“Senate Democrats narrowly won … on Wednesday … in a 52-47 vote to overturn a decision last December by the Federal Communications Commission to dismantle Obama-era rules that prevented broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast from blocking or speeding up streams and downloads of web content in exchange for extra fees. The commission’s repeal of net neutrality is set to take effect in a few weeks.” (New York Times)
Every Senate Democrat voted in favor of overturning the decision. (Hotline reporting)
HASPEL. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “is not among those who will back” Gina Haspel’s CIA director nomination. “Last week, Brown told reporters he had concerns about her background.” (cleveland.com)
“The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend … Haspel … setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.” (Washington Post)
TREND-SPOTTING. “As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe hits the one-year mark Thursday, Republicans in midterm elections have started to see an opportunity to use the Trump controversy to their advantage – by appealing to voters tired of the never-ending investigation.” (Fox News)
So far, four Republican members in the House have lost statewide bids, including for Senate in Indiana and West Virginia. Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Lou Barletta (R-PA) both won, with the help of President Trump’s endorsement. Reps. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are expected to win their respective primaries while Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) faces an inter party fight.
“For Republican primary voters, candidates who are trying to move on from the U.S. House have two major obstacles to overcome: Not only are they part of what President Trump derides as the ‘swamp,’ but they’re also not getting enough done to support his agenda. The best way to overcome these twin objections seems to be a nod from the president himself. ” (Washington Post)
It’s a different story for Democrats, including for governors races. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) won his Senate primary in Texas, while Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) face little opposition for their respective nominations. (Hotline reporting)
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Ohio Democratic voters have filed suit against Ohio Governor John Kasich and other Republican state officials over alleged partisan gerrymandering in Ohio's electoral map. Despite capturing between 51 and 59 percent of the statewide vote in the past three elections, Republicans hold three-quarters of state congressional seats. "The U.S. Supreme Court is due by the end of June to issue major rulings in two partisan gerrymandering cases from Wisconsin and Maryland that could affect the Ohio suit."
An Iranian missile scientist, killed in a strike in 2011 along with his research center, oversaw the development of a secret, second facility in the remote Iranian desert that ... is operating to this day," according to a team of California weapons experts. "For weeks, the researchers picked through satellite photos of the facility. They found, they say, that work on the site now appears to focus on advanced rocket engines and rocket fuel, and is often conducted under cover of night."
"President Trump signed a bill Tuesday aimed at reducing the backlog of security clearance investigations — but later reserved the right not to comply with it on constitutional grounds. In a signing statement Tuesday night, Trump said provisions of the bill — the Securely Expediting Clearances Through Reporting Transparency Act of 2018, or SECRET Act — encroach on his authority as commander-in-chief."
"The FBI has repeatedly provided grossly inflated statistics to Congress and the public about the extent of problems posed by encrypted cellphones, claiming investigators were locked out of nearly 7,800 devices connected to crimes last year when...one internal estimate put the correct number of locked phones at 1,200." The FBI has maintained that the spread of encrypted software "can block investigators’ access to digital data even with a court order," whereas civil liberties advocates "argue that encryption prevents crime by protecting people’s data from hackers." One year before the larger estimate was made, "the FBI had claimed the figure was 880."