Happy Wednesday! Nothing better than waking up to a text from your boss gloating about the prank he pulled on you in that morning’s newsletter.
(The second half of Declan’s joke has been lost to the sands of time, not unlike the 11th episode of The Remnant.)
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News on Tuesday that, in the Bureau’s assessment, COVID-19 most likely came from “a potential lab incident” in Wuhan. The comments came days after the Wall Street Journal reported the Energy Department came to a similar conclusion—albeit with “low confidence.”
- The Office of Management and Budget announced Tuesday federal agencies will have 30 days to ensure officials and staffers do not have TikTok downloaded on any government-issued devices. The blanket ban of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app—which was included in government funding legislation that passed late last year—is similar to recent orders in Canada, the European Union, and many U.S. state governments.
- According to a confidential International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report obtained by the Associated Press, the IAEA detected uranium enriched up to 84 percent purity in Iran’s underground Fordo nuclear site in late January—though the report references only “particles” of the more enriched uranium being detected rather than full stockpiles. Iran blamed the higher levels of enrichment on a “technical” mishap and “unintended fluctuations in enrichment levels.”
- President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his intent to nominate Julie Su, currently Deputy Secretary of Labor, to replace Marty Walsh atop the department after Walsh announced last month his plans to resign. Su previously served as Labor Secretary in the state of California, and the tens of billions of dollars in fraudulent unemployment payments that went out on her watch during the pandemic have led some Republicans to preemptively oppose her confirmation.
- Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday became the first Chicago mayor in decades to lose a reelection bid after finishing a distant third in yesterday’s election. Because no candidate secured more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters—former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson—will advance to a runoff election on April 4.
- Nigerian election officials on Wednesday declared ruling party candidate and former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu the winner of the country’s disputed presidential election with 37 percent of the vote. Tinubu’s rivals have yet to concede the race, with Nigeria’s two major opposition parties alleging voter fraud and demanding a recount.
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed into law legislation reforming the special district governing Walt Disney World and appointed five members to the district’s board. Among the appointees—who must be confirmed by the Florida Senate—are a co-founder of the grassroots activist organization Moms for Liberty and the president of the Orlando chapter of the Federalist Society.
- At least 32 people were killed on Tuesday night when two trains—one passenger, one cargo—collided in central Greece near the city of Larissa. Dozens more were injured and transported to the hospital.
Supreme Court Skeptical of Biden’s Student Debt Cancellation
You can’t reliably predict Supreme Court rulings based on what the justices say during oral arguments, but Chief Justice John Roberts’ choice of metaphor to describe the legal foundation of the Biden administration’s student debt cancellation plan couldn’t have inspired much confidence in the policy’s supporters.
“It might be good English to say that the French Revolution ‘modified’ the status of the French nobility—but only because there’s a figure of speech called understatement and a literary device known as sarcasm,” Roberts said, quoting a previous opinion by late Justice Antonin Scalia. “We’re talking about half a trillion dollars and 43 million Americans. How does that fit under the normal understanding of ‘modifying’?”