Tag Archive for: Jan. 6 committee



In El Paso, migrants struggle to get in out of the cold. Key Jan. 6 witness says Trump-linked lawyer pressured her on testimony. Chinese state media downplays COVID surge, deaths.


Migrants in El Paso struggle to find shelter in below freezing temperatures

Even though the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the lifting of Title 42 this week, a steady stream of migrants continues to flow over the southern border into towns like El Paso, TX. For weeks, the city has been calling on state and federal government resources to help process, shelter and transfer the migrants out of the area. Earlier this week, El Paso’s mayor declared a state of emergency in hopes of unlocking more help. 

With most of El Paso’s existing shelters overrun, many migrants have had to make do sleeping on the street, in bus stations or the small local airport. But now in El Paso, as in much of the country, temperatures are dropping below freezing thanks to a massive Arctic wind and cold front. This has left the migrants, many of whom have young children or babies in tow, struggling to find places to get in out of the cold.

The city-run shelters still have some room, but some migrants say they have been denied access to these shelters. The federal government has kicked in some money for the municipal shelters and is requiring the city to admit only migrants with immigration paperwork. Migrants that crossed the border undetected don’t have this paperwork.  Even families with children are being turned away if they don’t have these documents. There are some local churches and charity-run shelters that are open to everyone, but they are largely full themselves.

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Key Jan. 6 witness says Trump-linked lawyer pressured her on testimony

This summer, Cassidy Hutchinson, former assistant to Trump Chief-of-staff Mark Meadows, gave extensive testimony in a televised hearing of the Congressional Jan. 6 committee. Her testimony covered events she was privy to leading from the weeks immediately following Trump’s loss in the Nov. 2020 election up to the events of Jan. 6. Both in her televised live testimony and recorded testimony, Hutchinson shed light on the motivations and actions of major players in Trump’s orbit.

The Jan. 6 Committee has wrapped up its work, issuing an 800-page report after issuing four criminal referrals for former Pres. Trump to the Justice Department. A day before releasing its full report, the committee released the full transcripts of Hutchinson’s testimony. This release included information that had not previously been public knowledge.

One key revelation has to do with efforts by Trump world to influence testimony given before the committee. The committee members previously revealed that witnesses (including at least one whose testimony was not televised) received messages from people close to Trump seeking to influence them. We now know that Hutchinson herself was one of them. 

Unable to pay the prices of other lawyers she contacted, Hutchinson initially retained the services of Stefan Passantino to represent her in her dealings with the committee. Passantino’s fees were paid by allies of Trump. Hutchinson told the committee Passantino had advised her not to cooperate with the committee and to instead risk a contempt charge. When she decided to go to the committee anyway, Passantino allegedly told her “the less you remember, the better”.

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Chinese state media downplays COVID surge, deaths

Following months of economic turmoil and recent social unrest, China has at last rolled back its strict “Zero COVID” policies. For over two years, any city with even just a few COVID infections would immediately be locked down. This policy focused on restricting the spread of COVID, but at enormous economic and social cost. Meanwhile, the government seems to have done little to prepare for the day when the policy would end. The country’s vaccination campaign is lagging significantly behind, even among the elderly who are most at risk. There’s also been little effort to increase the number of hospital and ICU beds.

Now that the policy has ended, China is experiencing a predictable explosion of COVID infections. The infection is spreading rapidly among the population that has less immunity from exposure or immunization than other countries at this point. There’s also anecdotal evidence suggesting a massive rise in COVID-related deaths. However, China’s state media has been downplaying the number of deaths. Thousands on Chinese social media have reported the deaths of loved ones, particularly the elderly. Hospitals in major cities are turning people away for lack of beds and crematoria have at least a 10 day waiting list.

Despite this, Chinese state media reports only 8 COVID deaths this month! After receiving massive ridicule for this from average citizens, the government revealed it only counts deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure are classified as COVID deaths. Deaths from various inflammatory syndromes caused by COVID or people with pre-existing conditions are not being counted.

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Jan. 6 committee to vote on criminal referrals for Trump, others today. El Paso, TX, declares state of emergency over expected influx of migrants. Thai warship capsizes, 31 sailors missing.





Jan. 6 committee to vote on criminal referrals for Trump, others today

The Congressional Jan. 6 Committee will meet for its final televised event today at 1 pm ET/ 12 noon CT. The committee will be concluding its public business with a vote on whether to send criminal referrals to the Justice Department in connection with the events of Jan. 6, 2021. These referrals will not be binding, meaning the DOJ can choose whether or not to follow the committee’s recommendations for charges. The committee will be forwarding their findings, including thousands of hours of witness testimony, to the DOJ.

Early reporting suggests the panel may recommend three charges against former President Trump. These are conspiracy to defraud the United States, disrupting an official Congressional proceeding, and the most serious charge, insurrection.

Reports also indicate that Trump will not be the only figure the committee may issue referrals for. For example, a referral may also come for John Eastman, one of the lawyers in Trump’s circle who championed the view that Vice President Mike Pence could use his authority to thwart the certification of the vote. There are also members of Congress who the committee believes conspired with Trump who may get referrals to the House Ethics Committee. 

Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) has hinted that aside from DOJ, the committee may send referrals to four or five other agencies.

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El Paso, TX, declares state of emergency over expected influx of migrants

Oscar Leeser, mayor of El Paso, TX, has declared a state of emergency in hopes of accessing additional resources to cope with an expected wave of immigrants over the border. The pandemic-era border restriction Title 42 is expected to expire on Dec. 21, this Wednesday. In anticipation of the order’s repeal, immigrants have been amassing on the border for weeks, and many have already started crossing over. Some have waited on the Mexico side of the border for months. Once over the border, the migrants usually turn themselves in to Border Patrol officers and ask for asylum. The problem for El Paso is what happens next.

El Paso is already getting just a small preview of the work and resources that will be required. City Manager Tommy Gonzalez described the picture on NPR. After Customs and Border Patrol processes the migrants, they get brought to local bus stations and airports to arrange transport to their preferred destination. But many will be waiting in the area for relatives to come collect them, or to await relatives coming over the border behind them. This creates a problem of sheltering people in the local area when overnight temperatures are dropping below freezing.

