Earlier this year, a federal judge concluded in a ruling in the probe of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that Donald Trump probably broke the law with his plot that day to overturn the election. As U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote in March: “Dr. John Eastman and President Trump launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history. Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower — it was a coup in search of a legal theory.”
In a ruling last night allowing more of Eastman’s emails to be sent to the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection, Carter said the crime “was fully formed and actionable as early as December 7, 2020.”
That date is significant for at least two reasons, as Politico notes:
- The Trump campaign drafted a retainer agreement for Eastman on Dec. 6.
- Vice President Mike Pence asked for an urgent briefing from his counsel on Dec. 7.
Carter’s ruling suggests that Pence requested the briefing in response to the “fully formed” plot — nearly a month before the actual Jan. 6 insurrection. We don’t know yet what’s in Eastman’s emails. But Carter did indicate in his ruling that one of them “presented evidence of a likely crime,” according to Politico. Eastman was ordered to deliver the new batch of emails to the Select Committee by 5 p.m. tonight — the day before the panel’s first public hearing.
“The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack is scheduled to hold its inaugural hearing on Thursday and according to the running order obtained by the Guardian, the panel will track the activities of the far-right Proud Boys group before and during the insurrection,” The Guardian reports.
New York Times: “No matter how vociferously Mr. Trump claimed otherwise, neither Mr. Kushner nor Ivanka Trump believed then or later that the election had been stolen… While the president spent the hours and days after the polls closed complaining about imagined fraud in battleground states and plotting a strategy to hold on to power, his daughter and son-in-law were already washing their hands of the Trump presidency.”
“Their decision to move on opened a vacuum around the president that was filled by conspiracy theorists like Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who relayed to Mr. Trump farcically false stories of dead voters, stuffed ballot boxes, corrupted voting machines and foreign plots. Concluding that the president would not listen even to family members urging him to accept the results, Mr. Kushner told Mr. Trump that he would not be involved if Mr. Giuliani were in charge, according to people he confided in, effectively ceding the field to those who would try to overturn the election.”
“The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is in active discussions with former White House counsel Pat Cipollone regarding a potential public appearance in one of their upcoming hearings,” ABC News reports.
Susan Glasser has a great profile of Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, much of which comes from reporting from her forthcoming book with Peter Baker: The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017 -2021.
“A sixty-year-old onetime real-estate developer from North Carolina who had spent the previous seven years in Congress, he was beefy and tall, with a winning smile and an easygoing manner. But his affable demeanor disguised a ruthless ambition, and, once he quit Congress and took over Trump’s perpetually fractious team, his new colleagues found him to be a cutthroat infighter determined to consolidate power.”
This is telling: “A former Republican leadership aide once told the journalists Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman that Meadows was the most dishonest person he had ever met at the Capitol, ‘convicted criminals included.’”
“A split is emerging among Republicans about how best to counter the House Jan. 6 committee’s opening hearing Thursday, as the party waits to see just how explosive the panel’s findings prove to be,” NBC News reports.
“One GOP faction believes the attack on the Capitol a year and a half ago is of so little interest to Americans by now that it’s hardly worth rebutting the committee’s presentation. More politically advantageous, that faction argues, is amplifying the message that President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats are to blame for rising gas and grocery prices.”
“But another wing of the party is preparing to blunt any revelations coming out of the hearings through press statements and news conferences with hand-picked outlets.”
Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general in the final days of the Trump administration, has been invited to testify publicly at the upcoming House select committee hearings on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Law.com reports.
Greg Sargent: “The not-so-shocking revelation that Fox News will not carry House committee hearings about the insurrection is yet another sign that right-wing media will go to extraordinary lengths to shield the GOP base from brutal truths about Jan. 6, 2021.”
“Yet Fox’s blackout also highlights severe information challenges that Democrats will face for the foreseeable future. The fact that Republicans enjoy a massive media apparatus that manufactures a separate reality for the base, even as Democrats rely on traditional news organizations to communicate with voters, creates deep information asymmetries that continue to bedevil them.”
