoop of a house and asks the officers why they are shooting him. "Because you had a gun!" an officer says. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for calm before the video was released.
3 men indicted on federal hate-crime charges for Ahmaud Arbery killing
A federal grand jury has indicted three Georgia men on federal hate crimes in connection with the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot and killed while jogging through a Brunswick, Georgia, neighborhood last year, the Justice Apartment announced Wednesday. Travis McMichael, his father Gregory, and William "Roddie" Bryan, all of whom are white, all face one charge of interference with civil rights and one count of attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels also were charged with using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. The indictment marked the "most significant civil rights prosecution undertaken to date by the Biden administration's Justice Department," according to The Associated Press. All three men also face state murder charges.
Senate confirms Samantha Power as USAID administrator
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Samantha Power as the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development in a 68-26 vote, with several Republicans joining their Democratic colleagues in backing President Biden's nominee. Power served as former President Barack Obama's ambassador to the United Nations during the majority of his second term. Biden also is expected to name Power to the White House National Security Council, which she also served on during Obama's first term before she took on the U.N. role. While Power ultimately received more than enough votes for confirmation, she did face more Republican opposition this time than in 2013, when the Senate confirmed her 87-10.
Outrage rises over death of Latino man pinned by California police
Police in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Alameda faced intense criticism on Wednesday following the release of body-camera video showing an officer with his knee on the back of a 25-year-old Latino man as he gasps for several minutes before dying. The man, identified as Mario Gonzalez, is heard saying "I didn't do nothing, OK?" One of the officers suggests rolling Gonzalez on his side, but the other says he doesn't "want to lose what I got." Then the officers say they have no weight on Gonzalez's back, but he loses consciousness. "There is going to be a very intensive inquiry on this," said Ed Obayashi, a Northern California sheriff's deputy and veteran police trainer. "It is rare that a non-threatening, non-belligerent person ends up dying like this."
Pandemic-fueled sales lift Apple quarterly revenue to record high
Apple on Wednesday reported that its first-quarter revenue surged to a record high thanks to strong sales of premium iPhones and other products. Demand for top-of-the-line new 5G iPhones helped more than double the company's profit, which reached $23.6 billion on $89.6 billion in revenue. The company said its earnings were $1.40 per share, exceeding analysts' expectations of 99 cents per share. Investors were looking for indications that the growth, fueled by pandemic-induced purchases from customers spending more time in isolation, would continue. The company's stock nearly doubled last year but was up by just 1.3 percent in 2021 as of Tuesday.
Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins dies at 90
Astronaut Michael Collins, who served as command module pilot on the 1969 Apollo 11 moon mission, has died following a battle with cancer, his family confirmed Wednesday. He was 90. "He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side," a statement from Collins' family said. "Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, in the same way. We will miss him terribly." Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk remembered Collins, who was sometimes referred to as the "forgotten astronaut" of the mission during which Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, as an "accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential."