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    Jan 6 committee hearings live: Cheney describes possible witness tampering after ex-aide’s testimony

    Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the January 6 committee, applauded Cassidy Hutchinson’s willingness to testify about what she witnessed in the Trump White House, but she also criticized Hutchinson’s colleagues who have refused to do so.“While our committee has seen many witnesses, including many Republicans, testify fully and forthrightly, this has not been true of every witness,” Cheney said at the end of today’s hearing.She added, “We have received evidence of one particular practice that raises significant concern.”Cheney noted that the committee regularly asks witnesses whether they have been contacted by any of their former colleagues or anyone else who may attempt to influence their testimony.We commonly ask witnesses connected to Trump whether they have been contacted by anyone attempting to impact testimony.Below are examples of answers we have received to this question. pic.twitter.com/pwxyJBf7Kl— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022
    Cheney read aloud from the testimony of two witnesses who said they had recently spoken to people who encouraged them to stay in Donald Trump’s good graces with their comments to the committee.One witness told investigators, “What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the right team. I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect. … They have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”Cheney’s comments point to the possibility of witness intimidation impacting the investigation, although it will ultimately be up to the justice department to determine what (if any) criminal charges stem from the committee’s findings.That’s it from me, after a historic day in Washington. Here’s how the January 6 committee’s sixth public hearing unfolded:
    A former senior White House aide testified that Donald Trump knew some of his supporters were armed on January 6 and still encouraged them to march on the Capitol. Cassidy Hutchinson, a former senior adviser to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, said she overheard a conversation with Trump shortly before he addressed a rally crowd on January 6. “I don’t f’ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me,” Trump said, according to Hutchinson. “Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.” The rally where Trump spoke culminated in the insurrection, which resulted in several deaths.
    Liz Cheney described potential witness tampering among Trump’s allies in connection to the January 6 investigation. Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the committee, quoted testimony from two witnesses who said they were advised to remain loyal to Trump in their comments to investigators. “I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns,” Cheney said. “We will be discussing these issues as a committee, carefully considering our next steps.”
    Trump wanted to go to the Capitol with his supporters on January 6, so much so that he tried to redirect his car when aides told him they would be returning to the White House. Hutchinson said Tony Ornato, the White House deputy chief of staff, told her that Trump was “irate” when he was informed he would not be going to the Capitol. Already inside a car with his aides, Trump tried to grab for the vehicle’s steering wheel and then lunged at the throat of a Secret Service agent, Hutchinson said.
    Meadows told Hutchinson that Trump had endorsed insurrectionists’ chants of “Hang Mike Pence!” on January 6. As Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, Hutchinson was involved in a conversation with Meadows and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel. According to Hutchinson, Cipollone told Meadows, “Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice-president to be f-ing hung.” Meadows replied, “You heard [Trump], Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong.”
    Some of Trump’s closest advisers, including Meadows, expressed fear days before the insurrection that January 6 could turn violent. Hutchinson said Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s campaign lawyers, asked her on January 2 whether she was “excited” for January 6, the day that Congress was scheduled to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. When Hutchinson asked Meadows about Giuliani’s comments, he said, “There’s a lot going on, Cass, but I don’t know. Things might get real, real bad on January 6.”
    Meadows and Giuliani both inquired about presidential pardons after January 6, Hutchinson told the committee. She previously testified that several Republican members of Congress also reached out about pardons in connection to their involvement with the insurrection.
    The blog will be back tomorrow with more analysis of today’s January 6 hearing and news from the supreme court, which still has four decisions left to announce before wrapping up its term. See you then.Democrat Jamie Raskin, a member of the January 6 committee, said the panel would continue to investigate possible witness tampering among Donald Trump’s allies.At the end of today’s hearing, Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the committee, quoted testimony from two witnesses who said they had been told to remain loyal to Trump in their comments to investigators.“It’s a crime to tamper with witnesses. It’s a form of obstructing justice. The committee won’t tolerate it,” Raskin told reporters after the hearing concluded.He emphasized that the committee’s investigation is ongoing, saying, “We haven’t had the chance to fully investigate it or fully discuss it, but it’s something on our agenda.”Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, after today’s hearing, said the committee will continue to investigate possible witness tampering, after texts Rep. Cheney presented appeared to show that.”It’s a crime to tamper with witnesses…The committee won’t tolerate it.” pic.twitter.com/t74KZvmEC0— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 28, 2022
    The Guardian’s Lauren Gambino and Hugo Lowell have a full writeup of Cassidy Hutchinson’s shocking testimony before the January 6 committee:In explosive public testimony, a former White House aide on Tuesday told the committee investigating the January 6 insurrection that Donald Trump knowingly directed armed supporters to march to the US Capitol in a last-gasp effort to invalidate the results of the 2020 presidential election that he lost.Appearing at a hastily scheduled hearing on Capitol Hill, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump’s final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, also painted a devastating portrait of a president spiraling out of control and a White House staff often ambivalent about the violence building around them.Hutchinson also offered extraordinary new details that the White House – and the former US president – were aware that the rally on January 6 could turn violent days before Trump stepped on stage at a rally on the Ellipse and urged his supporters to “fight like hell” to keep him in power.“I felt like I was watching a bad car accident about to happen, where you cannot stop it,” Hutchinson, a conservative Republican who worked just steps from the Oval Office, testified at the panel’s sixth and most revealing hearing to date.Over the course of two hours, Hutchinson offered a shocking view into the West Wing in the moments before, during and after the siege of the US Capitol.Read the Guardian’s full report on the history-making hearing:Ex-White House aide delivers explosive public testimony to January 6 panelRead moreFox News host Bret Baier acknowledged that Cassidy Hutchinson’s detailed testimony about Donald Trump’s actions on January 6 could have far-reaching consequences.While noting that he wished that some of Trump’s congressional allies were serving on the January 6 committee, Baier said of today’s hearing, “The testimony in and of itself is really, really powerful.”Baier’s words were met with a long pause from his colleagues, prompting fellow host John Roberts to ask co-anchor Sandra Smith, “Can you still hear?”This post-hearing moment of awkward silence on Fox kinda says a lot. pic.twitter.com/5yRNJ0btKd— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 28, 2022
    Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the January 6 committee, indicated that the panel may return to the issue of potential witness tampering in future hearings.Cheney concluded her remarks at today’s hearing by reading aloud from the testimony of two witnesses who said they were advised to remain loyal to Donald Trump when speaking to investigators..@RepLizCheney (R-WY): “I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns.” pic.twitter.com/xlsUwnAGPr— CSPAN (@cspan) June 28, 2022
    “I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns,” Cheney said. “We will be discussing these issues as a committee, carefully considering our next steps.”As of now, the January 6 committee is expected to resume its hearings when the House returns from its recess on 12 July.The committee’s evidence of potential witness tampering could also be used by the department of justice if federal prosecutors choose to pursue charges in connection to the allegations.Some members of Congress reacted with outrage as they listened to Cassidy Hutchinson recount how Donald Trump was informed that some of his supporters at his January 6 rally were carrying weapons.According to Hutchinson, Trump responded to that information by saying, “I don’t f’ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me.”The rally that Trump spoke at on January 6 culminated in the Capitol insurrection, which resulted in several deaths and many serious injuries for US Capitol Police officers.“It was a set up. They set up the Capitol Police and Congress to to get overrun,” congressman Ruben Gallego, a Democrat of Arizona, said on Twitter. He went on to insult Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff and Hutchinson’s boss, as a “traitorous fuck”.It was a set up. They set up the Capitol Police and Congress to to get overrun. @MarkMeadows you traitorous fuck.— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) June 28, 2022
    Some of Cassidy Hutchinson’s former White House colleagues have applauded her willingness to testify publicly before the January 6 committee.They have also pushed back against suggestions from Donald Trump and some of his allies that Hutchinson, who served as a senior adviser to the White House chief of staff, was an unimportant staffer in the administration.“Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump WH worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is,” said Sarah Matthews, who served as deputy White House press secretary in the Trump administration.Matthews added, “For those complaining of ‘hearsay,’ I imagine the Jan. 6 committee would welcome any of those involved to deny these allegations under oath.”Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump WH worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is.— Sarah Matthews (@SarahAMatthews1) June 28, 2022
    Trump’s former White House communications director, Alyssa Farah Griffin, echoed that suggestion, while applauding Hutchinson’s “courage [and] integrity”.“Cassidy Hutchinson is my friend. I knew her testimony would be damning. I had no idea it’d be THIS damning,” Griffin said on Twitter. “To anyone who would try to impugn her character, I’d be glad to put you in touch w/@January6thCmte to appear UNDER OATH.”Cassidy Hutchinson is my friend. I knew her testimony would be damning. I had no idea it’d be THIS damning.I am so grateful for her courage & integrity. To anyone who would try to impugn her character, I’d be glad to put you in touch w/ @January6thCmte to appear UNDER OATH.— Alyssa Farah Griffin 🇺🇸 (@Alyssafarah) June 28, 2022
    Mick Mulvaney, who previously served as Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff, said Liz Cheney’s closing remarks at today’s hearing indicate the January 6 committee has evidence of witness tampering.Cheney’s closing is stunning: they think they have evidence of witness tampering and obstruction of justice.There is an old maxim: it’s never the crime, it’s always the coverup.Things went very badly for the former President today. My guess is that it will get worse from here— Mick Mulvaney (@MickMulvaney) June 28, 2022
    “Cheney’s closing is stunning: they think they have evidence of witness tampering and obstruction of justice. There is an old maxim: it’s never the crime, it’s always the coverup,” Mulvaney said on Twitter.“Things went very badly for the former President today. My guess is that it will get worse from here.”The committee is currently set to resume its hearings next month, after the House returns from its recess on 12 July.Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the January 6 committee, applauded Cassidy Hutchinson’s willingness to testify about what she witnessed in the Trump White House, but she also criticized Hutchinson’s colleagues who have refused to do so.“While our committee has seen many witnesses, including many Republicans, testify fully and forthrightly, this has not been true of every witness,” Cheney said at the end of today’s hearing.She added, “We have received evidence of one particular practice that raises significant concern.”Cheney noted that the committee regularly asks witnesses whether they have been contacted by any of their former colleagues or anyone else who may attempt to influence their testimony.We commonly ask witnesses connected to Trump whether they have been contacted by anyone attempting to impact testimony.Below are examples of answers we have received to this question. pic.twitter.com/pwxyJBf7Kl— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022