Gonzalez says that the city has been seeking extra resources from state and federal authorities, both for transporting and sheltering migrants. But despite promises, those resources have been slow to arrive. Local authorities worry that without additional help, they could soon have a massive humanitarian crisis on their hands.

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Thai warship capsizes, 31 sailors missing

Rescue missions are underway in the Gulf of Thailand where a Thai warship HTMS Sukhothai, carrying more than 100 crew, capsized last night. Authorities have rescued 75 sailors, some of whom managed to get to life rafts. Thirty-one sailors are still missing. Thai navy officials say they haven’t given up on finding the missing crew, even though their chances look bleak.

The navy is also launching an investigation into what caused the sinking of the Sukhothai. The ship went down in a storm after taking on water, which short-circuited the ship’s power systems. The vessel then listed on its side before sinking at around 11:30 pm local time.

The ship had been on patrol and had sent distress messages, but only one ship managed to arrive before the Sukhothai sank. The Sukhothai was built for the Thai navy in the US in the 1980s. Such a massive naval disaster is unprecedented in Thailand among naval ships in active service.

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Oregon Gov. Brown commutes sentences of all the state’s death row inmates. Jan. 6 Committee to hold final public meeting next Monday; will likely announce criminal referrals. Brazil: Bolsonaro supporters attack police HQ.





Oregon Gov. Kate Brown commutes sentences of all the state’s death row inmates

With less than a month left in office, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has commuted the sentences of all 17 inmates on Oregon’s death row to life without the possibility of parole. While capital punishment is legal in the Oregon, the state has not carried out an execution since 1997. Since taking office in 2015, Brown has used her clemency powers more than all the state’s governors in the last 50 years combined.

Brown continued a moratorium on the state’s death penalty that began with her predecessor. During the pandemic, she granted clemency to nearly 1000 non-violent offenders to reduce overcrowding. She’s also allowed 73 juvenile offenders convicted of committing crimes as serious as murder to apply for early release.

In her statement regarding yesterday’s commutations, Brown said she’d previously granted clemency to offenders who “demonstrated extraordinary growth and rehabilitation”. But Brown said the commutations were not based on “any rehabilitative efforts” by the death row inmates. Instead, she highlighted her philosophical stance against capital punishment.

Brown called the death penalty “dysfunctional and immoral” and “an irreversible punishment that does not allow for correction”. Capital punishment is “wasteful of taxpayer dollars; does not make communities safer; and cannot be and never has been administered fairly and equitably,” Brown said.

While Brown asserts that “many Oregonians” share her views, the commutations have received heated criticism both from Democrat and Republican state politicians as well as prosecutors. Brown is no stranger to unpopularity. Morning Consult polls in Nov. 2021 and Oct. 2022 found Brown to have 43% and 40% approval respectively- in each case the lowest of any US governor. The incoming Democratic Governor who will replace Brown in January, Tina Kotek, has also said she opposes the death penalty on religious grounds.

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Jan. 6 Committee announces final public meeting next Monday

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chair of the House Jan. 6 Select Committee, announced yesterday that the committee will hold a final televised public meeting next week. Thompson said it would air on Monday, Dec. 19, at 1 p.m. ET/ 12 noon CT. As with the committee’s previous broadcasts, the airtime is subject to change.

Last week, Thompson told reporters that the committee had decided on at least one criminal referral to the Justice Department based on their findings. He did not say who the referral was for, nor what the potential charges might be.

During next week’s broadcast, Thompson says the committee will publicly announce and vote on those criminal referrals. They will also vote on the release of their final report, which will likely come two days later on Wednesday. 

The committee will officially disband once it releases its final report. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who may be the next Speaker of the House, has demanded that the committee to preserve its records. McCarthy has vowed to form his GOP-led Jan. 6 committee next year. This will give House Republicans a chance to do some counter-programming by picking over the Thompson committee’s work. 

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Brazil: Bolsonaro supporters attack police HQ

On October 30, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro narrowly lost his runoff bid for re-election to leftist challenger Lula da Silva. Lula won by 1.8%, representing a margin of just over 2 million voters. Over a month later, Bolsonaro still has not conceded his defeat, though a member of his staff promised an orderly transition of power. Despite this promise, Bolsonaro and his party mounted a legal challenge to the election results. The court rejected the suit and fined Bolsonaro’s party for bringing a lawsuit in bad faith.

Many of Bolsonaro’s supporters still refuse to accept the results of the election. For days following Bolsonaro’s loss at the polls, some of his most militant supporters blockaded major highways with large trucks. Brazilian police have broken up most of these blockades, but new ones are still popping up.

On Monday, a group of Bolsonaro’s supporters (reporting is unclear on how many) led an all-out attack on the federal police headquarters in the capital Brasilia. Police are holding an indigenous leader and Bolsonaro supporter named José Acácio Serere Xavante. A judge ordered Serere Xavante held for 10 days for “alleged anti-democratic acts”. Prosecutors say Serere Xavante, “attempted to incite people to try to abolish the rule of law and to impede the swearing-in of the president and vice-president elect”.

Bolsonaro supporters demanding Serere Xavante attempted to storm the headquarters. During the attack, the rioters set fire to five buses and eight cars outside the building. They also blocked several key roads, some of which remained closed on Tuesday morning. The attack also coincided with the day Lula’s election win was certified. Lula will officially take office on January 1.

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**BREAKING** Jury finds Trump Org guilty on all tax fraud counts

A jury in New York has found that Trump’s company committed tax fraud by providing untaxed benefits to employees in lieu of pay. The convictions against the firm include scheming to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records.

The company may face fines of up to $1.7 million. The organization will also likely have difficulty securing financing and doing business with other firms whose policies prohibit working with companies with fraud convictions.

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Thousands freeze in North Carolina after gunfire attacks on power substations. Jan. 6 Cmte. chair Bennie Thompson says criminal referrals on the way. Is Ukraine carrying out drone attacks in Russia?




Thousands of North Carolinians freezing after gunfire attacks on power substations

Saturday night, saboteurs opened fire on two different power substations serving Moore County, NC. Police have said that this attack was not “random” and that it was “targeted”. The attacks critically damaged the two substations, initially leaving about 45,000 people in the county without power. Three days later, some 30,000 still don’t have service and temperatures have been falling below freezing at night.

