Biden falls on stage at Air Force Academy ceremony; Senate blocks student relief program – as it happened

Last modified: 10: 01 PM GMT+0

US president took a tumble at the end of a ceremony honoring air force graduates in Colorado; White House vows to use veto

Closing Summary

It is 6pm in Washington DC. Here is a wrap up of the day’s key events:

  • Donald Trump has responded to President Joe Biden’s fall at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, saying, “I hope he wasn’t hurt,” before adding, “That’s too bad.” Speaking to reporters, Trump said, “Well, I hope he wasn’t hurt. The whole thing is … crazy. You gotta be careful about that … because you don’t want that even if you have to tiptoe down a ramp,” as the crowd responded with applause.

  • Joe Biden took a heavy fall on stage on Thursday afternoon at the conclusion of a lengthy ceremony honoring graduating air force recruits in Colorado. The president gave the commencement address at the event, which lasted around five hours. Biden, 80, tripped and fell to the ground as he turned to his left to shake an officer’s hand following his speech.

  • Senators have voted to block one of Joe Biden’s flagship policy promises, progressing a bill that would repeal his student debt relief program and end the administration’s pause on federal student loan payments. The vote was 52-46 to advance the legislation, NBC reported, with Democrats Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and Jon Tester (Montana), plus Arizona independent Kyrsten Sinema, breaking ranks and joining Republicans.

  • Two Republican senators have told CNN that the chamber is looking to wrap up a final vote on raising the debt ceiling tonight, clearing the way for the bill to hit Joe Biden’s desk over the weekend and in plenty of time to avoid a national default. The network reports that Florida’s Rick Scott and Utah’s Mitt Romney both say that’s the goal. Voting on any amendments and a vote on final passage need to be accomplished by the end of the day for that to happen.

  • The White House has slammed congressional Republicans for demanding that the FBI hand over a document related to Joe Biden, a spokesperson deriding what he called “a silly stunt.” Senator Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, and the Kentucky congressman James Comer demanded the document last month, saying it concerned an unspecified “alleged criminal scheme” involving Biden when he was vice-president to Barack Obama.

  • Joe Biden just wrapped up a lengthy commencement address to graduating cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He made no mention of the debt ceiling bill currently working its way through Congress, but touched on other political flashpoints including the war in Ukraine, cooperation with China and the threat posed by artificial intelligence.

  • The former Republican congresswoman turned avowed Trump foe Liz Cheney declined to rule out a presidential run of her own earlier, telling a policy conference in Michigan: “I am really focused on making sure that Donald Trump isn’t anywhere close to the Oval Office again.” Cheney also said she would not support Trump’s closest challenger in the Republican primary, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis.

  • Twitter boss Elon Musk is facing a class action lawsuit for insider trading, investors accusing the billionaire of manipulating the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, costing them billions of dollars. According to Reuters, the Manhattan federal court lawsuit filed on Wednesday night says Musk, also chief of SpaceX and Tesla, used Twitter posts, paid online influencers, his 2021 appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live and other “publicity stunts” to trade profitably at their expense through several Dogecoin wallets that he or Tesla controls.

  • The US supreme court has handed down a small number of opinions this morning, one of which appears to weaken unions’ rights to decide how and where to strike. The ruling in the case of Glacier NW v International Brotherhood is “a massive change in labor law,” according to the high court analyst scotusblog.com. “Unions just got defanged in a big way,” it said of the decision written by justice Amy Coney Barrett.

  • Senators are facing time pressure Thursday as they pick up the debt ceiling bill that passed the House last night. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic senate majority leader, was at his desk preparing its pathway soon after Wednesday’s 314-117 bipartisan House vote, and is warning any potential troublemakers to stand aside in order to get the measure approved swiftly and on to Joe Biden’s desk for signature to avoid a national default.

That’s it from me, Maya Yang, as we wrap up the blog for today. Thank you for following along.

An Oklahoma Republican senator said “I don’t want reality” in a recent hearing on race and education.

Martin Pengelly reports:

Questioning a witness about childcare and the teaching of race, the Oklahoma Republican senator Markwayne Mullin said: “I don’t want reality.”

The remark prompted laughter in the hearing room.

Mullin said he “misspoke” and returned to hectoring his witness about whether a book meant to teach children about racism was appropriate for early learning classes.

Mullin is an election denier, former cage fighter and plumbing company owner who sat in the US House before being elected to the Senate last year.

His confrontational style has caused comment before. In March, for example, he told a Teamsters leader to “shut your mouth” during a fiery exchange.

