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Jan 6 updates: Garland says he’s watching hearings as pressure mounts to charge Trump – as it happened

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Attorney General Garland says he’s watching January 6 hearings

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he and his prosecutors are watching the hearings of the January 6 committee as the justice department faces pressure to bring charges against former president Donald Trump.

NEW: AG Merrick Garland says he’s watching the Jan. 6 committee hearings, adding “I can assure you the January 6 prosecutors are watching the hearings as well”

— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) June 13, 2022

Some of the lawmakers on the committee have called for Garland to levy criminal charges against Trump. The former president is at the center of an array of investigations, including an inquiry into his business practices in New York. He will testify under oath in that probe on 15 July, along with his daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr.

Garland answered reporters questions during a DoJ press conference about gun trafficking.

Updated at 16.25 EDT

Closing summary

The January 6 committee’s second public hearing was today’s main story, as it aired testimony from several of Donald Trump’s top advisors, all of whom said they told the former president there was no fraud in the 2020 election that would change the result of his loss to Joe Biden.

Nonetheless, Trump pressed on with making the claims, which the committee said fueled the violence at the Capitol.

Here’s what else happened today:

The blog is wrapping up for the day and will return on Tuesday morning around 9am ET. For updates on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, please tune into our global live blog on the war, here.

Joanna Walters

At the White House daily media briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has reiterated in response to a question that Joe Biden is going to leave the topic of whether Donald Trump will be prosecuted over the January 6 hearing “up to the Department of Justice”.

The White House wants “Americans to watch” the January 6 hearings, the second of which occurred this morning, “and remember the horrors of one of the darkest days in our history” but the US president will stay away from commenting on related prosecutions.

He chose US attorney general Merrick Garland “because of his loyalty to the law”, Jean-Pierre said, and also “to restore the independence and integrity of the Department of Justice.”

That’s a dig at how the DoJ was regarded by Democrats as an extension of Donald Trump’s White House and under his sway instead of staying independent.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre calls on a reporter during a press briefing at the White House today. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

Meanwhile in New York, an ongoing sell off on Wall Street has pushed the S&P 500 into a bear market, meaning a loss of 20 percent from its most recent high.

The stock market’s health and wider economy’s health are generally regarded as two different things, but the S&P 500’s nearly four percent loss in today’s trading is fueled in part by concerns that the United State’s decades-high inflation rate will cause a recession. It’s also more bad news for Joe Biden and his economic policies, overshadowing more positive developments such as the drop in unemployment on his watch.

From the Associated Press:

The S&P 500 dropped 3.8% in the first chance for investors to trade after getting the weekend to reflect on the stunning news that inflation is getting worse, not better. The Dow Jones was down 879 points, or 2.8%, at 30,513, as of 11.08am ET, and the Nasdaq composite was 4.5% lower.

The center of Wall Street’s focus was again on the Federal Reserve, which is scrambling to get inflation under control. Its main method is to raise interest rates in order to slow the economy, a blunt tool that risks a recession if used too aggressively.

Some traders are even speculating the Fed on Wednesday may raise its key short-term interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point. That’s triple the usual amount and something the Fed hasn’t done since 1994. Traders now see a 34% probability of such a mega-hike, up from just 3% a week ago, according to CME Group.

No one thinks the Fed will stop there, with markets bracing for a continued series of bigger-than-usual hikes. Those would come on top of some already discouraging signals about the economy and corporate profits, including a record-low preliminary reading on consumer sentiment that was soured by high gasoline prices.

Schumer vows gun violence bill vote ‘as soon as possible’

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said he’ll bring a recent bipartisan gun control bill to a vote on the chamber’s floor as soon as it’s written.

“I will put this bill on the floor as soon as possible, once the text of the final agreement is finalized so the Senate can act quickly to make gun safety reform a reality,” Schumer said in a speech in the Senate.

“Yesterday’s agreement does not have everything Democrats wanted but it nevertheless represents the most significant reform to gun safety laws that we have seen in decades.”

