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    Are New Voting Bill Talks for Real or for Show?

    Senators involved in the negotiations underway say the discussions are serious and substantive, but some Democrats remain wary.WASHINGTON — Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, was finally closing in on a hard-fought agreement with Republicans on a gun safety measure, following a string of horrific shootings in 2019, when the talks suddenly collapsed.New plans in the House to impeach President Donald J. Trump meant that Republicans were no longer in the mood to compromise with Democrats on anything, and the emerging accord went the way of so many seemingly promising ones on Capitol Hill in recent years, stymied by Republicans who said they were willing to accept some sort of deal — just not that one.“The world has become so polarized that our Republican colleagues come so very close to closing a deal, but then they begin staring down the abyss of their base and they recoil,” said Mr. Blumenthal, who attributed the Republican recalcitrance to fear of a political backlash for any cooperation with Democrats.The same has been true for other politically charged issues where efforts at compromise have ended up going nowhere in Congress. Republicans initially seemed willing to engage on legislation addressing immigration and police misconduct, for example, only to abruptly pull back, blaming Democrats for what they called unreasonable demands or a refusal to take hard steps that might anger their liberal supporters.So as a rump group of senators in both parties has recently ramped up discussions aimed at reaching a compromise on voting legislation, leading Democrats who saw their far broader voting rights package stall in the Senate last week have been wary.They worry that the emerging legislation could be a distraction from the pressing issue their bill was meant to address — Republican voter-suppression efforts at the state level — and amount to little more than cover for Republicans who want to appear interested in protecting election integrity despite uniformly opposing Democrats’ voting rights bill.They have taken note that Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, has blessed the effort — a telltale sign, say Democrats who have learned to be endlessly suspicious of his motives, that it might go nowhere.The Democratic fear is that once the moment passes and attention shifts away from election law to spending issues and now a contentious Supreme Court nomination, the talks will fizzle and Democrats will be left with nothing to show for their voting rights drive, even as the 2022 midterms loom and the 2024 election is just over the horizon.But leaders of the talks that now include at least 16 senators divided between Republicans and Democrats say they are substantive, gaining momentum and could produce legislation that might prevent another Jan. 6-style confrontation by focusing on fixing the deficiencies in the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act.They point to the bipartisan infrastructure measure that many of the same lawmakers were able to produce last year as their model for negotiations, and as proof that compromise is still possible.“I’m encouraged by the fact that almost every day, someone calls me and asks to join our group,” said Senator Susan Collins, the centrist Republican from Maine and a leader of the compromise effort. She characterized its members, who met virtually this week, as ranging from “pretty conservative to pretty liberal.”“This is a serious, committed group of senators from both sides of the aisle,” she said in an interview. “This is not a surface effort.”Aiding the outlook for the talks is the fact that Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, is also now encouraging them. He is taking what one ally described as a wait-and-see attitude after initially lashing out at the potential compromise as a ruse to undercut the Democratic voting rights package.A separate group that includes Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota and chair of the Rules Committee, and Angus King, the Maine independent, is drafting comparable legislation.Virtually all Democrats back the idea of fixing the Electoral Count Act, which lays out the ceremonial process by which Congress makes an official count of the presidential election results to confirm the victor, to guard against its being exploited in the way that Mr. Trump and his allies attempted to do so.But they caution that it is no substitute for their proposals, which focus on countering efforts to make it harder for minorities to vote and restoring parts of the landmark Voting Rights Act.“I don’t think anybody is against fixing the piece,” Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, said about the electoral vote counting process. “But nobody should pretend that this in any way solves the bigger issues regarding the attack on our democracy.”Ms. Collins, however, says that the focus on how presidential electoral votes are tallied should be the aim of any new voting legislation as a direct response to the assault on the Capitol last January by Mr. Trump’s supporters seeking to interfere with the tally.“That the Democrats didn’t put anything on the Electoral Count Act in their 735-page bill is astounding to me given the link to Jan. 6,” Ms. Collins said.Understand the Battle Over U.S. Voting RightsCard 1 of 5Why are voting rights an issue now? 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    Judge Says States Can Investigate WinRed’s Fund-Raising Tactics

