Stay Updates: Biden to Revoke and Exchange Trump’s Order Looking for TikTok Ban
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President Biden on Wednesday will revoke a Trump-era executive order that sought to ban the popular app TikTok and replace it with one that calls for a broader review of a number of foreign-controlled applications that could pose a security risk to Americans and their data.
According to a memo circulated by the Commerce Department and obtained by The New York Times, the order will address a number of applications and bolster recent actions the Biden administration has taken to curb the growing influence of Chinese technology companies.
It is the first significant step Mr. Biden has taken to address a challenge left for him by President Donald J. Trump, whose administration fought to ban TikTok and force its Chinese-owned parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app. Legal challenges immediately followed and the app is still available as the battle languishes in the courts.
Mr. Biden’s order “will direct the secretary of commerce to use a criteria-based decision framework and rigorous, evidence-based analysis to evaluate and address the risks” posed by foreign-operated applications, according to the memo. “As warranted, the secretary will determine appropriate actions based on a thorough review of the risks posed by foreign adversary connected software applications.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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It should not be that hard to be an American leader visiting Europe for the first time after the presidency of Donald J. Trump.
But President Biden will face his own challenges when he arrives on Wednesday, especially as the United States confronts a disruptive Russia and a rising China while trying to reassemble and rally the shaken Western alliance as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Biden, who departed Washington on Wednesday for a series of summits buoyed by a successful vaccination program and a rebounding economy, will spend the next week making the case that America is back and ready to lead the West anew in what he calls an existential collision between democracies and autocracies.
On the agenda are meetings in Britain with leaders of the Group of 7 nations, followed by visits to NATO and the European Union. On Mr. Biden’s final day, in Geneva on Wednesday of next week, he will hold his first meeting as president with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Mr. Biden’s overarching task is to deliver the diplomatic serenity that eluded such gatherings during four years in which Mr. Trump scorched longstanding relationships with close allies, threatened to pull out of NATO and embraced Mr. Putin and other autocrats, admiring their strength.
But the good will Mr. Biden brings simply by not being Mr. Trump papers over lingering doubts about his durability, American reliability and the cost that Europe will be expected to pay.
Mr. Biden will face European leaders who are now wary of the United States in a way they have not been since 1945 — and are wondering where the country is headed.
“They have seen the state of the Republican Party,” said Barry Pavel, the director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at The Atlantic Council. “They’ve seen Jan. 6. They know you could have another president in 2024.”
If the future of the United States is the long-term concern, how to manage a disruptive Russia is the immediate agenda. No part of the trip will be more charged than a daylong meeting with Mr. Putin.
Credit…Zack DeZon for The New York Times
The New York Times asked a court on Tuesday to unseal legal filings by the Justice Department that would reveal how prosecutors persuaded a court to cloak secrecy over an order to seize the email records of four New York Times reporters and then to prevent Times executives from speaking about the matter.
The filing came as Attorney General Merrick B. Garland scheduled a meeting on Monday with leaders of three news organizations — The Times, The Washington Post and CNN — to discuss concerns over prosecutors’ practices in leak investigations, according to two people familiar with the matter.
In recent weeks, the Biden Justice Department has disclosed Trump-era seizures of phone records for reporters at each of those organizations. After the first two disclosures, involving The Post and CNN, President Biden vowed not to let the Justice Department go after reporters’ sourcing information during his administration.
But last week, it came to light that the department had also secretly seized Times reporters’ phone records — and fought a separate, and ultimately unsuccessful, battle to obtain their email records from Google, which runs the Times’s email system. The Trump Justice Department obtained a court order to Google on Jan. 5. After Google resisted complying, the Justice Department under Mr. Biden kept the effort going until dropping it last Wednesday.
In an added twist, the government in March allowed a handful of Times lawyers and executives to know about the order and the legal fight over it. But it imposed a gag order that prevented them from disclosing it to the public or colleagues. Among others, Dean Baquet, the executive editor, was kept in the dark until a judge lifted the gag order on Friday.