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields says the perpetrators “knew exactly what they were doing”. The saboteurs broke into at least one of the substations in order to access the equipment they were targeting. The two facilities are located about five miles apart.

While police have not firmly identified a motive, some speculate that the attack was connected to protests over a drag show that was to take place in the city of Southern Pines in Moore County. The drag show was to start at 7pm, which is about the same time the attacks happened. Local authorities have called in the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to help in the investigation.

Duke Energy, the private utility company that operates the two substations, warned residents that repairs could take days. Meanwhile, many have been gathering for warmth in shelters at night. Some people who use heart and lung machines at home have had to go to these shelters to charge batteries for their life-saving equipment. Sheriff Fields says murder charges are possible if anyone dies as a result of the blackout.

Such attacks could be easily prevented

Jon Wellinghoff, the former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, says that attacks like these can be easily prevented with some fairly inexpensive modifications and safeguards in place. Wellinghoff investigated a similar attack at a substation in San Jose, CA. The perpetrators were never caught.

Because of that incident and other similar incidents, FERC later issued physical security standards to protect these critical pieces of infrastructure from these sorts of attacks. This includes relatively simple and cheap protective solutions. Following the San Jose attack, California’s private utility PG&E put up a cement wall around the structure. Wellinghoff mentions that even sandbags piled up around the equipment can effectively protect it from gunfire.

Despite these recommendations and growing recognition of the vulnerability of power grid infrastructure, such measures haven’t been widely implemented. Wellinghoff attributes to a failure by states to require the private companies that hold monopolies in providing critical services to adopt these simple safeguards.

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Jan. 6 Committee chair Bennie Thompson says criminal referrals on the way

Today, Congress is honoring the Capitol Police officers who endured the Jan. 6, 2021, siege at the Capitol by awarding them Congressional Gold medals. On his way into the ceremony, Jan. 6 Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) was beset by reporters asking about the committee’s deliberations ahead of the release of its final report. Thompson told the reporters that the committee had decided to make at least one criminal referral. This would mean the committee wants the Justice Department to pursue charges against someone in connection with Jan. 6.

The committee is still discussing the details and hasn’t formally finalized any decisions. Thompson would not say how many referrals the committee would make, what the charges would be, or who they were targeting. Possibilities could include former President Trump himself or any number of his close advisors.

As for what the charges might be, the committee has delved into a wide range of actions by Trump and his advisors both on and before Jan. 6. It’s possible charges could focus narrowly on the events of the day itself, or the fomenting of violence leading up to it. More broadly, the committee could recommend charges related to state-level efforts by Trump and his advisors to obstruct the electoral process in the weeks before Jan. 6.

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Is Ukraine carrying out drone attacks in Russia?

Yesterday, explosions occurred at two airbases deep within Russia, far from the Ukrainian frontlines. At one, the Russian defense ministry confirmed that two of its long-range bombers were damaged. This was at the Engels-2 airbase in Russia’s Saratov region. Another explosion took place at the Dyagilevo airbase, less than 150 miles from Moscow. Here, a fuel truck exploded, killing three people and wounding five.

At first the cause of the explosions was unclear. Now it appears that both were the result of long range drone attacks by Ukraine. According to an anonymous Ukrainian official, these were apparently pre-emptive strikes by Kyiv targeting the long-range bombers that Russia has been using to cripple Ukraine’s power infrastructure. However, Kyiv has not officially confirmed they were behind any of these attacks.

Today, another Ukrainian drone strike struck another airbase in Russia’s Kursk region, which borders Ukraine. Here the drone attack blew up an oil storage tank.

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Reports: Russian missiles strike NATO ally Poland. Jan. 6 panel weighs contempt charge for Trump. DOT fines airlines over cancelations, delays. FBI to probe killing of American journalist in Israel.





Jan. 6 committee weighs contempt charge after Trump skips deposition

Mississippi Congressman and Jan. 6 committee chair Bennie Thompson says that contempt of Congress charges against former President Trump “could be an option” after Trump failed to show up for a deposition with the committee that was scheduled yesterday. A few weeks before the mid-terms, the committee issued a subpoena compelling Trump to testify about his role in stoking the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in 2021. On Friday, Trump filed a lawsuit to try to block the subpoena. Thompson says Trump’s lawsuit, “parades out many of the same arguments that courts have rejected repeatedly over the last year”.

The committee will disband at the end of the year. With the House likely to come under Republican control, Trump is likely hoping to run out the clock on the subpoena. Unless the committee and the DOJ act quickly, he will probably succeed.

Why is Trump planning to announce his 2024 candidacy now?

Today, Trump is expected to formally announce his candidacy for President in 2024. Republican strategists have begged Trump to hold off on any announcement until after the Dec. 6 runoff in the Senate race between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker. GOP operatives believe that Trump’s candidacy will actually hurt Walker’s chances. 

Trump himself has little to gain and a lot to lose from announcing his candidacy this early. His reputation as a GOP kingmaker just took a big hit in the mid-terms. Many of his handpicked candidates lost, while his chief GOP rival Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did very well. 

Trump also stands to lose financially from announcing this early. Once his candidacy his official, his finances and fundraising are subject to greater scrutiny. Moreover, the Republican National Committee has said publicly they will stop paying Trump’s attorney fees in his various legal fights if he announces a 2024 run.

Former US Attorney Dennis Aftergut believes there is only one reason for Trump to announce his candidacy at this time. Trump hopes his candidacy for President will head off criminal indictments in at least two cases. A Georgia District Attorney is currently probing efforts by Trump and his circle to overturn his 2020 loss to Biden in the state. Fani Willis, the Fulton County DA, hopes to bring indictments in that case as soon as December. The Justice Department may also be preparing to indict Trump for his mishandling of classified documents.

Unfortunately for Trump, the law doesn’t shield Presidential candidates from investigation or prosecution. Aftergut says Trump wants to exploit his candidacy and accuse prosecutors of politically-motivated attacks. However, given his waning influence, Aftergut thinks that strategy may blow up in Trump’s face. 


DOT orders 6 air carriers to repay $600 million in refunds for cancelations, delays

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced that 6 air carriers have been ordered to pay a total of $7.5 million in fines and refund $600 million to customers whose flights were either cancelled or unreasonably delayed. In one of the early COVID stimulus packages in 2020, US airlines received over $50 billion to keep its workforce whole and prepared for when normal travel would resume. Instead, the airlines furloughed thousands of employees and pushed many experienced pilots into early retirement. Airline CEOs used the billions it received from US taxpayers for stock buybacks.

