Morning Report

The Hill’s Morning Report — A devastating day for Trump

The most consequential of the House Jan. 6 committee’s slate of hearings took place on Tuesday as Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified that the White House was well aware that protests on the day could turn violent, but did little to quell the situation. 

Hutchinson, the first White House employee to testify publicly before the panel probing the attack, painted a chaotic picture of the White House and former President Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election, one that included a number of head-turning and eyebrow-raising revelations 

However, it was her firsthand discussions that provided the greatest insight for the panel. According to Hutchinson, Meadows and Rudy Giuliani both told her directly that they believed the situation could grow serious on Jan. 6.

“There’s a lot going on, Cass, but I don’t know. Things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6,” Meadows told Hutchinson when she approached him about it, according to her testimony.  

“We’re going to the Capitol. It’s going to be great. The president is going to be there, he’s going to look powerful,” Giuliani, the leader of Trump’s legal team at the time, told Hutchinson on Jan. 2, she testified (The Hill). 

At one point, Hutchinson described an indifferent chief of staff who was unmoved when White House officials told him during the morning of Jan. 6 that Trump supporters were carrying knives, guns, body armor and spears, among other items.

“I remember distinctly Mark not looking up from his phone. I remember Tony finishing his explanation and it taking a few seconds for Mark to say something. Because I almost said, ‘Mark, did you hear him?’ And then Mark chimed in. It was like, ‘Alright, anything else?’ Still looking down at his phone,” Hutchinson said, referring to when she and White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato informed him of the developments.

The committee showed evidence in the form of police call logs that a number of the protesters that day were carrying weapons, including Glock pistols and AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles.

The Hill: Hutchinson testified Trump knew Jan. 6 attendees had weapons, but told aides, “They’re not here to hurt me.

Niall Stanage: The Memo: Cassidy Hutchinson drops hammer on Donald Trump.

The ex-White House aide relayed that Trump was so hellbent to join his supporters at the Capitol that while being driven in the presidential limousine to return to the White House, he lunged at the head of his security detail and at the steering wheel when the driver refused to head toward Capitol Hill. According to Hutchinson, Ornato told her that Trump was “irate” when Robert Engel, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service on Jan. 6, told the then-commander in chief that going to the Capitol would not be possible (The Hill).

The Hill: Five explosive moments from Hutchinson’s Jan. 6 testimony. 

Peter Baker, The New York Times: A president untethered.

CNN: “This is a bombshell”: Trump aides left speechless by Hutchinson testimony. 

Insider: Trumpworld shocked by Hutchinson’s explosive Jan. 6 testimony, calling it the “most damning day” and “insane.”

The Hill: Trump threw lunch against the wall over Attorney General William Barr interview, Hutchinson says.

The riveting and explosive testimony, presented to the public with an aura of suspense, was the committee’s sixth tightly choreographed hearing in a series that will continue next month.  

On social media and in interviews, an array of Hutchinson’s former colleagues from the Trump White House vouched for the young witness, arguing she was well-positioned in the White House to relay what she reported on Tuesday and during previous videotaped interviews with investigators. 

“Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump [White House] worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is,” said Sarah Matthews, a deputy press secretary who resigned hours after the attack. “For those complaining of ‘hearsay,’ I imagine the Jan. 6 committee would welcome any of those involved to deny these allegations under oath,” she added, likely referring to a tweet by the House Judiciary Committee. 

However, reports indicated on Tuesday that one person may just do that. According to NBC News, Engel and the presidential limousine driver are prepared to testify under oath that Trump did not assault either man or lunge for the steering wheel of the fortified limousine nicknamed “the Beast.”

CBS News: Secret Service plans to respond to Jan. 6 committee regarding Trump’s actions, after Hutchinson’s testimony.

© Associated Press / Alex Brandon | Former President Trump rides in “The Beast,” 2020. 

