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- The White House announced that President Trump is set to sign an executive order shifting the focus while hiring for the federal government from college degrees to skills. The federal government is the largest employer in the country and includes 2.1 million non-military workers.
“This will ensure that we are able to hire based on talent,” Ivanka Trump said. “The president built the most inclusive workforce in the history of the country prior to the pandemic and we will rebuild it.”
- The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration does not have the authority to use military funding to pay for construction of a border wall. The panel found that diverting $2.5 billion Congress had appropriated for the military violated the Constitution and is unlawful.
- George Nader, a key witness in the special-counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for transporting a child into the country for sex and possessing child pornography.
- The U.S. economy shrank at a 5.0% rate in the first quarter with a much worse decline expected in the current three-month economic period because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Commerce Department reported that the decline in the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, in the January-March quarter was unchanged from the estimate made a month ago.
- President Trump has just nominated William Perry Pendley, who has controversially served as the acting head of the Bureau of Land Management for months, to lead the agency. Opponents say Pendley should not lead an agency that he has “spent an entire career trying to undermine” as he’s authored multiple books opposing public lands and calling to sell them.
- American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.
The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.
- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will not take up Douglas Benevento’s nomination for the No. 2 position at the Environmental Protection Agency after Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) announced her opposition.
- The Energy Department on Friday announced a new initiative that aims to boost the declining coal industry by creating new uses for the fossil fuel.
The department said in a statement that it will make about $122 million available to create “coal product innovation centers” to make new products from coal and develop new methods to extract critical minerals from it.
- President Trump tore into Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot after a string of violent incidents struck Chicago, accusing the two lawmakers of failing the city.
“Your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect,” he wrote in a letter, a copy of which was released by the White House. “I am concerned that it is another example of your lack of commitment to the vulnerable citizens who are victims of this violence and a lack of respect for the men and women of law enforcement.”
- Caroline Hunter, a Republican commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, announced Friday that she is stepping down next week, leaving the agency without a quorum and unable to vote on enforcement actions.
Hunter’s resignation came just weeks after the FEC had regained a quorum of four commissioners following the Senate confirmation of Republican Trey Trainor.
Trump on Friday took immediate action to fill Hunter’s position, nominating Allen Dickerson to serve as a commissioner.
Sources: ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post