As a result, airlines were not prepared when Americans took to the skies again. Throughout the summer of 2022, airlines canceled thousands of flights within hours of their scheduled take-off. Others were delayed to the extent that it violated consumer protection laws. Under these circumstances, US law requires the airlines to refund passengers’ money. But most airlines will only offer vouchers in these cases, which often expire quickly. There have been thousands of complaints to the DOT for airlines’ refusal to refund customers’ money. All the while, Buttigieg and the DOT did little other than publicly wag their fingers at the airline CEOs.

While they welcomed the announcement of fines and refunds, consumer advocate groups say it is “too little, too late”.  Consumer advocates are particularly unhappy that Frontier was the only US carrier to be punished, the rest were foreign. There have been complaints against all the major airlines, including Delta and United.  

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Reports: Russian missiles strike NATO ally Poland

Since its forces withdrew from the southern Ukrainian province of Kherson last week, Russia has escalated missile strike across Ukraine. For the first time in weeks, missiles have struck the capital Kyiv and the major city of Lviv in the west of the country. Russian forces have targeted energy infrastructure, leaving much of the country without power. 

Lviv is quite close to Ukraine’s Polish border. There are unconfirmed reports that Russian missiles struck on the Polish side of the border, killing two people. According to reports, the missiles struck near a facility for drying grain. This is the first time since the war began that Russian missiles have struck on NATO soil. 

A Pentagon spokesman says the US is still evaluating the situation and seeking to confirm the reports. Russia has denied its missiles struck Polish soil and called the reports a “deliberate provocation. Some analysts have said the missiles could have come from Ukraine’s air defense system. 

Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki has called an emergency national security meeting and placed his country’s military in heightened readiness. Poland is also weighing a call for an emergency NATO meeting.

What it means

It’s difficult to overstate the gravity of the situation. A strike on a NATO ally could trigger Article 5 and force other NATO countries, including the US, to take a more active military role in the war.

While an unintentional strike is unlikely to trigger Article 5, Poland’s government has pushed for more active involvement in the conflict since the beginning. Back in March, Poland attempted to transfer some of its warplanes to Ukraine via US military bases in Germany. The Pentagon says Poland didn’t consult with them about this plan. Poland apparently hoped to circumvent US objections by presenting it as a fait accompli. The US Department of Defense nevertheless shot this plan down immediately, calling it untenable.

If a Russian strike is confirmed on their territory, Poland may use it as a pretext to escalate their involvement in the war.

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Israel angry after FBI announces probe of Palestinian-American journalist’s killing

In May this year, Israeli military snipers opened fire on a group of journalists covering Israeli raids against Palestinian militants. Shireen Abu Aqla, a Palestinian-American reporter working for Al-Jazeera, was killed. An internal probe by the Israeli military ruled the death accidental. But Abu Aqla’s family and colleagues believe that she was targeted for assassination. Abu Aqla and the other journalists present wore brightly colored vests and helmets identifying them as press. Journalism advocates, Abu Aqla’s family, and even members of Congress have called for the US to investigate.

Today, the finally got their wish. The US Department of Justice and the FBI have informed the Israeli government that they will be investigating Abu Aqla’s death. Abu Aqla’s family welcomed the news, but Israel’s government has responded angrily. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the FBI’s decision “a mistake” and vowed not to cooperate with the US investigation.

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Pence to break silence about Trump, Jan. 6 in interview tonight. Fake “Free insulin” tweet hits Big Pharma stock price.


Pence to open up about Jan. 6 in interview tonight

Throughout the months of Jan. 6 hearings on Capitol Hill, there is one central figure the committee has long wanted to hear from. Until now, former VP Mike Pence has been largely silent about the events of Jan. 6 and the months of build-up to them. Tonight at 10pm ET/9 pm CT, he will be sitting down with ABC’s David Muir for a full interview. The sit-down comes ahead of a release of Pence’s book So Help Me God, due out tomorrow.

ABC has already released a teaser clip for the interview (click here to view the 1.5-minute clip) in which the normally stone-faced Pence appears shaken when recalling the events at the Capitol. In the clip, Muir asks Pence what his reaction was to a tweet from Trump as the violence was already unfolding. Trump’s tweet declared that, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution”. After a loaded pause, Pence replies, “It angered me. But I turned to my daughter who was standing nearby, and I said, ‘It doesn’t take courage to break the law, it takes courage to uphold the law.’”

Pence describes the President’s tweet as “reckless” and that, “It’s clear he decided to be part of the problem”. Muir pointed out while Pence was on the phone to the Pentagon and the DC police seeking reinforcements, Trump was sitting in his White House dining room watching the events on TV. When Muir asks why Trump wasn’t making those calls himself, Pence answers, “That would be a good question for him”.

Pence book, possible 2024 run

Pence’s book will hit shelves tomorrow, the same day Trump has promised a “big announcement”. Most expect Trump will be formally announcing another run for the White House in 2024. Pence has been contemplating a 2024 run himself and has recently visited several early primary states.

Excerpts from an advance copy of the book reveal how an almost joking suggestion from Trump that Pence refuse to certify the results of the Nov. 2020 election evolved over the following weeks to an outright demand from Trump that he do so. Witnesses speaking to the Jan. 6 committee have described the weeks-long pressure campaign against Pence. So far, Pence himself has not appeared before the committee to give testimony. 

Click here for more snippets from Pence’s book So Help Me God (opens in new tab).


Fake “Free insulin” tweet hits BigPharma stock price

For a few days last week, Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk made it possible to purchase a verified account for $8 a month. These accounts come with a blue check mark after your Twitter handle. Previously, the blue checks were reserved for public figures and official brand or corporate accounts and signified that the account belonged to the person or entity it claimed to.

With Musk’s “Twitter Blue” subscription service seeking to level the playing field, these verification expectations went out the window. That meant that anyone with $8 and a dream could, on Twitter at least, be anyone they wanted. People bought blue check accounts purporting to belong to basketball great LeBron James, former Presidents George W. Bush or Donald Trump. Users also impersonated government agencies and even major corporations like defense contractors and pharmaceutical companies. As a result, Twitter has now shut down “Twitter Blue” until they figure out a way to make trolls stop trolling.