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A Senate committee is scheduled to hold a hearing about college sports on Wednesday, at a time when college athletes are on the brink of being able to make money off their fame under coming changes to the rules that have governed college sports for more than a century.
Up until now, a provision in the N.C.A.A.’s Division I manual has barred players from being paid “to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind.” The restrictions also have the effect of keeping students from selling their autographs and limiting how they may promote camps where they teach their craft.
But the rules are almost certainly about to change.
The N.C.A.A. says that one of its most influential panels is “expected to act” to change them during a meeting that begins on June 22, “provided it is feasible to do so.”
The lawyerly caveats are typical of the N.C.A.A., which happens to be awaiting a Supreme Court decision in an antitrust case, and the association’s plans could change dramatically for a host of reasons.
But the college sports industry is running out of time to rewrite its rules. Some states, including Alabama, Florida and Georgia, have laws poised to take effect on July 1 that are designed to guarantee student-athletes the opportunity to profit off their names, images and likenesses, regardless of what the N.C.A.A. says.
Those laws — and there are more like them in the pipeline across the country, including some that have already been signed into law but will go into effect later — have athletics officials anxious about a competitive imbalance. Unless the N.C.A.A. acts, many universities worry that schools in states with the new laws will gain an enormous advantage in recruiting: the ability to dangle the legally protected possibility to make money as a college athlete.
Congress has been paying attention, too, and could ultimately push ahead with legislation that would set a federal standard resolving the competitive issues surrounding the disparate state rules. College sports administrators also hope a federal law would offer them a greater shield from litigation.
Whether Congress will do anything, or when, is a different matter entirely. Legislators, particularly in the Senate, have long been engaged in negotiations about what a federal law might look like, but they have not yet struck a deal destined to make it through both chambers of Congress. Changing college sports may be centrally important for universities and the N.C.A.A., but it is a lower priority among federal lawmakers.
Some athletics administrators and legislators still believe that officials in Washington could reach an accord before the state laws start taking effect on July 1. Others are far more doubtful and, the panicked warnings of college sports executives notwithstanding, say they are unbothered by the possibility of a little chaos and confusion.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times
The plane set to carry dozens of journalists to Europe to cover President Biden’s first trip abroad was on the runway, ready to take off.
The cicadas had other ideas.
Somehow, the flying insects had filled the plane’s engines, grounding it and forcing Mr. Biden’s aides to scramble for another way to ferry the reporters overseas. What was supposed to be a 9 p.m. departure was delayed until 11. And then until 2:15 a.m.
Perhaps it was inevitable, with billions of cicadas flying around much of the eastern United States in recent weeks. In the nation’s capital, where a brood that emerges every 17 years is near its beastly peak, they have crawled up the necks of TV journalists, splattered across car windshields and gotten tangled in the hair of anyone braving the swampy, 90-degree heat.
White House travel officials delivered news of the insect malfunction to reporters gathered at the airport hotel, along with assurances that a new plane was headed to Washington from New York. A new pilot in Cleveland was soon to be en route — and both, officials hoped, would make it safely through the cicada cloud, which has been dense enough around Washington to be picked up on weather radar.
Before he left for Europe on Wednesday morning, President Biden had his own encounter with a cicada: He brushed one off his neck as he headed to the airport.
“Watch out for cicadas,” he reminded reporters before boarding Air Force One.
Credit…Pool photo by Kevin Lamarque
The Senate confirmed President Biden’s first two judicial nominees on Tuesday with modest Republican support, the start of what Democrats intend to be a sprint to fill scores of federal vacancies and rebalance the ideological makeup of the courts after the Trump era.
In a lopsided 66-to-33 vote, the chamber approved Julien Xavier Neals to serve as a district court judge in New Jersey, where a spate of vacancies have contributed to a significant backlog of cases.
A few hours later, Democrats mustered even more Republican support, voting 72 to 28 to confirm Regina M. Rodriguez as the first Asian American judge to serve on the Federal District Court bench in Colorado.
