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    Abortion on the Ballot: ‘Remember, You Are Alone in the Voting Booth’

    More from our inbox:The Supreme Court Ruling About a Gerrymandered MapTalks in the Russia-Ukraine War‘Stolen’ Election? Prove It.Time for a New Constitutional Convention?To the Editor:I am a 41-year-old white, upper-class, single, childless professional, a Midwestern Republican and a practicing Catholic woman. I am disgusted by the overturning of Roe v. Wade.This does not match my conservative values of smaller government and fiscal conservatism. Practically, why is it a government matter to ensure the completion of truly unwanted and/or dangerous pregnancies?Personally, I have seen the toll of abortion on friends and relatives. Reasons I’ve seen for having one include date rape, accidental pregnancies, irresponsible lack of birth control and unviable pregnancies. No one took the decision lightly or evaded the psychological impact of the actual event.Women across their lifetimes deal with everyone else’s interest in and opinion of their bodies. We also deal with managing access to our bodies in ways I do not think most men can understand. Men who want to put part of their bodies inside ours. Doctors who probe inside. Lives that grow inside and can cause serious injury and death in the process.It’s a lot to manage. I suggest we leave each person to their own management, in a truly Republican way.Emily SmithSt. LouisTo the Editor:When my son was born, I had an overpowering feeling of love. I couldn’t imagine loving anyone more than I loved him. Giving birth and having a child are what I cherish most about my life. Every child deserves to be wanted and be the recipient of that powerful love.I am a pro-choice Democrat. I am also pro-life. And by pro-life I don’t mean the pro-fetus, anti-abortion view of the conservative, religious right. To me pro-life means ensuring that women have prenatal care and adequate family leave, and affordable child care. Pro-life means good nutrition, parental jobs that pay a living wage, safe, affordable housing, excellent public education and health care for everyone.It is time for Democrats and all who love children to claim the mantle of “pro-life” as ours and to recognize that anti-abortionists care only about the delivery of a fetus no matter how it was conceived and whether is it born alive or dead. We must restore women’s bodily autonomy and right to choose when and how to have a child.Nancy H. HenselLaguna Woods, Calif.To the Editor:Those Americans celebrating our nation’s reactionary lurch back to the dark days of government control over women’s bodies are, no doubt, deeply grateful to the millions of self-described progressive and/or Democratic Party-aligned voters who in 2016 opted not to cast a vote at all rather than to vote for Hillary Clinton.Without the help of those anti-Clinton members of the electorate, it’s highly unlikely the radical right could have fulfilled its dream of creating a top court controlled by overtly activist justices who now, one decision at a time, are ensuring that the politics of white privilege and patriarchal thinking reign supreme.The End of Roe v. WadeCommentary by Times Opinion writers and columnists on the Supreme Court’s decision to end ​​the constitutional right to abortion.Michelle Goldberg: “In the aftermath of the anti-abortion movement’s catastrophic victory, it’s worth asking what we can learn from their tactics.”Maureen Dowd: “The court is out of control. We feel powerless to do anything about it. Clarence Thomas, of all people, has helped lead us to where we are.”Peter Coy: “People on the losing end of Supreme Court decisions increasingly feel that justice is not being served. That’s a scary situation for American democracy.”Jamelle Bouie: “The power to check the Supreme Court is there, in the Constitution. The task now is to seize it.”Michele Goodwin, law professor: “The overturning of Roe v. Wade reveals the Supreme Court’s neglectful reading of the amendments that abolished slavery.”It’s a stark reminder that polls indicating that a majority of voters continue to favor a woman’s right to choose are meaningless if lots of those same voters choose not to vote.Andy ParkerPortland, Ore.To the Editor:At this tragic time for women’s rights, I remember a letter to the editor, in this very paper, that was written 30 years ago. We were at the crux of a significant presidential election, in which several Supreme Court seats were potentially at stake.The writer of that letter took the liberty of doctoring a quote from Julia Child, who was a known ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood. On one of her cooking shows, Julia accidentally flipped food out of the pan and onto the floor.As she picked it up from the floor and tossed it back into the pan, she looked into the camera and said, “Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?”The writer of that letter reminded women, “Remember, you are alone in the voting booth.”As we fight to get our rights back, I hope that women, regardless of their political party, will remember that advice this November.Katrina SabaOakland, Calif.The Supreme Court Ruling About a Gerrymandered Map Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York TimesTo the Editor:Re “Justices Revive G.O.P.-Drawn Map in Louisiana” (news article, June 29):The Supreme Court’s reinstatement of the highly partisan gerrymandered voting map by the Louisiana Legislature simply highlights the politicization of the six conservative justices and the court’s continued decline of legitimacy in the public eye.The trial court found that the Republican-drawn map diluted Black voters’ rights and required the Louisiana Legislature to redraw the map for the coming November election. The six justices arbitrarily blocked the trial court’s order without giving any reason.Although overshadowed by the abortion, gun permit and church-state cases, this result-oriented order simply reinforces the public’s skepticism of the court’s partisan bent. So much for the Republicans’ historic denunciation of “activist judges.”Ken GoldmanBeverly Hills, Calif.The writer is a lawyer.Talks in the Russia-Ukraine WarTo the Editor:According to the NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, the conflict in Ukraine appears likely to last for some time. In recent days, though, leading voices in Europe, those who want Russia pushed back and punished as well as those who want the war to end quickly, have expressed serious interest in talks.Negotiation may be more promising if the focus shifts from a final resolution of the protracted conflict to an interim plan with these initial objectives: (a) to cease the fighting and (b) to consider occupied territory “neutral,” and under a protectorate, until a complete resolution can be determined.Implementing these steps will take some doing, but each, in some form, is essential to limit human suffering, physical damage and economic loss as well as to establish and support a forum for negotiations, one in which “the interests” of the nations, rather than their “positions,” frame the discussions.This approach allows neither side to claim a victory. They can, however, commit to work for a peaceful Europe, as essential for Ukraine and Russia as for the stability, and prosperity, of the world.Linda StamatoSanford M. JaffeMorristown, N.J.The writers are co-directors of the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University.‘Stolen’ Election? Prove It.To the Editor:The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has methodically laid out a compelling, fact-based argument as to what happened that day, and why.I am still awaiting the same from those who believe that the 2020 election was “stolen.” What is their case? Where are their facts? Instead of a disciplined, marshaled argument, I hear only shrieks, shouts and hyperbole.I am reminded of President Lincoln’s observation in the midst of a similar hysteria: “Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence.”As a nation, this must be our watchword moving forward.Philip TaftHopewell, N.J.Time for a New Constitutional Convention?To the Editor:Many of us are frustrated that the institutions we look to for guiding our democracy are not working: a Supreme Court that interprets law as written hundreds of years ago; a Senate and a House often mired in gridlock; an executive branch that has suffered a near coup from partisans chanting false information about election fraud.Clearly something is not working, and we the people need to be the adults in the room to provide guidance.Perhaps it’s time for a new constitutional convention to update the contract between the people and our government so it works for all of us again.Richard M. SchubertPortland, Ore. More