Eli Lilly vs. the Internet

Last Thursday, an account purporting to belong to pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly tweeted, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now”. This understandably generated a great deal of excitement, as Americans without insurance sometimes have to pay as much as $1000/month for the life saving drug (which costs about $30/month in Canada). Eli Lilly’s actual official Twitter account @LillyPad then tried to clear the air, tweeting “We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account”.

Following this apology, Twitter users were quick to bash Eli Lilly for decades of price gouging insulin users. Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders stated, “Let’s be clear. Eli Lilly should apologize for increasing the price of insulin by over 1,200% since 1996 to $275 while it costs less than $10 to manufacture. The inventors of insulin sold their patents in 1923 for $1 to save lives, not to make Eli Lilly’s CEO obscenely rich”.

Whether it was in response to the false “free insulin” alarm or the backlash from Eli Lilly’s clarification, the company’s stock price tumbled 4.37% the next day.

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Source: Trump considering testifying to Jan. 6 Committee. Putin: No more mass bombardment of Ukraine, for now.



Source: Trump considering testifying to Jan. 6 Committee

Sources close to Donald Trump have told The Guardian that the former President is at least entertaining the idea of testifying before the Jan. 6 Select Committee investigating his role in the violent insurrection at the Capitol. Yesterday, the committee voted unanimously to issue a subpoena for testimony and documents from Trump.

Following the hearing and vote, members of the committee wouldn’t say whether or not they thought it was likely that Trump would answer the subpoena. However, there’s always a chance that Trump will be unable to resist the chance to appear before the committee. What’s clear is that despite Trump’s characterizations of the committee as a partisan “witch hunt”, its proceedings have certainly gotten a rise out of him. Immediately after the hearing, Trump took to social media to call the committee “a total BUST”.

Trump followed up that post by publishing a 14-page open letter to committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS). In the letter, Trump repeats thoroughly debunked claims about mass voter fraud in the 2020 election. He also claimed to have put thousands of National Guard soldiers on stand-by to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6, a claim that his then-acting Secretary of Defense has said is false.

The committee’s case against Trump

Yesterday’s hearing served largely as a summation of evidence the committee had previously presented, along with some new evidence the committee had obtained since its last hearing. The committee made the case that Trump had planned to declare victory and call the election “rigged” even before the election. They played recorded testimony in which various members of Trump’s staff stated that Trump knew that there was no evidence for his claims of election fraud. 

The committee also outlined how Trump and his surrogates riled up supporters and urged them to converge on D.C. on Jan. 6. once it was clear that dozens of court challenges had failed to yield any wins for Trump. They also explained that Trump knew many of the supporters that showed up at his Jan. 6 rally were armed when he told them to march to the Capitol. New information from the Secret Service also showed that Trump’s security detail was on stand-by, ready to take him to the Capitol even after he’d returned to the White House. This was despite safety concerns and objections from Trump’s legal team.

The missing link

What the committee has so far failed to do is draw a direct link between Trump and the militant groups who led the assault on the Capitol. However, they have heavily implied that Trump’s political advisor Roger Stone may be that missing link. Stone was photographed with the militia leaders the day before the riot.

When testifying before the committee, Stone pleaded the 5th in answer to questions of his involvement in organizing the mob and his communications with Trump. The committee has so far been unsuccessful in obtaining any communications between Trump and Stone that would demonstrate Trump playing an active role in orchestrating the violence.

Click here for the full story (opens in new tab).

You can watch the full hearing here (opens in new tab).

You can read Trump’s 14-page letter to Rep. Thompson here (opens in new tab).



Putin: No more mass bombardment of Ukraine, for now

Speaking to reporters at a regional leaders conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, Vladimir Putin said that he was winding down a recent campaign of mass missile strikes in Ukraine, at least for the moment. After a bridge linking Crimea with Russia was partially destroyed last weekend, the Russian military launched at least 85 missiles on Monday. For the first time in months, missiles targeted Kyiv, the major western city Lviv and several other cities all over Ukraine. Strikes continued for the rest of the week, but to a much lesser degree.

Monday’s onslaught was significant not only for the loss of life but also because it was the first major widespread missile campaign Ukraine had seen in months. Analysts have said that although Russia still has superior firepower compared to Ukraine, their stockpiles are dwindling as foreign supply lines for key components have dried up. Putin’s comments in Astana may signal that he’s mindful of having to conserve his resources. However, he also said his plan to mobilize 300,000 new troops would be complete in a couple of weeks. For Putin, recruits, willing or not, are easier to come by than weapons parts and much more expendable.

Putin floats Turkish oil hub

While at the Astana conference, Putin met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the possibility of delivering Russian oil to Europe through Turkey. This followed statements from Putin earlier this week in which he implied he was ready to resume deliveries of gas to Europe. Despite sanctions and price caps, oil remains Russia’s biggest source of funding to continue its war effort. The recent decision by OPEC+ to cut daily oil production means that Russia will soon be able to demand higher prices for its fossil fuel exports.

Until Russia invaded, Ukraine was one of the main conduits for Russian oil to flow to the European market. For this service, Ukraine demanded billions in transit fees from Russian oil companies. Over the past decade, Russia opened direct pipelines to Germany to avoid paying Ukraine’s transit fees. Only one of these pipelines, Nord Stream 1, was ever operational. A second pipeline, Nord Stream 2 was built but never opened. Both of these pipelines were recently sabotaged by undersea explosives.

Putin has repeatedly threatened to cut off fuel supplies to Europe in hopes of denting the unified Western opposition to his Ukraine invasion. Despite cutting off supplies to Germany and the subsequent sabotage, Europe has not taken the bait. Instead, they instituted price caps on Russian oil and recently approved new sanctions following Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories through sham referendums. As a result, Putin seems to be backing away from his energy blackmail strategy in hopes of cashing in on potential rising oil revenues.


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Jan. 6 committee to hold (possibly) final hearing tomorrow. Jury to decide fate of Parkland school shooter. UN considers Haiti’s request for armed force to quell unrest.



