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January 6 committee releases slew of evidence showing how Trump acting during and in the run-up to January 6 – follow all the latest news.
Michelle Obama is making fresh exhortations to people to “double down” on efforts to protect abortion rights in the US, ahead of an expected final ruling in the next few weeks from the US Supreme Court on a key abortion case out of Mississippi that also directly asks the court to overturn Roe v Wade.
“As we prepare for the decision from the supreme court on the fate of Roe v Wade, I know so many of us are anxious and wondering if there’s anything we can do. Let’s be clear: this potential decision would be the culmination of a decades-long strategy to take away a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health,” she wrote on Instagram later on yesterday.
She added: “So we’ve got to get to work today. We’ve got to press our elected leaders at every level to pull every lever they can to protect the right to safe, legal abortion – right now. And we’ve got to make sure that everyone we know is voting…in every single election…for decades if that’s what it takes.”
Former president Barack Obama and the former first lady had released a joint statement after the leak [of the court’s draft opinion favoring striking down Roe] criticizing the opinion, saying it would “relegate the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues,” the Hill reported on Thursday.
Michelle Obama continued in her post, in part: “We can’t afford to get cynical or throw our hands up and walk away. We have to double down, get even more organized and join the activists who’ve been doing this work away from the spotlight for so long. And we’ve got to do it not just for ourselves but for the next generation.”
The United States rolled out a raft of actions to support migrants on Friday as president Joe Biden and fellow leaders prepare to issue a joint declaration on migration on the final day of an Americas summit beset by diplomatic squabbling, Reuters reports.
The Biden administration pledged hundreds of millions of aid to Venezuelan migrants across the Western Hemisphere, as well as programs to support temporary family-based visas for Cubans and Haitians and ease the hiring of Central American workers on Friday.
The announcements are set to accompany a US-led pact dubbed the “Los Angeles Declaration” that aims to create incentives for countries taking in large numbers of migrants and spread responsibility across the region. But some analysts are skeptical there will be many meaningful commitments.
The plan caps the Summit of the Americas hosted by Biden in Los Angeles that was designed to reassert US leadership and counter China’s growing economic footprint in the region.
However, that message was clouded by a partial boycott by leaders, including Mexico’s president, in protest at Washington’s exclusion of US antagonists Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the gathering.
At the summit’s opening session on Thursday, leaders from Argentina and tiny Belize took to the podium to rebuke Biden face-to-face over the guest list, underscoring the challenge the global superpower faces in restoring its influence among poorer neighbors.
The declaration, due to be presented by Biden and other leaders later on Friday, will call on governments in the region to expand their own temporary worker programs, said a senior US official who previewed the plan.
Some countries are unlikely to endorse the migrant declaration, according to a person familiar with the matter. Some Caribbean states would not approve it, an official at the summit said.
Today has been dominated by the aftermath of Thursday evening’s January 6 committee hearings, which began building the case that Trump played a major role in orchestrating the assault on the Capitol, while shedding light on the other forces at work in Washington that day.
Meanwhile, Republicans have seized on a worryingly high inflation reading to press their case for being in charge.
Here’s what else is going on today:
- The January 6 hearing cut through propaganda that’s been spread about the insurrection, said Jamie Raskin, a Democratic lawmaker on the committee.
- Trump responded to his daughter Ivanka Trump’s statement that she never really believed the 2020 election was stolen.
- The bad inflation numbers were good news for Republicans, who used them to hammer the Biden administration as midterms that could put them in control of one or both houses of Congress draw ever nearer.
- The filibuster only frustrates voters, former president Barack Obama said in a speech in which he also shared his opinions on big tech and issues of race in American society today.
There’s only one group of Americans left who can’t access Covid-19 vaccines: kids under five. Next week, a series of hearings and decisions may offer clarity on when young children will get access to the shots, and give parents nationwide a path back to normalcy.
The Associated Press has a look at what to expect:
On Wednesday, both Moderna and Pfizer will have to convince what’s essentially a science court — advisers to the Food and Drug Administration — that their shots work well in babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Kids under 5 are the only group not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S. If the agency’s advisers endorse one or both shots for them — and the FDA agrees — there’s still another hurdle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must recommend whether all tots need immunization or just those at high risk from the virus.
Adding to the complexity, each company is offering different dose sizes and number of shots. And the week won’t even start with the littlest kid debate: Moderna first will ask FDA’s advisers to support its vaccine for older children.
Only a handful of countries, including China and Cuba, have offered different types of COVID-19 vaccinations to children younger than 5.
