Morning Report

The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Altria – Jan. 6 Capitol attack back in spotlight

In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, rioters wave flags on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol
Associated Press/Jose Luis Magana

                              Presented by Altria

In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, rioters wave flags on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol



Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Monday! Whoa — it’s a new year! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths this morning: 826,064.


As of today, 73.4 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 62 percent is “fully vaccinated,” according to the Bloomberg News global vaccine tracker and the government’s definition. The percentage of the Americans who have received third or booster doses is 20.7.

Nearly a year ago, Americans reacted to entreaties from former President Trump, conservative media personalities and internet conspiracists and gathered in a lethal mob while attacking the U.S. Capitol and democracy itself. It could happen again.


Those are among the preliminary findings of a House select committee investigating how influential people, working behind the scenes, coordinated events to stir supporters to oppose the government, members of Congress and law enforcement in reaction to a lie about a stolen election.


The Hill’s wrap-up of Sunday shows: Officials brace for the Jan. 6 anniversary.


“What people saw on Jan. 6 with their own eyes was not just something created at one moment. It was clearly, what we believe, based on the information we have been able to gather, a coordinated activity on the part of a lot of people,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 events, told ABC News “This Week” on Sunday.


The panel, which on Thursday will mark a year since the dramatic insurrection, will disclose its findings over the coming months. Seven Democrats and two Republicans on the committee say they want to tell the full story gleaned from depositions and evidence while making recommendations to prevent future Capitol bloodshed and defiance of the Constitution. The committee’s final report is expected before November, with a possible interim report in the spring or summer (The Associated Press).


President Biden and Vice President Harris will each speak on Thursday about the Jan. 6 events.


The Washington Post: In a poll, Democrats and Republicans split in their views of the Jan. 6 attack and Trump’s culpability. 


Committee members appearing on TV on Sunday said the events of Jan. 6 were coordinated and even funded by outside parties and were planned and foreshadowed in news accounts ahead of events. They were inspired by a narrative formulated by Trump, predicated on an elaborately promoted fiction. And Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chairwoman of the committee, said testimony gathered about Trump’s actions before and during the attacks should disqualify him to hold office.


He can never be near the Oval Office again,” she said. “This is a man who is simply too dangerous to ever again play a role in our democracy.


WTOP: Here’s what the House select panel has uncovered thus far.


Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political science professor, warned in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” that a study of insurrectionist beliefs among 21 million people in the United States and a study of 725 Jan. 6 attackers arrested as of last week reveal what he called an “empirical reality” that extremism is now mainstream and is “like dry wood that can be set off from a lightning strike or a spark,” especially heading into a poisonously partisan midterm election year.


The Associated Press: Capitol rioters’ tears and remorse do not spare them from jail sentences. 


Reuters: Jan. 6 committee weighs whether it can subpoena GOP lawmakers, Thompson said.


The Hill: Jan. 6 panel to seek information from Washington, D.C.’s Willard Hotel.


The Hill: U.S. Capitol Police chief says planning for the force has improved since Jan. 6.


Politico: Former Trump administration officials who quit after Jan. 6 receded from view and remained silent as Trump himself has not. Politico contacted 18 former administration officials who stepped down as a result of Jan. 6 or whose resignations seemed timed to events that day. Only one agreed to speak on the record.


What else we’re watching this week:


> Trump plans a news conference on the anniversary of the Capitol attack on Thursday, to take place at Mar-a-Lago (The Hill).


> The former president faces a Friday deadline to submit to a deposition in a New York civil probe of his business. He filed a lawsuit to try to block it (The New York Times).


> Legal challenges to two of Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandates will be heard by the Supreme Court on Friday (CNN).


> A federal appeals court on Friday will hear arguments dealing with a controversial Texas abortion law (NBC News).



Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection



> More in Congress: January is shaping up to be a month of transition and questions for Democrats as they hold out a glimmer of hope of passing some semblance of the Build Back Better agenda and making progress on other party priorities. 


Only weeks ago, January was thought to be a pivotal month in passing the multi trillion-dollar social spending proposal. That was before Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) knifed those chances on Dec. 19. However, Democrats have remained resolute that all is not said and done on the subject, including Manchin himself. 