Jan. 6 committee to hold (possibly) final hearing tomorrow

The Jan. 6 Committee will hold its last public hearing before the midterms (and possibly the last ever) tomorrow at 1pm ET/noon CT. The committee members have so far been fairly tight-lipped about what the focus of tomorrow’s hearing will be. It’s expected to be a closing argument of sorts to round off the series of hearings over the summer. Some media reports suggest that the focus will be on former President Trump’s personal role in stoking and orchestrating the violence that occurred.

The committee may draw on some of the 800,000 pages of material it has obtained from the Secret Service. Earlier this summer, it emerged that Secret Service members deleted all the texts from Jan. 5 and 6, blaming it on a system migration. The committee successfully subpoenaed their records and recovered at least some of these deleted texts.

It’s also possible that the committee could highlight recent testimony from Ginny Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas’ interview with the committee was not recorded on video but in transcript form. Texts between Ginny Thomas and Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have revealed that Thomas played a central role in the plot to have former Vice President Mike Pence reject the results of the election.

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Jury to decide fate of Parkland school shooter

On Valentine’s Day 2018, Nikolas Cruz, then 19, murdered 17 people and injured another 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Cruz pleaded guilty last year to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in a Miami courtroom. For the last few months, jurors have been hearing arguments about whether to sentence Cruz to death or life in prison. This included testimony from victim’s families, survivors of the attack and Cruz’s family members, as well as a trip to the high school where the rampage took place. There, the jury were able to see blood stains and bullet holes that are still visible on the building’s walls and floors.

Now, closing arguments in the sentencing trial are concluded and the jury will begin its deliberations. A death sentence on any of the charges requires a unanimous vote from the jury. If the jury votes unanimously on a death sentence, Judge Elizabeth Scherer can follow their recommendation or set it aside in favor of a life sentence.

Courtroom arguments

Prosecutors have argued that Cruz deserves the death penalty due to his carefully planned massacre. Before the killings, Cruz conducted extensive research about previous school shootings and police tactics. In a video, Cruz said before the massacre that it was his goal to kill at least 20 people.

Cruz’s attorneys have not disputed the premeditated nature of the attack and are open about Cruz’s violent fantasies. Instead, they appealed to jurors for leniency in light of Cruz’s hard upbringing. Cruz’s birth mother, a sex worker, used drugs and alcohol heavily while pregnant with him. She told a friend at the time she wasn’t concerned about the effects on the baby since she planned to put it up for adoption.

Since the killings, Cruz has been diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Despite a history of violent outbursts and disturbing behavior, Cruz never received the help he needed as school officials and his adopted family failed to act. This, Cruz’s attorneys say, set him up for failure both in school and his personal life.

While most victims’ family members who have spoken publicly favor the death penalty for Cruz, at least a few support a life sentence instead. Robert Schentrup, whose 16-year-old sister Carmen was killed in the massacre says, “Logically, it doesn’t follow for me that we say, ‘murdering someone is this horrible, heinous, awful, terrible thing, and in order to prove that point, we’re going to do it to someone else”. Schentrup’s parents disagree. His father Philip says “Carmen’s murderer expressed pride and joy in murdering Carmen and 16 other incredible people. We believe under Florida law a death sentence is the appropriate outcome”.

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Haiti requests international armed force to quell unrest; UN considering it

Haiti has experienced rapidly escalating social and political unrest since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last year. Moïse’s support within the country was minimal to begin with, but he had international backing. Even after Prime Minister Ariel Henry took power following the assassination, he’s struggled to establish any political legitimacy.

Armed gangs have taken advantage of the political vacuum to seize control over much of the country. The gangs now have a stranglehold on vital supplies, including fuel. The situation has quickly become dangerous and untenable for ordinary people.

Now in desperation, Henry has called for an armed international “peacekeeping force” into his country to re-establish order. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged member nations to respond individually, apparently preferring a UN peacekeeping force as a “last resort.

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Western water crunch worsens as Colorado River dries up; more skeletal remains found in Lake Mead. Cheney loses re-election bid, eyes 2024 presidential run. Palestinian leader accuses Israel of “50 holocausts”.




Western water crunch worsens as Colorado River dries up

The federal Bureau of Reclamation has imposed cuts on water allocation from the Colorado River to two states and Mexico. Officials in those and other states that draw water from the river failed to come to a deal after the federal government gave them nearly a year to do so. With the water shortage worsening and its impacts on agriculture and hydroelectric power growing, the federal government had to step in and split the baby. The new cuts reduce water allocation from the river to Arizona by 21%, Nevada’s by 8% and Mexico’s by 7%.

Ultimately, more cuts to more states may be necessary and several Western states must plan for a future with less water. The river system provides water to Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Arizona and parts of Mexico. 

More skeletal remains found in receding Lake Mead

Lake Mead, one of the largest reservoirs in the Colorado River system, is rapidly drying up. At present, it’s only about one-quarter full. The lake provides drinking water to about 20 million people in Arizona, California, Nevada and parts of Mexico. It’s also a popular destination for water sports and other recreation.

As the waters of the reservoir recede, it’s also verifying a long-rumored reputation for being favorite dumping ground for bodies. The reservoir is about 30 miles outside of Las Vegas. Back in May, the discovery of a body from the 1980s in a metal barrel made headlines. Since then, there have been at least four other discoveries of human remains in the lake, including two just in the last two weeks.

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Cheney mulls presidential run after losing House re-election bid

Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) has lost a Republican primary vote in her state against a challenger backed by Trump. Because of her support for the probe into Trump’s role in stoking the Jan. 6 riot, House Republicans have already stripped her of her committee positions (apart from her co-chair position on the Jan. 6 Committee), and the Wyoming Republican party has officially censured her.

Cheney’s roughly 30-point loss to her opponent would seem to be a final rebuke by Republican voters in her state. Her loss was not unexpected, as she was about 20 points behind in the polls ahead of yesterday’s election. But during her concession speech, Cheney struck a defiant note, saying that her party has “embraced [Trump’s] cult of personality”.

On Wednesday, Cheney told NBC that she’s “thinking about” a 2024 presidential run, which will likely pit her against Trump once again. Cheney called Trump “a very grave threat and risk to our republic,” and said defeating him will require “a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents — and that’s what I intend to be part of”. 

The enemy of my enemy?