Credit…Pool photo by Tom Williams
“This is the first, certainly not the last — not even close,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, boasted between the votes. “We’re going to be able to restore a lot of balance to the courts because there are a lot of vacancies we are going to fill.”
Democrats plan to move as soon as this week to confirm Mr. Biden’s first appeals court pick, Ketanji Brown Jackson, to serve on the powerful D.C. Circuit. They have roughly a dozen other nominees winding their way through the approval process, and more than 100 seats on the federal bench are expected to become vacant in the coming months.
But they are starting from a deep hole. When they controlled the Senate under the presidency of Donald J. Trump, Republicans, led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, used their majority to confirm more than 220 federal judges over four years, including more than 50 to influential appeals court posts and three to the Supreme Court.
The Biden White House moved swiftly to begin naming nominees for many of the most important posts this spring, far earlier than the historic norm, and Mr. Biden’s liberal allies on Capitol Hill have made the approval of those nominees a top priority.
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President Biden on Tuesday ended a weekslong effort to reach a deal with Senate Republicans on an expansive infrastructure plan, cutting off negotiations that had failed to persuade them to embrace his bid to pour $1 trillion into the nation’s aging public works system and safety-net programs.
It was a major setback to Mr. Biden’s effort to attract Republican support for his top domestic priority, which had always faced long odds over the size, scope and financing of the package. Most Republicans have made it clear they are willing to spend only a fraction of what Democrats want on a much narrower initiative, and balked at any tax increases to pay for it.
In a final telephone call on Tuesday with Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the leading Republican negotiator, after days of back-and-forth discussions, Mr. Biden made clear that the divide was too large to bridge.
The breakdown did not close off the possibility of a bipartisan compromise entirely, and the White House signaled that the president would continue seeking one. He shifted his focus to a bipartisan group of centrist senators who have been working separately on an alternative, calling three of them personally to cheer on their efforts and encourage them to work with top White House officials to hammer out a deal.
Ms. Capito said it had been Mr. Biden who had been unwilling to compromise.
“While I appreciate President Biden’s willingness to devote so much time and effort to these negotiations, he ultimately chose not to accept the very robust and targeted infrastructure package, and instead, end our discussions,” Ms. Capito said in a statement.
While administration officials went to great lengths to emphasize Mr. Biden’s respect for Ms. Capito as a negotiator and her efforts to reach a compromise, it was clear he had already moved on, placing his hopes for a deal on the bipartisan Senate group. He spoke on Tuesday with Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, and Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, both Democrats.
“Any infrastructure package should and must be bipartisan,” Mr. Cassidy said on Twitter, adding that he had raised “flood resiliency and energy provisions” with Mr. Biden during their conversation.
.@POTUS just called to discuss infrastructure. I brought up flood resiliency and energy provisions that would benefit Louisiana as well as the rest of our nation. Strongly support @SenCapito’s efforts. Any infrastructure package should and must be bipartisan.
— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@SenBillCassidy) June 8, 2021
Mr. Cassidy and the other members of the bipartisan group were to huddle Tuesday evening on Capitol Hill to discuss their ideas for an infrastructure plan.
“I don’t know that it’s something we’ve signed off on, but we do have a tentative figure at this point,” said Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah. He would not disclose that figure, but said he had spoken to administration officials about it.
Democrats could also move infrastructure legislation on their own through the fast-track budget process known as reconciliation, which would allow them to avoid a filibuster, though that would require all 50 Democrats in the Senate and near unanimity among House Democrats.
“We all know as a caucus we will not be able to do all the things that the country needs in a totally bipartisan — a bipartisan way,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader.
Senate Passes Bipartisan Technology Bill to Compete With China
The Senate on Tuesday voted 68-32 to approve legislation that would spend a quarter-trillion dollars over the next five years on scientific research and development aimed at boosting the United States’ ability to compete with Chinese technology.