Mullin’s remark about reality and its uses came on Wednesday in a hearing held by the Senate health, education, labour and pensions committee.

For more, click here:

Donald Trump responds to Biden’s fall: “That’s not inspiring”

Donald Trump has responded to President Joe Biden’s fall at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, saying, “I hope he wasn’t hurt,” before adding, “That’s too bad.”

Speaking to reporters, Trump said, “Well, I hope he wasn’t hurt. The whole thing is … crazy. You gotta be careful about that … because you don’t want that even if you have to tiptoe down a ramp,” as the crowd responded with applause.

Trump went on to recall an incident during his presidency in which he was captured tiptoeing down a ramp next to a general after he gave an address at West Point, New York, in June 2020.

Trump’s slow walk at the time prompted widespread concern online over his fitness as president.

Recalling the incident, Trump said:

“That was the best speech I think I ever made and it was pouring rain … and horrible and cold and windy. And they had a ramp that was pure as an ice skating rink and it was like 25 feet long …

I have nice leather [shoes] … and I said, ‘You know what, general? Get ready, if I grab you, you just get ready ’cause I got this stupid ramp that somebody put up and there’s no stairs, right?’ … So I tiptoe down and I suffered for that. They never covered my speech but the smart people understood that … ”

He went on to add: “That’s a bad place to fall … That’s not inspiring.”

🚨 JUST IN: Trump responds to Biden’s big fall at the Air Force Academy graduation. pic.twitter.com/pvHBa7JwAx

— Nick Sortor (@nicksortor) June 1, 2023

Updated

Robert F Kennedy Jr has said that he has “conversations with dead people” every day.

Speaking to the Free Press in response to a question about how he thought his late father and former US attorney general Robert F Kennedy, as well as his uncle and the 35th US president, John F Kennedy, would address the country’s issues today, Kennedy replied:

“I do meditations every day,” Kennedy said. “That’s kind of the nature of my meditations. I have a lot of conversations with dead people.”

He went on to add in a text message, “They are one-way prayers for strength and wisdom. I get no strategic advice from the dead,” the outlet reported.

Kennedy is currently in the presidential race against President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination and is a prominent conspiracy theorist and vaccine skeptic.

For more details, click here:

Updated

A Pride flag was put up over the Wisconsin capitol building on Thursday as part of the state’s show of effort to support LGBTQ+ rights across the country.

During a noon ceremony in front of dozens of spectators, Wisconsin’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, instructed the flag to be raised and will fly above the state capitol throughout the entirety of June to mark Pride month. The flag flies below the US flag and the Wisconsin state flag.

Speaking to spectators, Evers said that he was “jazzed as hell” to be at the ceremony, adding, “You belong here. You are welcome here … It’s a signal that I will always stand with LGBTQ Wisconsinites, including our trans and gender non-conforming kids, and will fight to protect them with every tool and every power that I have,” the Associated Press reports.

The flag-raising ceremony comes as LGBTQ+ rights have come under increasing attack from rightwing lawmakers across the country.

The Pride flag flies at the Wisconsin state capitol on Thursday in Madison, Wisconsin.
The Pride flag flies at the Wisconsin state capitol on Thursday in Madison, Wisconsin. Photograph: Morry Gash/AP

Updated

Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Peterson air force base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday to travel back to Washington after attending the air force academy graduation ceremony.
Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Peterson air force base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday to travel back to Washington after attending the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

Joe Biden is on his way back to Washington DC after taking a tumble at the Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this afternoon.

The Associated Press released a photograph of the 80-year-old president climbing the steps to board Air Force One on Thursday afternoon, Biden holding the handrail as he ascends.

Aides said Biden was unhurt in the fall.

Read more:

Updated

Another supporter of Donald Trump who took part in the deadly January 6 riot in Washington DC has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term.

Roberto Minuta, described by prosecutors as one of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes’ “most trusted men”, received a four-year term for seditious conspiracy from US district court judge Amit Mehta.

Roberto Minuta.
Roberto Minuta. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

Minuta, of Prosper, Texas, was not initially at the Capitol because he was part of a “security detail” for Trump ally Roger Stone, who was attending Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally nearby. But prosecutors said he sped to the scene of the riot in a golf cart once he learned of the breach of the Capitol building.

Once inside, he joined a crowd pushing against police and screamed, “This was bound to happen,” CNN reported.

Exactly one week ago, Mehta sentenced Rhodes to 18 years in prison, also for seditious conspiracy. It was the longest sentence handed down to date to a January 6 riot participant.

“The moment you are released, whenever that may be, you will be ready to take up arms against your government,” Mehta told the far-right group’s leader.