    Cheney read aloud from the testimony of two witnesses who said they had recently spoken to people who encouraged them to stay in Donald Trump’s good graces with their comments to the committee.One witness told investigators, “What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the right team. I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect. … They have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”Cheney’s comments point to the possibility of witness intimidation impacting the investigation, although it will ultimately be up to the justice department to determine what (if any) criminal charges stem from the committee’s findings.The January 6 committee hearing, which featured explosive testimony from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, has now concluded after nearly two hours.In her closing statement, Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the committee, thanked Hutchinson for her courage in speaking out about Donald Trump’s actions on the day of the Capitol insurrection.“Our nation is preserved by those who abide by their oaths to our Constitution. Our nation is preserved by those who know the fundamental difference between right and wrong,” Cheney said. “I want all Americans to know that what Miss Hutchinson has done today is not easy. The easy course is to hide from the spotlight, to refuse to come forward, to attempt to downplay or deny what happened.”Cassidy Hutchinson said that both Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and Rudy Giuliani, one of Donald Trump’s campaign lawyers, sought presidential pardons after January 6.Hutchinson previously testified to investigators that several Republican members of Congress also reached out to inquire about potential pardons in connection to their involvement in the Capitol attack.According to Hutchinson, Trump even wanted to add a line to his January 7 speech about potential pardons for the Capitol insurrectionists, but he ultimately did not do so.Cassidy Hutchinson said she was horrified by Donald Trump’s tweet pressuring Mike Pence to disrupt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.At 2.24pm on January 6, as insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”Asked for her response to that tweet, Hutchinson said, “As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie.” Cassidy Hutchinson witnessed a conversation between Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, about the insurrectionists’ chants of “Hang Mike Pence!”The committee has previously demonstrated how those who attacked the Capitol threatened Pence, as the vice-president oversaw the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Donald Trump himself repeatedly pressured Pence to disrupt the certification process.According to Hutchinson, Cipollone said something to Meadows along the lines of, “Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice-president to be f-ing hung.” Referring to Trump, Meadows replied, “You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong.” After a brief break, the January 6 committee hearing has resumed, and the panel shared a clip from Michael Flynn’s testimony with investigators.Flynn, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and a close ally, repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid answering the committee’s questions about the January 6 insurrection.Among other things, Flynn would not answer a question from Liz Cheney, the committee’s Republican vice-chair, about whether he believes in the peaceful transfer of power. More

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    January 6 hearing: former aide to Mark Meadows to testify – live

    It’s worth noting that Cassidy Hutchinson recently changed her legal representation in connection to the January 6 investigation.Hutchinson’s decision to replace her former lawyer, Stefan Passantino, with Jody Hunt of the law firm Alston Bird was interpreted as a signal of her increased willingness to cooperate with the January 6 committee’s requests for information.Politico reported earlier this month:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;} Hutchinson’s former attorney, Stefan Passantino, has deep Trump World connections. Her new lawyer, Jody Hunt, is a longtime close ally of Jeff Sessions and served as his chief of staff when the former attorney general enraged Trump by recusing from the Russia probe. …
    Passantino, Hutchinson’s former attorney, was the Trump White House’s chief ethics lawyer. And Passantino’s firm, Michael Best, has Trump World connections; its president is former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, and Justin Clark — also a top Trump World lawyer — is currently on leave from the firm, according to its website.Today’s testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson could also reveal more details about Donald Trump’s response to insurrectionists’ chants of “Hang Mike Pence!” on January 6.At the January 6 committee’s first public hearing earlier this month, Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the panel, said witness testimony indicated Trump was informed of the chants and reacted approvingly to them.“You will hear that President Trump was yelling and ‘really angry’ at advisers who told him he needed to be doing something more,” Cheney said at the first hearing. “And aware of the rioters’ chants to hang Mike Pence, the president responded with this sentiment, ‘Maybe our supporters have the right idea.’ Mike Pence ‘deserves it.’”According to CNN, Hutchinson was the witness who provided the committee with that information, so today’s hearing could give her an opportunity to offer valuable new insight into how Trump reacted as January 6 turned violent. The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection is expected to hear live public testimony on Tuesday from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Mark Meadows, the last chief of staff to Donald Trump, according to a source familiar with the matter.The committee on Monday abruptly scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, suggesting a sense of urgency to disclose what it said was “recently obtained evidence”. The committee had previously said it would not hold any more hearings until next month.It is the sixth public hearing held by the committee after a year-long investigation into the Capitol attack. Two more hearings are expected next month.The hearings next month are expected to delve into the role of far-right and paramilitary groups organized and prepared for the January 6 attack and Trump’s abdication of leadership during the hours-long siege of the Capitol.January 6 committee schedules surprise session to hear new evidenceRead moreJoe Biden will meet tomorrow with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey, as the two leaders attend the Nato summit in Madrid, Spain.The White House announced the planned meeting during the daily press briefing, which was held today aboard Air Force One as Biden flew from Germany, where he attended the G7 summit, to Spain.Biden has just arrived in Madrid, where he will soon meet with the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and King Felipe VI.The exact format and timing of the Erdoğan meeting is still unclear, but Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters that the focus of the discussion would be on US-Turkish relations and the bids from Finland and Sweden to join Nato.Turkey has raised objections to Finland and Sweden’s bids, which were submitted in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Erdoğan has specifically accused Sweden of being a “hatchery” for terrorist organizations, per Reuters.The meeting tomorrow could give Biden an opportunity to press Erdoğan on those reservations and attempt to convince him to support Nato membership for Finland and Sweden.It remains unclear what new information Cassidy Hutchinson, former senior aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, might provide in her testimony today before the January 6 committee.But according to Brendan Buck, a longtime adviser to former Republican House speaker Paul Ryan, Hutchinson joined every meeting that Meadows participated in as a congressman. (Meadows served in the House from 2013 to 2020.)“I don’t know Cassidy Hutchinson, and I can’t speak to how things worked at the White House, but when Meadows was on the Hill he always insisted that she be in *every* meeting he had, no matter how small,” Buck said on Twitter. “It was odd then, and [doesn’t] seem to be working out for him now.”I don’t know Cassidy Hutchinson, and I can’t speak to how things worked at the White House, but when Meadows was on the Hill he always insisted that she be in *every* meeting he had, no matter how small. It was odd then, and doesnt seem to be working out for him now.— Brendan Buck (@BrendanBuck) June 28, 2022