Indeed, many Democrats and liberal thinkers have been, somewhat bizarrely, eager to embrace Cheney. There was even a push to have Democratic voters register as Republicans to vote for her in this week’s primary.

Democrats have chosen a very strange bedfellow in Cheney, considering that she voted with Trump nearly 100% of the time he was in office, never saw a war she didn’t like (much like her father, former VP Dick Cheney), and holds a hard-right stance on every other issue, including abortion. On the day the Supreme Court announced its reversal of Roe v. Wade, Cheney tweeted: “I have always been strongly pro-life. Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court returns power to the states and the people of the states to address the issue of abortion under state law”.

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Palestinian leader accuses Israel of committing “50 holocausts”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Fatah Party, was in Germany yesterday as part of a tour of Europe. Abbas is meeting European heads-of-state in hopes of reviving the continent’s interest in the peace process between Israel and Palestine. The US had long played a leading role in this until Trump’s presidency when the US threw its weight fully behind the Israeli government.

Palestinian leadership has expressed disappointment that the Biden administration has done little to reverse course. With all peaceful avenues toward change closed off to them, Palestinians have become increasingly radicalized and are now resorting more and more to deadly violence, prompting Israel to come down on them with even greater violence. 

During a joint conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Scholz scolded Abbas’ characterization of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as perpetuating an “apartheid state”. However, numerous international rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also declared that Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians amount to apartheid.

A German journalist asked Abbas if he would apologize for the killing of Israeli athletes and a German policeman by Palestinian militants during the 1972 Munich Olympics. Abbas answered, “If we want to dig further into the past, yes, please, I have 50 massacres that were committed by Israel. Fifty massacres, 50 Holocausts, and to this day, every day, we have dead people killed by the [Israeli Defense Forces], by the Israeli army”.

Abbas’ statements, predictably, have earned him condemnation from Germany and Israel’s government. Today, Scholz said “For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.”

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A very bad week for Alex Jones. DOJ charges 4 Louisville police officers in Breonna Taylor’s killing. Destabilizing and dangerous fallout from Pelosi’s Taiwan visit.




Alex Jones must pay Sandy Hook victim’s parents $4m; phone to be handed to Jan. 6 committee ‘immediately’

This has not been Alex Jones’ week. The far-right conspiracy political pundit has lost a defamation case brought by the parents of Jesse Lewis, who was 6-years-old when he and 19 other children and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. Attorneys for Jesse’s parents believe Jones made millions of dollars in ad revenue from videos portraying the shooting as a hoax. Meanwhile, Jesse’s parents have endured a decade of misery, which they say were a result of Jones’ false claims. They received death threats from Jones’ followers, who accused them of being “crisis actors” participating in the Sandy Hook hoax. At one point, someone shot up their home and vehicles.

Though Jones, at last, admitted under oath that he believed the Sandy Hook tragedy really happened, his InfoWars blog has continued to make outlandish claims slandering and mocking the judge and jury. Plus, Jones continually made an ass of himself in court. None of this impressed the jury, who yesterday ordered Jones to pay $4 million in compensatory damages to Jesse’s parents. Next, the jury will deliberate on possible further punitive damages. 

Prosecutors, Jan. 6 committee to receive copy of Jones’ phone

But there was even more bad news for Jones. On Wednesday, as Jones was testifying on the stand, an attorney for Jesse’s parents informed Jones that his lawyers had “messed up” and sent his team a copy of Jones’ phone. The data contained at least two years’ worth of text messages and emails. Those communications will be of great interest to the Department of Justice and the Jan. 6 committee, who are investigating what role Jones played in stoking the violence at the Capitol.

Jesse’s parents’ attorney says he has already received requests for the data from “several law enforcement agencies” as well as the Jan. 6 committee. The attorney says he intends to hand the data over to them “immediately”. 


DOJ charges 4 Louisville police officers in Breonna Taylor’s killing

Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced charges against two current Louisville, KY, police officers and two former police officers for the March 2020 killing of Breonna Taylor. Taylor, a black woman, was then 26 and an emergency medical technician.

The four under indictment are former Louisville officers Brett Hankinson and Joshua Jaynes and current officers Kelly Hanna Goodlett and Kyle Meany. The DOJ has charged them with violating Taylor’s civil rights through unlawful conspiracy, unconstitutional use of force and obstruction. 

It’s also come to light that Meany, Jaynes and Goodlett conspired to file a false affidavit to obtain a “no-knock” search warrant for Taylor’s home, then filed false reports to cover their tracks. While executing the warrant, Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker took the plainclothes officers for intruders and fired on them, injuring one in the leg. Officers then fired dozens of bullets, killing Ms. Taylor.

Since April 2021, the DOJ has been conducting a broader probe of the Louisville Police Department investigating misconduct.

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Destabilizing and dangerous fallout from Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

Earlier this week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made a controversial stop in Taiwan during her whirlwind Asian tour. The day after her departure, China began conducting large-scale military exercises around the island, including unprecedented live-missile tests. Air and sea traffic to and from the island has ceased, with Taiwan’s government complaining the Chinese drills amount to a “blockade”.

Despite this angry show of force, it’s unlikely that Beijing has immediate plans for a full-scale invasion. A major Communist Party conference soon to take place, at which President Xi Jinping will make the case for extending his tenure. Under the circumstances, a destabilizing event like an invasion would not be preferable.

Nevertheless, Beijing has made good on its promise of “severe consequences” in the event Pelosi visited Taiwan. Chinese leadership views Taiwan as a breakaway state that they hope to one day politically reunify with the Mainland. But the increasingly close ties political ties between the US and Taiwan may force their hand. A perceived threat to China’s sovereignty from the west could persuade them to proceed with a military solution to the Taiwan problem, as they’ve threatened.

Now, China has suspended all diplomatic cooperation with the US on climate change policy and military matters, a possible sign of things to come.

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Pizza delivery man saves 5 kids from house fire. Tonight’s Jan. 6 hearing to focus on Trump’s 187 minutes of inaction during riot. Italian PM’s resignation comes at a terrible time for Europe.

**BREAKING** Biden tests positive for COVID-19

President Biden, 79, has tested positive for COVID-19 for the first time. He’s reportedly experiencing mild symptoms and taking Paxlovid. Biden recently returned from a visit to the Middle East. There he met with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

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Pizza delivery man saves 5 kids from house fire

Earlier this month, an Indiana pizza delivery man drove past a burning house. Seeing no emergency vehicles had yet arrived on scene, Nick Bostic, 25, got out of his car and rushed toward the house to alert the occupants.