Updated

Biden falls on stage at Air Force Academy ceremony

Joe Biden took a heavy fall on stage on Thursday afternoon at the conclusion of a lengthy ceremony honoring graduating air force recruits in Colorado.

The president gave the commencement address at the event, which lasted around five hours. Biden, 80, tripped and fell to the ground as he turned to his left to shake an officer’s hand following his speech.

He remained down for several seconds before an air force officer and two Secret Service agents helped him back to his feet. He walked back to his seat unaided after pointing to an item on the stage.

some top Democrats have privately been saying for months that they’re nervous about Biden tripping again on the trail. Today he did—>

pic.twitter.com/bZIBvHUVfN

— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) June 1, 2023

White House communications director Ben LaBolt said on Twitter that Biden was unhurt. “He’s fine. There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands,” he said.

He's fine. There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands. https://t.co/jP4sJiirHh

— Ben LaBolt (@WHCommsDir) June 1, 2023

Republicans in particular have made an issue of Biden’s age as he seeks re-election next year. He would be 86 at the conclusion of a second term.

In April, the White House was reportedly working on a plan to boost support for Vice-President Kamala Harris in the face of the mounting criticism.

Biden is no stranger to mishaps. Last year he fell off his bike during a ride in Delaware after catching his foot on a pedal.

Updated

Punchbowl has details of a Senate deal it says “came together relatively quickly Thursday” to try to get the debt ceiling bill passed in the chamber tonight.

A group of Republican “defense hawks”, it says, demanded a public commitment from Senate leadership to take up a spending bill later this year focused on Ukraine and other priorities, including Israel and China.

They also reportedly secured a deal with Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer to bring up about a dozen appropriations bills they wanted heard before the end of the year.

It remains to be seen if a final vote will happen tonight. Schumer is hopeful it will, saying the chamber will “stay in session until we send the bill avoiding default to President Biden’s desk. We will keep working until the job is done.”

Updated

Senate blocks Biden's student loan relief program; White House will veto

Senators have voted to block one of Joe Biden’s flagship policy promises, progressing a bill that would repeal his student debt relief program and end the administration’s pause on federal student loan payments.

The vote was 52-46 to advance the legislation, NBC reported, with Democrats Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and Jon Tester (Montana), plus Arizona independent Kyrsten Sinema, breaking ranks and joining Republicans.

BREAKING: Senate votes to block President Biden’s student loan relief program.
Biden has said he will veto the measure. https://t.co/Ip0IaLGB6H

— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 1, 2023

The bill, however, will not become law because Biden said in a statement last month that he would veto it.

“This resolution is an unprecedented attempt to undercut our historic economic recovery and would deprive more than 40 million hard-working Americans of much-needed student debt relief,” Biden said.

“[The bill] would weaken America’s middle class. Americans should be able to have a little more breathing room as they recover from the economic strains associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Seeking to repeal Biden’s program to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for certain borrowers, the bill passed the House last week 218-203.

Its overall fate rests with the supreme court, which is currently weighing the legality of the program Republicans say is an unfair and unnecessary welfare handout.

Documents were uncovered last month showing that Republican states fighting the loan forgiveness plan made false claims they would “suffer injuries” or be financially affected, a debt forgiveness campaign group claimed.

Read more:

Updated

Mark Kelly, Democratic senator for Arizona, says he’s a yes on the debt ceiling bill.

“It’s ridiculous that, once again, DC has come to the brink of wrecking our economy,” Kelly, a former Nasa astronaut, said in a tweet.

Defaulting on the national debt should never be an option. It’s ridiculous that once again, DC has come to the brink of wrecking our economy.

This agreement is a compromise — no one got everything they wanted. But it avoids a devastating default.

I’ll be voting to pass it.

— Senator Mark Kelly (@SenMarkKelly) June 1, 2023

Republican senators hopeful of debt ceiling vote tonight

Two Republican senators have told CNN that the chamber is looking to wrap up a final vote on raising the debt ceiling tonight, clearing the way for the bill to hit Joe Biden’s desk over the weekend and in plenty of time to avoid a national default.

The network reports that Florida’s Rick Scott and Utah’s Mitt Romney both say that’s the goal. Voting on any amendments and a vote on final passage need to be accomplished by the end of the day for that to happen.

Additionally, Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat and Senate majority leader, has said the chamber will remain in session until there’s an outcome.

CNN says, however, there’s lingering dissent from certain members.