    The Republican digital donation platform is facing inquiries from four state attorneys general into its use of prechecked boxes to withdraw donations automatically.A federal judge in Minnesota on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by WinRed, a company that processes online donations for Republicans, that sought to block state attorneys general from investigating fund-raising tactics that have triggered complaints of fraud.The attorneys general from four states — New York, Minnesota, Maryland and Connecticut — first sent letters to WinRed last April, asking for documents after a New York Times investigation revealed the company’s use of prechecked boxes to automatically enroll donors in recurring contribution programs. The boxes resulted in a surge in demands for refunds from supporters of former President Donald J. Trump.WinRed declined to provide the documents and instead went to federal court to argue that federal law should pre-empt any state-level consumer investigations. Chief Judge John R. Tunheim of the U.S. District Court in Minnesota ruled against the company on Wednesday.Judge Tunheim dismissed WinRed’s attempt to stop the attorneys general investigating outside Minnesota, ruling that he did not have jurisdiction. He ruled in favor of the Minnesota attorney general, Keith Ellison, writing that federal law would not pre-empt a state inquiry.“The court has confirmed an important principle that has nothing to do with politics: State attorneys general can use the laws and investigatory tools of their states to protect the consumers of their states from harm, deception, and abuse,” Mr. Ellison said.Judge Tunheim also denied a request to block a subpoena from the attorneys general, which was issued last July 16, shortly after WinRed went to federal court, according to the ruling issued on Wednesday.“WinRed will appeal,” the company said in an emailed statement.WinRed has argued that the attorneys general, all Democrats, are politically motivated. However, the four also sent a similar request for documents last year to ActBlue, the leading Democratic donation-processing platform. ActBlue said on Wednesday that it had also received a subpoena and that it had shared the requested information.After the ruling Wednesday, Attorney General Brian Frosh of Maryland urged WinRed to cooperate with the inquiry.“Now that its case has been dismissed, it is our hope that WinRed moves from a strategy of attack, attack, attack and cooperates in the investigation of allegations that it deceived consumers around the nation,” he said in a statement.New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, said, “It’s their responsibility to be honest and transparent with their services, and it’s the responsibility of the states to fight back against deceptive behavior in all its forms.”In the fall of 2020, the Trump campaign used prechecked boxes to get a donor’s permission to withdraw extra donations every week — then obscured that fact below extra text unrelated to the additional withdrawals. In the following weeks and months, demands for refunds increased sharply as supporters said they were duped into unwitting contributions.All told, the Trump operation, working with the Republican Party, refunded more than 10 percent of every dollar raised through WinRed in the 2020 campaign — a rate more than four times that of the Democrat Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s operation.The bipartisan Federal Election Commission voted unanimously last year to recommend that Congress outlaw the practice of prechecked recurring donation boxes. Legislation has since been introduced in both the House and the Senate.Kitty Bennett contributed research. More

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    To Hell and Back, Then to CNN

    Once an ordinary citizen stumbles into the culture war, it can be hard to get back out. Just ask Michael Fanone.Michael Fanone seemed very out of place. It was the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection, and CNN was commemorating the occasion with blanket coverage. A year earlier, Fanone was a 40-year-old Metropolitan Police Department (M.P.D.) officer trying to hold off an angry mob outside the United States Capitol. The rioters pulled him from a tunnel and down a set of steps, pummeled him with their fists and their feet and even the staff of an American flag and tased him numerous times; in the melee, he suffered both a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury. Now Fanone was outside the Capitol again, on the set of CNN’s “New Day” morning show, sitting next to its hosts, John Berman and Brianna Keilar. He wore faded jeans and a red-and-black plaid parka, in stark contrast to Berman’s and Keilar’s news-anchor attire. With his heavy beard and a turtleneck of tattoos peeking out from underneath his collar, he looked like some sort of punk lumberjack. He sounded like one too. When Keilar asked him to share some of the conversations he was having with police officers as the anniversary approached, Fanone acidly noted that the U.S. Capitol Police “have to walk the same halls as some of these insurrectionist members of