    The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack is closely focused on phone calls and conversations among Donald Trump’s children and top aides captured by a documentary film-maker weeks before the 2020 election, say sources familiar with the matter.The calls among Trump’s children and top aides took place at an invitation-only event at the Trump International hotel in Washington that took place the night of the first presidential debate on 29 September 2020, the sources said.The select committee is interested in the calls, the sources said, since the footage is understood to show the former president’s children, including Donald Jr and Eric Trump, privately discussing strategies about the election at a crucial time in the presidential campaign.House investigators first learned about the event, hosted by the Trump campaign, and the existence of the footage through British film-maker Alex Holder, who testified about what he and his crew recorded during a two-hour interview last week, the sources said.Read the Guardian’s full report:January 6 committee focuses on phone calls among Trump’s children and aidesRead moreGreetings from Washington, live blog readers.The House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection will hold its sixth public hearing of the month at 1pm ET, after the panel surprisingly announced the event yesterday.According to multiple reports, the star witness for today’s surprise hearing will be Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, who served as Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff. (Punchbowl News first reported Hutchinson’s expected appearance.)Hutchinson has already spoken to investigators behind closed doors, and she provided the committee with some of its most damning evidence about the Trump White House’s ties to the attack on the Capitol.In a clip of her private testimony played at a hearing last week, Hutchinson named several Republican members of Congress who sought president pardons in connection to their involvement in the insurrection.Today could give Hutchinson her first opportunity to speak directly to the American people about what she witnessed in the White House on January 6 and in the aftermath of that violent day.The hearing will kick off in a few hours, and the blog will have updates and analysis once it starts. Stay tuned.And here’s what else is happening today:
    Joe Biden is traveling from Germany to Spain. Biden is participating in the final day of the G7 summit in Schloss Elmau, Germany, before traveling on to Madrid, Spain, for the start of the Nato summit.
    Karine Jean-Pierre will gaggle with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Madrid. The White House press secretary will be joined by Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser.
    Today marks the 10th anniversary of the supreme court’s decision to uphold key portions of the Affordable Care Act. The anniversary comes as the country awaits the court’s final four decisions of the term, which has already seen conservative justices overturn Roe v Wade and deliver a major victory to gun rights groups.
    The blog will have more coming up, so stick around. More

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    Bipartisan gun control law sent for Biden’s signature after House vote

    Bipartisan gun control law sent for Biden’s signature after House voteFourteen Republicans vote with majority for first major gun reform legislation in nearly 30 years The US House on Friday passed a bipartisan bill to strengthen federal gun regulations, bringing an end to decades of congressional inaction and sending the historic legislation to Joe Biden’s desk.US supreme court overturns New York handgun law in bitter blow to gun-control pushRead morePassage of the bill came a day after the supreme court overturned a New York law regulating handgun ownership, a significant blow for proponents of gun reform.Nonetheless, advocates celebrated passage of the first major gun-control legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years despite hundreds of mass shootings happening in the US every year.Just last month, 10 people were killed in a racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and 19 children and two adults were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.The House passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act by a vote of 234-193, 14 Republicans joining every Democrat in supporting the bill. It came a day after the Senate approved the bill 65-33, following weeks of negotiations.The law will establish enhanced background checks for those under 21 attempting to buy a gun and expand restrictions for people convicted of domestic abuse.The law will also provide funding to implement crisis-intervention policies, including so-called “red-flag laws”, which allow courts to restrict gun access for those considered a danger to themselves or others.Additional funds will be made available for community violence intervention programs and mental health services for children and families.Democrats took a victory lap after the House vote, promising that the law, if not perfect, would help combat gun violence in America.“While it isn’t everything we would have liked to see in legislation, it takes us down the … path to more safety [and] saving lives,” said the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. “Let us not judge the legislation for what it does not do but respect it for what it does.”Kris Brown, president of the gun-control group Brady, said: “This is a watershed moment for gun violence prevention and for the nation, and one that would not be possible if not for the decades of action from activists and organizers, particularly Black and brown activists, and the millions of voters who elected gun violence prevention majorities to both chambers of Congress.”Echoing Pelosi, Brown added: “While this bill is not perfect, it takes a comprehensive approach and is a significant and a meaningful step forward.”The bill falls far short of legislation passed by the House earlier this month, which would have raised the minimum age required to buy a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 and implemented severe restrictions on buying and possessing large-capacity magazines.That bill, the Protecting Our Kids Act, was a nonstarter in the evenly divided Senate, where Democrats needed the support of at least 10 Republicans to pass gun-control legislation.The proposal sent to Biden’s desk represents the culmination of weeks of debate among a bipartisan group of senators that sought to craft a consensus gun-control bill in the wake of the Uvalde and Buffalo shootings.After the Senate passed the bill on Thursday night, the majority leader, Chuck Schumer, applauded the “amazing courage” of Republicans who helped lead the negotiations, despite the political risks of doing so.John Cornyn was booed at the Texas Republican convention last week over his role as one of the chief negotiators.