Jon Tester.
Jon Tester. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Montana Democrat Jon Tester told the network:

The debt needs to be addressed, [but] this is the wrong way to address the debt. Just the wrong way. It empowers the folks on the far right and, quite frankly, I don’t think they have the best interest of the country in mind. And I haven’t talked to anybody that’s enamored with this deal.

A minimum of 60 senators are needed to avoid a filibuster on the bill, which would delay its passage beyond the deadline for the US to avoid defaulting on its payment obligations.

Republicans Rand Paul of Kentucky and Josh Hawley of Missouri have said they will oppose, or are thinking about opposing, the bill, but Schumer and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell are hopeful they have the numbers between them to get the bill past the finishing post tonight or tomorrow.

Updated

White House blasts Republicans for 'silly FBI stunt'

The White House has slammed congressional Republicans for demanding that the FBI hand over a document related to Joe Biden, a spokesperson deriding what he called “a silly stunt”.

Chuck Grassley.
Chuck Grassley. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP

Senator Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, and the Kentucky congressman James Comer demanded the document last month, saying it concerned an unspecified “alleged criminal scheme” involving Biden when he was vice-president to Barack Obama.

The FBI did not comply. After threats of congressional action, the FBI director, Christopher Wray, reportedly offered to let the Republicans see the document.

According to CNN, the document is connected to work done by Rudy Giuliani for then president Donald Trump in 2020.

Trump’s first impeachment arose from the former New York mayor’s attempts to find dirt on Biden in Ukraine.

As CNN pointed out, in 2020 Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, told reporters: “We can’t take anything we received from Ukraine at face value.”

In comments to Fox News earlier today, Grassley said: “It’s a non-classified document, [Wray] admits it exists.

“We aren’t interested in whether or not the accusations against Vice-President Biden are accurate or not. We’re responsible for making sure the FBI does its job and that’s what we want to know.”

Asked if he’d read the document, Grassley, 89, said he had but would not “characterise it” on air.

A White House spokesperson, Ian Sams, tweeted video of Grassley’s remarks and said: “Wow. Chuck Grassley admits the truth of his and James Comer’s silly FBI form stunt.”

Comer is chair of the House oversight committee, one of the Republican-led panels seeking to dig up dirt on the president, his son Hunter Biden and other Democratic targets.

In a statement, Sams added: “By congressional Republicans’ own admission, this clearly is not an exercise to get to the truth or uncover facts.

“Instead, they are simply staging sad political stunts to push thin innuendo and spread insinuations to attack the president and get themselves booked on Fox News.”

Updated

Biden renews support for Ukraine in air force address

Joe Biden has just wrapped up a lengthy commencement address to graduating cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He made no mention of the debt ceiling bill currently working its way through Congress, but touched on other political flashpoints including the war in Ukraine, cooperation with China and the threat posed by artificial intelligence.

The president’s remarks included a renewed promise to Ukraine that the US would always stand beside the country, and continue to send military and humanitarian aid as it continues to fight against Russia’s invasion:

Support for Ukraine will not waver. We always stand up for democracies. Always. I ask you to contemplate what happens if it wavers and Ukraine goes down. What about Belarus? What about the rest of eastern Europe?

Joe Biden removes his glasses to address the graduation ceremony at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Joe Biden removes his glasses to address the graduation ceremony at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

It was an upbeat, inspirational speech from the commander in chief, welcoming graduates to their future careers in the air and space forces:

The world you graduate into, it is not only changing rapidly, the pace of change is accelerating as well. We’re seeing proliferating global challenges from Russia’s aggression and brutality in Europe, to competition with China, and a whole hell of a lot in between, growing instability, to food insecurity and natural disasters, all of which are being made worse by the existential threat of climate change.

The threat from the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), Biden said, could not be underestimated:

We’re seeing emerging technologies, from AI and 3D printing, that can change the character of conflict itself. I met in the Oval Office with with leading scientists in the area of AI. Some are very worried that AI can actually overtake human thinking and planning. So we’ve got a lot to deal with, a lot to do.

From Colorado, Biden is heading back to the White House, hopeful of white smoke later from the Senate after it debates the debt ceiling bill that would stave off a national default.

Updated

Liz Cheney says she won't support Ron DeSantis's presidential run

The former Republican congresswoman turned avowed Trump foe Liz Cheney declined to rule out a presidential run of her own earlier, telling a policy conference in Michigan: “I am really focused on making sure that Donald Trump isn’t anywhere close to the Oval Office again.”

Liz Cheney.
Liz Cheney. Photograph: Mark J Terrill/AP

Cheney also said she would not support Trump’s closest challenger in the Republican primary, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis.