Congress,” before adding, “I couldn’t imagine sharing a work space with those jackasses.”The good news for Fanone is he doesn’t have to. Despite the incongruity of his wardrobe and words, the cable-news set was now his work space, Berman and Keilar his colleagues. In late December, Fanone resigned from the M.P.D., after nearly 20 years on the force, and took a job as an on-air commentator on law-enforcement issues at CNN. In a way, the move only formalized a pre-existing relationship. A week after the storming of the Capitol, while still recovering from his injuries, Fanone gave interviews to CNN and a host of other news outlets, recounting the horrors of the event in vivid terms that spared no detail or person. (Addressing the handful of people in the mob who came to his aid that day, he told CNN, “Thank you, but [expletive] you for being there.”) He became a media star and, inevitably, a political star as well. In July, Fanone testified in front of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. “The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” he shouted, slamming his hand on the table. That evening, he appeared on Don Lemon’s CNN show to play a racist and homophobic voice mail message a Trump supporter left him. “This is what happens to people that tell the truth in Trump’s America,” he said. That Fanone himself was a self-described “redneck American” who voted for Trump in 2016 gave his words an added weight.They didn’t switch sides in the political battle so much as they simply stumbled into it.Apostates are rarely lonely in American politics. When a political figure switches sides — Whittaker Chambers naming Communist names and becoming a celebrated conservative intellectual, David Brock renouncing the vast right-wing conspiracy and starting liberal nonprofits — the drama of the act itself can earn more attention, and more followers, than if the person had started on that side to begin with. But in recent years, the act of apostasy has been defined down. Alexander Vindman, a by-the-book U.S. Army lieutenant colonel serving on Trump’s National Security Council, became a blue-state hero for having the temerity to suggest that it was improper of Trump to threaten to withhold U.S. military assistance to Ukraine unless it investigated Joe Biden. Nicholas Sandmann, a Kentucky teenager on a high-school field trip to Washington, became a conservative cause célèbre when a video of his encounter with a Native American political activist on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was misconstrued, in initial press reports, as a racist confrontation. Unlike Chambers or Brock, Vindman and Sandmann didn’t switch sides in the political battle so much as they simply stumbled into it — noncombatants who were drafted into the culture war. Once conscripted, though, each capitalized on his new status by parlaying it into political and media work. Sandmann landed a job with Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign and was given a prime-time speaking spot at the Republican National Convention. He’s now a frequent guest on Fox News, most recently showing up on Sean Hannity’s show to offer advice to Kyle Rittenhouse after his acquittal on murder charges in November. Vindman, meanwhile, wrote a book, “Here, Right Matters” — the title comes from a line in his testimony at Trump’s impeachment hearings — and even made a cameo on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” It’s not surprising that Fanone would follow the same path. He may have had little alternative. The flip side of apostasy, of course, is the enmity it earns you from your old comrades. Fanone’s outspokenness rapidly made him a target for conservative media figures: Greg Kelly of Newsmax dubbed him “that drama queen of a cop,” while Laura Ingraham of Fox mockingly awarded him a “best performance in an action role” trophy for his House testimony. Even worse, he became a target for his fellow law-enforcement officers. When he had recovered enough to return to the force in September, he has said, officers in his old district greeted him with taunts or simply shunned him; he now counts only two current Washington police officers as friends. “I had convinced myself, Mike, you’re vocalizing the opinions of thousands and thousands of police officers,” he later lamented to the Time correspondent Molly Ball. “But I’m starting to think I’m vocalizing the beliefs of just one.” In joining CNN, Fanone is merely going where he is wanted.Fanone has said that one reason he is so outspoken is he does not want anyone to whitewash, or to forget, what happened on Jan. 6. But that has trapped him in a “Groundhog Day”-like existence. In another appearance during CNN’s anniversary coverage, Fanone stood with Don Lemon in the Capitol tunnel from which rioters pulled him one year earlier. In an “exclusive” interview, he haltingly recalled how “it was like a war zone.” He went on: “It was just littered with weapons and debris, CS gas, residual gas just kind of floating in the air created this mist or haze. It was surreal.” Left unsaid was the surreality of Fanone’s having to relive the worst day of his life, yet again, for CNN’s cameras.Key Figures in the Jan. 6 InquiryCard 1 of 17The House investigation. More

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    Madison Cawthorn Challenge Raises the Question: Who Is an ‘Insurrectionist’?