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    Testimony Paints Mark Meadows as Unwilling to Act as Jan. 6 Unfolded

    Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mr. Meadows, the White House chief of staff in the Trump administration, described him as scrolling through his phone as rioters approached the Capitol.It was about 2 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021. Mark Meadows sat on a couch in his West Wing office, alone, scrolling through his cellphone. Across Washington from the White House, supporters of President Donald J. Trump were approaching the Capitol, protesting the certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College victory.“Are you watching the TV, chief?” Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Mr. Meadows, the White House chief of staff, recalled asking him. “The rioters are getting really close. Have you talked to the president?”No, Mr. Meadows replied, his eyes fixed on his phone. Mr. Trump, he went on, “wants to be alone right now.”Ms. Hutchinson’s account of a chief of staff who was at best disengaged and at worst overwhelmed by the events around him was a key part of her public appearance on Tuesday at a hastily scheduled hearing by the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, and what led to it.Another aide to Mr. Meadows, Ben Williamson, provided a different assessment, saying in testimony to the House committee that Mr. Meadows was responsive when Mr. Williamson said there was a problem. “Any suggestion he didn’t care is ludicrous,” Mr. Williamson said in a statement on Wednesday.Lawyers for Ms. Hutchinson said on Wednesday that she stood by her testimony. Yet even without Ms. Hutchinson’s recollections, a number of Mr. Meadows’s former colleagues and people who were interacting with him as the riot unfolded painted a portrait of an ineffective chief of staff as a violent scene developed at the Capitol.When he hired Mr. Meadows in March 2020, Mr. Trump gleefully told allies that he had found his James A. Baker III, a White House chief of staff under President Ronald Reagan and the person many successors have tried to emulate as the gold standard for running a West Wing.Yet within months, as the coronavirus pandemic raged and the economy that Mr. Trump prided himself on cratered, Mr. Meadows became known among many of his colleagues as someone who spoke out of both sides of his mouth. He encouraged Mr. Trump’s disgust with calling for increased mandates for masks, mocked the scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, according to former colleagues, waged petty fights internally with aides he believed were not following his authority.But instead of playing the role of gatekeeper and bringing order to a chaotic West Wing, Mr. Meadows was often criticized by associates as terrified of Mr. Trump’s temper and eager to please him.After the election, Mr. Meadows played a key role in encouraging House Republicans to look at ways to subvert Mr. Biden’s victory.Mr. Meadows called or texted Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, 18 times to arrange a call with Mr. Trump, and he made a trip to the state to look at the inspection of voting machines up close. He was in frequent contact with Trump supporters urging him to fight the outcome, including Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.Over the course of his tenure, Mr. Meadows helped create a rift between Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, according to a handful of former White House officials, by inserting himself into tasks that the vice president would historically perform. Among other things, Mr. Meadows injected himself into a trip to the Capitol with Amy Coney Barrett when she was a Supreme Court nominee, a visit Mr. Pence had been expected to play a prominent role in leading, a former White House aide recalled.“I think that Mark would often say to me that he was working to try and get the president to concede and accept the results of the election,” Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s former chief of staff, told CBS News’s “Face the Nation” recently.“And at the same time, it was clear he was bringing in lots of other people into the White House that were feeding the president different conspiracy theories,” Mr. Short said. “I think that Mark was telling different audiences all sorts of different stories.”On election night, as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, wanted to encourage the president to declare victory long before all the votes had been counted, Mr. Meadows and three other aides rejected the idea as stupid. But within days, Mr. Meadows began exchanging messages with his former House colleagues.“I love it,” Mr. Meadows replied to a suggestion from Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, on Nov. 5, 2020, about a plan to push legislatures in key states that Mr. Trump had lost to appoint so-called alternate electors to send to Congress.Within weeks of that text exchange, Mr. Meadows reassured Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, that, despite his repeated public statements that the election was stolen from him, Mr. Trump would eventually concede the election.Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mr. Meadows, gave an account of a chief of staff who was at best disengaged and at worst overwhelmed by the events of Jan. 6.Doug Mills/The New York TimesAt the same time, Mr. Meadows continued to allow people into the White House who were encouraging Mr. Trump to take actions that could undermine the results of the election. And he forwarded conspiracy theories about the election to senior administration officials to check out.Yet on Dec. 18, 2020, Mr. Meadows was among the Trump advisers who opposed a band of outside Trump supporters — including Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser — who urged Mr. Trump to authorize the government seizure of voting machines to search for election fraud.Finally, Mr. Meadows continued to look to Jan. 6, 2021, as the last option for Mr. Trump. Yet as the events of that day unfolded, his colleagues said at the time, Mr. Meadows seemed completely overwhelmed, at times to the point of paralysis. He reached out to Ivanka Trump to come downstairs from her office to try to implore her father to ask the rioters to stop, which she did, but it took hours for her to succeed in getting him to do so.Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 HearingsCard 1 of 7Making a case against Trump. More

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    Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas Pat Cipollone, Trump’s White House Counsel

    Mr. Cipollone, who repeatedly fought extreme plans to overturn the election, had resisted publicly testifying to the panel.WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued a subpoena Wednesday for the testimony of Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel to President Donald J. Trump who repeatedly fought back against extreme plans to overturn the 2020 election, after he resisted testifying publicly.In a statement accompanying the subpoena, the leaders of the committee said they were seeking Mr. Cipollone’s deposition testimony because investigators needed to “hear from him on the record, as other former White House counsels have done in other congressional investigations.”The committee said it was seeking information about Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his involvement in plans to submit false slates of electors to Congress and interfere with the Justice Department.The subpoena of a White House counsel, a rare step for a congressional committee, sent a clear signal of the aggressive tactics the panel is willing to use to try to force cooperation of even the White House’s former top lawyer, who most likely could invoke attorney-client privilege in response to many questions. But the testimony of Mr. Cipollone — who participated in key conversations on Jan. 6 and throughout Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, and is known to have doubted the legality of many of those plans — could prove consequential.The committee has at times used the leverage a subpoena creates to force witnesses to negotiate a deal for their cooperation. Discussions about the scope of a possible appearance are expected to begin soon.“Any concerns Mr. Cipollone has about the institutional prerogatives of the office he previously held are clearly outweighed by the need for his testimony,” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, and Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, said in a statement.A lawyer familiar with Mr. Cipollone’s deliberations, who was not authorized to speak for the record, said that the subpoena was needed before the former White House counsel could consider transcribed testimony before the committee, and that Mr. Cipollone would now evaluate matters of privilege as appropriate.Photos of Mr. Cipollone and Patrick F. Philbin, who was his deputy, on screen during one of the Jan. 6 commitee’s hearings. Both men met with the panel in April, but they were not under oath.Jason Andrew for The New York TimesIn April, Mr. Cipollone and Patrick F. Philbin, who was his deputy, met separately with the panel, two people familiar with the sessions said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the meetings.At the time, the two men were not under oath, and their interviews were not transcribed. Since then, Mr. Cipollone has resisted testifying publicly, despite calls from the committee for him to do so.“Our committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here. But we think the American people deserve to hear from Mr. Cipollone personally,” Ms. Cheney announced from the dais at a hearing last week. “He should appear before this committee, and we are working to secure his testimony.”At a hearing on Tuesday, the committee heard testimony from a former White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, who described Mr. Cipollone’s pivotal role during the events of Jan. 6.“Mark, we need to do something more,” Ms. Hutchinson said she heard Mr. Cipollone tell Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, on Jan. 6 as Mr. Trump’s supporters entered the Capitol. “They’re literally calling for the vice president to be f-ing hung.”Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 HearingsCard 1 of 7Making a case against Trump. More