According to Axios, Manchin is willing to come back to the table if multiple provisions surrounding climate and child care are revised, including nixing the child tax credit from the package altogether — a top Democratic priority. However, his concerns surrounding inflation and the overall size and scope of the blueprint remain, representing massive hurdles to getting over the finish line. 


The prevailing thought for Democrats, however, mirrors that of GOP lawmakers in 2017 after they failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and prioritized a tax reform proposal: They have to pass something. Anything. 


“Sen. Manchin and I are going to get something done,” Biden said two days after Manchin announced his opposition.


Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has also promised a vote on the Build Back Better Act this month in some form.


Until a plan of attack on the social spending and climate bill is determined, Senate Democrats are expected to shift their attention legislatively to voting rights and a battle to change the Senate rules. In a letter to his caucus, Schumer said that he would bring voting legislation to the floor this month and that if it is blocked by Republicans “the Senate will then consider changes to any rules which prevent us from debating and reaching final conclusion on important legislation.” 


However, that effort is still expected to be futile, as it would require all 50 Senate Democrats to vote in unanimity to alter the filibuster rules, including Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who has shown zero appetite to support that possibility. The Senate Democratic leader recently warned a vote to change the rules could take place even if destined to fail (The Hill). 


The Wall Street Journal: Democrats seek filibuster changes to pass elections bills.


The Associated Press: Biden’s words on voting rights meet call to action after Jan. 6.


Sylvan Lane, The Hill: Five questions facing the economy in 2022. 


The Hill: Biden’s court nominations face fierce GOP opposition.


Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) personal Twitter account was permanently banned on Sunday for repeatedly sharing COVID-19 misinformation, including about the vaccines (The New York Times). 


Greene’s congressional account remains active this morning (The Hill).


The Hill: Lawmakers in both parties to launch new push on Violence Against Women Act.


The Washington Post: Democrats brace for an era without Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).


Axios was the first to report that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who died last week at age 82 from pancreatic cancer, will lie in state in the Capitol next week. A memorial service for Reid will take place in Las Vegas on Saturday (ABC News).


Altria is working to create a more sustainable future — aligned with the expectations of society and our stakeholders. Learn about the goals we’ve set and the progress we’re making at


CORONAVIRUS: The Pentagon announced on Sunday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tested positive for COVID-19 and is exhibiting “mild symptoms.” 


In a statement, the Defense secretary said that he got tested after “exhibiting symptoms” and is consulting with doctors to combat the virus.


“Stemming the spread of this virus, safeguarding our workforce and ensuring my own speedy and safe recovery remain my priorities,” Austin said. “To the degree possible, I plan to attend virtually this coming week those key meetings and discussions required to inform my situational awareness and decision making.”


According to Military Times, Austin has not been in the same room as Biden since Dec. 21, a week before he developed any symptoms. Austin, 68, is fully vaccinated and received his booster jab in early October.


> Isolation guidance: U.S. health officials are considering amending their guidance related to isolation to require a negative COVID-19 test result at the end of a five-day quarantine days after that period was chopped down from 10 days. 


Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering the additional step for those who remain asymptomatic. When pressed by “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos over why the CDC does not require a negative test before leaving quarantine as an “extra layer of protection,” Fauci indicated the idea is being examined.


“You’re right. There has been some concern about why we don’t ask people at that five-day period to get tested. That is something that is now under consideration,” Fauci said (The Hill).


Fauci’s comments come as cases skyrocketed across the country over the holidays. According to the latest infection totals, the U.S. is reporting nearly 400,000 per day. However, the severity of the infections appears to have ebbed as the number of beds filled in intensive care units has not increased significantly.


The case total rise, however, is creating issues as parents prepare to send their children back to school in the coming weeks. Dozens of U.S. colleges and universities are temporarily moving classes to online settings, with some leaving open the possibility of extending virtual learning if infection totals do not subside (The Associated Press). 


In Washington, D.C., public schools are slated to reopen on Wednesday, with students and staff required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before returning to the classroom (WTOP). 


The Wall Street Journal: Schools press to reopen as omicron surges.