    The challenge to Representative Madison Cawthorn’s re-election bid could set a precedent to challenge other Republicans who encouraged the Jan. 6 attack.WASHINGTON — A group of lawyers is working to disqualify from the ballot a right-wing House Republican who cheered on the Jan. 6 rioters unless he can prove he is not an “insurrectionist,” disqualified by the Constitution from holding office, in a case with implications for other officeholders and potentially former President Donald J. Trump.The novel challenge to the re-election bid of Representative Madison Cawthorn, one of the House’s brashest supporters of Mr. Trump and the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, could set a precedent to challenge other Republicans who swore to uphold the Constitution, then encouraged the attack.While the House committee investigating the assault on the Capitol has so far been unsuccessful in its effort to force key members of Congress to cooperate with the inquiry, the North Carolina case has already prompted a legal discussion — one that is likely to land in court — about what constitutes an insurrection, and who is an insurrectionist.And for the first time, a lawmaker who embraced the rioters may have to answer for his actions in a court of law.“I don’t think we can have those persons who have engaged in acts of insurrection elected to office and serving in office in violation of their constitutional duties and oath,” said John R. Wallace, one of the lawyers on the case and a campaign finance and election law expert in Raleigh, N.C. He added, “It should not be difficult to prove you are not an insurrectionist. It only seems to be difficult for Madison Cawthorn.”Cases challenging the legitimacy of a candidate before election boards usually hinge on a candidate’s age, legal residency, place of birth or citizenship status, or the legitimacy of signatures in a candidacy petition.This case revolves around the little-known third section of the 14th Amendment, adopted during Reconstruction to punish members of the Confederacy who were streaming back to Washington to reclaim their elective offices — and infuriating unionist Republicans.That section declares that “no person shall” hold “any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath” to “support the Constitution,” had then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”Mr. Cawthorn, 26, who is in his first term in Congress, has denounced the case as an egregious misreading of the 14th Amendment, but he has retained James Bopp Jr., one of the most prominent conservative campaign lawyers in the country, as counsel.Mr. Bopp, in an interview, declared the matter “the most frivolous case I’ve ever seen,” but allowed that what he called an “unethical” exploitation of North Carolina law by “competent” lawyers could pose a real threat to Mr. Cawthorn — and by extension, to others labeled “insurrectionists” by liberal lawyers.“This is the real threat to our democracy,” he said. “Just by bringing the complaint, they might jeopardize a member of Congress running for re-election.”“They have multiple targets,” he added. “It just so happens that Madison Cawthorn is the tip of the spear.”That is because North Carolina’s election statute offers challengers a remarkably low bar to question a candidate’s constitutional qualifications for office. Once someone establishes a “reasonable suspicion or belief” that a candidate is not qualified, the burden shifts to the officeseeker to prove otherwise.If Mr. Cawthorn is labeled an “insurrectionist,” that could have broader ramifications. Other Republican House members, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, face similar accusations, but their state’s election laws present higher hurdles for challenges to their candidate qualifications. If one of their colleagues is disqualified for his role in encouraging the rioters, those hurdles might become easier to clear.The lawyers challenging Mr. Cawthorn’s eligibility are using an amendment last invoked in 1920, when Representative Victor L. Berger, an Austrian-American socialist, was denied his seat representing Wisconsin after criticizing American involvement in World War I.If nothing else, the lawyers, including two former justices of the North Carolina Supreme Court, want to depose Mr. Cawthorn as part of discovery to question his actions before, during and after the attack on the Capitol.