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    ‘Why We Did It’ Is a Dark Ride on the ‘Republican Road to Hell’

    The former political operative Tim Miller writes about why most of the Republican establishment learned to stop worrying and line up behind President Trump.WHY WE DID ITA Travelogue From the Republican Road to HellBy Tim Miller259 pages. Harper/HarperCollins Publishers. $26.99.Too often, when straining to put some daylight between themselves and the Trump administration, regretful Republicans have reached for elaborate excuses and high-toned rhetoric. The former political operative Tim Miller knows better than to try.The most honorable parts of “Why We Did It,” Miller’s darkly funny (if also profoundly dispiriting) post-mortem/mea culpa, are the ones that dispense with pious pretense. Miller, a millennial who started working in Republican politics when he was 16, depicts himself as someone who was so preoccupied with “the Game” that for years he gave little thought to the degraded culture that his bare-knuckle tactics helped perpetuate. He liked the excitement, the money, the mischief. There was a “bizarre type of fame” that came with “D.C. celebrification,” he writes. He got addicted to the “horse race.” He was in it to win.His fixation on victory was so consuming that it could often override his personal interests. “Why We Did It” recalls a moment when Miller panicked after John McCain made a stray comment in 2006 that was barely, just barely, pro-gay marriage. (McCain later clarified that he was only talking about private ceremonies; he did “not believe that gay marriages should be legal.”) Miller was planning to work on McCain’s presidential campaign. Miller is also gay. He was upset that McCain might hurt his chances with Republican voters, rather than excited at the prospect of working for someone who didn’t “want to deny me the ability to have a totally chill, off-the-books, man-man ceremony.” Miller says it’s precisely this warped response — his own “championship-level compartmentalization” — that makes him especially suited to understanding why most of the Republican establishment learned to stop worrying and line up behind Trump. The episode with McCain was just the beginning. Miller later went on to do P.R. work for social conservatives who virulently opposed same-sex marriage. “As a gay man who contorted himself into defending homophobes,” he writes, “I am more than capable of inhabiting the mind of the enabler.”The first half of the book describes Miller’s political coming-of-age — from closeted young Republican who grew up in a devout Catholic family to a spokesman for Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign to one of the loudest Never Trumpers during the 2016 election. The second half of “Why We Did It” is a taxonomy of the kind of Republicans who went MAGA, based on Miller’s conversations with them and his firsthand knowledge of what makes the most opportunistic D.C. creatures tick.In between the two halves is an awkward chapter titled “Inertia,” in which Miller owns up to going from denouncing Trump before he was elected to working for Scott Pruitt, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator. (“It was a trying time and I was desperate.”) Miller later got a contract for media-monitoring services from the E.P.A. (“icky,” he concedes). Oh, and Miller also conducted opposition research for Facebook that happened to dovetail with conspiracy theories, casting the liberal financier and philanthropist George Soros as the shadowy force behind an anti-Facebook movement. (Miller insists that this newspaper’s reporting on what happened was “overheated.”)Tim Miller, the author of “Why We Did It: A Travelogue From the Republican Road to Hell.”Sophie Berard Photography“I was favor-trading with people who were causing real-world harm so I could get a pat on the head from some client who wanted self-serving scuttlebutt fed to the rubes,” he writes of his career. But as a self-described P.R. flack, Miller knows how to spin such ugly straw into shiny gold. Who better to identify why his fellow Republicans got sucked under than someone who kept getting pulled back in?The hardcore Trumpists who loved their candidate from the beginning don’t interest Miller. His subjects include colleagues who worked with him nearly a decade ago on the Growth and Opportunity Project, known as the Republican “autopsy,” organized after Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama in 2012. The report called for moderation, for outreach, for immigration reform. But one by one, the people working on the project went from abhorring Trump to embracing him.There was “the Striver,” Elise Stefanik, the Harvard-educated representative from upstate New York who “was doing what was required to get the next buzz,” Miller writes. There was “the Little Mix,” Reince Priebus, who liked “feeling important” and tried “to stay in everyone’s good graces while the world around him unraveled.” Miller calls Trump’s former press secretary Sean Spicer “the Nerd-Revenging Team Player” who gamely thought that obtaining some status in the White House might make up for some “negative charisma.” There was a coterie of “Cartel-Cashing, Team-Playing, Tribalist Trolls,” always on the lookout for the next gravy train.Some of these former colleagues will talk to Miller; others won’t. “Why We Did It” begins and ends with the story of his friendship with the Republican fund-raiser Caroline Wren, a fellow “socially liberal millennial,” who worked with Miller on McCain’s 2008 campaign but more recently made a star turn as a Trump adviser subpoenaed by the panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.Wren’s motivations don’t turn out to be particularly complex; she herself admits that her politics have always had less to do with the finer details of governing than the more cultish aspects of personality. “She had come to worship John McCain,” Miller writes, and she was soon “obsessed with Sarah Palin.” When pushed to explain what drew her to Trump, whose policies she says repulsed her, Wren rails against smug progressives driving around in their Priuses and forcing everyone to drink out of paper straws. She felt intensely annoyed by their self-satisfaction and hypocrisy. She liked Trump because of what she calls his “scorch-the-earth mode.”This “animus,” Miller says, seems to have been the necessary condition for converting his “reluctant peers” into Trump supporters. I recommend reading “Why We Did It” alongside “It Was All a Lie” (2020), by Stuart Stevens, another “what happened” book by a former Republican operative. Stevens comes across as thoughtful, deliberative, reflective; Miller comes across as clever, a little bit mean, extremely profane. Stevens captures how the Republican Party spent decades cultivating grievances that it didn’t plan to do anything about, while Miller captures the consequent emotional valence, with its “unseriousness and cruelty.” Both books are absorbing; neither is particularly hopeful.“AHHHHHHH,” an exasperated Miller writes, remembering how he stayed in politics because of his own thirst for fame and fortune. For all the reluctant Trump supporters’ torturous rationales, maybe the reasons for why they did it don’t get much more complicated than that. More

