“In the entire 246-year history of the United States, there was surely never a more damning indictment presented against an American president than outlined on Thursday night in a cavernous congressional hearing room where the future of democracy felt on the line,” the New York Times reports.
“Other presidents have been accused of wrongdoing, even high crimes and misdemeanors, but the case against Donald J. Trump mounted by the bipartisan House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol described not just a rogue president but a would-be autocrat willing to shred the Constitution to hang onto power at all costs.”
And yet Trump remains the clear frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination for president.
“Nearly 20 million people watched Thursday night’s first hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol across broadcast and cable news,” The Hill reports.
New York Times: “That number will grow in the coming hours, as more networks are tallied and out-of-home viewing is factored in. Nielsen is expected to have a final viewership figure on Friday evening.”
Heather Cox Richardson: “Pundits had speculated before tonight’s televised hearing that it would not make compelling television, but they could not have been more wrong. The Fox News Channel, some of whose personalities were involved in the events surrounding January 6, refused to air the proceedings.”
“Nonetheless, that channel inadvertently proved just how powerful the hearing was when it ran Tucker Carlson’s show without commercial breaks, apparently afraid that if anyone began to channel surf they might be drawn in by the hearing on other channels.”
Punchbowl News: “We can’t say right now. But it was plain to anyone watching that the select committee is far from a sham, as Trump and GOP leaders have asserted for months. Its presentation was delivered extraordinarily effectively. Trump and his Republican allies were eviscerated by the testimony and statements from his own former aides and administration officials. Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the chair and vice chair of the panel, orchestrated a brutal takedown. Cheney’s performance was particularly poignant given how Republicans treated her over the last two years.”
“There’s also a clear plan for this series of hearings during the rest of June. It’s going to be a long few weeks for the House Republican leadership, which has stood unflinchingly behind Trump.”
“Yet the dissonance in the American political system is as loud as it’s ever been, as well. Republicans are charging toward the House majority even as they stand by a former president exposed as supporting a violent attack on American democracy.”
From Axios, as outlined by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) at the January 6 hearing last night:
- Trump spread false information about the 2020 election.
- Trump tried to install loyalists at the DOJ so the department would “support his fake election claims.”
- Trump pressured former Vice President Mike Pence to help overturn the election.
- Trump urged on state election officials and legislators to change the election results.
- Trump’s legal team “instructed Republicans in multiple states to create false electoral slates and transmit those slates to Congress and the National Archive.”
- Trump summoned and assembled the mob in D.C. and directed them to march on the Capitol.
- Trump ignored pleas for assistance from his team and failed to take action to stop the violence.
David Leonhardt: “There are still many Republican voters disgusted by what happened on Jan. 6. Nearly half say that finding out what happened that day is important. Almost 20 percent consider the attack to have been an attempt to overthrow the government, according to a recent CBS News poll. About 40 percent believe, accurately, that voter fraud was not widespread in the 2020 election.”
“If Republican voters are divided over the attack and Democrats are almost uniformly horrified by it, the politicians making excuses for it remain in the minority. Candidates who base their campaigns on lies about voter fraud — as some are now doing in Arizona, Pennsylvania and elsewhere — will have a harder time winning elections. Future efforts to overturn an election will be less likely to succeed.”
Philip Bump: “When 8 p.m. Eastern rolled around, though, it became clear that the network wasn’t simply going to not cover the hearing. Instead, it began more than two hours of commercial-free rebuttal. It didn’t simply cover other things, it focused almost entirely on the hearing as though it was former president Donald Trump’s defense team — without, of course, showing its audience the prosecution’s case.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) spoke to Jake Tapper on CNN after last night’s January 6 hearing:
TAPPER: Are there going to be witnesses that describe actual conversations between these extremist groups, and anyone in Trump’s orbit?
TAPPER: There will be?
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) again rebuffed the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack as he stares down a Saturday deadline to comply with a subpoena from the panel, The Hill reports.
David Frum: “The important thing to remember about Donald Trump’s presidency is that he was beaten again, and again, and again. His protective congressional majority was stripped away in 2018. He was twice tainted by impeachment. He was defeated for reelection. His conspiracy to overturn that election defeat was thwarted.”
“Full justice was not served—not yet, anyway. But the country was saved, because enough people summoned up the nerve to do the right thing. Sometimes, that right thing was a terrifyingly close shave. Sometimes, the people doing the right thing had warmed up with a long spell of doing the wrong thing, as Vice President Mike Pence did a lot of wrong things before he did the right thing on January 6, 2021. But if there is one lesson to take from the Trump years, it’s not the cynical Twitter joke ‘LOL nothing matters.’ The lesson is that everything mattered: every act of conscience, every act of honest reporting, every denial of the Big Lie, every ballot.”
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) “blasted any suggestion that he sought a pardon from President Donald Trump for himself or others, rejecting an eyebrow-raising claim that was made during the House January 6 committee’s first major public hearing the day before,” Insider reports.
Said Perry: “The notion that I ever sought a Presidential pardon for myself or other Members of Congress is an absolute, shameless, and soulless lie.”