“This is not a cure-all for all the ways gun violence affects our nation but it is a long-overdue step in the right direction,” Schumer said.“It was so, so significant that we let the process work instead of just having one vote which would divide us and not accomplish anything. And I hope that portends doing it again, on guns and on other issues as well.”On Friday, the significant accomplishment of passing the bipartisan bill was overshadowed by the release of the supreme court decision overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that established the right to abortion.As the country braced for the end of nearly 50 years of federal protections for abortion access, Biden prepared to leave the US to attend the G7 summit in Germany and the Nato summit in Spain.When he returns, he will have a very significant bill to sign.TopicsUS gun controlUS CongressHouse of RepresentativesUS politicsJoe BidenUS SenatenewsReuse this content More

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    A Way Out of No Way review: Raphael Warnock, symbol of hope for America

    A Way Out of No Way review: Raphael Warnock, symbol of hope for America The Democratic Georgia senator has delivered an inspiring memoir, well-timed as the US tears itself apart We live in an age of miracles but we spend very little time noticing that. After four years of Donald Trump, two years of Covid and four months of vicious war in Ukraine, it’s hardly surprising many feel overwhelmed by seemingly relentless bad news.Seen and Unseen review: George Floyd, Black Twitter and the fight for racial justiceRead moreRaphael Warnock’s inspiring memoir arrives just in time to remind us that even in our darkest days, America offers at least as much hope as despair.Warnock was at the center of the most recent set of miracles, which came about in large part because of the registration and activism of Black voters in key states in 2020. In Georgia it began when a former state house minority leader, Stacey Abrams, identified 800,000 eligible but unregistered voters and formed the New Georgia Project to get as many on the rolls as possible.Warnock joined Abrams’ campaign. Despite the outrageous efforts of then secretary of state (now governor) Brian Kemp, who falsely accused them of voter fraud, by 2019 they had registered 500,000 voters. That made three miracles possible: Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Georgia in 28 years and Warnock and Jon Ossoff became the first Black and Jewish senators elected from the state, miraculously giving Democrats (tenuous) control of the Senate.Nothing is more filled with hope than the trajectory of Warnock’s life. He was the 11th of 12 children. His father made his living collecting scrap metal and preaching while his mother was a homemaker until she became the preacher in the family.Warnock’s life is proof that the federal government has done important things to level the playing field in crucial ways. Warnock got his first leg-up through Head Start, one of the greatest legacies of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Then he got enrolled in Upward Bound, a federally financed summer college preparatory program that strengthened his confidence “and provided the path for the pursuit of my dreams”. For a kid growing up in a neighborhood where no one had a bachelor’s degree, this “demystified the idea of college and gave me a clear vision of what was possible”.But the advantages he started with were even more important, especially a mom who is “a preacher with a God-given sense of spiritual discernment”, who “could read people and situations better than anyone I’ve ever known”. Warnock grew up in a housing project devastated by crack and Aids, “but in a place where there were too many missing fathers, I had two devoted parents at home, and they kept church at the center of our lives”.His parents never let him forget that while we live in a nation “in need of moral surgery”, with “hope, hard work, and the people by our side anything is possible”.The college he chose was Morehouse, a vital Black institution with alumni justly famous for “world-changing accomplishments” including the former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson, civil rights leader Julian Bond, Spike Lee, theologian Howard Thurman and of course Martin Luther King Jr.Although Warnock was born a year after King’s assassination, “more than anybody or anything else” it was King who “recruited” him to Morehouse.Warnock is particularly proud that he can trace his own development directly to the greatest American civil rights leader of the 20th century. During college he interned at Sixth Avenue Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was mentored by the Rev John Thomas Porter, who had been a pulpit assistant to Martin Luther King Jr and his father.The civil rights pioneer Jesse Jackson was another role model, one of many “courageous souls” who laid “the groundwork for candidates of color and women to run and win high political offices presumed out of reach”. These pioneers showed Warnock “that to be effective, you have to be willing to put your body in the game – show up, give what you have (your time, your money, your skills), and do what you’re asking of others”.Morehouse was the beginning of Warnock’s introduction to the elite Black establishment nourished by historically Black colleges and universities and Black churches. While greedy, racist born-again Christians get most of our attention, this book reminds us there is another religious network which has been hugely important to America’s progress, strengthening and nurturing the Black community.A brilliant natural preacher who gave his first sermon at 11, a sincere servant of God, Warlock had a meteoritic rise, going from Morehouse to Union theological seminary in New York and then to Manhattan’s most famous Black house of worship, the Abyssinian Baptist church, where he quickly became an intern minister. There he had another crucial mentor, the Rev Dr Calvin O Butts III, an alumnus of both schools Warnock attended.Race at the Top: white and Asian Americans and the push for equity in educationRead moreAt 31, Warnock became senior pastor at Douglas Memorial Community church in Baltimore, where he demonstrated remarkable courage by starting with an attack on church homophobia. He built his installation ceremony around activities designed to heighten HIV/Aids awareness, “to signal to my church … the kind of ministry we would build together”.Just a couple of years later, in 2005, he got the greatest honor of all when King’s Ebenezer Baptist church elected him senior pastor, by the vote of 90% of the congregation. Sixteen years later, he was a United States senator.May Warnock’s unlikely success and irrepressible optimism be enough to remind all of us that the only thing needed to rescue our beleaguered democracy is a genuine willingness by the enlightened citizens who are still a majority to put our bodies back in the game. If the rest of us can be half as courageous as Warnock is, he reminds us, we can still “build a future that honors the sacrifices of those who came before us and is worthy of the promise that lives in all our children”.