“I slammed on the brakes, I turned the steering wheel, I did a 180. I ran into the back of the house and I was yelling for anybody. Four faces, three or four faces, came out the top,” Bostic said.

In the home was an 18-year-old babysitting her siblings, 1, 6, and 13 years old, along with a friend of the 13-year-old. The parents of the four siblings were out playing darts at the time.

After Bostic alerted her, the 18-year-old managed to get three of the children out herself, but she told Bostic the 6-year-old was still in the house. Bostic said he entered the house to search for the missing child and “I heard a faint whine, a faint crying noise and I went down there till I found that baby”. By then, the house was filled with smoke and flame, forcing Bostic to jump from a second floor window with the child in his arms.

By then, fire crews and other first responders had arrived. They attended to the child as Bostic collapsed, bleeding and coughing on the ground, asking for oxygen. A police body camera captured Bostic, still lying prone on the grass, asking the firemen about the child. “Is the baby OK? Please tell me the baby’s OK” he asks, before a voice assures him the child is fine.

A GoFundMe for Bostic’s medical bills far surpassed its $100,000 goal with donations totaling $470,000 as of yesterday afternoon.

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Tonight’s Jan. 6 hearing to focus on Trump’s 187 minutes of inaction during riot

The last in the current series of televised hearings of the Jan. 6 committee will air tonight at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. The committee has said it plans to hold more hearings later this year. The committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) will not be present tonight as he has tested positive for COVID. Thompson is vaccinated and boosted and is said to be feeling OK.

Tonight’s hearing will examine the 3 hours during which President Trump refused to act as his supporters and bands of far-right militants stormed the Capitol. The committee will hear live testimony from former Trump White House aides Sarah Matthews and Matthew Pottinger.

Both Matthews and Pottinger resigned due to Trump’s actions on the 6th. In previously aired pre-recorded testimony, Pottinger said that the final straw for him was Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet saying, “(Vice President) Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution”. Trump and some of his allies had leaned on Pence to block the certification of the 2020 election, something Pence refused to do. At the time Trump posted that tweet, his supporters had already set up a makeshift gallows outside the Capitol and were chanting “Hang Mike Pence”.

Secret Service text saga continues

Last week, reports surfaced that members of the Secret Service had deleted texts from Jan. 5 and 6 following a subpoena from the committee. Those texts could have provided vital insight on the days in question. The Secret Service disputes the allegation that they deleted the texts to evade the subpoena, claiming instead that they were lost in a planned “system migration”. 

Earlier this week, Jan. 6 committee member Zoe Lofgren claimed that the Secret Service would in fact be turning over some texts. This turned out not to be the case. On Tuesday, the Secret Service handed the committee a 10,000-page document dump, containing only one relevant text. It has been reported that forensic investigators are attempting to recover the deleted texts, but it seems committee members aren’t holding their breath.

The committee’s members issued a scathing joint statement yesterday. According to the statement, the “procedure for preserving content prior to this purge appears to have been contrary to federal records retention requirements and may represent a possible violation of the Federal Records Act”. 

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Italian PM’s resignation comes at a terrible time for Europe

Mario Draghi has officially ended his 17-month tenure as Italy’s Prime Minister, submitting his resignation to Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella this afternoon.

Mattarella had tapped Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank, to step in as PM in February 2021. Since then, Draghi has led Italy’s COVID policy response and attempted to navigate his debt-laden homeland’s COVID-driven financial crisis. But last week, the unity government of right, left and populist parties showed signs of coming apart. Draghi finally lost a key confidence vote, prompting him to resign. 

The government’s collapse was met with outrage and concern in Italy and abroad. Draghi’s resignation comes at a particularly difficult moment for Europe. Prices are rising, wildfires are raging, COVID is surging, and the war in Ukraine is dragging on. Italy itself is experiencing a drought that is devastating much of its food crops. 

Mattarella has asked Draghi to stay on in a caretaker government for the time being. It’s likely that Mattarella will seek to dissolve Parliament and force elections as soon as September or October. Under normal circumstances, the current Parliamentary term would last into 2023.

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NEMiss.News Thompson and Cheney



Bannon trial judge forbids defenses, documents in possible hint to defendant; Jan. 6 Committee schedules prime-time hearing for July 21; deadly, record-breaking heatwave threatens Europe.



Capitol attack continues to dominate news in U.S.

The January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to dominate national news headlines.

The contempt trial of Steve Bannon, former President Donald Trump’s top adviser, got underway yesterday with jury selection.

Bannon is charged with contempt for failure to obey subpoenas from the January 6 committee investigating the attack.

Carl J. Nichols, who was appointed to a federal district court judgeship by Trump, is the presiding judge in Bannon’s trial. Nichols has already forbidden the defenses proposed by Bannon’s lawyers. One of the lawyers asked Judge Nichols, “What’s the point of going to trial if there are no defenses?”

Nichols’s terse reply: “Agreed.” Is that a hint from Judge Nichols that Bannon lawyers should plead him guilty so the court can pass sentence and move on to other business? Upon conviction Bannon would face 30 days to a year in jail and fines ranging up to $100,000.

Meanwhile, the January 6 Committee, headed by Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson, has scheduled a prime time hearing for Thursday July 21. Two former White House staff members are expected to testify about Trump’s actions (and inactions) before and during the attack on the Capitol.

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Jan. 6 Committee upcoming testimonyhttps://thehill.com/homenews/ap/ap-politics/former-white-house-aides-to-testify-at-next-jan-6-hearing/



Record heat wave, fires threaten much of Europe

There were record high temperatures yesterday in the United Kingdom and France. Temperatures above 100 F degrees are expected today in much of Western Europe.

Wild-fires resulting from dry conditions threaten parts of Spain, Portugal, and France. At least two people were killed in fires in Spain. The Associated Press reported “hundreds” of heat related deaths throughout the Iberian Peninsula.

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More on record-breaking European heat wave: https://apnews.com/article/wildfires-france-fires-heat-waves-b7c3ecaba66d9851ba0381e68d207784

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