Though Jared Kushner eventually got tired of Donald Trump’s election lies, Rolling Stone reports he was intimately involved in the initial efforts to keep Trump in power.
“During that first week, Kushner repeatedly met with Trump and other high-ranking aides to the then-president to discuss and map out possible strategies for multi-pronged legal battles and a scorched-earth messaging war against the victorious Biden campaign.”
“Ivanka Trump was not involved in looking at, or studying, Election results. She had long since checked out and was, in my opinion, only trying to be respectful to Bill Barr and his position as Attorney General (he sucked!).” — Donald Trump, responding to videotaped testimony of his daughter saying she believed her father lost the election.
Former President Donald Trump made at least nine posts on his social media platform Truth Social on Thursday night and Friday morning to slam the prime-time Jan. 6 hearing, Axios reports.
Said Trump: “So the Unselect Committee of political HACKS refuses to play any of the many positive witnesses and statements, refuses to talk of the Election Fraud and Irregularities that took place on a massive scale, and decided to use a documentary maker from Fake News ABC to spin only negative footage.”
He added: “Our Country is in such trouble!”
A former top editor at Fox News said that he has been called to testify next week before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, The Hill reports. Chris Stirewalt was ousted from the network following the 2020 presidential election.
“Cassidy Hutchinson — a top aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows during the Trump era — has parted ways with her lawyer and brought on new representation,” Politico reports.
“The change in counsel signals an increased willingness from Hutchinson to cooperate fully with the Jan. 6 select committee’s probe… The panel has signaled that it views her as a key witness.”
Robert Reich: “I don’t know whether Trump will be prosecuted. He deserves to be. He has violated his oath to the Constitution; he has violated America. But even if he is not prosecuted, the hearings will provide a full, detailed account of what Trump did in the weeks and months after the 2020 election — and therefore of what he did to our nation.”
“In other words, even if he avoids prosecution, even if he is never formally deemed a criminal under the law, Trump will be accountable to history. That is not as satisfying a form of accountability as a criminal judgment, to be sure. But it is a form of accountability that is inescapable. If the committee does its work properly — and I have every confidence it will — it will create a clear record. Which means that for our children and our children’s children — for as far as future generations will know of our recorded history — Donald Trump will live in infamy.”
Bill Kristol: “I have no idea whether tonight’s January 6th Select Committee hearing changed any minds, or even opened some. I don’t know what effect this first primetime hearing, or the subsequent ones, will have on American politics in the months and years ahead. I wish I were more confident they will help strengthen the guardrails of American democracy. But I am open to the possibility that the hearings will have little practical effect. Churchill’s great speeches in the 1930s made little difference in the short term.”
“One can’t guarantee an effect. One can’t control if one makes a difference.”
“What one can do is act in a way that makes one’s fellow citizens proud. That is what the House January 6th Committee did tonight. And that is what Liz Cheney in particular did tonight.”
“Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.” — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), quoted by the Washington Post.
The New York Times obtained documents and video that further exposed the police’s astonishingly sluggish response to the Uvalde elementary school shooting and how Pete Arredondo, the school district police chief, seemingly prioritized the safety of his officers during the attack.
Arredondo and other officers were in fact made aware that not everyone in the classrooms where the gunman opened fire was dead, the documents reportedly show. Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw had told the media on the day of the shooting on May 27 that officers believed nobody was alive and therefore mistakenly believed they had more time to respond.
Arredondo finally decided to breach the classroom doors about an hour after the gunman began shooting–but he wanted to find the keys first. He repeatedly kept asking for the keys even after heavily armed officers had arrived with shields, according to the Times.
Officers reportedly kept their distance from the classroom door in the hallway for more than 40 minutes after the initial shots were fired.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is throwing his support behind Steve Dettelbach, President Biden’s nominee to head up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, The Hill reports.
The Senate hasn’t confirmed a permanent leader of the agency since 2013.
“Something strange is happening among Senate Republicans when it comes to guns,” Politico reports.
“As bipartisan talks on a gun safety package continue, conservatives are pointedly not trying to derail them. Several, in fact, seem open to supporting a modest deal. And Republicans are considering some ideas that would have been a non-starter just a month ago, particularly more scrutiny of gun buyers’ juvenile records.”
U.S. inflation reached a new four-decade high of 8.6% in May, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Bloomberg: “Economists like to strip food and energy out of their inflation calculations. They’re too volatile to be meaningful, they say. But for everyday Americans coping with exploding prices, those items are pretty much all they care about right now.”
“For two straight months, the primary consumer expenses — fuel, power, and grocery-store food — have all been rising at double-digit annual rates for the first time since 1981. And data out Friday are likely to show a further surge in those unavoidable areas of spending. The Biden administration may want to draw focus to the ultra-low jobless rate to tout a strong economic recovery, but it’s inflation on everyday expenses that has become the topic of conversation at kitchen tables across the country.”
Wall Street Journal: Gas prices near $5 a gallon.
President Putin compared the war in Ukraine to Peter the Great’s conquests in the Baltic, arguing that in both conflicts Russia was recovering its own territory, the Times of London reports.
“The Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted a resolution by voice vote on Thursday morning in support of Finland’s and Sweden’s bids to join NATO,” Politico reports.