    A Way Out of No Way: A Memoir of Truth, Transformation and the New American Story is published in the US by Penguin
    TopicsBooksPolitics booksUS politicsDemocratsUS CongressUS SenateUS midterm elections 2022reviewsReuse this content More

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    US House passes bill to expand supreme court security to justices’ families

    US House passes bill to expand supreme court security to justices’ familiesThe bill comes after an armed man was arrested outside Brett Kavanaugh’s house as the court is due to rule on an abortion case The US House of Representatives has given final congressional approval to a bill to bolster supreme court security, ahead of an anticipated ruling curtailing abortion rights and in light of the arrest of a man charged with attempting to murder Brett Kavanaugh, a member of the court’s conservative majority.The legislation, which had already cleared the Senate, passed the House on a 396-27 vote. Joe Biden is prepared to sign it into law. It will expand police protection to families of justices and senior court officials.Man arrested near Brett Kavanaugh’s home charged with attempted murderRead moreThe House Republican leader said the bill would protect justices from “leftwing radicals”.A prominent Democrat said family members of court clerks and officials were also under threat, from “rightwing activists”.The court is due to rule in a major abortion case from Mississippi. A leaked draft opinion showed the conservative majority poised to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that legalized abortion. Protests have ensued outside some justices’ homes.Last week, a California man carrying a handgun, ammunition, a crowbar, pepper spray and zip-tie handcuffs was arrested outside Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland.Republicans have led calls for improved protection but some progressives have contrasted such eagerness to act with many Republicans’ refusal to consider gun reform, even in the wake of a series of mass shootings.On the House floor on Tuesday, Veronica Escobar, a Democrat from El Paso, Texas, said: “It is incredible to stand here and listen to our Republican colleagues talk about the risks and the dangers that exist to the supreme court.“I want to know where they were when the risks and the dangers existed in my community. In El Paso, Texas, where 23 innocent people were slaughtered by a white supremacist with an AK-47 [in 2019]. Where were they then?“How about Uvalde? Where were they then? How about every other mass shooting? Buffalo, you name it.”Ginni Thomas pressed 29 lawmakers in bid to overturn Trump loss, emails showRead moreNineteen children and two teachers were killed in Uvalde last month. Also in May, 10 people died in a racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.Referring to gun reforms passed by the House but with no chance of passing the Senate, Escobar said: “Last week, we brought to the floor legislation intended to protect millions of Americans, especially including children.“The vast majority of our Republican colleagues voted against those protections for vulnerable people who don’t have access to 24-hour, round-the-clock US marshals protection. Who don’t have access to round-the-clock 24/7 police protection, which supreme court justices have today.“Supreme court justices have far more protection than members of Congress do. But more importantly [they have more protection] than those innocent lives that were taken in innumerable cities across America.”The US justice department is already providing additional support to court police.In the Kavanaugh case, Nicholas John Roske, 26 and from Simi Valley, California, was dressed in black when he arrived by taxi outside Kavanaugh’s home around 1am last Wednesday. According to court documents, he spotted two US marshals guarding the house and walked in the other direction, calling 911 to say he was having suicidal thoughts and planned to kill Kavanaugh.Roske said he had found the address on the internet.On Tuesday the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, greeted passage of the bill by saying: “We are sending a clear message to leftwing radicals: you cannot intimidate supreme court justices.”House Democrats had wanted to add protections for families of clerks and other court employees who, in the words of Ted Lieu, a congressman from California, “are getting threats from rightwing activists”.But Senate Republicans objected.“The security issue is related to supreme court justices, not the nameless staff that no one knows,” the minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said on Monday.Lieu said measures to protect families of clerks and other employees would be considered separately.The federal judiciary is calling for separate legislation to offer more protection for judges. The US marshals service said judges were subject to 4,511 threats and inappropriate communications last year.TopicsUS supreme courtLaw (US)US CongressUS SenateHouse of RepresentativesUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    Garland says he is watching January 6 hearings amid pressure to investigate Trump

    Garland says he is watching January 6 hearings amid pressure to investigate TrumpUS attorney general says official guidelines do not prevent him from investigating ex-president The US attorney general said on Monday that he was watching the House January 6 select committee’s hearings, as he faces mounting pressure from congressional Democrats to open a criminal investigation into Donald Trump over his role in the Capitol attack.Merrick Garland also said at a press conference at the justice department’s headquarters in Washington that internal office of legal counsel guidelines did not prevent him from opening an investigation into the former president.“I am watching and I will be watching all the hearings, although I may not be able to watch all of it live,” Garland said shortly after the select committee concluded its second hearing. “I can assure you the January 6 prosecutors are watching all of the hearings, as well.”The attorney general declined to address potential investigations into Trump or other individuals mentioned by the select committee at the hearings, saying that could undermine prosecutors’ work and would be unfair to people under scrutiny who might never be charged.Capitol attack panel members urge DoJ to consider criminal charges for TrumpRead moreBut Garland reiterated earlier promises that the justice department is exploring potential criminal conduct regardless of those people’s level, their positions in the government and proximity to Trump, or whether they were at the Capitol on 6 January 2021.The justice department appears in recent weeks to have expanded its criminal investigation to examine top figures connected to Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including government officials and Republican lawyers and operatives.One grand jury in Washington is investigating the rallies that preceded the Capitol attack and whether any executive or legislative branch officials were involved in trying to obstruct Joe Biden’s election certification, according to a subpoena seen by the Guardian.The justice department also appears to be investigating political operatives close to Trump, according to another grand jury subpoena seen by the Guardian, as well as some Trump lawyers involved in a scheme to send fake Trump electors to Congress.Lisa Monaco, the deputy attorney general, confirmed in January that prosecutors were looking into any criminality in that plan, under which Trump’s lawyers hoped the former vice-president Mike Pence would refuse to certify those states and return Trump to office.The attorney general added some additional insight into the justice department’s decision-making with respect to opening an investigation into Trump, saying that internal guidelines did not prevent him from taking such action if warranted.