Amanda Carpenter offers “a sample platter” of the stories the January 6 Committee has to nail down in their public hearings:
- Trump’s lies.
- How the GOP and its many aligned advocacy organizations fundraised off Trump’s meritless legal challenges to cancel Democratic votes.
- The efforts to squeeze state officials to “find the votes” in swing states Trump lost.
- The schemes inside the Department of Justice to launch sham investigations into voter fraud.
- The wild ideas entertained inside the White House to seize voting machines in order to “rerun” the election.
- The pressure campaign on Republican members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence to deny Electoral College votes for Biden.
- How Trump summoned a real-life mob, bearing tactical gear and weapons, that resorted to physical violence to stop Congress from certifying Biden as president.
“It’s a lot. Give it time to sink in. And do not let the political junkies rush the process with their relentless questions about whether or not the hearings will ‘work’ in changing public opinion.”
“The White House issued a new warning to Congress Wednesday on the continued urgent need for Covid-19 funding, highlighting new ‘unacceptable tradeoffs’ as it reallocates and reprioritizes remaining funding toward new vaccines in the absence of congressional action,” CNN reports.
“Moderna released results on Wednesday on an updated coronavirus vaccine targeting the Omicron variant, calling it ‘our lead candidate’ to serve as a booster shot in the fall,” the New York Times reports.
“The firm’s researchers tested a booster dose combining the original vaccine with one targeted specifically against Omicron, the variant that became dominant last winter. They found that the combination produced 1.75 times as much neutralizing antibodies against Omicron as the existing Moderna vaccine did alone.”
New York Times: “The administration has at times splintered internally over how to discuss price increases and has revised its inflation-related message several times as talking points fail to resonate and new data comes in. Some Democrats in Congress have urged the White House to strike a different — and more proactive — tone ahead of the November midterm elections.”
“But the reality the White House faces is a hard one: There is little politicians can do to quickly bring price increases to heel. Federal Reserve policy is the nation’s main solution to inflation, but the central bank tempers price gains by making money more expensive to borrow to cool off demand, a slow and potentially painful process for the economy.”
“An armed man was arrested early Wednesday near the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh after making threats against the Supreme Court justice,” the New York Times reports.
Washington Post: “The man, described as being in his mid-20s, was found to be carrying at least one weapon and burglary tools… Police were apparently notified that the person might pose a threat to the justice, but it was not immediately clear who provided the initial tip.”
Related story: Politico reports Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “is demanding the House take up and pass Senate legislation boosting security protections for Supreme Court justices and their families.”
“Senate Democrats acknowledge bipartisan gun safety talks will fall far short of what they want. They’re desperate for a deal anyway — and seem willing to take whatever the GOP will give them,” Politico reports.
“Whatever the negotiations among a handful of members in both parties amount to, this much is already assured: There will be no assault weapons ban and no universal background checks. Expanded background checks are a long shot, as is raising the age needed to buy firearms to 21.”
“And while Democrats surely want those policies to become law, they are not dictating what the bare minimum on gun safety should be.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she believes Congress can still reach an agreement on gun reform measures but downplayed the scope of any legislation that might come out of the ongoing bipartisan talks.
“Actor Matthew McConaughey delivered impassioned and at-times emotional remarks at the White House press briefing on Tuesday, telling the stories of those who died in the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and urging more action on gun control,” CNN reports.
“McConaughey, a Uvalde native, said he and his wife, Camila Alves, spent most of the past week with the families of those who were killed in his hometown. He showed pictures of their artwork and brought to the briefing room the green Converse shoes that one girl wore every day that were used to identify her body after the shooting. She had drawn a heart on one of the shoes.”
“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has privately expressed an openness for raising the age to 21 for purchasing semiautomatic rifles, but the issue is unlikely to be included in any final deal because most Republicans are opposed to it,” CNN reports.
Punchbowl News: “In the long struggle over guns and gun control, there’s finally a window open for a compromise – albeit a small window with room for only a narrow accord.”
