1/ Biden issued a presidential proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month, saying he “will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law.” The White House noted that “after four years of relentless attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic actions to accelerate the march toward full LGBTQ+ equality.” On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to protect LGBTQ people under federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex. Biden also reversed the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people openly enlisting and serving in the military, and issued an executive order expanding Title IX to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination. (NBC News / New York Times)
2/ The Biden administration suspended oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, undoing a move made by the Trump administration late last year. The Interior Department said a review of the Trump administration’s leasing program in the wildlife refuge found “multiple legal deficiencies,” including “insufficient analysis” required by environmental laws and a failure to assess alternatives. Last week, however, Justice Department attorneys defended a Trump-era oil and gas project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska – an area that lies to the west of ANWR. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)
3/ Texas Democrats abandoned the state House floor late Sunday night to block a vote on one of the most restrictive voting bills in the nation. Republicans faced a midnight deadline to approve the measure, which would have made it harder to vote by mail, limited early voting hours, empowered partisan poll watchers, and made it easier to overturn election results. Democrats staged the walkout with an hour left for the Legislature to approve the bill, leaving the House without a quorum needed to take a vote. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he would order a special legislative session to revive the measure. Biden, meanwhile, called the restrictive voting bill “un-American” and “an assault on democracy.” (Texas Tribune / Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times)
4/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to defund the state Legislature after House Democrats staged a walkout to block one of his top legislative priorities. “No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities,” Abbott tweeted, pledging to veto the section of the state budget that funds the legislative branch. “Stay tuned.” Abbott has until June 20 to carry out the veto. (Texas Tribune / New York Times / NBC News / NPR / Washington Post)
5/ More than 100 scholars of democracy warned that “our entire democracy is now at risk” as a result of Republican-led states proposing or implementing “radical changes” to election laws. The public “Statement of Concern” calls on Senate Democrats to reform or kill the filibuster in order to pass the For the People Act, which already passed the House. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, has repeatedly pledged to protect the filibuster and has refused to sign on to the voting rights bill, calling the legislation “too darn broad” and partisan. The scholars conclude: “History will judge what we do at this moment.” (New York Times / Forbes / Washington Post)
6/ The Justice Department asked a federal judge to dismiss lawsuits against Trump, former attorney general William Barr, and other officials for using U.S. military and police to violently clear peaceful protestors from Lafayette Square last June so Trump could hold a Bible in front of St. John’s Church for photographs to dispel the notion that he was “weak” for hiding in a bunker. Justice Department lawyers argued that the lawsuits from the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, other civil liberties groups, and individual protesters should be dismissed because the Biden administration does not share Trump’s hostility toward George Floyd and the racial justice movement. An attorney for DC Police, meanwhile, said in court that the department used tear gas on protesters around Lafayette Square Park last June. It was the first time MPD admitted that tear gas was used on peaceful protestors. (Washington Post / WUSA 9)
7/ The Justice Department added four new defendants to the federal criminal conspiracy case against the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group that participated in the pro-Trump riot on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol. (CNN)
8/ Trump has reportedly been telling confidants that he expects to be reinstated as president by August as a result of ongoing election audits in states like Arizona and Georgia. Meanwhile, at a QAnon conference, Trump’s first national security adviser called for a Myanmar-like military coup in America. Michael Flynn later claimed that he didn’t endorse a coup despite video of him supporting the idea, and saying “it should happen here.” Trump pardoned Flynn in November after he lost the election. Sidney Powell, the lawyer who is being sued for $1.3 billion by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation over her claims that the company rigged the election against Trump, told conference attendees Trump “can simply be reinstated,” despite there being no constitutional or legal remedy to overturn election results that have been certified by Congress. (New York Times – Maggie Haberman / Business Insider / Yahoo News / CNN / HuffPost)
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