“The resolution calls on the White House to expedite the paperwork for both countries, who have applied to join the defensive alliance amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
President Biden told Jimmy Kimmel there will be a “mini revolution” with many politicians voted out of office if the Supreme Court overturns abortion rights.
Said Biden: “There’s a whole range of things that are at stake here when we talk about eliminating Roe v. Wade. It’s just ridiculous in my view.”
He added: “I don’t think the country will stand for it.”
“President Biden entered office pursuing transformational change. Now, weighed down by a series of international and domestic crises, the White House is focused on playing small ball,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The FBI has arrested Michigan gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley (R) for his role in the Capitol riot after raiding his home Thursday morning, the Detroit News reports.
“The search unfolding at Kelley’s home… adds more uncertainty to a chaotic race for governor that has seen several Republican candidates blocked from the ballot for submitting fraudulent nominating petition signatures.”
Kelley is one of five Republican candidates still on the August primary ballot, after five other candidates were disqualified.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett made $425,000 for a forthcoming book in 2021, the largest payment that any Supreme Court justice received in book deals that year, Insider reports.
NPR: “Normally at this time of year, the justices would be exchanging hundreds of pages of draft opinions and working with each other to resolve differences and reach consensus in the most challenging cases of the term. Instead, the court is riven with distrust among the law clerks, staff and, most of all, the justices themselves.”
“The atmosphere behind the scenes is so ugly that, as one source put it,’”the place sounds like it’s imploding.’ To cite just one public example, Justice Clarence Thomas in a speech a few weeks ago seemed to say he no longer trusts his colleagues.”
Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told USA Today that in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection she spoke to former Vice President Mike Pence about the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office, but that Pence “made it very clear that he was not going to go in that direction.”
“DeVos says she watched with horror as the events of Jan. 6, 2021, unfolded at the nation’s Capitol. She could no longer stand by the president, whom she believed was culpable in the violence that day through his actions – and inaction,” USA Today reports.
“And so the next day she submitted her resignation letter to then-President Donald Trump….She hasn’t had any contact with Trump since.”
DeVos is also promoting a new book out later this month.
The Biden administration is expected to announce that the CDC will lift its requirement for travelers to test negative for Covid-19 before entering the U.S., CNN reports.
The move goes into effect at midnight on June 12.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suggested that he might urge the state’s child protective services to investigate parents who take their children to drag shows, NBC News reports.
Said DeSantis: “It used to be kids would be off-limits. Used to be everybody agreed with that. Now it just seems like there’s a concerted effort to be exposing kids more and more to things that are not age appropriate.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) “is backing away from a proposal to require low-income Americans to pay at least some federal income tax, shifting his stance after facing criticism from fellow Republicans and handing an attack line to President Biden and Democrats,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The proposal “now states that able-bodied Americans under 60 should work if they don’t have young children or incapacitated dependents.”
Also new in Scott’s revamp: making the 2017 Trump tax cuts permanent
Rep. Debbie Lasko (R-AZ) has claimed she’s a victim of domestic violence, but an Arizona Republic investigation finds there’s more to the allegations. “The fuller story reveals a decade spent alongside a career criminal, with their lives cycling between temporary comfort in a new location to a hasty exit ahead of creditors or police.”
“New details uncovered by The Republic include her status as a key witness to her then-husband’s felonies in Scottsdale, financial problems in New Mexico, more than a dozen payouts to her business customers from an Arizona fund to cover derelict contractors, and multiple pleas to judges for mercy for her then-husband and business partner.”
Rob Astorino (R), who is running for the Republican nomination for New York governor, “called for an end to clandestine flights by the federal government bringing what he described as illegal immigrants into the area,” the Westchester Business Journal reports.
Astorino said that “after arrival in New York, the immigrants are dispersed into various communities and even taken to rest areas on the New Jersey turnpike where vehicles are waiting to take them to other destinations.”
Said Astorino: ”The flights are accelerating, there is no question about that. We have video. It’s not just little kids with backpacks being reunified with their families.”
“Congressional Republicans, who could wield powerful gavels next year, say senators and House members are in talks about 2023 investigations — though they stress conversations are informal,” Politico reports.
“Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who is in line to chair the Judiciary Committee if Republicans take the majority next year, told Politico that he’s spoken with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) and sees investigations as a key area the two chambers could coordinate.”
Said Jordan: “Where you could really work with the Senate — and I’ve had conversations with Senator Paul, Senator Johnson — is you can work with the Senate on the investigations that need to be done.”
“California’s primary election won’t be remembered for what happened in a sprawling state Senate district that stretches from Lake Tahoe to Death Valley. But maybe it should,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“After all, the one sure thing in the election that ended Tuesday was supposed to be that Republicans win elections in California’s 4th Senate District. The region backed former President Trump twice along with an array of Republicans in national and statewide races stretching back to at least 2010.”
“But early election results have produced a surprise. Two Democrats appear poised to advance to the Nov. 8 ballot, the result of a six-person field of GOP candidates thinly spreading out the votes and California’s top-two primary system that made its debut in 2012.”