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    Women Will Save Us

    Men are pack animals.Not all of us, of course, but male culture is ordered by hierarchies of power, with the apex being the alpha. It can be toxic and problematic, ill-considered and tribal, but it is also deeply embedded in our society and resistant to modification.The pack mentality is particularly prevalent in politics, where even men of principle drift toward the centers of gravity.Donald Trump rose to power, and continues to pose a threat to this country, by pretending to be an alpha male and exploiting the pack behavior of politicians, particularly the Republican men with the most power.Nothing illustrates pack behavior better than the immediate aftermath of the insurrection: Some Republicans briefly turned on Trump and blamed him, believing him injured and weakened by the episode. But, when he appeared to survive it, they quickly, obsequiously, fell back into line, tails tucked.Both the men in the Capitol and the man on the street exhibit pack behavior.In a gym in Brooklyn a few months ago, I overheard a group of friends loudly discussing politics. Two were white, and one was Black.The two white men were boasting about Trump, how much they loved his bravado. Even if there were drawbacks, they were overcome by this one positive attribute. The Black man interjected with comments about Trump’s racism, but the two white men dodged and dismissed it. They wanted to focus on his strength and his power.This is why I have come to fully, religiously believe that if this country is to be saved, it will be women who do the saving.The riveting testimony of the former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson on Tuesday only reinforced my belief. She did what so many men around the president have refused to do: She spoke up in service of the truth and the country.This is not to say that there haven’t been men who have acted heroically in the face of recent threats to the country, but the women have truly distinguished themselves, which is even more remarkable in politics, which even now is dominated by men.There were the brave women who came forward with sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, even though they were being attacked and vilified. I don’t want to fail to mention Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to her allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.There was Nancy Pelosi, who held the line as best she could when Republicans held the majority, and expedited an aggressive liberal agenda when Democrats regained the majority.She also oversaw not one, but two impeachment votes against Trump, the first on accusations of soliciting foreign interference for the 2016 election, and the second on allegations of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection.In fact, in 2020, no group of voters voted more strongly to oust Trump than Black women. In fact, regardless of their race, more women voted to get rid of Trump than men, although a majority of white women still voted for him.Then, there is this point: America will rue the day that it did not elect Hillary Clinton president in 2016. There was an open Supreme Court seat when people were casting their ballots, and it still didn’t motivate enough Democrats to turn out to the polls or convince enough undecided voters to support her.Sure, there were overlapping factors operating in that cycle — Russian interference, the media’s lopsided treatment of Clinton and Trump, Anthony Weiner’s laptop and James Comey’s outrageous 11th-hour announcement — but sexism was also one of them.Now we have a Supreme Court poised to plunge us into an era of regression. But even there, we must take note of the women. When Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in on Thursday, the entire liberal arm of the court will be female. They may not be able to blunt the rulings of the theocratic majority, but this trio of women will compose the dissents, outline the moral argument, and lay the groundwork for future courts more inclined to undo the damage wreaked by this one.The change could start as soon as this fall, if enough women, riled up by the Dobbs decision, head to the polls to punish Republicans for putting them in this position.It is conventional wisdom that parties in power lose seats during the midterms, but in this cycle many women in this country are mad as hell about the loss of their civil rights and therefore may challenge that conventional wisdom.In two generic congressional polls taken in the days after the court handed down its decision in Dobbs, the Democrats held a significant lead over the Republicans. There are months to go before the elections, but this finding is interesting and must be unsettling for Republicans.In the meantime, it is women like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush who are pushing for an aggressive response to the abortion decision, while President Biden hews to his institutionalist instincts.It simply feels in this moment that women, more than men, have a clarity about the danger we face and the courage demanded to fight it.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 and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and Instagram. More