Did the January 6 committee really cut through the “thick fog of propaganda” around the attack? Not if you watched Fox News, which didn’t broadcast the hearing. My colleague Adam Gabbatt took a look at what they showed in its place:
The millions of people who tuned into America’s main television channels on Thursday heard how the January 6 insurrection was “the culmination of an attempted coup”, a “siege” where violent Trump supporters mercilessly attacked police, causing politicians and staffers to run for their lives.
On the Fox News channel, however, there was a different take on the historic congressional hearings exploring the attack on the Capitol in Washington DC.
The deadly riot was, according to the channel’s primetime host Tucker Carlson, “an outbreak of mob violence, a forgettably minor outbreak by recent standards, that took place more than a year and a half ago”.
This was the alternate reality that Carlson, Fox News’ most-watched host, presented as he opened his hour-long show. He followed it up with a boast: the rightwing network would not be covering one of the most consequential political hearings in recent American history.
Former president Barack Obama has taken aim at the filibuster, saying the Senate procedure so frustrates the legislative process that it makes Americans feel like voting is futile.
Obama has plenty of experience with the filibuster, which Republicans used repeatedly to block his legislative priorities during his two terms in office, though he did have notable successes such as the landmark Obamacare health care overhaul.
From Obama’s speech at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit:
He also discussed race:
And big tech:
Jamie Raskin, a prominent lawmaker on the committee, said last night’s hearing dispelled the “thick fog of propaganda” around the insurrection.
In an interview with MSNBC, he also contrasted the Republican reaction to the attack with their professed support for law enforcement:
Police who were on the scene that day and their families have been increasingly outspoken againt Trump. In an interview with CNN, the brothers of Brian Sicknick, a Capitol police officer who died in the attack, said they never received condolences from the then-president:
Meanwhile, the January 6 Committee has compared Trump’s actions with those of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican:
If there was one takeaway from last night’s January 6 committee hearings, it could be: all roads lead back to Trump.
The committee showed evidence that centered on what happened at the Capitol, while taking testimony from two people who had no affiliation with the White House. But the former president nonetheless cast a long shadow over the crowded hearing room.
Liz Cheney, one of the committee’s two Republican members, aired evidence that the former president endorsed calls to hang his vice-president, Mike Pence, for refusing to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election win.
The lawmakers also revealed that top Trump officials didn’t even believe the then-president’s claims. Attorney general William Barr, it turns out, thought the fraud allegations were “bullshit”. So did Trump’s daughter, drawing a response from the former president on his social network today.
Then there were the insurrectionists themselves. Robert Schornak, who has been sentenced to 36 months of probation for his role in the insurrection, summed up their sentiment well: “Trump has only asked me for two things. He asked me for my vote, and he asked me to come on January 6.”
The committee will meet again on June 13th, at 10 am eastern. You can read more about last night’s events in The Guardian’s coverage here:
Reactions are also trickling out from Republicans to last night’s January 6 committee hearing, in which House lawmakers took direct aim at Trump and his actions before and during that day.
On his Truth Social network, the former president commented on his daughter Ivanka Trump’s admission, shown at the hearing, that she believed the 2020 election was not tampered with:
House Representative Jim Banks, whom House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred from sitting on the committee, called the hearing a “dud”:
Republicans have seized on the rough inflation report to press their message that they are a better choice when it comes to the economy than Biden and the Democrats.
Here’s Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell:
Mike Crapo, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, alludes to the Biden administration’s now-stalled “Build Back Better” proposal that would have spent big on fighting climate change, expanding social services and making a wide variety of other priorities a reality:
The Republican party’s Twitter account keeps its message to voters simple:
America’s inflation storm continues as prices rise at rates not seen since the 1980s
The message from the May inflation data released earlier today is simple: prices are continuing to increase in the world’s largest economy, meaning Biden’s public support will likely suffer even more than it already has.
The latest consumer price index data from the labor department is unlikely to change that dynamic. If anything, it could make it worse. Here are a few reasons why:
- Economists expected month-on-month inflation to accelerate compared to April and it did, but by one percent, which was a bigger rise than expected.
- That pushed prices compared to May 2021 up by 8.6 percent, its biggest gain since the 12-month period ending in December 1981.
- Most importantly, the year-on-year growth was evidence that the current inflation wave has not peaked, as some had hoped after the April data showed a deceleration in the price increases. Instead, the wave continues to rise, as this chart makes clear.
- Perhaps the most important takeaway from the data is that costs are accelerating for things American cannot avoid buying. Prices for groceries are up 1.4 percent compared to last month and 11.9 percent compared to May 2021. Gasoline prices have risen 4.1 percent from April and a whopping 48.7 percent compared to a year ago. Costs for Shelter — the category including rents one might pay for an apartment or house, and a particularly important contributor to overall inflation — are up 0.6 percent from last month and 5.5 percent compared to last year.