Democratic and and Republican lawmakers have been trying to find a common ground on the highly controversial topic of gun control following a recent spate of mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.

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Attorney General Garland says he’s watching January 6 hearings

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he and his prosecutors are watching the hearings of the January 6 committee as the justice department faces pressure to bring charges against former president Donald Trump.

NEW: AG Merrick Garland says he’s watching the Jan. 6 committee hearings, adding “I can assure you the January 6 prosecutors are watching the hearings as well”

— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) June 13, 2022

Some of the lawmakers on the committee have called for Garland to levy criminal charges against Trump. The former president is at the center of an array of investigations, including an inquiry into his business practices in New York. He will testify under oath in that probe on 15 July, along with his daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr.

Garland answered reporters questions during a DoJ press conference about gun trafficking.

Updated at 16.25 EDT

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who was one of Trump’s top attorneys near the end of his term, has denied he was drunk on election night in 2020.

Giuliani’s attorney says Giuliani was not drunk on election night. “Giuliani denies all falsehoods by the angry and misguided Ms Cheney,” Robert Costello tells CNN. https://t.co/lsOdoaOgvv

— Kara Scannell (@KaraScannell) June 13, 2022

While the latest report of Giuliani being drunk in public came from today’s hearing of the January 6 committee, such claims are not new.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will soon start her daily briefing to reporters, and there’s a chance she’ll be asked about this story from The New York Times.

The piece asks a provocative question: given his low approval ratings, among other issues, should Biden not run in 2024? The president says he will stand again, but the article features a trickle of Democratic voices questioning the wisdom of that idea, or even outright telling him not to.

As the Times reported:

As the challenges facing the nation mount and fatigued base voters show low enthusiasm, Democrats in union meetings, the back rooms of Capitol Hill and party gatherings from coast to coast are quietly worrying about Mr. Biden’s leadership, his age and his capability to take the fight to former President Donald J. Trump a second time.

Interviews with nearly 50 Democratic officials, from county leaders to members of Congress, as well as with disappointed voters who backed Mr. Biden in 2020, reveal a party alarmed about Republicans’ rising strength and extraordinarily pessimistic about an immediate path forward.

“To say our country was on the right track would flagrantly depart from reality,” said Steve Simeonidis, a Democratic National Committee member from Miami. Mr. Biden, he said, “should announce his intent not to seek re-election in ’24 right after the midterms.”

Democratic stalwart Howard Dean has perhaps the sharpest criticism in the piece, though it’s not aimed at Biden alone:

Howard Dean, the 73-year-old former Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee chairman who ran for president in 2004, has long called for a younger generation of leaders in their 30s and 40s to rise in the party. He said he had voted for Pete Buttigieg, 40, in the 2020 primary after trying to talk Senator Chris Murphy, 48, of Connecticut into running.

“The generation after me is just a complete trash heap,” Mr. Dean said.

The United States is indeed led by elderly people these days, as Axios reports in a closer look at the subject that’s fittingly titled “American gerontocracy”:

Diversity and technology are making the workplace, home life and culture unrecognizable for many older leaders. That can leave geriatric leadership of government out of step with everyday life in America — and disconnected from the voters who give them power.

Washington is run by Biden, 79 … House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 82 … Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a comparatively youthful 71 … and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, age 80.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, running the U.S. pandemic response, is 81.

Separate from the January 6 committee hearing, Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman was in a federal courtroom describing how one of two defendants facing charges over the attacked jabbed him with a Confederate battle flag.

Goodman is one of the most prominent defenders of the Capitol that day, credited with diverting the mob away from the Senate chamber and appearing in a well-known photo.

He was testifying at the trial of Kevin Seefried and his adult son Hunter Seefried, whom the Associated Press reported face charges including a felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding.

According to the AP:

Goodman recalled seeing Kevin Seefried standing alone in an archway and telling him to leave. Instead, Seefried cursed at him and jabbed at the officer with the base end of the flagpole three or four times, Goodman said.

“He was very angry. Screaming. Talking loudly,” Goodman said. “Complete opposite of pleasant.”