The committee did not immediately announce a date for its next hearing, but added a topic with potential legal consequences, if proven: witness tampering. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the panel’s vice chair, asserted at the conclusion of Tuesday’s hearing that some Trump allies attempted to intimidate witnesses who are cooperating with the investigatory panel. 

“We will be discussing these issues as a committee and carefully considering our next steps,” Cheney said (NBC News). 

Mick Mulvaney, a former White House chief of staff under Trump who preceded Meadows, tweeted that Cheney’s announcement was “stunning,” adding that the day “went very badly” for Trump. 

Trump appeared to have watched the day’s testimony. He fired off 12 posts on Truth Social, his social media site, characterizing Hutchinson’s role in the White House as low-level and castigating the young former aide as a “total phony.”


Related Articles

The Washington Post: Hutchinson’s path from trusted insider to explosive witness.

The New York Times: A lawyer for Virginia Thomas said she would not testify to the House panel for now.

David A. Graham, The Atlantic: The most damning Jan. 6 testimony yet. 

The New York Times: The Jan. 6 committee produces a very special episode.


LEADING THE DAY

INTERNATIONAL

In a breakthrough after months of wrangling amid Russia’s war with Ukraine, NATO on Tuesday reached a deal with Turkey to overcome its objections in order to admit Sweden and Finland as members of the security alliance. Moscow, long wary of NATO expansion, has opposed the two nations’ plans to become members of the bloc. Previously, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would not approve the applications, citing sensitivity about support for Kurdish organizations that Turkey considers security threats (CNBC and Reuters).

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde told a Swedish newspaper on Tuesday that her government was aware of what she called “very, very many” terrorist attacks Turkey has endured. “We are taking this concern seriously, and in a few days’ time the toughest tightening of terrorist legislation in Sweden in 30 years will take place,” with new legislation in effect as of Friday, she said (The New York Times).

The Economist: Erdoğan takes home a victory for agreeing to NATO expansion.

President Biden, who spoke by phone with Erdoğan on Tuesday as he departed a Group of Seven summit in Germany to fly to the NATO summit in Madrid, is to meet with the Turkish president this week (The New York Times). In a subsequent written statement, Biden hailed Turkey as well as Finland and Sweden, saying the addition of the two countries “will strengthen NATO’s collective security.” He committed to working with Congress and U.S. allies “to ensure that we can quickly welcome” Finland and Sweden into NATO.

The Associated Press: NATO faces “the most serious security crisis we have faced since the Second World War,” says Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. The 30 NATO leaders expect to hear directly from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Russia’s space agency on Tuesday published the coordinates of Western defense headquarters, including the Pentagon and the venue of NATO’s summit in Spain this week, saying Western satellite operators were working for Russia’s enemy, Ukraine (Reuters). 

The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on more than 100 targets and banned new imports of Russian gold, acting on commitments made by the Group of Seven leaders this week to ratchet up punishments of Russia for its war with Ukraine (Reuters).

© Associated Press / Bernat Armangue | Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday. 

POLITICS 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed a congressional map in Louisiana to remain in place for the next election, freezing a lower court ruling that said the map likely violates the Voting Rights Act by diluting the power of Black voters. 

In a brief order, the court said it would wait to act on the merits of the case until it has decided a similar dispute out of Alabama that is set to be argued next term. The three liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented (CNN and The Hill).

The New York Times and Reuters: A judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a Texas pre-Roe ban on all abortions. A 2021 law that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy is still valid in the state.

The Associated Press: A federal court on Tuesday allowed Tennessee’s ban on abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy to take effect, citing the Supreme Court’s decision last week to rescind a federal, constitutional right to abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years.

The political terrain for GOP candidates following the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, hailed as a victory by conservatives, is likely to be more complicated for GOP incumbents facing voters this year in moderate districts, The Hill’s Brett Samuels reports, not to mention the unknowns of the 2024 presidential race.  

Similarly, Democrats are hopeful that suburban women across the board might feel strongly enough about the evolving repercussions of the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling to reject Republican candidates.