“There is, of course, much that we don’t know, and the statute allows discovery by deposition and the production of records,” Mr. Wallace said.There is much that is known. Whether it makes Mr. Cawthorn an “insurrectionist” would have to be determined by North Carolina’s Board of Elections, or more likely, by the state’s courts, where the board might punt the matter.Weeks after the 2020 election, Mr. Cawthorn told a conservative gathering to “call your congressman” to protest the results, adding, “you can lightly threaten them.” He promoted the “Save America” rally behind the White House on Jan. 6, writing on Twitter, “the future of this Republic hinges on the actions of a solitary few,” then adding “It’s time to fight.” At the rally, he riled the crowd from the stage with talk of election “fraud.”He later called those jailed for storming the Capitol “political hostages” and “political prisoners” that he would like to “bust” out of prison.A mob rushing the Capitol on Jan. 6 were met with tear gas.Kenny Holston for The New York Times“The Second Amendment was not written so that we can go hunting or shoot sporting clays. The Second Amendment was written so that we can fight against tyranny,” he would later say in Franklin, N.C. He added, “If our election systems continue to be rigged, and continue to be stolen, then it’s going to lead to one place, and it’s bloodshed.”Key Figures in the Jan. 6 InquiryCard 1 of 17The House investigation. More

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    Justice Dept. Is Reviewing Role of Fake Trump Electors, Top Official Says

    Lisa O. Monaco, the deputy attorney general, told CNN that she could not “say anything more on ongoing investigations.”WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is investigating the fake slates of electors that falsely declared Donald J. Trump the victor of the 2020 election in seven swing states that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had in fact won, a top agency official said on Tuesday.“Our prosecutors are looking at those, and I can’t say anything more on ongoing investigations,” Lisa O. Monaco, the deputy attorney general, said in an interview with CNN.The false certificates appear to have been part of an effort by Mr. Trump’s allies to reverse his defeat in the presidential election. Even as election officials in the seven contested states sent official lists of electors who had voted for Mr. Biden to the Electoral College, the fake slates claimed Mr. Trump was the winner in an apparent bid to subvert the election outcome.Lawmakers, state officials and the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot have asked the Justice Department to look into the role played by those fake electors and the documents they submitted to the National Archives on Dec. 14, 2020.In some cases, top Republican Party officials in those seven states signed the false documents, according to copies posted online last March by American Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group.“The phony electors were part of the plan to create chaos on Jan. 6, as a pretext for a contingent election,” said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the committee.“The fake electoral slates were an effort to create the illusion of contested state results,” Mr. Raskin said. That, he added, would have given Mike Pence, who as vice president presided over Congress’s count of electoral votes on Jan. 6, “a pretext for unilateral rejection of electors.”In Michigan, Dana Nessel, the attorney general, gave federal prosecutors information from her yearlong investigation into the matter. She has said that she believes there is enough evidence to charge 16 Republicans in her state with submitting the fake certificates and falsely claiming that they were official electors for the state.And Hector Balderas Jr., the attorney general of New Mexico, and a local prosecutor in Wisconsin also asked the Justice Department to review the matter.If investigators determine that Mr. Trump’s allies created the fake slates to improperly influence the election, they could in theory be charged with falsifying voting documents, mail fraud or even a conspiracy to defraud the United States.It is unclear whether the Republican Party officials and others who submitted the false documents did so on their own or at the behest of the Trump campaign.“The people who pretended to be official electors in states that were won by Biden were undoubtedly guilty of fraud on the Constitution and on the democracy,” Mr. Raskin said. “It’s a trickier question whether they are guilty of either common-law fraud, state statutory fraud, federal mail fraud or some other offense.”Luke Broadwater More

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    Attack of the Right-Wing Thought Police