“Democrats are working within the confines of a razor-thin majority in Washington, dropping their calls for big policy changes in favor of small progress. And some Republicans have accepted that opposing any and all changes to gun laws is both politically and substantively unacceptable.”
“It has led to an almost head-snapping sense in the Capitol that President Joe Biden may actually get a package of gun-control laws to sign in the next several months, ahead of the midterm elections.”
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) “appears to have again violated a federal conflict-of-interest law by failing to properly report purchases and sales of six types of cryptocurrencies,” Insider reports.
“Louisiana became the 18th state to bar transgender women and girls from playing on female school sports teams Monday after the state’s Democratic governor chose not to veto or approve the bill,” NBC News reports.
The Washington Post has “the untold story of how Martha Mitchell took revenge against her husband.”
“The US military is investigating whether an American service member set off explosives in an insider attack on a small US base in northern Syria that injured four service members in April,” CNN reports.
“Colorado officials are examining allegations that Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican representing the state’s western half, inflated the mileage she logged on the campaign trail in 2020 and then used more than $20,000 in reimbursements from donors to pay off years of tax liens on her restaurant,” the New York Times reports.
“The allegations have bounced around liberal circles since The Denver Post first reported in February 2021 that Ms. Boebert had cashed two checks from her campaign totaling $22,259 for mileage reimbursement, a figure that equated to 38,712 miles — well more than 24,901-mile circumference of the planet.”
U.S. Circuit Judge James Ho of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, said that jurists “must not be afraid of being booed” by issuing rulings unpopular with “cultural elites” and people who consider the U.S. Constitution “trash,” Reuters reports.
Ho said that “principled originalists” like himself are being disparaged as “judicial arsonists” writing “bonkers opinions.”
“Top Democratic leaders in Washington and across the country fear that Donald Trump might be running for president again by the time Attorney General Merrick Garland decides whether to prosecute him and others in his orbit for the January 6 insurrection — and that any action by the Biden Justice Department could be cast by Republicans as little more than a political vendetta,” CNN reports.
“Two dozen leading Democrats in Washington and across the country tell CNN that Garland may have missed his moment to bring criminal charges against top Trump administration officials before it would get caught up in the 2024 presidential campaign jockeying set to begin later this year, after the midterm elections.”
A high-ranking GOP staffer talks to Thomas Edsall: “They are different in that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the ‘squad’ seem to me to be more ‘idealist.’ They actually do want to legislate/accomplish the very far left social ideas they propose. They are willing to cause Pelosi headaches, but they have shown they are not going to go so far as to jeopardize the government (operations) and safety net that so many families depend on from a working government.”
On the other hand: “I hate to use a loaded word here but I can’t think of another one, the ‘MAGA Caucus’ members operate more like bullies — legislative bullies. If they have the opportunity they will gladly hold bills/government funding hostage for the sake of populism and social media. They would take pride in ‘shooting the hostage’ as that would be very popular with their tribal base and their social media.”
“Pakistan’s polio eradication campaign is in disarray after an alarming jump in cases last week,” The Guardian reports. “Eight polio cases have now been reported in children over the past month in North Waziristan district, bordering Afghanistan.”
“A record 11 journalists have been murdered in Mexico this year alone; 145 have been killed since 2000,” Axios reports. “Journalists are often killed — with impunity — for their reporting on crime or corruption. Mexico is the most dangerous non-war zone country for journalists in the world.”
“CNN’s new boss, Chris Licht, is evaluating whether personalities and programming that grew polarizing during the Trump era can adapt to the network’s new priority to be less partisan,” Axios reports. “If talent cannot adjust to a less partisan tone and strategy, they could be ousted.”
“Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden have never seen eye-to-eye, but they have agreed to an awkward, hastily arranged meeting in Los Angeles on Thursday for their own different motives,” Reuters reports.
“Biden reached out to Bolsonaro, a far-right populist, in a last-ditch attempt to save a hemispheric summit, while Bolsonaro will use a meeting with the world’s most powerful man to boost his image as he heads into a tough re-election campaign.”