The daughter of the former congressman, defense secretary and vice-president Dick Cheney is an arch-conservative who nonetheless turned against Trump over his attempted election subversion and incitement of the deadly January 6 attack on Congress.

Defeated by a Trump-endorsed opponent in her Wyoming primary last year, Cheney emerged as a leader of anti-Trump Republicans, playing a prominent role as the House January 6 committee made criminal referrals regarding Trump to the US Department of Justice.

Despite his unparalleled legal jeopardy, Trump leads Republican primary polling by around 30 points, with DeSantis a distant second. Cheney has not declared a run but generally scores in the low single figures, with most other candidates, declared or not.

Speaking at the Mackinac Policy Conference on Thursday, Cheney added: “People who are willing to deny elections and people who are embracing this cult of personality around Donald Trump … have to be resisted at every stage.”

Ron DeSantis “lashed out” at a reporter who asked why he did not take questions from the audience at a campaign event in New Hampshire.

The awkward exchange seems bound to add to reports and observations that the Florida governor, a clear but distant second to Donald Trump in Republican primary polling, lacks the warmth and interpersonal skills necessary for retail politicking, the staple of primary season.

DeSantis was appearing at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Laconia. Video tweeted by Jonathan Allen of NBC News showed the governor posing for selfies with audience members, a broad smile fixed in place.

The reporter – identified by NBC as Steve Peoples of the Associated Press – asked: “Why not take any questions from voters, governor? Governor, how come you’re not taking questions from voters?”

DeSantis said: “People are coming up to me, talking to me. What are you talking about? I’m not here talking to people? Are you blind? Are you blind? People are coming up to me and talking whatever they want to talk about.”

Here it is:

After declining to take audience questions after his first New Hampshire campaign event today, Ron DeSantis lashed out at a reporter for asking him about it while he was chatting with members of the crowd individually.

Here’s the video, via @NBCNews —> pic.twitter.com/Z2WtLy0JNj

— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) June 1, 2023

NBC quoted Vikram Mansharamani, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Senate in New Hampshire last year, as calling the decision not to take audience questions “very disappointing”.

“We like to hear from candidates and we have questions of our own [as] citizens here in the state,” Mansharamani said.

Updated

Interim summary

It’s been a mixed bag so far today in US politics.

The senate will later on Thursday take up the debt ceiling bill passed on a bipartisan vote in the House last night. Joe Biden is hopeful the measure averting a national default will be on his desk for signing before Monday.

Meanwhile, the supreme court has handed down only a smattering of more minor opinions on the opening day of its June “decisions season”. A ruling weakening labor unions’ rights of where and when to call strikes; and another bolstering individuals’ rights to sue pharmacies who overcharge government programs for prescription drugs, came today.

Here’s what else is happening:

  • Twitter boss Elon Musk is facing a class action lawsuit for insider trading, investors accusing the billionaire of manipulating the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, costing them billions of dollars.

  • Biden has marked the beginning of Pride Month with a tweet denouncing “cruel attacks” on LGBTQ+ rights by Republican legislatures and politicians around the country.

  • Months of distrust” inside Donald Trump’s legal team led to the departure of one of the former president’s top lawyers, and weakens his defense against claims he illegally retained classified documents after leaving office.

  • Former vice-president Mike Pence will join the crowded race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination next week. Trump, his former boss, and Florida governor Ron DeSantis are among those already declared. Chris Christie, the ex-governor of New Jersey, will also announce his run next week, reports say.

There’s plenty more to come. Please stick with us.

Updated

Musk facing lawsuit over 'insider trading'

Twitter boss Elon Musk is facing a class action lawsuit for insider trading, investors accusing the billionaire of manipulating the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, costing them billions of dollars.

According to Reuters, the Manhattan federal court lawsuit filed on Wednesday night says Musk, also chief of SpaceX and Tesla, used Twitter posts, paid online influencers, his 2021 appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live and other “publicity stunts” to trade profitably at their expense through several Dogecoin wallets that he or Tesla controls.

Elon Musk.
Elon Musk. Photograph: Tingshu Wang/Reuters

Investors say this included when Musk sold about $124m of Dogecoin in April after he replaced Twitter’s blue bird logo with Dogecoin’s Shiba Inu dog logo, leading to a 30% jump in Dogecoin’s price. Musk bought Twitter in October.

A “deliberate course of carnival barking, market manipulation and insider trading” enabled Musk to defraud investors, promote himself and his companies, the filing said.

Reuters said that Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Musk, declined to comment on the action. A lawyer for Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The investors’ lawyer did not immediately respond to a separate request.