“There’s nothing within the office of legal counsel that prevents us from doing an investigation,” Garland said. “There’s nothing that’s coming in the way of our investigation … We’re just going to follow the facts wherever they lead.”Garland’s remarks about the office inside the justice department, which issues opinions for the agency that are broadly seen as binding, did not address whether the guidelines preclude charging, not just investigating, a former president.But his careful response reflected the delicate and complicated legal considerations looming over the justice department should it consider whether to investigate and charge Trump over his efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat to Biden.In court filings and at its hearings, the select committee has been making the case that it believes Trump committed at least two felonies – obstructing a congressional proceeding and defrauding the United States – given evidence it has collected in its 11-month inquiry.The question of whether to pursue a case against Trump has started to prompt serious discussions among senior justice department officials, according to a source familiar with the matter, though there has been no indication that Trump is currently a target of an investigation.Meanwhile, congressman Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the January 6 committee, said on Monday that he did not expect to make a criminal referral against Donald Trump or anyone else over the Capitol attack to the justice department at the conclusion of its investigation.The chairman appeared to indicate the panel would put the evidence of potential crimes by the former president into a final report – currently expected to come in September – and that Garland’s justice department would then have to decide whether to pursue a case.“No,” Thompson said when asked explicitly on Capitol Hill whether the select committee would make a referral against Trump, “that’s not our job. Our job is to look at the facts and circumstances around January 6, what caused it, and make recommendations after the hearings.”The disclosure from Thompson reflects a sense among some of the members on the panel that a criminal referral would make a resulting investigation by the justice department appear political and could undermine a potential case, according to sources close to the inquiry.If the evidence is sufficient for the justice department to consider investigating or charging Trump, the sources said, then the justice department should be able to move ahead with a case regardless of whether the select committee makes a criminal referral.The internal deliberations also come as the select committee has publicly said Trump repeatedly broke the law as he sought to overturn the 2020 election results, but criminal referrals are not binding and the final decision to prosecute rests with the justice department.TopicsJan 6 hearingsMerrick GarlandBiden administrationUS Capitol attackUS CongressUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    AOC refuses to endorse Biden for 2024 as Democrats doubt his ability to win

    AOC refuses to endorse Biden for 2024 as Democrats doubt his ability to win Congresswoman says she’s focused on trying to preserve Democrats’ congressional majority in November’s midterms Left-wing congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday refused to endorse Joe Biden for another run at the White House, adding to growing anxiety in Democratic circles over the president’s ability to run in and win the 2024 election.The powerful progressive New Yorker said she could not commit to supporting Biden during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, saying she was more focused on trying to preserve Democrats’ congressional majority in November’s midterms.“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Ocasio-Cortez said when asked directly if she would support Biden.“If the president has a vision and that’s something we’re all willing to entertain and examine when the time comes… we should endorse when we get to it. We’ll take a look at it.”“Right now we need to focus on winning a majority instead of a federal presidential election.”Ocasio-Cortez is a vocal member of the Democratic party’s left wing, which has been pushing Biden to take executive actions to get past a congressional logjam in his agenda.But there appears to be growing discomfort with the 79-year-old president across the array of Democratic ranks.The New York Times reported on Saturday that “dozens of frustrated Democratic officials, members of Congress and voters” were doubtful Biden possessed the ability to turn around the party’s fortunes.And New York magazine’s Intelligencer explored the issue of Biden’s longevity last month, noting that: “Many of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors – even as they pledge to back Biden’s reelection in earnest – have quietly started to poke around for alternatives in 2024.”Biden is mired by the lowest approval ratings of his presidency and seemingly unable to solve a raft of problems facing the country from inflation to abortions rights and gun reform.Despite Democrats having control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, he has also been unable to advance signature policy objectives such as the Build Back Better act and voting protections.Adding to the discomfort is Biden’s age: he will turn 82 the day barely two weeks after he would be seeking re-election.“The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,” David Axelrod, former president Barack Obama’s chief strategist, told the New York Times.Ocasio-Cortez did tell CNN that she thought Biden was “doing a very good job so far” and didn’t rule out eventually backing him “if the president chooses to run again”.Traditionally, however, sitting first-term presidents have always enjoyed the unswerving loyalty and backing from their party, something Biden clearly does not have. The questioning is expected to intensify if, as polls suggest, Democrats take a hammering in November’s midterms and lose control of one, or both chambers of Congress.“[Biden] should announce his intent not to seek re-election right after the midterms,” Steve Simeonidis, a Miami-based member of the Democratic national committee (DNC) told the Times.