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    Jan. 6 Panel Explores Links Between Trump Allies and Extremist Groups

    Cassidy Hutchinson, the former White House aide, testified that the former president directed his chief of staff to reach out to Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, who had ties to the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.In their relationships with President Donald J. Trump in recent years, Roger J. Stone Jr., his longtime political adviser, and Michael T. Flynn, who was briefly his national security adviser, have followed a similar trajectory.Both were either convicted of or pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia. Both were pardoned by Mr. Trump after the 2020 presidential election. And both supported Mr. Trump in his relentless, multilayered efforts to reverse its outcome and remain in power.The two were, in a sense, together again on Tuesday, when both were mentioned within an instant of one another at the House select committee hearing by Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s final chief of staff. Ms. Hutchinson told the panel that on Jan. 5, 2021, a day before the Capitol was stormed, Mr. Trump had directed Mr. Meadows to reach out to Mr. Stone and Mr. Flynn.Ms. Hutchinson acknowledged that she did not know what her boss may have said to the men. But her testimony was the first time it was revealed that Mr. Trump, on the eve of the Capitol attack, had opened a channel of communication with a pair of allies who had not only worked on his behalf for weeks challenging the results of the election, but who also had extensive ties to extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, who were soon to be at the forefront of the violence.The question of whether there was communication or coordination between the far-right groups that helped storm the Capitol and Mr. Trump and his aides and allies is among the most important facing the Jan. 6 investigators.Barring a criminal prosecution — or something else that could force the details of the calls into the public sphere — it could be tough to be figure out exactly what Mr. Meadows discussed with Mr. Stone and Mr. Flynn.Since late last year, Mr. Meadows has refused to comply with a committee subpoena that seeks his testimony about the weeks leading up to Jan. 6 — a move that risked his indictment on contempt of Congress charges. As for Mr. Stone and Mr. Flynn, both repeatedly exercised their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination during their own interviews with the committee.Mr. Flynn’s interview was especially remarkable, according to a recording of it played at the hearing on Tuesday. A former three-star general who still collects a military pension, Mr. Flynn pleaded the Fifth Amendment even when he was asked if he believed the violence at the Capitol was wrong, and whether he supported the lawful transfer of presidential power.Ms. Hutchinson also told the panel that she recalled hearing about the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers while the planning was taking place for Mr. Trump’s public event near the White House on Jan. 6 — a time, she explained, when the former president’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, had been around.It is possible that Mr. Stone and Mr. Flynn will receive more attention when the panel reconvenes for its next public hearing in July. That is when Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, has said he intends to lead a presentation that will focus on the roles far-right groups like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and the 1st Amendment Praetorian played in the Capitol attack. Mr. Raskin has also promised to explore the connections between those groups and the people in Mr. Trump’s orbit.Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser to President Donald J. Trump, has repeatedly denied that he had any role in the violence that erupted at the Capitol on Jan.6.Al Drago for The New York TimesBoth Mr. Stone and Mr. Flynn fit that description, having maintained extensive ties to far-right groups in the postelection period. Much of the contact came at pro-Trump rallies in Washington when the men were guarded by members of the groups, who served as their bodyguards.For over a year, Mr. Stone has repeatedly denied that he had any role in the violence that erupted at the Capitol. Shortly after Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony, he denied in a post on social media that Mr. Meadows had called him on the day before the attack.Mr. Flynn’s lawyer has failed to respond to numerous requests for comments about the role his client played in the events of Jan. 6 and the weeks leading up to it.As early as Dec. 12, 2020, the 1st Amendment Praetorian protected Mr. Flynn when he appeared as a speaker at a pro-Trump march in Washington. Joining the group as security at the event were members of the Oath Keepers, including the organization’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, who has since been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Capitol attack.The 1st Amendment Praetorian also helped Mr. Flynn’s onetime lawyer, Sidney Powell, gather open source intelligence about allegations of election fraud that was ultimately funneled into a series of conspiracy-laden lawsuits she filed challenging the voting results, according to the group’s leader, Robert Patrick Lewis.Mr. Lewis, by his own account, played a minor role in another, even more brazen, attempt to overturn the election. He has claimed that, on Dec. 18, 2020, he drove Mr. Flynn and Ms. Powell to the White House for an Oval Office meeting at which they sought to persuade Mr. Trump to use his national security apparatus to seize voting machines around the country in his bid to stay in power.On Jan. 6 itself, according to audio recordings obtained by The New York Times, a few members of the 1st Amendment Praetorian protected Mr. Flynn again. Around the same time, according to court papers filed in a recent defamation case, a member of the group, Philip Luelsdorff, was briefly present in the so-called war room at the Willard Hotel where pro-Trump lawyers, including Mr. Giuliani and John Eastman, had set up shop to plan the objections to the certification of the Electoral College vote count.Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 HearingsCard 1 of 7Making a case against Trump. More