    Americans like to think of their nation as a beacon of freedom. And despite all the ways in which we have failed to live up to our self-image, above all the vast injustices that sprang from the original sin of slavery, freedom — not just free elections, but also freedom of speech and thought — has long been a key element of the American idea.Now, however, freedom is under attack, on more fronts than many people realize. Everyone knows about the Big Lie, the refusal by a large majority of Republicans to accept the legitimacy of a lost election. But there are many other areas in which freedom is not just under assault but in retreat.Let’s talk, in particular, about the attack on education, especially but not only in Florida, which has become one of America’s leading laboratories of democratic erosion.Republicans have made considerable political hay by denouncing the teaching of critical race theory; this strategy has succeeded even though most voters have no idea what that theory is and it isn’t actually being taught in public schools. But the facts in this case don’t matter, because denunciations of C.R.T. are basically a cover for a much bigger agenda: an attempt to stop schools from teaching anything that makes right-wingers uncomfortable.I use that last word advisedly: There’s a bill advancing in the Florida Senate declaring that an individual “should not be made to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race.” That is, the criterion for what can be taught isn’t “Is it true? Is it supported by the scholarly consensus?” but rather “Does it make certain constituencies uncomfortable?”Anyone tempted to place an innocuous interpretation on this provision — maybe it’s just about not assigning collective guilt? — should read the text of the bill. Among other things, it cites as its two prime examples of things that must not happen in schools “denial or minimization of the Holocaust, and the teaching of critical race theory” — because suggesting that “racism is embedded in American society” (the bill’s definition of the theory) is just the same as denying that Hitler killed six million Jews.What’s really striking, however, is the idea that schools should be prohibited from teaching anything that causes “discomfort” among students and their parents. If you imagine that the effects of applying this principle would be limited to teaching about race relations, you’re being utterly naïve.For one thing, racism is far from being the only disturbing topic in American history. I’m sure that some students will find that the story of how we came to invade Iraq — or for that matter how we got involved in Vietnam — makes them uncomfortable. Ban those topics from the curriculum!Then there’s the teaching of science. Most high schools do teach the theory of evolution, but leading Republican politicians are either evasive or actively deny the scientific consensus, presumably reflecting the G.O.P. base’s discomfort with the concept. Once the Florida standard takes hold, how long will teaching of evolution survive?Geology, by the way, has the same problem. I’ve been on nature tours where the guides refuse to talk about the origins of rock formations, saying that they’ve had problems with some religious guests.Oh, and given the growing importance of anti-vaccination posturing as a badge of conservative allegiance, how long before basic epidemiology — maybe even the germ theory of disease — gets the critical race theory treatment?And then there’s economics, which these days is widely taught at the high school level. (Full disclosure: Many high schools use an adapted version of the principles text I co-author.) Given the long history of politically driven attempts to prevent the teaching of Keynesian economics, what do you think the Florida standard would do to teaching in my home field?The point is that the smear campaign against critical race theory is almost certainly the start of an attempt to subject education in general to rule by the right-wing thought police, which will have dire effects far beyond the specific topic of racism.And who will enforce the rules? State-sponsored vigilantes! Last month Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, proposed a “Stop Woke Act” that would empower parents to sue school districts they claim teach critical race theory — and collect lawyer fees, a setup modeled on the bounties under Texas’ new anti-abortion law. Even the prospect of such lawsuits would have a chilling effect on teaching.Did I mention that DeSantis also wants to create a special police force to investigate election fraud? Like the attacks on critical race theory, this is obviously an attempt to use a made-up issue — voter fraud is largely nonexistent — as an excuse for intimidation.OK, I’m sure that some people will say that I’m making too much of these issues. But ask yourself: Has there been any point over, say, the past five years when warnings about right-wing extremism have proved overblown and those dismissing those warnings as “alarmist” have been right?The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram. More

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    What the Trump Documents Might Tell the Jan. 6 Committee