“To say our country was on the right track would flagrantly depart from reality.”Many of the Democrats interviewed by the newspaper, including elected officials, indicated the situation was not helped by a lack of clarity over a natural successor.At a Detroit rally during his 2020 campaign, Biden said he viewed himself “as a bridge” to a younger generation of Democratic leaders, an indication that his objective was to run to get Donald Trump out of office, then prepare to hand over the baton.But vice-president Kamala Harris, once seen as Biden’s heir apparent, has struggled to make a mark, despite attempting to seize the lead on Democrats’ opposition to the supreme court’s expected imminent ruling ending almost half a century of abortion rights.Biden has indicated he intends to run again, telling his old boss Obama in April that he was preparing for 2024 with Harris on the ticket. Sources said he sees himself as the only candidate capable of keeping Trump out of the White House if the former president launches another campaign.According to Intelligencer, Democrats are broadly split into two camps, those who see Biden’s troubles as familiar midterms woes facing most administrations, with fortunes set to improve as 2024 approaches; and those who consider that the unprecedented combination of circumstances, including Biden’s age, his strategy and uncertainty of succession, make a future path uncertain and unpredictable.Jasmine Crockett, a Democratic Texas state representative, told the New York Times that many of her party’s problems at a national level, and by extension Biden’s problems too, come down to one thing: failing to stimulate voters by using their power.“Democrats are like, ‘What the hell is going on?’” Crockett said.“Our country is completely falling apart. And so I think we’re lacking in the excitement.”TopicsUS elections 2024Joe BidenUS politicsDemocratsUS CongressAlexandria Ocasio-CorteznewsReuse this content More

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    ‘Want real decisions’: Pulse shooting survivors mark grim anniversary

    ‘Want real decisions’: Pulse shooting survivors mark grim anniversary In the aftermath of Buffalo and Uvalde, those who lived through the Orlando attack six years ago join calls for actionOn 12 June 2016, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, 49 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the Pulse LGBTQ+ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.Ahead of the sixth anniversary of the shooting, survivors decried lawmakers’ failure to pass meaningful federal gun law reform.‘Enough is enough’: thousands rally across US in gun control protestsRead more“It is incredibly disappointing,” said Ricardo Negron, a voting rights advocate and Pulse survivor. “It is triggering and it is infuriating that we have to continue living like this.”Patience Murray, an author, entrepreneur and survivor, said: “We’ve had so many survivors, so many families that have been left behind and they tell their story. And they’re vulnerable, pouring their hearts out to these leaders, and then nothing happens.”Mass shootings are widely held to be incidents in which four people not including the shooter are hurt or killed. Since Pulse, the deadliest attack on LGBTQ+ communities in US history, mass shootings have increased and affected almost every facet of American life. Within the past month, mass shootings have occurred in places including a church, a hospital, a school and a grocery store.America is haunted by gun violence. In 2020, more Americans died from gun-related causes in 2020 than any other year on record. Also rising were suicides with a firearm, which make up the majority of gun deaths, and murders involving a gun, accounting for 24,292 and 19,384 deaths respectively.For LBGTQ+ communities, gun violence is a persistent issue. While specific data on how gun violence impacts queer and trans demographics is lacking, available research shows that since 2013 more than two-thirds of fatal incidents involving transgender or gender non-conforming people have involved a firearm.LGBTQ+ people, especially youth, are also more likely to attempt suicide than members of the general population: incidents that are likely to involve a firearm.‘We’re still in the same place’For those who survived the Pulse shooting, the failure to address gun violence continues to be traumatic.“When I see mass shootings, in particular, and any gun violence, it always hits a point of hurt and sadness,” said Murray. “I’m reminded that we’re still in the same place that we were before, of hoping that we could see a change with policy.”Negron said each mass shootings is a reminder that such violence can always happen again. For him, the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, stoked fears that such an incident could happen at his nephews’ schools.“I’m transported to that mindset of this could literally happen in any school now,” he said.For Murray, seeing gun violence surge after Pulse with no tenable solutions offered brought up feelings of despondency.“When you encounter something like being held hostage for three hours and seeing other people around you dying,” she said, of her own experience, “and then see repeated instances of terror constantly on the news, it takes a certain level of tenacity and resilience to believe that anything that you say, or anything that you do on this world matters.“It’s hard to believe that when you feel like the conversations you’ve had for the past five going on six years, hasn’t seen any real difference in the gun violence that we’re seeing as a whole.”Negron and Murray agreed that required reforms include a ban on assault weapons and an expansion of background checks with a “mental health element”, as Murray put it.“With all the collective trauma that we’ve experienced as a country with Covid and consistent violence on communities, I think that we should really restrict access to powerful weapons of war,” Negron said.Both also said conservative alternatives to gun control, including arming teachers – a proposal teacher associations have rejected – ignore the cause of American gun violence.Referring to police in Uvalde, Texas, who failed to enter the classroom during the elementary school shooting, Negron said: “Even they themselves were afraid of the damage those type of weapons can do, and they’re trained police officers. For me, it’s just as another talking point to deflect from [Republicans’] responsibility as to why this continues to happen.”‘It’s never easy’The Pulse shooting does not get easier to talk about, Murray and Negron noted, even though they have both taken on advocacy roles. But both said it was important to speak about their experience, noting that groups they joined following Pulse have helped their own healing.“For me, and it’s always been important to bring in the perspective of someone who has been directly affected by what happened so that people can understand from [them],” said Negron. “It’s not that it gets easier. Sometimes it just becomes more manageable. But it’s never easy.”Murray, who will this year speak at a Pulse remembrance event for the first time, said: “When I see how people respond, like other advocates, and other activists for gun violence, it really just gives me hope. And it inspires me to share my story again.”Both Negron and Murray said now was the time for politicians to pass meaningful reform.“This goes beyond political parties and your political beliefs,” said Negron. “And this is really about the safety of everybody, right? It’s not just the safety of our kids in school, but it’s literally about the safety of everybody.”Murray said: “[It’s] time to make a decision and to choose something. We’re no longer just looking for the hoopla. We’re no longer just looking for the headlines of what we think could happen. We actually want to see real decisions being made.”TopicsOrlando terror attackUS gun controlGun crimeLGBT rightsUS politicsUS CongressfeaturesReuse this content More