Day 297: "Beyond the pale."
1/ A federal grand jury indicted Steve Bannon on charges of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Bannon faces one contempt count for his refusal to appear for a deposition and another for his refusal to produce documents to the congressional investigators, the Justice Department said in a statement. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the indictment reflects the Justice Department’s “steadfast commitment” to ensuring that the department adheres to the rule of law. If convicted, Bannon could face up to a year behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000. Law enforcement expects Bannon to self-surrender on Monday and appear in court that afternoon. (NBC News / CNN / NPR / Washington Post / ABC News / / Politico / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)
2/ Mark Meadows refused to appear for a deposition before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, setting up a potential criminal referral to the Justice Department for contempt of Congress. Meadows’ lawyer said the former White House chief of staff “remains under the instructions” of Trump to not comply with the House subpoena on claims of executive privilege. Biden, however, has refused to invoke executive privilege for Trump officials and records in the House’s inquiry. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said Meadows’ “willful noncompliance” would force the select committee to “consider invoking contempt of Congress procedures” that could result in a criminal referral to the Justice Department, as well as the possibility of a civil action to enforce the subpoena. (CNN / Politico / NBC News / The Guardian / CNBC / The Hill)
3/ A federal appeals court temporarily blocked the National Archives from turning over Trump’s White House records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol – a day before the committee was set to receive the first batch. On Tuesday, a lower court ruled that Biden can waive Trump’s claim to executive privilege over the documents, saying a former president’s claim to executive power to withhold records from Congress after leaving office does not continue in perpetuity. Less than an hour after the ruling, Trump filed a notice of appeal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit then granted a temporary injunction while it considered Trump’s request to delay the release of documents and to “maintain the status quo” pending the appeal. The court will hear arguments on Nov. 30. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg)
4/ Trump justified his supporters’ chants to “hang Mike Pence” during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, saying it was “common sense” and that Pence was “well-protected.” Trump defended the chants, telling ABC News’ Jonathan Karl during an interview for Karl’s new book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” that “people were very angry” that Pence hadn’t overturned the election. Trump then repeated his baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election result was fraudulent. (Axios / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / Business Insider / The Hill)
5/ House Democrats introduced a resolution to censure Republican Paul Gosar for tweeting an altered video that depicted him killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging two swords at Biden. “For a Member of Congress to post a manipulated video on his social media accounts depicting himself killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden is a clear cut case for censure,” the Democrats said in a statement. “For that Member to post such a video on his official Instagram account and use his official congressional resources in the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials goes beyond the pale.” The Arizona Republican had defended the video as a “symbolic” fight over immigration policy and the “battle for the soul of America.” Violent threats against lawmakers, meanwhile, are on track to double this year. (CNBC / Washington Post)
6/ Top political officials in the Trump White House repeatedly tried to block public health warnings and guidance from the CDC last year about the coronavirus pandemic, according to newly released documents from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The emails and transcripts detail how in the early days of the pandemic Trump and his allies in the White House blocked briefings and interviews with CDC officials, attempted to alter public safety guidance, and instructed agency officials to destroy evidence that might be construed as political interference. Several interviews also described efforts by Trump appointees to alter or influence the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report to better align with the White House’s more optimistic messaging about the state of the pandemic. (Politico / CNN / Washington Post / The Hill)
7/ Biden nominated Robert Califf to lead the FDA despite his ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Califf previously led the agency in 2016-2017, and has long been a consultant to drug companies. If confirmed by the Senate, Califf would oversee an agency that is responsible for more than $2.8 trillion worth of food, medical products, and tobacco. Joe Manchin and Richard Blumenthal both voted against Califf’s nomination in 2016, and signaled their opposition again over concerns about his ties to the drug industry and the FDA’s track record on opioids. The FDA has been without a Senate-confirmed administrator since Biden took office. (Politico / NPR / ABC News / The Hill / New York Times)
8/ A record 4.4 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in September, the Labor Department reported. The number of people quitting in September constituted 3% of the workforce, which was up from the previous record set in August, when 4.3 million people quit their jobs – or about 2.9% of the workforce. The number of available jobs, meanwhile, has topped 10 million for four consecutive months. Prior to the pandemic, the record was 7.5 million job openings. (Politico / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post)
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