The Hill: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, committed to in-person learning, expects “bumps in the road.”


The Associated Press: How will pandemic end? Omicron clouds forecasts for endgame.



Teachers protest with signs calling for increased COVID-19 testing, outside P.S. 64 Earth School



Looking ahead, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on Friday over the future of Biden’s vaccination mandate for large private companies and health care workers. The directive was set to take effect on Tuesday before court challenges and rulings derailed the planned implementation (The Associated Press). 


The Associated Press: Judge blocks COVID-19 vaccine mandate for Head Start program. 


The Hill: Fauci: “We don’t want to get complacent” despite reports that omicron may be less severe.


Reuters: Omicron could lead Israel to herd immunity, health official says.


CBS News: Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicts places in the mid-Atlantic, including New York and Washington, D.C., will see COVID-19 cases peak in the next few weeks.


The New York Times: When three shots are not enough.


POLITICS: The calendar has finally turned, meaning it is officially an election year with the midterm contests only 309 days away and the wind firmly at the backs of Republicans as they push to retake one or both chambers of Congress this fall. 


If this year follows the trendlines of past elections, it could be a brutal one for Democrats. In the midterms following former President Clinton in 1994, former President Obama in 2010 and Trump in 2020, the party in power lost 54, 63 and 40 seats in the lower chamber, respectively. 


In total, 34 Senate seats and 36 governor mansions — in addition to the entire House — are up for grabs this fall. However, as The Hill’s Tal Axelrod writes, the cycle will also offer clues about how each party is evolving, which states are emerging as battlegrounds, and which swing states are seeing their purple tint morph into darker shades of red or blue. 


Tal also lays out 11 contests to watch throughout the year, including gubernatorial elections in Florida, Georgia and Michigan, Senate races in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada, and House match-ups in Maine and Wyoming. 


The Atlantic: Trump Is making the midterms a referendum on himself.


Politico: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) goes on tour to boost Republicans on Trump’s enemies list.


For Republicans, Wisconsin and South Dakota are under the microscope in the coming days and weeks as speculation increases over whether Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) will launch reelection bids. 


A decision by Johnson, one of the most polarizing lawmakers in office, could help decide the fate of the upper chamber. Republicans believe a third bid by Johnson, who they consider battle-tested after unseating an incumbent in 2010 and securing a come-from-behind victory in 2016, is their best shot to retain the seat. However, Democrats are anxious to face Johnson due to his repeated remarks on COVID-19, racial justice and the 2020 election (The Hill). 


One Wisconsin Republican recently told the Morning Report that Johnson is “heading toward” running for reelection, but that his decision is not final.


As for Thune, who is considered a possible successor to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) atop the GOP conference, is expected to announce his future plans in the near future. The New York Times recently reported that he is seriously considering calling quits on his Senate career, with McConnell urging him to stick around. 


The Hill: Four states to feature primaries with two incumbents in 2022.


Julia Manchester, The Hill: Seven most vulnerable governors facing reelection in 2022.



Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee





ADMINISTRATION: A date has not officially been announced for Biden’s State of the Union address, but in whatever COVID-19 precautionary setting it occurs, the speech is expected to serve as a political and aspirational blueprint for Democrats in an election year.


As The Hill’s Brett Samuels reports, the president begins his second year in office in a kind of perpetual rewind loop of national divisiveness and alarm about the coronavirus, the economy, politics, Trumpism, and a mammoth legislative agenda Democrats themselves promote but can’t agree on.


The Hill: COVID-19 leads a long list of challenges ahead for Biden in a midterm year.


The New York Times: On Biden’s watch, the enhanced child tax credit available since July expired in 2021.


Politico: By Wednesday, the Department of Justice is supposed to file a brief stating its position on whether drug users can take illegal drugs under the supervision of staff trained to reverse overdoses at specific sites. If the administration drops its opposition in court, it would pave the way for more such sites to open around the country (The New York Times).


