10 Things in Politics: Biden demands reform after Chauvin verdict

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10 THINGS IN POLITICS YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

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Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics, your weekday look at the biggest stories in DC and beyond. Sign up here to receive this newsletter.

Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here's what we're talking about today:


1. "WE CAN'T STOP HERE": President Joe Biden urged Americans to unite in the wake of Derek Chauvin's conviction on all three charges in the killing of George Floyd. The president said the verdicts are just the beginning of what needs to be done to address policing and systemic racism in America.

  • "The guilty verdict does not bring back George," Biden said after the jury's decision was announced. "But through the family's pain, they are finding purpose so George's — George's legacy will not be just about his death, but about what we must do in his memory." 

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Floyd's family pointed to the legislation in his name: One of the lawmakers involved in shaping the police reform bill told CBS News that the verdicts add momentum to the legislation, stalled in the Senate after passing the House in March. 

  • "You better all get ready, because when we do it we're going to pull you all on Air Force One and get you here," Biden told the Floyd family of passing the legislation, in a call just after the verdicts were announced.

Powerful images depict reactions from around the country: Emotional lawmakers hugged in the halls of Congress, protesters cried outside the courthouse in Minneapolis, and celebrations unfolded in a number of cities

Reps. Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley could be seen crying after the verdict was announced:

cori bush ayanna pressley george floyd verdict

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus had gathered to watch the proceedings unfold. "Someone said it better than me: I'm not celebrating. I'm relieved," Rep. Maxine Waters of California said.

Celebrities, activists, and politicians weighed in on the historic decision: Former President Obama said "we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial."

It's worth remembering how we got here: Police initially said Floyd's death was due to a "medical incident." It took the videos of Floyd's murder to show just how inaccurate their summary was.

"We are able to breathe again," Philonise Floyd, Floyd's brother, told reporters.


Fritz Scheller

2. Meet the Florida lawyer who quotes the Dalai Lama and whose client could doom Rep. Matt Gaetz: Fritz Scheller is representing Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector and Gaetz confidant whose cooperation with DOJ could spell trouble for Gaetz. Scheller is no stranger to high-profile cases having helped defend Noor Salman, the widow of the Pulse Nightclub shooter. More on the man deemed the lawyer to call when someone's in a bind in Insider's in-depth profile.

  • Key: "He's like the most interesting man alive," said George Couture, an attorney who has known Scheller for more than 20 years. "He can squeeze blood from a stone. He can throw a curveball in outer space when it comes to the courtroom."

3. Elon Musk and local police are clashing over whether a Tesla was on autopilot during a deadly crash: One of the two men killed after a Tesla crashed near Houston has been identified as Dr. William Varner, local media reported. Officials have suggested that there was no one in the driver's seat, but Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, said the car was not on Autopilot mood. Musk claims that data logs show autopilot was not in use.


4. Biden overruled Secretary of State Antony Blinken on refugee cap, report says: The president overruled top aides and advisors when he initially decided to keep the Trump administration's record-low cap on the number of refugees allowed into the US, according to The Washington Post. Biden was concerned that the increase in migrants at the southern border spelled trouble for the government's ability to handle a larger number of refugees. But the White House reversed course after an intense outcry, including from congressional Democrats.


5. 2020 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the US: 45 transgender people were killed last year, up from 27 in 2019 and 26 in 2018. The real number of deaths is likely much higher, and climbing faster than data can show. But it's difficult to get reliable data, which is why Insider has launched its own database. More on Insider's Transgender Homicide Project.

  • Here's what the data shows: There's been a steady rise in transphobic attacks in the US in recent years, particularly against Black trans people, in the South, and in Puerto Rico, with guns as the primary weapon. 

This year is already on pace to be even deadlier, with 15 killings in the first 109 days: Explore the rest of our findings here.

Screen Shot 2021 04 21 at 1.43.42 AM


6. Democratic congresswoman and her husband are packing their stock portfolio with COVID-19 vaccine makers: Jim Newman, husband to freshman Democrat Rep. Marie Newman of Illinois, has bought and sold numerous pandemic-affected stocks since January, including up to $65,000 in Moderna shares. The congresswoman's office said Jim Newman conducted his trades based on market research and publicly available information. The Newmans have invested in at least 39 companies since January. 


7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern: 

  • 12:15 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House's daily news briefing
  • 1:15 p.m.: Biden delivers remarks on the pandemic and state of vaccination efforts
  • 1:30 p.m.: Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton hold a news conference ahead of an expected Thursday vote on D.C. statehood.

8. There's now a more complete look of the corporations that bankrolled Biden's inauguration: "Several companies contributed $1 million, including Bank of America, AT&T, Comcast Corp., Boeing, Qualcomm Inc., drug maker Pfizer, Uber, and defense contractor Lockheed Martin." Some of these companies stand to make millions or even billions from deals with the government. See the rest of the list in our exclusive report.


9. Senate Majority Leader calls for marijuana legalization on "unofficial holiday": Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York marked 4/20 by renewing his push on ending the federal prohibition on marijuana. "It makes no sense and it's time for a change," Schumer said of the penalties and criminal charges imposed for possessing pot. 

Six Democratic senators previously told Insider that they have reservations about legalization.


10. Ain't that a kick in the head: Europe's proposed super league of a dozen elite soccer teams is not going well. All six English teams have pulled out amid condemnations from fans, players, pundits, and world leaders. JPMorgan Chase was blasted when it was revealed that bank was spending billions to finance the arrangement. The super league now says it will "reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project."


One last thing.

Today's trivia question: Only two politicians have the distinction of being on a major party's ticket five times. Who are they? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

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