Biden has been trying to convince Americans the economy is better than it appears, pointing to much more positive trends in employment. But with the Federal Reserve committed to a campaign of potentially sharp interest rate increases to cut into inflation, the fear now is that the US economy is heading into a recession — a concern that has already triggered sharp selloffs on Wall Street.
US to end Covid-19 testing requirement for travelers from abroad: CNN
The Biden administration will today announce the end of its requirement that people entering the country test negative for Covid-19, CNN is reporting, citing a senior administration official.
According to the network:
The move will go into effect for US-bound air travelers at midnight on Sunday.
The CDC is lifting the restriction that the travel industry had lobbied against for months after determining it was no longer necessary “based on the science and data,” the official said. The CDC will reassess its decision in 90 days and if officials decide they need to reinstate it, because of a concerning new variant, for example, will do so. The measure has been in place since January 2021.
The official said the Biden administration plans to work with airlines to ensure a smooth transition with the change, but it will likely be a welcome move for most in the industry.
Travel industry officials have been increasingly critical of the requirement in recent weeks and directly urged the Biden administration to end the measure, arguing it was having a chilling effect on an already fragile economy, according to Airlines for America chief Nick Calio, whose group met recently with White House officials.
The travel industry, and some scientific experts, said the policy had been out of date for months.
Lawmakers, including Democrats, had also advocated for lifting the requirement in recent weeks.
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said, “I’m glad CDC suspended the burdensome coronavirus testing requirement for international travelers, and I’ll continue to do all I can to support the strong recovery of our hospitality industry.”
For those who were caught up in the insurrection, the January 6 committee hearing was a particularly difficult experience, The Guardian’s David Smith reports:
It was too much to take. Too much for a second time.
As the cavernous room filled with ugly cries and chants, police radio pleas for help, images of a human herd driven by a crazed impulse to beat police, smash windows and storm the US Capitol, survivors of that day held hands and wept.
Several members of the House of Representatives, who were trapped on a balcony in the chamber as the attack unfolded on 6 January 2021, sat together at Thursday’s opening public hearing held by the select committee investigating the insurrection.
When a carefully crafted video of that day’s carnage was played, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal watched haunted and spellbound and wiped a tear from her eye. When her colleague Cori Bush broke down, a tissue was passed along the line so she could wipe her eyes.
Washington politicians are going to spend a lot of time today reacting to last night’s blockbuster January 6 committee hearing, which was jam-packed with details of what happened that day. Maanvi Singh has this rundown to bring you up to speed:
The first primetime hearing from the House select committee investigating January 6 presented gut-wrenching footage of the insurrection, and a range of testimony to build a case that the attack on the Capitol was a planned coup fomented by Donald Trump.
After a year and half investigation, the committee sought to emphasize the horror of the attack and hold the former president and his allies accountable.
Here are some key takeaways from the night:
Attack on January 6 was the ‘culmination of an attempted coup’
Presenting an overview of the hearing and the ones to come, House select committee chair Bennie Thompson and vice-chair Liz Cheney presented their findings that the violent mob that descended on the Capitol was no spontaneous occurrence.
Video testimony from Donald Trump’s attorney general, his daughter, and other allies make the case that the former president was working to undermine the 2020 election results and foment backlash. “Any legal jargon you hear about ‘seditious conspiracy’, ‘obstruction of an official proceeding’, ‘conspiracy to defraud the United States’ boils down to this,” Thompson said. “January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup. A brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6, to overthrow the government. Violence was no accident. It represented Trump’s last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.”
America grapples with Trump’s role in insurrection after January 6 committee airs evidence
Good morning, US Politics blog readers. Yesterday evening, the January 6 committee released a slew of new evidence showing how Donald Trump acted during and in the run-up to the attack on the Capitol. If you missed the hearing, you can watch it here.
The aftermath of those revelations will be one of today’s main stories, but that’s not all that’s going on:
- The labor department has released horrid inflation numbers that were worse than expected and sure to fuel public discontent with Joe Biden, whose approval is languishing at record lows.
- The president is meanwhile in Los Angeles and expected to sign a declaration on migration during his visit to the Summit of Americas, before heading to fundraising events with Democrats.
- Top state department official Erik Woodhouse will discuss the effectiveness of the western sanctions campaign against Russia at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council.
- Celebrity chef Jose Andres will be appearing on Capitol Hill for a hearing looking at the humanitarian response to the Ukraine war.