Musk was the host of Republican Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s glitchy campaign launch for his party’s 2024 presidential nomination on Twitter Spaces last week.

It’s not been a good week for Musk, the world’s second richest man. On Wednesday, it was reported the value of Twitter had plummeted two thirds since he bought the social media platform.

Read more:

Supreme court justices on Thursday took aim at pharmacies who overcharge the government for prescription drugs, their unanimous ruling reopening a pathway for legal action by individuals seeking to protect taxpayers’ money.

The case involves “whistleblowers” ostensibly acting for the government, whom a lower court said could not sue pharmacies claiming their own “objectively reasonable” reading of the law allowed them to overbill federal health programs including Medicare and Medicaid.

Clarence Thomas.
Clarence Thomas. Photograph: Reuters

The 9-0 decision, written by conservative justice Clarence Thomas in a case brought by two such individuals against pharmacies controlled by Safeway Inc and SuperValu Inc, overturns the 7th circuit ruling and allows them to seek monetary damages from the providers offering drugs at discounts to customers paying out of pocket, while improperly charging higher rates to the government.

Joe Biden’s administration had backed the whistleblowers in their appeal.

Updated

Joe Biden has marked the beginning of Pride Month with a tweet denouncing “cruel attacks” on LGBTQ+ rights by Republican legislatures and politicians around the country.

“We celebrate the LGBTQI+ Americans who are fiercely and unapologetically fighting for freedom and equality - and reaffirm that their rights are human rights,” the president wrote.

Happy Pride, America.

This month, in the face of cruel attacks on LGBTQI+ rights across the country, we celebrate the LGBTQI+ Americans who are fiercely and unapologetically fighting for freedom and equality – and reaffirm that their rights are human rights. pic.twitter.com/JLeEdl0eYB

— President Biden (@POTUS) June 1, 2023

Biden will be speaking shortly in Colorado when he delivers the commencement address to graduates of the US air force academy in El Paso county. His speech is scheduled to begin at 11.40am ET, and you can watch it here.

“Months of distrust” inside Donald Trump’s legal team led to the departure of one of the former president’s top lawyers, and weakens his defense against claims he illegally retained classified documents after leaving office, my colleague Hugo Lowell reports.

It comes just a day after details emerged of a recording of Trump “regretting” he didn’t declassify a secret military paper, contradicting his often voiced assertion that he declassified every paper he took with him from the White House.

Donald Trump leaves his Manhattan apartment on Wednesday.
Donald Trump leaves his Manhattan apartment on Wednesday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The justice department is currently investigating Trump on two fronts, his efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat to Joe Biden, and his hoarding of hundreds of classified documents found by the FBI at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last year.

The frontrunner for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination is in Iowa today for a two-day trip, featuring a campaign rally at which he is all but certain to rail against what he calls a “witch hunt” against him by federal authorities.

He has already been indicted in New York over illicit payments to adult movie star Stormy Daniels

Read more:

In a decision seen as a setback to labor unions, the supreme court on Thursday made it easier for employers to pursue lawsuits against striking workers.

The opinion, written by justice Amy Coney Barrett and backed by conservative colleagues on the 6-3 bench, sided with a concrete business in Washington state that sued the union representing its truck drivers after a work stoppage.

Ketanji Brown Jackson, the panel’s most recent confirmation, by Joe Biden, was the lone dissenter.

Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Ketanji Brown Jackson. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

As reported by Reuters, the decision in the case of Glacier Northwest Inc against a local affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters overturned a lower court’s ruling in the union’s favor.

Glacier had accused the union of intentional property destruction during a 2017 strike when a group of drivers went on strike while their mixing trucks were filled with concrete. The company had to force to discard the unused product at a financial loss.

The supreme court overruled the Washington state supreme court that the loss was incidental to a strike that could be considered arguably protected under federal labor law.

The first #SCOTUS decision is in Glacier Northwest v. Teamsters. The state tort claim is not preempted by the NLRA. Barrett has the court's opinion. Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch only concur in judgment. Jackson dissents alone in the labor case. https://t.co/yG5OrzdjPg

— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) June 1, 2023

Biden’s administration urged the justices to reverse the lower court’s decision, Reuters reports. The decision allows Glacier’s lawsuit to proceed.

It also extends the panel’s recent trend of curtailing the power of labor unions. In 2021, justices struck down a California agricultural regulation aimed at helping unions organize workers, the agency said.

And in 2018 it ruled that non-members cannot be forced, as they are in certain states, to pay fees to unions representing public employees such as police and teachers that negotiate collective bargaining agreements with employers.

Here’s the full ruling on the Glacier v Teamsters case.