Voting by women residing in suburbs trended toward Republican candidates in recent election cycles. Analysts in both political parties suggest the post-Roe abortion debate could dampen that enthusiasm or perhaps flip allegiances in the fall, depending on public perceptions of legislative and law enforcement developments in each state tied to pregnancy termination, contraception, access to reproductive health care and gender rights (The Hill). 

Alexander Bolton, The Hill: The Senate races that could be impacted by end of Roe v. Wade.

The Hill: Hispanic voters present a mixed battleground ahead of November’s midterm contests when it comes to abortion politics.

On the primary front, three incumbent House members lost their primary bids on Tuesday night as voters went to the polls in seven states.

In Illinois, Reps. Rodney Davis (R) and Marie Newman (D) lost in their bids for reelection to Reps. Mary Miller (R) and Sean Casten (D) after redistricting wreaked havoc on the state. 

Davis, a moderate GOP lawmaker and the ranking member on the House Administration Committee fell by a 14-percentage point margin to Miller, who was the Trump-endorsed candidate in the race (The Hill). As for Casten, he defeated Newman by a 39-point margin and faces a tough race in November. The Cook Political Report rates Illinois’ 6th Congressional District as a “lean Democratic” seat (The Hill). 

In Mississippi, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell was toppled incumbent Rep. Steven Palazzo (R) in the GOP primary runoff for the state’s 4th Congressional District. Palazzo was targeted after he faced an ethics controversy last year where “substantial” evidence emerged that he misused campaign funds to improve a riverfront home before a sale and unethically used his office to help his brother reenlist in the Navy (The Hill).

The Hill: Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) wins runoff. Guest was one of 35 House Republicans who voted last year for the creation of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.

The New York Times: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to face Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) in New York gubernatorial contest.

Chicago Sun-Times: Darren Bailey handily wins six-candidate GOP governor’s race, to face Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) in November. 

Max Greenwood, The Hill: Five takeaways from races in Colorado, Illinois, New York and more.

The Oklahoman: Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla), T.W. Shannon head to GOP runoff in race to replace Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.).

The Associated Press: Colorado GOP rejects candidates who back Trump election lie.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

ECONOMY

Consumer confidence fell to a 16-month low in June, according to a Tuesday report, because of worries about inflated prices and portents of recession. The economy is slowing, in part because of rising interest rates, but what’s kept consumer confidence from plummeting further is the strongest U.S. labor market in decades. Many companies are still hiring and layoffs are at a record low (MarketWatch). Should those conditions change, consumer demand will change, too.

Economists continue to underscore that inflation is a global problem, which means finding solutions to rising prices experienced by many countries is complex (The Hill). 

Although consumer demand has helped U.S. airlines recover from the COVID-19 doldrums, carriers are struggling to overcome pilot and staffing shortages, canceled flights, weather interruptions and what they complain are Federal Aviation Administration shortcomings, especially ahead of the Fourth of July travel weekend. The response from consumer advocates and the Biden administration is that the airlines were handed tens of billions of dollars in federal support during the pandemic and should have averted what passengers are describing as miserable — and avoidable — travel experiences (The Hill).

Anyone invested in financial markets, including millions of Americans with retirement portfolios, does not need a reminder that it’s been a brutal month. All three major indexes plunged in June — 20 percent below their most recent record highs — as the Federal Reserve ramped up interest rates to fight inflation. The Hill’s Sylvan Lane reports that market analysts are braced for continued losses on Wall Street amid a slowing economy. 


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OPINION

■ Jan. 6 testimony shows that Donald Trump is unhinged. Voters must listen, by The Washington Post editorial board. https://wapo.st/3u9EptO

■ An oil price cap for Russia? Janet Yellen’s idea for a buyer’s cartel needs Putin’s cooperation, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board. https://on.wsj.com/3nHApxj

WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet on Friday at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session and will resume votes on July 12. Cheney will deliver a speech about the Republican Party at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California at 6 p.m. PDT. 

The Senate convenes on Friday at 8:30 a.m. for a pro forma session. Senators will return to Washington on July 11 following the July 4 recess.