    Following last week’s Supreme Court ruling, the House panel has received material that it hopes could flesh out how the attack on the Capitol came about.The National Archives has turned over to the House select committee investigating the assault on the Capitol last Jan. 6 a large batch of documents that former President Donald J. Trump had sought to keep out of the panel’s hands, citing executive privilege.The committee has yet to make the documents public or disclose how far along it is in scrutinizing them for any new information about the roles played by Mr. Trump and his inner circle in the effort to delay certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.But in court filings, Mr. Trump, his legal team and the archives identified the documents that he was seeking to shield through claims of executive privilege, an argument that the Supreme Court rejected last week.It remains unclear how valuable the documents — at least 770 pages — will be to the investigation. But here is a list of them as identified in the court filings, what is known about them and how they might fit into the larger narrative being assembled by the committee:Proposed talking points for Mr. Trump’s press secretary and documents related to allegations of voter fraud (629 pages)Even before Election Day, Republicans and the Trump White House were pushing the notion — not backed by any evidence — that there could be widespread election fraud because of changes states enacted in response to the pandemic that made it easier for people to vote.Mr. Trump refused to concede on election night, saying publicly: “This is a fraud on the American public.” In the weeks that followed, the White House — through Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary at the time — amplified Mr. Trump’s messaging from the briefing room and on television and social media.The materials could help the committee document the extent and intensity of the effort inside the White House to promote the baseless claims, along with more details about which members of the administration were most involved in the false claims.Presidential activity calendars and a handwritten note concerning Jan. 6 (11 pages)In a typical White House, a president’s calendar can provide an intimate picture of who the president meets with and the topics he may be discussing. Though Mr. Trump had a far less regimented schedule, there were still some meetings and events on his calendar, and aides kept track of where he was and what he was planning to do. The committee has indicated that it is especially interested in any communications that Mr. Trump had around Jan. 6 with top aides like Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, or with Vice President Mike Pence. A detailed calendar or notes could also help shed light on Mr. Trump’s activities as the riot unfolded on Capitol Hill.Mr. Trump’s supporters before his rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021.Jason Andrew for The New York TimesA draft of Mr. Trump’s speech for the “Save America” rally that preceded the mob attack (10 pages)On Jan. 6, Mr. Trump and his allies spoke at a rally on the Ellipse before his supporters marched more than a mile to the Capitol. The draft speech — which Mr. Trump’s longtime aide, Stephen Miller, helped write — would show whether Mr. Trump’s incendiary language that encouraged the protesters was ad-libbed by him or whether it was included by his speechwriters, who may have been coordinating the president’s messaging with others. In his book, Mr. Meadows claimed Mr. Trump had ad-libbed his remarks telling the crowd to march on the Capitol.A note from Mr. Meadows about briefings and calls about the certification of the election and related issues (2 pages)In the days leading up to Jan. 6, there was a flurry of meetings in the Oval Office. Among the most dramatic was one on Jan. 4, when Mr. Trump had a lawyer named John Eastman — who had written a memo essentially saying that the vice president had immense powers to decide who won the election — make the argument directly to Mr. Pence that he could delay the certification of the election on Jan. 6. (Mr. Pence later rejected the advice.) On Jan. 2, three of Mr. Trump’s advisers — Rudolph W. Giuliani, Peter Navarro and Mr. Eastman — held a conference call with about 300 state lawmakers about election fraud. On Jan. 4, Phil Waldron, a former U.S. Army colonel who rose to prominence in Mr. Trump’s inner circle after the election, said members of his team briefed some senators on foreign interference in the election. Mr. Waldron said he personally gave the same briefing the next day to members of the House.Details of meetings like those, and the planning for them, could help the committee assess whether Mr. Trump’s efforts justify a criminal referral to the Justice Department on a charge like obstructing an official proceeding in Congress.A draft executive order on the topic of election integrity (4 pages)A range of outside advisers were pushing for Mr. Trump to sign executive orders to help him block or slow certification of the election. Among the most audacious was one that said Mr. Trump could use the Defense Department to seize voting machines based on false claims that there had been foreign interference in the election. Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, and a lawyer advising him, Sidney Powell, were urging Mr. Trump to take this action. A copy of a draft executive order about seizing election machines was posted on Politico’s website on Friday.But that memo is three pages, and the National Archives described a memo that is four pages. There is another memo, mentioned in a recent disclosure to the committee by the Trump ally Bernard Kerik, that could also fit this description. It was withheld by Mr. Kerik under the theory of executive privilege but was described in a log of documents that Mr. Kerik refused to turn over as, “DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS.”Handwritten notes from the files of Mr. Meadows (3 pages)As chief of staff, Mr. Meadows served both as a top aide and as a conduit for outside advisers, including members of Congress, to contact Mr. Trump and visit him at the White House. Mr. Meadows has provided investigators with hundreds of pages of documents that he had on his personal phone but has refused to sit for questioning, leading the committee to ask the Justice Department to prosecute him. His notes could potentially shed light on what Mr. Trump was hearing and saying at key moments.Key Figures in the Jan. 6 InquiryCard 1 of 17The House investigation. More

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    Court Approves Special Grand Jury in Trump Election Inquiry

    A district attorney in Georgia is investigating possible election interference by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies.A Georgia district attorney’s request to convene a special grand jury was approved Monday in the criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.Fani T. Willis, an Atlanta prosecutor, requested the grand jury last week after crucial witnesses identified by investigators refused to cooperate voluntarily. Assembling a grand jury — which could issue subpoenas — is the next step in an inquiry that legal experts see as potentially threatening for the former president.“The special purpose grand jury shall be authorized to investigate any and all facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to alleged violations of the laws of the State of Georgia,” stated the approval order, signed by Christopher S. Brasher, the chief judge of the Fulton County Superior Court.The grand jury would start its work on May 2 and continue “for a period not to exceed 12 months,” the order said.Legal experts have been watching the Georgia case for months, and say that the former president’s criminal exposure could include charges of racketeering or conspiracy. It is the only known criminal case that focuses directly on Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.Politically, the case takes place in a state that played a pivotal role in President Biden’s path to the White House. Mr. Biden became the first Democrat since 1992 to win Georgia’s electoral votes in 2020. The actions of Mr. Trump and his allies during the two-month period that followed Mr. Biden’s victory has been the focus of Ms. Willis’s criminal investigation.After Mr. Trump’s election loss — and before Georgia held two Senate elections in January — Mr. Trump began to publicly dispute the results of the election in states he lost, including Georgia. On Jan. 2, he called Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, and asked him to “find 11,780 votes” — the margin by which Mr. Trump lost the state.The call kicked off a firestorm that continues to have political and legal ramifications. Mr. Trump, who remains the most influential figure in the Republican Party and is a likely candidate for president in 2024, has previously stated that his call with Mr. Raffensperger was “perfect.”The former president has stared down legal troubles before, including investigations into his businesses and finances, and is the only president to have been impeached twice. He has previously dismissed other investigations as politically motivated. Ms. Willis, the Atlanta prosecutor, is a DemocratThe Georgia case is one of several criminal, civil and congressional investigations focused on Mr. Trump. A Democrat-led Congressional inquiry into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol recently won a Supreme Court victory, which will allow it to obtain White House records.The Trump InvestigationsCard 1 of 6Numerous inquiries. More