> Internationally, Biden continues his diplomatic outreach to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to try to avert an invasion of Ukraine, which Putin denies is under consideration despite a massing of Russian troops along the border. Biden spoke with the Russian leader last week after Putin stepped up demands for security guarantees in Eastern Europe (CNN and The Associated Press). Biden assured Zelensky during a conversation on Sunday that the United States and its allies would “respond decisively” if Russia further invades Ukraine (Reuters).


Cabinet news: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is expected to try to lend a hand to Democratic candidates in competitive districts in the 2022 midterm elections (The Hill).



President Joe Biden prepares to throw a ball as he walks with his dog Commander in Rehoboth Beach, Del.


The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: and We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 


Every day is Jan. 6 now, by The New York Times editorial board.


The end of the GOP gerrymander panic, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board.


Altria is working to create a more sustainable future — aligned with the expectations of society and our stakeholders. Learn about the goals we’ve set and the progress we’re making at


The House returns to work on Jan. 10. 


The Senate convenes at noon and will resume consideration of the nomination of Gabriel Sanchez to be a U.S. circuit judge for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.


The president will return to Washington, D.C., in the morning. Biden and Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 11:10 a.m. The president will meet virtually at 1:30 p.m. with farmers and ranchers to discuss the meat-processing industry.


The White House press briefing is scheduled at 2 p.m. 


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.


INTERNATIONAL: Poverty, hunger and desperation in Afghanistan are forcing some agonized parents who are wracked by war, drought and a lack of options to sell their young girls into arranged marriages and even infant and young boys to strangers in an effort to raise enough money to feed their family members. The international community froze Afghanistan’s assets abroad and halted all funding, sliding the country into a humanitarian crisis as it depends on foreign aid. More than half the population faces food shortages (The Associated Press). … Richard Leakey, the Kenyan paleoanthropologist famous for fossil-finding and conservation work, died at age 77 on Sunday. Leakey, the son of Louis and Mary Leakey, helmed the Kenyan Wildlife Service in addition to other public service roles during his lengthy career (The Associated Press).



Guldasta said that after days with nothing to eat, she told her husband to take their 8-year-old son Salahuddin to the bazaar and sell him to bring food for the others



ENTERTAINMENT: Former first lady Michelle Obama will guest star on Tuesday on the season eight premiere of the ABC sitcom “Black-ish” (Today). 


HOLIDAY HASSLES: Snow storms and the pandemic grounded flights to delay the holiday’s ending for travelers over the weekend and today. Welcome to 2022. Frustrated travelers saw more than 2,600 U.S. flights and more than 4,400 worldwide flights grounded Sunday, according to tracking service FlightAware. Some airlines blamed staffing shortages on rising COVID-19 infections among crews. O’Hare Airport was the worst place in the country for travelers over the weekend (a familiar phenomenon for the Chicago hub). Denver, Detroit and Atlanta also experienced problems. Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas, said it anticipates more operational challenges today as a winter storm system with snow pushes into the Eastern seaboard (The Associated Press).


And finally … Brian “Red” Hamilton, assistant equipment manager for the Vancouver Canucks, says his life was saved when he walked off the bench during an October game in Seattle and a fan pressed her phone to the plexiglass. On it read a note: “The mole on the back of your neck is possibly cancerous. Please go see a doctor!” 


He did as Nadia Popovici, 22, suggested and discovered he had a malignant melanoma, caught early and removed with no other treatment needed. It took Hamilton a while to track down Popovici, who will be a medical student this fall, but when he did this weekend, he made his gratitude clear, calling her a hero. “The words out of the doctor’s mouth were that if I ignored that for four to five years, I wouldn’t be here,” Hamilton said. The Canucks and Kraken teams together announced a $10,000 scholarship for the observant and fast-acting Popovici (The Washington Post).



Nadia Popovici is an aspiring medical student who was sitting behind the Canucks bench when she noticed a mole on the back assistant equipment manager Brian "Red" Hamilton’s neck


Tags Anthony Fauci Barack Obama Bennie Thompson Chuck Schumer Donald Trump George Stephanopoulos Harry Reid Joe Biden Joe Manchin John Thune Kyrsten Sinema Liz Cheney Lloyd Austin Marjorie Taylor Greene Michelle Obama Miguel Cardona Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Pete Buttigieg Ron Johnson Vladimir Putin

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