As we noted earlier, none of the bigger decisions we are expecting from the supreme court this decisions season came today. Those, covering affirmative action, LGBTQ+ equality and the future of Native American tribes, are now expected later this month.

Supreme court 'defangs' unions over rights to strike

The US supreme court has handed down a small number of opinions this morning, one of which appears to weaken unions’ rights to decide how and where to strike.

The ruling in the case of Glacier NW v International Brotherhood is “a massive change in labor law,” according to the high court analyst scotusblog.com.

Amy Coney Barrett.
Amy Coney Barrett. Photograph: Getty Images

“Unions just got defanged in a big way,” it said of the decision written by justice Amy Coney Barrett.

We’ll have more in depth analysis of the decision coming up shortly, but overall it seems to have been a quiet day for the court, with none of the bigger decisions we are expecting coming today.

Those, covering affirmative action, LGBTQ+ equality and the future of Native American tribes, are now expected later this month.

The race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination is about to get even more crowded. Mike Pence, the former vice-president, and ex-New Jersey governor Chris Christie are both planning to launch their campaigns next week.

Pence is, of course, the man supporters of Donald Trump infamously wanted to hang during the January 6 riots when they overran the US Capitol attempting to keep the former president in office. Trump has said “maybe they were right” to do so.

Mike Pence.
Mike Pence. Photograph: Charlie Neibergall/AP

Pence will announce his candidacy in Des Moines, Iowa, on 7 June, also his 64th birthday, two sources told the Associated Press.

He is also expected to release a video message that morning as part of the launch that, interestingly, is taking place in an early voting state rather than his home state of Indiana.

Christie, a former Trump advisor turned vocal critic, is set to launch his run the day before, as we reported yesterday. It will be the 60-year-old’s second attempt to win the nomination.

Trump, who is campaigning in Iowa today, dominates Republican primary polling, leading his closest challenger, the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, by more than 30 points in most polling averages.

DeSantis, who has also been in Iowa in recent days, announced his candidacy in a glitch-filled livestream event on Twitter last week.

Joe Biden’s status as “an apostle of bipartisanship” has been well and truly enhanced by the passage of the debt ceiling bill in the House, argues the Guardian’s Washington bureau chief David Smith in his analysis of this week’s developments.

The president, Smith says, can “claim vindication for the underlying theory of his presidency: that in the age of polarisation it takes an apostle of bipartisanship and a 36-year veteran of the Senate to reach across the aisle and make deals with his opponents”.

US debt ceiling victory helps Biden boost image as an apostle of bipartisanship https://t.co/nuWQSvRDON

— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) June 1, 2023

The bill that passed the House, he says, “could hardly have been more Bidenesque in hitting the sweet spot between left and right... Biden continues to exceed low expectations by finding common ground in the disappearing middle”.

Read the story:

Late-night votes, Republican holdouts, warnings from the US treasury about an impending national default, and games of brinkmanship between the White House and politicians from both parties in Washington DC haven’t exactly made developments in the debt ceiling story easy to follow.

What’s in the bill? What’s out? And who’s said what about whether they’re voting for or against it, and why?

Thankfully, we’ve got you. Here’s out handy explainer, with key takeaways, from the debt ceiling bill as it heads to the senate for approval:

Senators under time pressure to pass debt ceiling bill

Senators are facing time pressure Thursday as they pick up the debt ceiling bill that passed the House last night.

Chuck Schumer, the Democratic senate majority leader, was at his desk preparing its pathway soon after Wednesday’s 314-117 bipartisan House vote, and is warning any potential troublemakers to stand aside in order to get the measure approved swiftly and on to Joe Biden’s desk for signature to avoid a national default.

He told chamber colleagues on Wednesday:

Any needless delay, any last-minute brinkmanship at this point would be an unacceptable risk.

Moving quickly, working together to avoid default is the responsible and necessary thing to do.

In the House, McCarthy staved off a potential revolt by Republican colleagues to get the bill passed. In the senate, however, it’s Democrats who could yet throw a spanner in the works.

Progressives including Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, have indicated they plan to oppose the debt ceiling proposal, but the bill still appears likely to become law, my colleague Joan E Greve reports.

I cannot, in good conscience, vote for the debt ceiling deal. pic.twitter.com/Y5M8kP8AEo

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 31, 2023

Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat and frequent thorn in Biden’s side during the early months of his administration, was another potential holdout. But he appears to have been appeased by a provision in the deal speeding up a controversial gas pipeline.

With senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell indicating he plans to support the proposal, and encourage colleagues to do so, it probably won’t matter if a small number of Democrats do decide to withhold their backing.