“We rely on foreign nations to supply supply critical technologies that we invented like semiconductors. That sunny American optimism has flickered as well. The world is more competitive now than at any time since the end of the Second World War. If we do nothing our days as the dominant superpower may be ending.” “Passing this bill, now called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, is the moment when the Senate lays the foundation for another century of American leadership.” “I believe that this legislation will enable the United States to out-innovate, outproduce and outcompete the world in the industries of the future. And I believe that the strongly bipartisan work on this bill has revealed that in this chamber, we all believe that another American century lies on the horizon. I urge my colleagues to vote yes.” “On this vote, the yeas are 68, the nays are 32. The 60-vote threshold having been achieved, the bill is passed.”
The Senate on Tuesday voted 68-32 to approve legislation that would spend a quarter-trillion dollars over the next five years on scientific research and development aimed at boosting the United States’ ability to compete with Chinese technology.CreditCredit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times
The Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation on Tuesday that would pour nearly a quarter-trillion dollars over the next five years into scientific research and development to bolster competitiveness against China.
Republicans and Democrats — overcoming their traditional partisan differences over economic policy — banded together to endorse what would be the most significant government intervention in industrial policy in decades. It includes federal investments in a slew of emerging technologies as well as the semiconductor industry.
The 68-32 vote reflected the sense of urgency about the need to counter Beijing and other authoritarian governments that have poured substantial resources into bolstering their industrial and technological strength.
The bill is likely to face stiffer headwinds in the House, where top lawmakers have expressed skepticism about its focus on bolstering emerging technologies.
That debate played out in the Senate, which ultimately watered down the original concept of the legislation. Still, the Senate’s lopsided margin of support for the more than 2,400-page bill highlights a series of political shifts. Jolted to action by the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted shortages of crucial goods that highlighted the country’s dependence on its biggest geopolitical adversary, policymakers in Washington have moved to try to increase domestic production capacity. Passage of the legislation came hours after the Biden administration announced new steps to strengthen U.S. supply chains.
“Whoever harnesses the technologies like A.I. and quantum computing and innovations yet unseen will shape the world in their image,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader and a longtime China hawk who helped spearhead the bill. “Do we want that image to be a democratic image? Or do we want it to be an authoritarian image like President Xi would like to impose on the world? Either we can concede the mantle of global leadership to our adversaries or we can pave the way for another generation of American leadership.”
The legislation, the core of which was a collaboration between Mr. Schumer and Senator Todd Young, Republican of Indiana, would prop up semiconductor makers by providing an emergency injection of funding for a $52 billion subsidy program with few restrictions, sending a lifeline to the industry during a global chip shortage that shut auto plants and rippled through the global supply chain.
It would sink hundreds of billions more into scientific research and development pipelines in the United States, creating grants and fostering agreements between private companies and research universities across the country to encourage breakthroughs in new technology.
“When future generations of Americans cast their gaze toward new frontiers, will they see a red flag planted on those new frontiers that is not our own?” Mr. Young said during a speech on the Senate floor. “Today, we answer unequivocally, ‘No.’ Today we declare our intention to win this century, and those that follow it as well.”
While the centerpiece of the legislation is focused on bolstering research and development in emerging technologies, it also includes a major trade measure that would allow the temporary suspension of tariffs on specific U.S. imports and would call on the Biden administration to impose sanctions on those responsible for forced labor practices and human rights abuses in and around China’s Xinjiang region.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times
Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked debate on a bill to combat pay discrimination against women and L.G.B.T.Q. workers, the first in a series of votes set up by Democratic leaders this month to highlight the power of the filibuster to stop even the consideration of legislation.
The Paycheck Fairness Act, which failed, 49 to 50, was never going to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and bring it to the Senate floor under existing rules. The bill, which passed the House in April, has been on the Democratic wish list since 1997.
Republicans have long said it was an unnecessary measure that would primarily benefit trial lawyers, while Democrats point to pervasive disparities in pay between women and men that other laws have not remedied.
But the bill’s fast-track introduction by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, had a broader purpose: to build support for changing Senate rules to modify or end the legislative filibuster.
Credit…Diwang Valdez for The New York Times
Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia Democratic candidate for governor, and the voting organization she leads are beginning a monthlong advocacy campaign to rally young voters of color to support the For the People Act, an expansive federal elections bill.
