Trump claimed he canceled the event over the “total bias and dishonesty” of the House select committee investigating the riot, as well as the “fake news media.”
A Trump confidant told Playbook that a small group of his close allies confronted the former president and got him to change his mind. They made the case that the news conference would “be playing into the media’s hands.”
New York Times: “Among other things, several advisors – formal and informal – told him the press conference was a mistake and it was becoming clear he wasn’t likely to get the live TV coverage he was hoping for.”
President Biden will speak about the responsibility that he believes former President Donald Trump had in the Capitol attack on Thursday, The Hill reports.
Said White House press secretary Jen Psaki: “I would expect that President Biden will lay out the significance of what happened at the Capitol and the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw.”
“The House’s January 6th Committee is considering rare prime-time hearings to help build a maximum audience for testimony about what happened during the Capitol riot, one year ago tomorrow,” Axios reports.
Playbook: “Republicans don’t want to talk about Jan. 6. Period. End of story.”
“On a private call Tuesday, House GOP leaders encouraged their members to stick to attacking President Joe Biden — or, at most, talk about ongoing security concerns at the Capitol.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) told CNN that the House Select Committee investigating the events around the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol wanted former Vice President Mike Pence to voluntarily cooperate with the panel.
Said Thompson: “We have not formally asked. But if he offered, we’d gladly accept. Everything is under consideration.” He added: “We’d like to know what his security detail told him was going on.”
Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham will meet today with the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, CNN reports.
New York Times: “The government estimates that as many as 2,500 people who took part in the events of Jan. 6 could be charged with federal crimes. That includes more than 1,000 incidents that prosecutors believe could be assaults.”
“As of this week, more than 225 people have been accused of attacking or interfering with the police that day. About 275 have been charged with what the government describes as the chief political crime on Jan. 6: obstructing Congress’s duty to certify the 2020 presidential vote count. A little over 300 people have been charged with petty crimes alone, mostly trespassing and disorderly conduct.”
“But a big question hangs over the prosecutions: Will the Justice Department move beyond charging the rioters themselves?”
“More than 1,000 Americans in positions of public trust acted as accomplices in Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election result, participating in the violent insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January or spreading the ‘big lie’ that the vote count had been rigged,” The Guardian reports.
“The startling figure underlines the extent to which Trump’s attempt to undermine the foundations of presidential legitimacy has metastasized across the US. Individuals who engaged in arguably the most serious attempt to subvert democracy since the civil war are now inveigling themselves into all levels of government, from Congress and state legislatures down to school boards and other local public bodies.”
Punchbowl News: “This week – the first week of 2022 – has turned into a dud for Senate Democrats. Snow kept the Senate out Monday and Tuesday. A bunch of Senate Republicans are going to Atlanta Thursday for the late GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (Ga.) funeral. Thursday also happens to be the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. So that leaves just today for the Senate to be in session at full throttle.”
“The question now for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is whether Democrats can salvage the month of January? Where’s a possible win on the horizon for the Democratic majority?”
Axios: Omicron, snowstorm thwart Schumer’s midterm year quick start.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Tuesday night floated smaller changes to the Senate rules that would stop short of the filibuster reforms being pushed for by many of his Democratic colleagues, The Hill reports. Said Manchin: “I think the filibuster needs to stay in place, any way shape or form that we can do it.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) “reiterated during the Democratic lunch she will not support any effort to get rid of the 60-vote threshold,” Axios reports.
“As the new year opens, President Biden faces an increasingly narrow path to fulfill his ambitious goal of slashing the greenhouse gases generated by the United States that are helping to warm the planet to dangerous levels,” the New York Times reports.
“His Build Back Better Act, which contains $555 billion in proposed climate action, is in limbo on Capitol Hill. The Supreme Court is set to hear a pivotal case in February that could significantly restrict his authority to regulate the carbon dioxide that spews from power plants and is driving climate change. And the midterm elections loom in November, threatening his party’s control of Congress. Since Republicans have shown little appetite for climate action, a Republican takeover of one or both chambers could freeze movement for years.”
“The mounting challenges make the next few months critical to secure the safety of the planet as well as Mr. Biden’s climate legacy.”
Politico: “Besieged by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, the White House is racing to limit the fallout from record cases swamping the nation — an explosion that’s strained hospitals, snarled travel and raised the specter of widespread economic disruptions. The administration has fast-tracked Covid-19 treatments to hard-hit states and pledged emergency personnel to medical centers shorthanded by the waves of infection sweeping through their staffs. They’ve done it all while juggling immense political pressure from fellow Democrats to maintain some semblance of social normalcy lest the party be hit even further by pandemic fatigue among voters.”
“The new reality has further darkened the mood among White House aides already frustrated by the lack of progress toward ending a pandemic many initially believed could be dispatched within a year. It’s also accelerated the administration’s pivot toward preparing people to live with the virus indefinitely.”
“Six weeks after the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, Donald Trump’s pollster, Tony Fabrizio, conducted a survey of Republicans that looked at how well liked the former president was among several distinct groups of voters within the party,” the New York Times reports.
“A veteran GOP pollster who has worked on presidential campaigns going back to Patrick Buchanan’s first White House bid in 1992, Fabrizio saw how thoroughly Trump had remade the GOP in his image — and how enduring his popularity remained, even after the attack on the seat of American democracy.”
“The people who described themselves as the most committed Republicans were also the most likely to say they were committed to Trump, Fabrizio found in his post-Jan. 6 survey. Feelings about the former president, he explained in his analysis, were so intertwined with the understanding many voters had about what it meant to be a strong Republican that ‘Trumpism and party fidelity’ were becoming one and the same.”
