1/ Federal Reserve officials expressed concern that elevated inflation posed a “significant risk” of becoming “entrenched” in the economy. According to minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s June meeting, officials said inflation had become “more persistent than they had previously anticipated,” emphasizing the need to raise interest rates faster and to levels high enough to slow economic growth and control cost-of-living increases running at their highest levels since 1981 – even if it meant causing a recession. In June, officials voted to raise their benchmark rate 0.75 percentage point, the largest increase since 1994. Members said the July meeting would likely result in another .50 or .75 percentage point increase, and warned “that an even more restrictive stance could be appropriate if elevated inflation pressures were to persist.” (Bloomberg / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC)
2/ The number of open U.S. jobs fell to 11.3 million in May – down from 11.6 million in April. While it was the second straight monthly decline in open positions, there were 5.95 million people unemployed in May – meaning there were nearly two available jobs for every unemployed person in the U.S. The unemployment rate in May was 3.6%, slightly above where it was before the pandemic. New applications for unemployment benefits, however, rose to 235,000 last week from 231,000 the week before. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)
3/ Senate Democrats reached an agreement with Joe Manchin to raise taxes on some high earners to keep Medicare from going bankrupt. The plan – effectively a slimmed-down version of the Build Back Better Act that Manchin scuttled last year over fears of rising inflation – would impose taxes on certain income from pass-through businesses. The tax is expected to raise about $203 billion over a decade, which would be used to sustain Medicare’s key trust fund until 2031. The fund is currently projected to start running out of money in 2028. Democrats expect to submit the text of the legislation to the Senate’s parliamentarian in the next few days. If it complies with the chamber’s budget rules, Democrats could avoid a Republican filibuster and pass the provision with just 50 votes. (NBC News / Bloomberg / Washington Post / ABC News / Associated Press)
4/ The IRS audited former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Trump fired Comey in 2017 while he oversaw the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Less than a year later, McCabe was similarly terminated after investigating Trump over the Comey firing. Out of about 153 million individual tax returns filed in 2017, about 5,000 people were selected for this type of audit – or about 1 in 30,600. The IRS, meanwhile, asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration to look into how two perceived enemies of Trump came to be faced with rare, exhaustive audits that the agency says are supposed to be random. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)
📌 [Day 110]: Trump fired James Comey on the recommendation of Jeff Sessions. In a letter dated Tuesday to Comey, Trump concurred “with the judgment of the Department of Justice that [Comey is not] able to effectively lead the bureau.” Earlier today, the FBI notified Congress that Comey misstated key findings involving the Clinton email investigation during testimony, saying that only a “small number” of emails had been forwarded to disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner, not the “hundreds and thousands” he’d claimed in his testimony. The move sweeps away the man who is responsible for the investigation into whether members of Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia in its interference in last year’s election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein laid out the reasons for Comey’s firing, arguing that the handling of his investigation into Clinton’s private server, his decision not to recommend charges be filed, and the news conference he held to explain his reasoning were the cause of his dismissal. Democrats reacted with shock and alarm, accusing Trump of ousting the FBI director to escape scrutiny over his campaign’s Russia ties. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged deputy Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor for the federal probe into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russian officials — warning that failing to do so will lead the public to “rightly suspect” that Comey’s surprise firing “was part of a cover-up.”
📌 [Day 670]: Trump wanted to order the Justice Department in April to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey. The White House counsel at the time, Don McGahn, pushed back, saying Trump had no authority to order a prosecution, and that while he could request an investigation, that could prompt accusations of abuse of power.
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