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    Key Questions Cassidy Hutchinson’s Jan. 6 Testimony Raises

    The former White House aide’s appearance before the House Jan. 6 committee raised a host of issues sure to be topics of further inquiry.For two hours, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, laid out a devastating account on Tuesday of former President Donald J. Trump’s actions and state of mind on Jan. 6, 2021, and in the days leading up to it.Her testimony to the House select committee and a national television audience raised a series of questions that are sure to be the focus of continued inquiry by the committee, federal prosecutors and others seeking to flesh out Mr. Trump’s effort to reverse his election loss and remain in power.Here are some of the key issues presented by her testimony.What does this mean for a possible criminal prosecution?Ms. Hutchinson told the panel that moments before Mr. Trump went onstage to deliver his speech on the Ellipse on the morning of Jan. 6, he was informed that people in the crowd were armed with a variety of weapons.By her account, he responded by urging that security measures be taken down to allow his supporters to fill in the area around the stage. And she testified that Mr. Trump said he was in no danger because the crowd was supportive of him and that the people there could go on to march to the Capitol.Legal experts said the testimony provided more evidence to support a possible criminal prosecution, as it suggested that Mr. Trump was aware of the potential for violence but went on to urge his supporters to head to the Capitol. During the speech, Mr. Trump encouraged the crowd to “fight like hell” and march to where Congress was certifying the Electoral College results — even promising that he would join them.The Justice Department has said nothing explicit about any investigative focus on Mr. Trump. But lawyers have pointed to a number of potential charges against him, including obstructing Congress, conspiracy and incitement.For months, the Justice Department has been documenting in court papers how rioters charged in the attack have claimed they were following Mr. Trump’s orders when they descended on and breached the Capitol. Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony could place Mr. Trump into a conspiratorial relationship with members of the mob, lawyers said, suggesting that he pushed them into action even though he was aware that they presented an immediate threat.How the Justice Department will proceed is perhaps the biggest question of all.What happened in the presidential vehicle?No piece of Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony electrified the hearing room like her detailed description of a story she said she was told about Mr. Trump demanding to be taken to the Capitol in his armored vehicle when his speech at the Ellipse ended.Ms. Hutchinson recalled being told by Anthony Ornato, a deputy White House chief of staff, that after Mr. Trump’s security detail told him he could not go to the Capitol, the president “lunged” for the steering wheel and then struck or grabbed his lead agent, Robert Engel. Mr. Trump was not in the armored limousine known as “the Beast,” as Ms. Hutchinson implied, but in an S.U.V. that presidents sometimes ride in.Secret Service officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that both Mr. Engel and Mr. Ornato would dispute that Mr. Trump tried to grab the wheel of the car or that Mr. Engel was struck. They said the two men would not dispute that Mr. Trump wanted to be driven to the Capitol as the angry pro-Trump protesters, some of them armed, headed in that direction and Congress was gathered to ratify that he had lost the election and that Joseph R. Biden Jr. would be the next president.Both Mr. Engel and Mr. Ornato have appeared in private before the committee. It is not clear when they will appear again to answer questions about Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony. It is also unclear when the committee first heard the story about Mr. Trump’s actions in the vehicle from Ms. Hutchinson.Ms. Hutchinson made clear in her public testimony that she did not have direct knowledge of the incident, and it remains unclear what, if anything, the committee did to corroborate it. Still, Mr. Trump’s allies are now pointing to it as a misstep by the committee and using it to undermine the credibility of her testimony.Did Trump allies try to intimidate witnesses?For months, the committee has suggested that Mr. Trump or those close to him might have attempted to influence potential witnesses. Its members have suggested, for instance, that Mr. Trump may have influenced the refusal of Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, to cooperate with the investigation.On Tuesday, Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman, displayed what she said were two examples of unnamed people associated with Mr. Trump attempting to influence witnesses. One witness was told to “protect” certain individuals to “stay in good graces in Trump World.” In the other example, a witness was encouraged to remain “loyal.”“Most people know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns,” Ms. Cheney said. “We will be discussing these issues as a committee and carefully considering our next steps.”It is not clear whether the committee referred the incidents to the Justice Department for investigation or possible prosecution. According to Punchbowl News, Ms. Hutchinson was one of the people who received such a warning. Her lawyer did not respond to a message seeking comment.Mr. Trump and his advisers have come under scrutiny in previous situations for reportedly trying to influence witnesses. In 2017, a lawyer for Mr. Trump in the investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russian officials in 2016 dangled the prospect of pardons to two people under investigation, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort. And in 2018, Mr. Trump’s public statements related to Michael D. Cohen, his former personal lawyer who was under investigation by federal prosecutors, were looked at as possible acts of obstruction of justice.How did Trump and his aides react to the violence?Network PoolOne of the biggest issues is what exactly Mr. Trump was doing for the 187 minutes of the attack and what exactly the White House was doing to combat it. According to Ms. Hutchinson, the answer was: not much.On the day of the attack, Mr. Trump rebuffed efforts by his aides and family members, including his daughter Ivanka, to put out a statement telling the mob to stand down. Instead, he posted to Twitter attacking Mr. Pence.“Mark, we need to do something more,” Ms. Hutchinson said she heard the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, tell Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, as he rushed into her office after Mr. Trump’s supporters began entering the Capitol. “They’re literally calling for the vice president to be f-ing hung.”“You heard him, Pat,” she said Mr. Meadows responded, referring to Mr. Trump. “He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 HearingsCard 1 of 7Making a case against Trump. More

