10 things you need to know today: May 22, 2021
White House offers infrastructure compromise proposal, Capitol riot commission bill faces GOP opposition in the Senate, and more
White House offers infrastructure compromise proposal
The Biden administration has cut its proposed infrastructure plan from $2.25 trillion to $1.7 trillion in a gesture of compromise between the White House and congressional Republicans, multiple outlets reported Friday. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, "This is the art of seeking common ground." However, the $1.7 trillion offer is still far more than Republicans' proposed $568 billion. Lead GOP negotiator Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said in a statement Friday afternoon that the counteroffer "is well above the range of what can pass Congress with bipartisan support." Cuts to the $2.25 trillion plan were made possible by the administration's proposal to shift some spending in areas like "research and development" and "supply chains" to separate legislation. The White House counteroffer also lowered funding for broadband internet, and "roads, bridges, and major projects."
Capitol riot commission bill faces GOP opposition in the Senate
Republicans in the Senate are "ready to mount a filibuster" of legislation creating an independent panel to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, as GOP opposition to it is "hardening by the day," Politico reports. Citing interviews with Republicans, Politico writes that there is "almost no path to even opening up debate" on the bill to create the bipartisan commission, let alone a path to passing it. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said that "I don't think there will be 10 votes on our side for it" and that he'd "be surprised" if there's "even a handful." Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said that the Senate will vote on creating the commission, and Politico reports that he's "daring Senate Republicans to block" the bill.
Israel-Hamas ceasefire still holding
The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was holding as of Saturday, despite confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem, Reuters reports. Egyptian mediators are continuing to speak to both sides about securing a longer-term calm after several days of fighting, officials said. Meanwhile, humanitarian aid has begun arriving in Gaza, which was struck by several Israeli airstrikes that killed more than 240 people over the last week. The World Health Organization called for immediate access for health supplies and personnel in Gaza, warning health facilities may be overrun as they treat thousands of injuries. Thousands of people who fled their Gaza homes during the violent outbreak have returned "to scenes of devastation" following the ceasefire, and Palestinian officials say rebuilding efforts will cost tens of millions of dollars. In Israel, families have emerged from bomb shelters, and schools are set to reopen Sunday now that emergency restrictions have been lifted.
2 killed, 8 injured in Minneapolis shooting
Two people were killed and eight others injured in a shooting that broke out in downtown Minneapolis early Saturday morning, the Minneapolis Police Department announced. An investigation found the shooting broke out after two people standing in a crowded area got into a verbal confrontation, pulled out guns, and began shooting at each other. Police described the scene as "exceptionally chaotic." No information on the suspects has been made available, and it's unclear if any arrests were made, but the crime scene and surrounding area are under control, police said. One of the wounded victims is in critical condition at a hospital, while the other seven suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
China becomes 2nd country to drive rover on Mars
China's remote-controlled Zhurong rover drove down the ramp of its landing capsule and onto the Martian surface, Beijing's space administration said Saturday, making China the second country after the United States to deploy a land vehicle on the Red Planet. Zhurong successfully touched down last week and underwent diagnostics tests for several days before joining U.S. rovers Curiosity and Perseverance in simultaneous, but separate explorations of Mars. Zhurong, which sent its first round of images back to Earth earlier this week, is expected to be deployed for 90 days, during which it will study Mars' surface and atmosphere.
Minnesota attorney general to prosecute Daunte Wright case
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison's office is set to lead the prosecution of Kim Potter, the former police officer charged with fatally shooting Daunte Wright. Ellison said Friday he would be taking on the case at the request of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. He added, "Daunte Wright's death was a tragedy." Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter after fatally shooting Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop in April. Police said Potter apparently intended to use her Taser but fired her gun. Ellison's office previously led the prosecution of Derek Chauvin, the former officer convicted in the killing of George Floyd. "This case, like all cases of officer-involved deaths by deadly force, will be difficult," Ellison said Friday.
Louisiana State Police release all footage related to Ronald Greene's arrest
Louisiana State Police have released all body camera footage related to the violent 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene, a Black man who died in custody, Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis said Friday. The videos have been uploaded to the department's YouTube page. The Associated Press earlier this week obtained and published some recordings of the incident, which showed officers tasing, punching, and placing Greene in a chokehold as he pleaded with them following a high-speed car chase that broke out after an officer tried to pull Greene over for an unspecified traffic violation. An autopsy report obtained by CNN was uncertain about the cause of death, but said lacerations of Greene's head were "most consistent with multiple impacts from a blunt object." On Friday, Davis offered his "sincere condolences" to Greene's family and said the department has and will continue to make "significant change."
Gaetz's ex-girlfriend to reportedly cooperate in sex trafficking probe
Federal authorities investigating whether Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) violated sex trafficking laws have secured the cooperation of his ex-girlfriend, a former Capitol Hill staffer, CNN reported on Friday. This comes after Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector and Gaetz associate, pleaded guilty this week to charges of sex trafficking a minor and agreed to cooperate in the probe. Gaetz has denied ever having sex with a minor or paying for sex. The lawmaker's ex-girlfriend will be able to "help investigators understand the relevance of hundreds of transactions they have obtained records of, including those involving alleged payments for sex," CNN writes, though it reportedly wasn't clear whether she has reached a formal cooperation agreement.
Guards admit to falsifying records about Epstein checks, likely to avoid jail time
Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, the two Bureau of Prison workers who were guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself in the Metropolitan Correction Center in New York, admitted they falsified records about that evening, but will likely avoid jail time after striking a deal with federal prosecutors, The Associated Press reported Friday. Noel and Thomas were charged with lying about making required checks on the disgraced financier and alleged sex trafficker on prison records. They have been accused of sleeping and browsing the internet, instead. Under the deal they reached with prosecutors, Noel and Thomas will be subjected to supervised release, required to complete 100 hours of community service, and expected to fully cooperate with an ongoing probe conducted by the Justice Department's inspector general. A judge will have to approve the deal.
That '70s Show star Danny Masterson to stand trial on rape charges
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo on Friday ordered That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson to stand trial on three counts of rape, which he was charged with last year. The decision came after three women who have accused the actor of rape delivered emotional testimony during a preliminary hearing over the course of several days. The incidents allegedly took place in 2001 and 2003, and the judge determined prosecutors had presented enough evidence for the case to proceed to a trial. Masterson has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty, with his lawyer saying the sexual encounters with the women were consensual. He faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.