Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day. Send your tips and suggestions to email@example.com or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Some Republicans see a comeuppance in Matt Gaetz’s potential scandal
- Here’s what Biden will unveil in his $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan today
- Grover Norquist is making a return to GOP politics
1. A TRUMP DEFENDER FACES A POTENTIAL SCANDAL: Rep. Matt Gaetz may now have the scandal he once jokingly craved. While former Trump White House officials and other Republicans are gossiping about their fellow Republican’s misfortune.
- Key quote: “Good riddance,” a former Trump White House aide told Insider. “It sounds like he let whatever BS power he thought he had go to his head and he thought himself above the law.”
- Messages are flying across Washington: One former senior Trump White House aide was on multiple text chains with former colleagues gossiping about the deluge of news.
- Read the rest of the details in our exclusive report.
What’s happening: The Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, The New York Times reports. At issue is whether the Florida congressman had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him.
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing. But an interview defending himself raised eyebrows, including the host’s: Fox News’ Tucker Carlson called Gaetz’s appearance “one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.”
It gets stranger: Gaetz further alleges the allegations are part of a $25 million extortion plot by a former DOJ official. The lawmaker even claims his father recently wore a wire as part of an FBI investigation into that plot.
- Worth noting: Part of his denial that is worth scrutiny is his claim that he was targeted for being “an outspoken conservative.” According to the Times, the sex trafficking investigation was started under the Trump administration i.e. while Bill Barr was still Attorney General.
The kicker: Before the Times story broke, Axios reported that Gaetz was eyeing leaving Congress to take a job at Newsmax, a conservative TV station.
2. The details on Biden’s $2.25 infrastructure plan: The first part of Biden’s plan calls for $650 billion in road, bridges, and waterways; $400 billion in clean-energy credits; and $300 billion for housing infrastructure, The Washington Post reports. Tax hikes will help cover the cost with officials eyeing higher taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations. Here’s what else is in it.
- Democratic lawmakers are already making their asks: Four lawmakers from New York and New Jersey are insisting that the proposal repeal the GOP tax law’s limit on state and local tax deductions, Politico reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can only afford to lose three votes.
3. A 9-year-old testified about watching George Floyd die: “They asked him nicely to get off of him,” the girl testified, one of four witnesses who were all minors when Floyd died. “He still stayed on him.” Her comments punctuated another emotional day in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with murdering Floyd last May.
Here’s what else we learned on day 2: An off-duty firefighter and EMT, Genevieve Hansen, also saw Floyd’s death. She said noticed something was wrong and wanted to help but wasn’t allowed to do so.
- Chauvin’s defense tried to paint Hansen as emotional: An attorney pointed out that she later swore at Chauvin. Hansen responded, “I don’t know if you’ve seen anyone be killed, but it’s upsetting.”
4. Grover Norquist is making a return to GOP politics: The conservative firebrand Grover Norquist is returning just as Democrats plan big spending, even as Norquist’s detractors point out that his longtime assault on federal spending was ignored in the Trump-era even before the pandemic. More in Insider’s profile on the man who created the taxpayer pledge.