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Here are the top stories for Monday, February 22nd: Confirmation hearings open for Biden's A.G. pick; Trump dealt a legal blow in tax case; Biden targets pandemic aid to small business; America marks 500,000 COVID deaths.
NED BARKER: This is "AP News Minute." It was day one on Capitol Hill for Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's pick for attorney general. Garland told a Senate panel weighing his nomination that if confirmed, he will prioritize civil rights, combat extremist attacks, and ensure the Justice Department stays politically independent.
The Supreme Court has dealt a blow to former President Donald Trump by refusing to halt the turnover of Trump's tax records to Manhattan prosecutor Cyrus Vance Jr. The public won't see the documents due to grand jury secrecy rules, but Trump has tried to keep his tax records private for years. President Joe Biden has announced changes to the federal government's COVID era Paycheck Protection Program that will target more help to small businesses. A two-week window opens Wednesday, where only those businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for the forgivable loans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a moment of silence on the floor of the US House as America marks a terrible milestone. The coronavirus pandemic, the biggest health crisis in a century, has claimed the lives of an estimated 500,000 Americans. Ned Barker, the Associated Press, with "AP News Minute."