“The 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump did so with the same conviction — that a president of their party deserved to be charged with inciting insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021 — and the same hope — that his role in doing so would finally persuade the GOP to repudiate him,” the New York Times reports.
“But in the year since the deadliest attack on the Capitol in centuries, none of the 10 lawmakers have been able to avoid the consequences of a fundamental miscalculation about the direction of their party. The former president is very much the leader of the Republicans, and it is those who stood against him whom the party has thrust into the role of pariah.”
“One year after the Jan. 6 riot, the voices of those who broke with Trump over that day have mostly been muted, moved on, or, in certain instances, come to embrace Trump all over again,” Politico reports.
“Politico contacted eighteen Trump administration officials who stepped down as a result of Jan. 6 or whose resignation seemed timed to it. Only one agreed to speak on the record about their decision that day.”
“Mitch McConnell is signaling he’s open to reforming the Electoral Count Act, one year after Senate and House Republicans objected to certification of President Joe Biden’s win ahead of an attempted insurrection,” Politico reports.
“Democrats are pursuing more sweeping election reforms and federalization of elections, but some lawmakers in both parties are also suggesting there may be more modest reforms that could pass on a bipartisan basis. The GOP leader said in a brief interview that he would be open to entertaining changes to the 1887 law, which allows members of Congress to dispute election results.”
Said McConnell: “It obviously has some flaws. And it is worth, I think, discussing.”
While broader federal voting rights legislation remains mired in the Senate as long as the 60-vote filibuster rule applies, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) told Axios there’s “some interest” among Senate Republicans in reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887. The goal would be to clarify the role the vice president and Congress play in certifying presidential elections.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) told Fox News that Democrats were using the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to gain more power. Said Hawley: “The politics of fear that the Democratic Party has been pushing on this country for a whole year, it’s the only thing they have to offer the country. And what they’re trying to do with it is consolidate their power.”
McConnell said it is “surreal” and “beyond distasteful” for Senate Democrats to cite the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol as an excuse to weaken the filibuster to pass broad elections reforms, Politico reports.
Said McConnell: “It is surreal to hear sitting senators invoke January the sixth to justify breaking the rules to grab outcomes they have not earned. It is surreal to hear sitting senators invoke January the sixth to argue that institutions can be trampled because they’d like a different result.”
Chicago Teachers Union members are refusing to work in person, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.
Wall Street Journal: “The Covid surge hitting just as kids are expected back in classrooms is making life unpredictable for parents yet again. Parents find themselves abruptly thrown back into a pandemic stage they thought they’d escaped: worrying about school cancellations, managing remote learning and calculating quarantine periods. Especially in places where case levels are acute, parents wonder how they will provide care and instruction for their children if they are sent home; some express uncertainty about the safety of going to school.”
“The fresh anxiety is straining already burned-out parents.”
“Democratic and Republican lawmakers have held early discussions about another round of coronavirus stimulus spending as they seek to blunt the fast-spreading omicron variant and its urgent threats to public health and economic recovery,” the Washington Post reports.
“The early efforts have focused primarily on authorizing billions of dollars to help an array of businesses — including restaurants, performance venues, gyms and even minor league sports teams — that face another potential blow to their already-battered balance sheets as a result of the evolving pandemic.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated by depriving them of restaurants, cinemas and social activities to pressure them to get protected against Covid-19, the Financial Times reports.
Said Macron: “There is a tiny minority of people who are resistant. We can reduce that, I’m sorry to say, by pissing them off even more.”
He added: “I am not here to piss off the French, I complain all day long about the administration when it bugs them. But the unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. So that’s what we will keep doing, all the way to the end. That is the strategy. I am not going to send them to prison, I am not going to vaccinate them by force.”
Margaret Sullivan: “In the year since the Jan. 6 insurrection, mainstream journalists have done a lot of things right. They’ve published major investigations, pointed out politicians’ lies and, in many cases, finally learned how to clearly communicate the facts of what happened leading up to that horrendous riot at the U.S. Capitol — and what is happening now as pro-Trump Republicans steadily chip away at the very checks and balances that saved American democracy last year.”
“Much of this work has been impressive. And yet, something crucial is missing. For the most part, news organizations are not making democracy-under-siege a central focus of the work they present to the public.”
“North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea on Wednesday, the U.S. military said, its first such launch in about two months and a signal it isn’t interested in rejoining denuclearization talks anytime soon and would rather focus on boosting its weapons arsenal,” the AP reports.
“Kim Jong-Un has begun his second decade as North Korea’s leader with a vow to alleviate the country’s chronic food shortages, state media reported on Saturday — a problem that he inherited from his late father 10 years ago and has yet to fix,” the New York Times reports.
The staff of the Democratic National Committee voted to unionize on Tuesday.
“A federal judge on Monday rejected U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s attempts to dismiss charges accusing the Nebraska Republican of making false statements to FBI agents who were investigating an illegal foreign donation to his campaign,” the AP reports.
“The lower 48 states likely had their hottest December on record, new data shows, with numerous locations in the Central States, South and East breaking previous benchmarks by large margins,” Axios reports.
“Three more police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — including two who aided the evacuation of lawmakers — have sued Donald Trump, seeking damages for their physical and emotional injuries,” Politico reports. “Another seven filed suit in August.”
Jenna Ryan, who was sentenced to 60 days in prison for taking part in the Capitol riot, told NBC News that she regretted entering the Capitol “but still portrayed herself as a victim.”
“She went so far as to assert that the backlash she has received is akin to the experience of ‘the Jews in Germany.’”
Said Ryan: “They’re making fun of my skin color. They’re calling me an ‘insurrection Barbie.’”