1/ A Trump-endorsed conspiracy theorist is the leading Republican candidate to be Arizona’s next secretary of state. Mark Finchem is an outspoken supporter of Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen, signed onto a resolution urging Congress to accept Trump’s fake electors in Arizona, attended the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, and previously identified himself as a member of the Oath Keepers, and embraced the QAnon conspiracy theories. If Finchem wins on Tuesday, he would be a general election win away from running the 2024 presidential vote in the swing state. “Ain’t gonna be no concession speech coming from this guy,” Finchem said. “I’m going to demand a 100 percent hand count if there’s the slightest hint that there’s an impropriety.” (Politico / FiveThirtyEight / New York Times / The Guardian)
2/ A Texas militia member was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 – the longest punishment handed down to any participant in the attack on the Capitol so far. Guy Reffitt was convicted in March on five felony charges, including obstruction of Congress as it met to certify the 2020 election result, interfering with police during civil disorder, carrying a firearm to a riot, and threatening his teenage son, who turned him in to the FBI. The Justice Department asked for a 15-year sentence and requested that Reffitt’s crimes be treated as acts of domestic terrorism. The judge, however, declined prosecutors’ request to treat Reffitt as a terrorist under sentencing guidelines. (Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / Associated Press)
3/ Matt Gaetz repeatedly assured Roger Stone that “the boss” – Trump – would offer him a pardon if he was convicted of lying to Congress about his communications related to WikiLeaks’ release of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign. “The boss still has a very favorable view of you,” Gaetz told Stone, before stating that Trump had “said it directly” that Stone would not “do a day” in prison. Gaetz added: “I don’t think the big guy can let you go down for this.” The revelation comes from a hot microphone moment recorded by Danish filmmakers in 2019. Stone was convicted on seven felony counts for lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing the House investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election and sentenced to 40 months in prison. Trump, however, commuted his prison sentence and eventually pardoned him. (Washington Post / Daily Beast)
4/ Susan Collins – who supports same-sex marriage – said the Democrats’ unrelated agreement with Joe Manchin on tax and climate change may jeopardize Republican support for the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act. “I just think the timing could not have been worse and it came totally out of the blue,” Collins said, adding that Manchin and Chuck Schumer’s agreement “destroys the many bipartisan efforts that are under way.” While Republicans were expected to filibuster the bill in the Senate, five GOP Senators — including Collins — had announced their support. (HuffPost)
5/ Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to visit Taiwan this week – the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the self-governing island in 25 years – despite China’s warnings that a visit would provoke an unspecified response. China warned against the “egregious political impact” of Pelosi’s visit, which is still officially unconfirmed, to the island that China claims as a part of its territory, saying its military “won’t sit by idly” if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is being threatened. Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Biden last week against “playing with fire” on Taiwan. (Politico / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
6/ Biden tested positive for the coronavirus again Saturday after experiencing a Paxlovid “rebound.” About 5% of people who take the antiviral medication Paxlovid experience “rebound” infections days after testing negative. Biden has experienced “no reemergence of symptoms, and continues to feel quite well” and will, as a result, not resume treatment, the White House said. (New York Times / NBC News / CNN)
7/ The Biden administration plans to offer reformulated Covid-19 booster shots in September. The updated versions are expected to perform better against Omicron subvariant BA.5. (New York Times)
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