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    Missouri Enacts Strict New Voter Rules and Will Switch to Caucuses

    Missouri overhauled its election rules on Wednesday, enacting a voter identification law similar to one the state’s highest court blocked two years ago and doing away with its presidential primary in favor of a caucus system.The new law, which Gov. Michael L. Parson signed at the State Capitol in Jefferson City, requires voters to present a photo ID when casting a regular or absentee ballot. Those without such documentation will be required to fill out a provisional ballot that would be segregated until they provide photo identification or their signature is matched to the one kept on file by election officials.The voter identification rule was the latest instituted in a Republican-controlled state, and reflected the party’s continued mistrust of common voting practices, including the use of voting machines. It requires the use of hand-marked paper ballots statewide starting in 2023, with limited exceptions for certain touch-screen systems until the end of next year.Among the other changes is a prohibition against the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots — a practice that many Republicans criticized during the 2020 presidential election — and replacing Missouri’s presidential primary, held in recent years in March, with a series of caucuses.The proposal advanced in the spring from the Legislature, where its Republican sponsors have continued to cite unsubstantiated and nonspecific voter fraud claims — just as former President Donald J. Trump has done — as the impetus for the voter ID law.The law will take effect on Aug. 28, in time for the November election but not until after Missouri holds its primaries on Aug. 2.Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 that led to a previous set of voter ID rules, but the state Supreme Court gutted those rules in 2020. The rules had stipulated that voters without the required ID had to fill out an affidavit or use provisional ballots until their identity could be validated.The president of the League of Women Voters of Missouri told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch this month to expect legal challenges to the new law, which the group said could disenfranchise voters of color and those who are young or older.While paper ballots are already overwhelmingly used in Missouri, Republicans have sought to scale back the use of electronic voting equipment nationwide, spreading falsehoods that the devices were rigged during the 2020 presidential election.The new law repealed provisions enacted at the start of the coronavirus pandemic that permitted mail and absentee voting in the 2020 general election, but Republicans compromised with Democrats to allow two weeks of no-excuse in-person absentee balloting. However, those ballots must be submitted at a local election office. Military and overseas voters will still be permitted to mail their ballots.The law also makes it illegal for local election authorities to accept private donations in most circumstances. More