NotedDC — Jan. 6 panel promises new evidence
“Previously unseen material.” That’s the promise from the House select committee as it prepares to unveil its findings from its probe into the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.
The committee will hear from Caroline Edwards and Nick Quested, two of the first witnesses, when they appear before the panel for its prime-time hearing on Thursday.
Edwards, one of the first Capitol Police officers injured as the mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol grounds, suffered a concussion during the riot.
Quested, a British filmmaker, followed the far-right Proud Boys on the eve of the riot and reportedly showed House members footage his crew shot. Members of the far-right group have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the riot.
New findings: The committee says Thursday’s hearing will provide the public “an initial summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power.”
One big question: How many will watch? Fox News has said it won’t air the hearing live, but most other major broadcast and cable networks are expected to carry it in real time. It also will be streamed on YouTube.
Supporters of the panel’s efforts have organized watch parties across the country, including an event at the Taft Memorial Carillon near the Capitol that will feature several special guests, including a recorded address from filmmaker Rob Reiner.
“[W]e have real people lined up across the country to watch the hearings and spread the word that this assault on our democracy won’t stand,” Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of the left-leaning nonprofit Public Citizen, said in a statement.
Meanwhile: House Republicans already are messaging against the hearing. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused to seat on the committee, attacked the hearing Wednesday, calling it Democratic “theatrics,” a “sham investigation” and a “partisan witch hunt.” At a House GOP caucus lunch, members were told to shift the focus to issues like gas prices and inflation.
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Justice security back in focus
The overnight arrest of an armed man accused of plotting to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has put renewed focus on Congress’ ongoing dispute over how to best boost security for members of the court.
Flashback: The Senate unanimously passed legislation last month that would extend security to the immediate families of justices, but the House has stalled the effort as it pushes for protections for families of clerks and other court employees.
What’s next: Leaders in both parties agree on the need for expanded security as the Supreme Court takes up increasingly polarizing issues and prepares any day to release the biggest opinion of its term that could overturn Roe v. Wade.
However: It’s unclear when the two chambers might bust through the stalemate.
“I hope we’re close,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Wednesday, without outlining a specific timeline.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for his part, admonished House leaders from the Senate floor following the arrest near Kavanaugh’s Maryland home.
“House Democrats have spent weeks blocking—blocking—the measure that passed here unanimously related to security for Supreme Court justices,” McConnell said.
Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.) — who authored a successful bipartisan effort that expanded protections for Supreme Court justices three years ago, granting permanent police protection at justices’ homes — says security should be furthered.
Stanton argued in a statement Wednesday that reports that multiple court staff members and their families’ private information had been published online justifies security for those who work for the court, as well.
“The safety of all public servants and their families should be a bipartisan issue,” he said.
Worth noting: According to authorities, the man who allegedly targeted Kavanaugh said he was motivated by the recent release of the draft opinion that would overturn Roe, the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion.
Clyburn: ‘A will must be developed’ in Congress
As Senate Democrats face mounting legislative disappointments, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said he isn’t sure what it’s going to take for lawmakers to act on top issues.
“Someone called yesterday and said maybe it’s time for us to have an Emmett Till moment,” Clyburn said during The Hill’s Closing The Gaps in Health Insurance event Wednesday. “I know what that meant because I know what Emmett Till’s open coffin did even to my own youngest daughter.”
Clyburn’s call for a moment similar to the open casket for Till — whose murder was a catalyst of the civil rights movement — came the same day as survivors and parents of children killed in the Uvalde, Texas school shooting testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
“I don’t know what it’s going to take,” Clyburn said. “There is a will that must be developed if we’re going to do anything about these things.”
“The people of good will have to make a much better use of their time to say what can we do to prevent these occurrences, stop the violence, stop the absence of healthcare, do the things that are necessary to improve the quality of life for everybody,” Clyburn continued.
FATHER APPLAUDS HOUSE, EYES SENATE OVER GUN BILL
House Democrats are poised to keep their promise to quickly pass a sweeping package of gun bills Wednesday despite almost no chance of it being brought to the Senate floor.
The expected passage of a bill promoting the safe storage of firearms would culminate three years of activism on the part of Michael Song, a Connecticut father whose 15-year-old son accidentally shot and killed himself with an unsecured gun at his friend’s house.
“I think that the No. 1 way to move hearts, minds and eventually votes, is through a survivor telling the story of how they lost their child,” Song told NotedDC, admitting he knows his work is far from over despite the expected legislative victory in the House.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) signaled Tuesday that senators will not include measures to expand background checks or raise the purchase age to 21 in a potential bill. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) even admitted that modest reforms will be difficult to achieve, The Hill’s Alex Bolton reported.
“We are good at math,” Song quipped about the difficult path to 60 votes. “This is the right thing to do. This is the safe thing to do.”
GOP targets vulnerable Democrats with ads
The House GOP campaign arm announced its initial round of fall television ads Wednesday as it aims to take control of the chamber this November.
Here are the markets its pouring the most money into:
- Detroit, Lansing: Republicans are targeting incumbent Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin (Mich.), allocating more than $6 million to the Detroit and Lansing markets, both encompassing the 7th Congressional District. Slotkin faces a competitive reelection race against Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett, who recently received support from former Vice President Mike Pence.
- Boston: Putting pressure on New Hampshire Democratic Reps. Chris Pappas and Ann Kuster, the GOP is flooding the Boston market with $3.5 million. Pappas is considered a vulnerable Democrat, as The Hill’s Julia Manchester previously reported. The GOP primaries will be held in September, with Matt Mowers earning an endorsement from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in a potential face-off against Pappas.
- Philadelphia: A good chunk of the $3.3 million will likely be used to target Democrat Rep. Susan Wild’s (Pa.) seat, more vulnerable now after redistricting, according to FiveThirtyEight. She held her seat by less than 4 points in 2020 to Republican Lisa Scheller, who she is likely to battle again.
🚙 DRIVING INTO THE FUTURE
This week The Hill is exploring what’s next for electric and autonomous vehicles in the series “Driving Into the Future.” Articles will be posted throughout the week here.
Here’s a snapshot:
- Democrats are walking a tightrope in their push for electric vehicles, writes The Hill’s Rachel Frazin. Read here.
- Increasingly, autonomous cars are raising cybersecurity fears, writes The Hill’s Ines Kagubare. Read here.
NUMBER TO KNOW
The percentage of Americans that disapprove of President Biden, according to a Morning Consult poll published Wednesday. It’s down from 42 percent in May.