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden is hearing testimony without a jury for the Seefrieds’ bench trial, which started Monday. The Seefrieds waived their right to a jury trial, which means McFadden will decide their cases.

Updated at 14.55 EDT

Midday summary

Today has been dominated by the latest revelations from the January 6 Committee, which aired testimony from a number of former officials in Donald Trump’s campaign and White House, all of whom told the president the same thing: the 2020 election was not stolen. Nonetheless, Trump pressed on with making the claims, which the committee said fueled the violence at the Capitol.

Here’s what else happened today:

Joanna Walters

The US Supreme Court has ruled against immigrants who are seeking their release from long periods of detention while they fight deportation orders, the Associated Press writes.

In two cases decided on Monday morning, the court said that the immigrants, who fear persecution if sent back to their native countries, have no right under a federal law to a bond hearing at which they could argue for their freedom no matter how long they are held.

Protesters gathered outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, earlier today, awaiting outcome of key abortion case. In fact, the justices ruled on other cases today. More decisions coming Wednesday and all month. Photograph: Bonnie Cash/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

The nine justices also ruled 6-3 to limit the immigrants ability to band together in court, an outcome that Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote:

Will leave many vulnerable non-citizens unable to protect their rights.”

In recent years, the high court has taken an increasingly limited view of immigrants’ access to the federal court system under immigration measures enacted in the 1990s and 2000s.

For a while, it seemed like the court was going to push back a bit. In extreme cases, it would interpret a statute to allow for as much judicial review as possible. Clearly now, the court is no longer willing to do that,”said Nicole Hallet, director of the immigrants rights clinic at the University of Chicago law school.

The immigrants who sued for a bond hearing are facing being detained for many months, even years, before their cases are resolved.

The court ruled in the cases of people from Mexico and El Salvador who persuaded Homeland Security officials that their fears are credible, entitling them to further review.

Their lawyers argued that they should have a hearing before an immigration judge to determine if they should be released. The main factors are whether people would pose a danger or are likely to flee if set free.

Sotomayor wrote the court’s opinion in one case involving Antonio ArteagaMartinez, who had previously been deported to Mexico. He was taken into custody four years ago, and won release while his case wound through the federal courts. His hearing on whether he can remain in the United States is scheduled for 2023.

But Sotomayor wrote that the provision of immigration law that applies to people like Arteaga-Martinez simply doesn’t require the government to hold a bond hearing.

The court, however, left open the issue of the immigrants’ ability to argue that the Constitution does not permit such indefinite detention without a hearing.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s opinion holding that federal judges can only rule in the case of the immigrants before them, not a class of similarly situated people.

Sotomayor dissented from that decision, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.

She wrote that the ability to join together in a class was especially important for people who have no right to a lawyer and “are disproportionately unlikely to be familiar with the U.S. legal system or fluent in the English language.”

The cases are Johnson v Arteaga-Martinez, 19-896, and Garland v Aleman Gonzalez, 20-322.

Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, April 23, 2021. Seated from left are Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing from left are Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Photograph: Erin Schaff/AP

Joanna Walters

The US Supreme Court issued five opinions this morning, just around the time the January 6 hearing was getting underway. None of them was one of the four big cases being mostly closely watched, on abortion, gun rights, rules on emissions affecting climate change and an immigration issue affecting undocumented people crossing the US-Mexico border in order to claim asylum in the United States, known as Remain in Mexico.

In one of the most significant opinions of the day, the nine-judge court ruled that Native Americans prosecuted in certain tribal courts can also be prosecuted based on the same incident in federal court, which can result in longer sentences, the Associated Press writes.

The 6-3 ruling is in keeping with an earlier ruling from the 1970s that said the same about a more widely used type of tribal court.

The case before the justices involved a Navajo Nation member, Merle Denezpi, accused of rape. He served nearly five months in jail after being charged with assault and battery in what is called a Court of Indian Offenses, a court that deals exclusively with alleged Native American offenders.

