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10 Things in Politics: Dems wants DOJ to be more aggressive

And the FDA seems ready to OK a booster shot for all adults this week. ...

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Here's what we're talking about:


Attorney General Merrick Garland departs after speaking at the Justice Department in Washington, on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
Attorney General Merrick Garland.

1. INSIDE THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: Democrats wanted a fresh start at the Department of Justice. But party officials are increasingly growing frustrated with Attorney General Merrick Garland's judge-like approach to the job. They point to recent House and Senate hearings in which Republicans grilled Garland as evidence that he doesn't have the sharp elbows necessary to thrive in Washington.

Here's a deeper look at what people are saying:

"He's been out of the hurly-burly for 25 years," a former top Obama administration official told Insider of Garland. Some Democrats and former Justice Department officials told Insider they thought Garland missed an opportunity to more forcefully respond to Republicans and even challenge them on their strategy of turning local education into the latest front in the culture wars.

  • Key quote: "I don't think it's his natural style to be a pugilistic fighter," said Matt Miller, who served in the Obama administration as the top spokesperson for Attorney General Eric Holder.

Garland's decision-making is also under fire: "Not content with a high-level briefing, Garland is known to read case law himself and even inquire about the judges handling various matters. His interest in that level of detail is uncommon for attorneys general, according to people familiar with his approach," my colleague writes.

  • His hiring has also raised eyebrows: "He's running it like it's a chambers, where he's going to have to write an opinion or something," the former top Obama administration official said.

Read more on how Merrick Garland's apolitical style is grating on Democrats.

With Jordan Erb.


2. FDA seems ready to OK a booster shot for all adults this week: "The Food and Drug Administration is aiming to authorize booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine for all adults as early as Thursday," The New York Times reports. Some state and local officials have already moved toward allowing all adults to get a booster shot amid an at-times-confusing rollout at the federal level. More on what would be a major moment in the US vaccination campaign.


A side view of Rep Paul Gosar's head and shoulders, in front of a microphone.
Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona.

3. Rep. Paul Gosar faces punishment for posting a violent anime video: House lawmakers plan to vote today on whether to kick Gosar off of two committees and formally condemn the Arizona Republican for posting the video, Politico reports. In the video, a character with Gosar's face edited onto it kills a character with the face of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. She said she supported the measure and felt lawmakers who threaten their colleagues should face severe consequences. Rep. Liz Cheney said she'd vote in favor of censuring Gosar, but it's unclear how many other Republicans might support the effort. Gosar later deleted the tweet containing the video and said he wasn't encouraging violence. It's been more than a decade since a House lawmaker was censured. Here's what else you need to know ahead of today's expected vote.


4. Republicans mock Democrats' plans to fight back on critical-race-theory attacks: Republicans say Democrats' strategy on critical race theory is great — for the GOP. Their glee comes in response to an Insider story in which Democrats called for their party to more forcibly respond as the college-level idea has become a misused catch-all term among conservatives for teaching about race and diversity in K-12 schools. "It's that Republicans are willing to let white supremacists write curricula," one top Democratic strategist told Insider of what the message should be. "Double down on calling parents racist. Great plan," one Republican tweeted in response. More on how Republicans say Democrats are calling parents "racist."


5. No verdict after daylong deliberation in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial: Jurors are set to resume considering the case later today. Rittenhouse faces life in prison if he is convicted of the most serious charge for killing two men and injuring a third during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Associated Press reports. Rittenhouse testified that he acted in self-defense. Judge Bruce Schroeder later defended his unusual move to allow Rittenhouse to play a minor role in the final selection of the jury.


6. A UN agency responded to Elon Musk's call to back up its claims about world hunger: The UN's food-assistance branch, the World Food Programme, laid out how it believed $6.6 billion in funding could prevent 42 million people across 43 countries from starving in 2022. Musk recently challenged the UN to show him how $6 billion of his wealth could "solve world hunger." More on the news.


7. Biden hits the road to tout newly signed infrastructure law: President Joe Biden visited an aging New Hampshire bridge, the first stop of what's expected to be a large tour by him and other administration officials and lawmakers to promote the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, The Wall Street Journal reports. At the same time, Democrats are still hoping to pass their massive social-spending bill on a party-line vote in the House later this week. Here's where things stand.


8. Democratic lawmaker failed to properly disclose a 6-figure Apple stock buy: Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier of Washington was more than two months late disclosing a sizable purchase of Apple Inc. stock, according to her most recent financial-disclosure filings. Schrier reported buying up to $1 million worth of stock in the technology giant in late July via a jointly held family trust. A spokeswoman said Schrier's husband, David, conducted the trade. Forty-six lawmakers have failed to properly disclose their financial trades this year.


9. Rep. Jackie Speier announces retirement: Speier, a Democrat from California, said it was time for her to leave Washington after representing San Mateo County and San Francisco since 2008, the Los Angeles Times reports. A close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Speier began her career in public service working for Rep. Leo Ryan, who she saw murdered at the Jonestown massacre in Guyana. Speier is the latest House Democrat to retire ahead of the potentially difficult midterms.


10. Gen Z is making corded headphones cool again: Tired: AirPods. Wired, well, headphones apparently. It's partially an aesthetic thing; corded headphones radiate a cool, grungy, early-2000s vibe. But it's also a statement — they don't want to look like Patagonia-wearing "finance bros." Why Gen Z is resurrecting corded headphones.


Today's trivia question: At least one chamber of Congress has passed four censures, or what would now be considered censure, against four presidents. Which president is the most recent to have received this formal reprimand? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

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