The president is in Madrid for a NATO summit. Biden today will attend two sessions of discussions with heads of state and government leaders and later will attend a NATO dinner.

The vice president will depart Joint Base Andrews at 2:45 p.m. to fly to San Francisco.

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff is in Manila leading the U.S. delegation attending the inauguration of Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. as the nation’s 17th president. Emhoff will lead several diplomatic meetings while in the Philippines.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is with the president in Spain for a NATO summit.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is in Portugal to participate in a European Central Bank Forum where he will join Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England; Agustín Carstens, general manager with the Bank for International Settlements; and Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, to discuss current economic policy at 9 a.m. EDT. The conversation will be livestreamed HERE.

Economic indicators: The Bureau of Economic Analysis at 8:30 a.m. will release reports on U.S. gross domestic product (third estimate), GDP by industry, and revised corporate profits in the first quarter of the year. 

The first lady is in Madrid and will attend a portion of events for spouses and partners of NATO leaders. This afternoon she will depart Spain to return to the White House.


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ELSEWHERE  

  PANDEMIC & POX

An expert committee recommended Tuesday that the Food and Drug Administration plan on an updated booster shot of the coronavirus vaccines that targets some form of the omicron variant, a vote that paves the way for federal regulators to recommend a new formulation for the booster shots that the administration hopes to offer before an expected winter resurgence of the coronavirus. 

The committee debated but did not specify which formulation might work best. Clinical trial results on a combination of the so-called “prototype,” or existing, vaccines and omicron itself have received mixed reviews so far. In briefing materials, regulators suggested that such a design is “already somewhat outdated” because of the fast-changing versions of COVID-19 variants now predominating in this country and abroad (The New York Times).

“We’re all troubled by the steady erosion of immune protection,” said Mark Sawyer, an infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. “We’re going to be behind the eight ball if we wait longer.”

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported as of this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University (trackers all vary slightly): 1,016,766. Current average U.S. COVID-19 daily deaths are 307, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The New York Times: As monkeypox spreads, the U.S. plans a vaccination campaign using distribution of doses from the federal stockpile.

SEX TRAFFICKING

Ghislaine Maxwell on Tuesday was sentenced to 20 years in prison for aiding Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of teenage girls. The sentencing of the 60-year-old British socialite — who was convicted in December of sex trafficking, transporting a minor to participate in illegal sex acts and two conspiracy charges — puts a cap on a saga that included abuse of girls as young as 14. District Judge Alison Nathan also imposed a $750,000 fine and argued that “a very significant sentence is necessary,” adding that she wished to send an “unmistakable message.” In 2019, Epstein was found unresponsive in prison and the New York medical examiner determined he hanged himself with a bedsheet while alone in his cell (The Associated Press).

© Associated Press / John Minchillo | Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell 2020 photo introduced in court. 

  SPORTS

Serena Williams on Tuesday dropped her opening round match at Wimbledon, falling to Harmony Tan, 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7) in her first singles match after returning from injury last year. Williams, 40, roared back to take the second set, but fell short in a tiebreak against the unranked Frenchwoman. Williams’s 23 singles Grand Slam titles are the second most in the open era, only behind Margaret Court’s 24 titles. Her seven Wimbledon singles titles are tied for second most, trailing Martina Navratilova’s nine victories (ESPN).


THE CLOSER

© Associated Press / Paul Sakuma | In 2007, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone.

And finally … Technology can shape what consumers want: It was on this June day in 2007 that Apple released its first iPhones for sale following the late Steve Jobs’ dramatic unveiling in San Francisco months before. Its price tag was $500. Its focus was the screen. Since then, Apple has released 34 iterations and sold more than 2.2 billion iPhones. About a third of the U.S. population owns one.

A tech reviewer in 2007 summed up Apple’s innovation this way: “The iPhone is noteworthy not for what it does, but how it does it.”

The Wall Street Journal: The iPhone at 15: An inside look at how Apple transformed a generation.


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