Treasury secretary Janet Yellen says the US will run out of money next week, meaning Biden must sign the bill raising the debt ceiling by Monday to keep paying the bills. Schumer says he wants it out of the chamber by tomorrow night.

Here’s a quick explainer of what to expect next, courtesy of ABC News.

Read more on the “dirty” pipeline deal:

Updated

Good morning US politics blog readers. Thursday’s going to be a busy day: The debt ceiling bill that passed the House on a bipartisan vote last night heads for the Senate, where it faces time pressure to get it approved and on to Joe Biden’s desk for signature to avoid a national default.

Republicans and the White House are both claiming Wednesday night’s 314-117 vote as a victory, to a degree. “This budget agreement is a bipartisan compromise. Neither side got everything it wanted,” the president said.

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican speaker, was exuberant after staving off a revolt by rightwing colleagues. “I wanted to do something no other Congress has done. Tonight, we all made history,” he said.

You can read my colleague Joan E Greve’s report, including what happens next, here.

Here’s what else we’re watching today:

  • It’s potentially a huge day in the supreme court, where opinions on one or more cases of huge consequence to the nation could come as early as 10am. Justices have heard arguments covering affirmative action, LGBTQ+ equality and the future of Native American tribes. We’ll bring you the latest as the decision(s) come down.

  • We have details on the months of distrust inside Donald Trump’s legal team that threatens the former president’s defense against allegations he illegally stored classified material at his Florida home.

  • Challengers to Trump for the Republican party’s 2024 presidential nomination are coming thick and fast with reports that former vice president Mike Pence and the former New Jersey governor (and fierce Trump critic) Chris Christie are poised to enter the race next week.

  • Joe Biden is in Colorado, where he is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at the US air force academy later this morning.


Contributors

Maya Yang (now); Richard Luscombe (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Bipartisan US debt ceiling talks restart as deadline moves closer – as it happened
Joe Biden schedules 9 May meeting with congressional leaders after warning US could default on debt as soon as 1 June

Gloria Oladipo

02, May, 2023 @7:59 PM

Article image
Biden urges Senate to eliminate filibuster in voting rights pitch: ‘I’m tired of being quiet’ – as it happened
President and vice-president speak in Georgia as Schumer says Senate will act on voting rights ‘as soon as tomorrow’

Maanvi Singh (now) and Joan E Greve (earlier)

12, Jan, 2022 @12:12 AM

Article image
US debt ceiling deal narrowly passes Senate averting catastrophic federal default
With just days before the 5 June default deadline, president Joe Biden has indicated he will sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk

Joan E Greve

02, Jun, 2023 @11:29 AM

Article image
Biden addresses Americans after victory – as it happened
Democrat surpasses 270 electoral votes needed to win White House with Pennsylvania win – follow all the latest news and reaction live

Martin Belam (now), Tom McCarthy, Maanvi Singh, Oliver Holmes and Joan E Greve (earlier)

08, Nov, 2020 @10:04 AM

Article image
House adjourns after Kevin McCarthy falls short in three rounds of voting for speaker – as it happened
Leader of slim Republican majority has been negotiating to secure backing of hardliners but voting could go to multiple rounds

Maanvi Singh (now) and Joanna Walters (earlier)

04, Jan, 2023 @12:59 AM

Article image
Congress certifies Biden as next US president – as it happened
Four dead in unrest after pro-Trump mob storms Capitol

Tom McCarthy, Vivian Ho in San Francisco and Joan E Greve in Washington

07, Jan, 2021 @11:24 AM

Article image
Republicans and Democrats deadlocked as US debt ceiling deadline nears – as it happened
Negotiations continue over plan to increase debt limit before 1 June deadline

Chris Stein in Washington

08, May, 2023 @8:00 PM

Article image
House approves short-term deal to extend US debt ceiling by $480bn – as it happened
President set to sign deal to extend debt limit through early December – follow all the latest news

Maanvi Singh (now), Joanna Walters and Gloria Oladipo (earlier)

13, Oct, 2021 @12:15 AM

Article image
Biden pardons all federal offenses of simple marijuana possession – as it happened
President urges governors to do the same with state offenses: ‘No one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason’

Maya Yang (now); Chris Stein (earlier)

06, Oct, 2022 @7:58 PM

Article image
Biden sounds warning for those not vaccinated against Covid- as it happened
The president once again urged people who have not received the booster shot to do so immediately

Maanvi Singh (now) and Joan E Greve (earlier)

17, Dec, 2021 @12:56 AM