Under federal law Courts of Indian Offenses can only impose sentences of generally up to a year. Denezpi was later prosecuted in federal court and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He said the Constitution’s “Double Jeopardy” clause should have barred the second prosecution.

But the justices disagreed.

Denezpi’s single act led to separate prosecutions for violations of a tribal ordinance and a federal statute. Because the Tribe and the Federal Government are distinct sovereigns, those offenses are not the same. Denezpi’s second prosecution therefore did not offend the Double Jeopardy Clause,” the court decided.

Amy Coney Barrett, the ultra conservative leaning associated justice confirmed in the dying days of the Trump administration, wrote the opinion for the majority.

The Biden administration had argued for that result as had several states, which said barring federal prosecutions in similar cases could allow defendants to escape harsh sentences.

In a dissent, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that the case involved the same “defendant, same crime, same prosecuting authority” and said the majority’s reasoning was “at odds with the text and original meaning of the Constitution.” The conservative Gorsuch was joined in dissent by two of the court’s three liberal justices, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan.

The case before the justices involves a tribal court system that has become increasingly rare over the last century.

Courts of Indian Offenses were created in the late 1800s during a period when the federal government’s policy toward Native Americans was to encourage assimilation. Judges and generally prosecutors are appointed by federal officials.

Updated at 13.44 EDT

Committee ends for day after Trump official reveals post-January 6 thoughts: ‘Are you out of your effing mind?’

The January 6 committee has ended the day’s testimony by taking viewers back to the scene of the attack and showing how the people who broke in to the Capitol were believers in a conspiracy that many of Trump’s top officials told him was bogus.

“I know exactly what’s going on right now. Fake election!” a rioter said in video aired by the committee.

The hearing closed with the jarring words of Eric Herschmann, a White House lawyer, who recalled a phone call with John Eastman, another of the president’s lawyers whom a judge has said conspired with Trump to overturn the election.

“I said to him, Are you out of your effing mind?” Herschmann recalled. “I said I… only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth for now on: orderly transition.”

Before the hearing ended, the committee’s senior investigative counsel Amanda Wick outlined one possible motivation for why Trump stuck with the fraud claims: they were a money-making opportunity.

“As the select committee has demonstrated, the Trump campaign knew these claims of voter fraud were false, yet they continue to barrage small dollar donors with emails encouraging them to donate to something called Official Election Defense Fund. The select committee discovered no such fund existed,” she said.

Wick goes on to say much of the $250 million raised for the supposed effort was funneled into a political action committee that made donations to pro-Trump organizations, as well as confidantes like his chief of staff Mark Meadows. The barrage of fundraising emails to supporters “continued through January 6, even as President Trump spoke on the ellipse. Thirty minutes after the last fundraising email was sent, the Capitol was breached,” Wick said.

The committee said to expect more testimony from Herschmann in the future. It reconvenes on Wednesday at 10 am.

Committee members talk to the press after the hearing. Photograph: Ken Cedeno/UPI/Rex/Shutterstock

Updated at 13.29 EDT

The second panel of witnesses for the day has been dismissed, after Lofgren went through the many court rulings against Trump’s claims of fraud.

“The rejection of {resident Trump’s litigation efforts was overwhelming. Twenty two federal judges appointed by Republican presidents, including 10 appointed by President Trump himself and at least 24 elected or appointed Republican state judges dismissed the president’s claims,” Lofgren said, noting that 11 lawyers have been referred for disciplinary proceedings due to “due to bad faith and baseless efforts” to undermine the election.

Prior to their dismissal, the committee heard from Benjamin Ginsberg, whom Lofgren called, “the most preeminent Republican election lawyer in recent history.”

“In no instance did a court find that the charges of fraud were real,” Ginsberg said. He also rejected arguments pushed by the Trump campaign that they didn’t get a fair hearing, noting that of 62 lawsuits filed by the campaign, 61 were dismissed, and the one upheld didn’t affect the outcome.

Ben Ginsberg, BJay Pak and Al Schmidt. Photograph: Ken Cedeno/UPI/Rex/Shutterstock

Updated at 12.51 EDT