The effort, called Hot Call Summer, will be anchored in a texting campaign, in which the group aims to reach at least 10 million voters in battleground states that have either passed new laws with restrictions on voting or are advancing such bills. Ms. Abrams’s group, Fair Fight Action, will also host virtual events and fund a paid media campaign to support the push.
“With voting rights under attack in 48 out of 50 state legislatures across the country, the moment has never been more urgent, and it will take all of us to ensure that Congress passes the voting rights protections our country and democracy desperately need,” Ms. Abrams said in an email to supporters that was obtained earlier by CBS News. She called on supporters in every state to “make sure that EVERY U.S. Senator is hearing from their constituents about the urgent need” to pass the legislation.
The campaign kicks off just days after Senator Joe Manchin III, a moderate Democratic senator from West Virginia, announced that he would not support the federal voting legislation, making passage extremely unlikely in the evenly divided Senate.
Republican-led states across the country are continuing to introduce and pass laws that would erect new barriers to voting. Republicans in Texas have vowed to pass a voting bill in a special session this summer, and voting bills are progressing through the Republican-controlled legislatures in New Hampshire and Michigan.
Ms. Abrams has made voting rights one of her central platforms. In Georgia in 2018, she came within 55,000 votes of being elected the first Black governor in the United States, and within 18,000 votes of forcing a runoff with her Republican rival, Brian Kemp, in an election that drew almost four million ballots. When she ceded to Mr. Kemp, she maintained her allegations that he had used his position as Georgia’s secretary of state to engage in voter suppression.
Ms. Abrams is seen as a likely Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia in 2022. She is scheduled to participate in three virtual town hall events, including one with Katie Hobbs, the Arizona secretary of state and candidate for governor, and Jason Frierson, the Nevada Assembly speaker. Both are Democrats.
The Fair Fight campaign joins other national and state organizational efforts in trying to combat the new voting laws being passed by Republican-controlled legislatures. In Texas, the state Democratic Party announced a program aiming to use at least $13 million to register at least one million new voters.
And later this month, a coalition of voting rights groups organized by Black Voters Matter will embark on a bus stop tour from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., whose name harks back to its inspiration, the integrated bus trips of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s: the “Freedom Ride for Voting Rights.”
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ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State lawmakers passed legislation on Tuesday intended to allow civil lawsuits to be brought against firearm manufacturers and dealers, an attempt to circumvent the broad immunity gun companies currently enjoy under federal law.
The bill, passed by the Democratic-controlled State Legislature, is the first of its kind in the nation to specifically classify the illegal or improper marketing or sale of guns as a nuisance — a technical classification that state lawmakers say would open the gun industry to civil liability suits in New York.
The approach, if successful, could prompt other states to follow suit as many cities grapple with rising gun violence. Indeed, Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey has already indicated he supports a similar proposal.
The move comes a few months after President Biden reiterated his support of repealing a 2005 federal statute that gave gun manufacturers far-reaching immunity from being sued by victims of gun violence and their relatives.
The 2005 law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, protects gun producers and firearm dealers from being held liable when crimes are carried out with their products. The federal statute, however, did not shield manufacturers in some cases, such as when they break state laws in their sales and marketing practices — an exception that the New York bill seeks to exploit.
Supporters of the bill framed the legislation as a way to hold manufacturers accountable for the smuggling of illegal weapons into New York, which already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
Between 2010 and 2015, 86 percent of handguns recovered from crimes in New York were originally purchased out of state, most from neighboring states with weak gun laws along Interstate 95, or the so-called Iron Pipeline, according to the state attorney general.
“This bill stands for a pretty simple proposition,” said State Senator Zellnor Myrie, a Democrat from Brooklyn who introduced the legislation. “If you are a member of the gun industry and you are conducting business in a reckless or unsafe way, that has consequences for the kids in Brownsville, in Crown Heights, in Rochester.”
The legislation was forcefully opposed by the gun industry, as well as Republican lawmakers, who said it would not solve the root cause of gun violence.