1/ Senate Republicans blocked voting rights legislation for the fifth time and then Democrats failed to unite behind changing the Senate’s filibuster rules to pass it anyway – despite all 50 Democrats supporting the voting rights bill. First, Democrats fell 10 votes short of the 60 needed to break the Republican filibuster. Then, Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema joined with Republicans in rejecting an effort to reinstate the “talking filibuster,” which would have allowed the elections legislation to pass by a simple majority vote. It is unclear how Democrats will proceed after the twin defeats, though some Republicans have appeared open to reforming the narrower election-related issue about how Congress deals with disputes over presidential election results. Biden, meanwhile, said he was “profoundly disappointed that the United States Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
2/ Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis requested a special grand jury to help investigate Trump and his efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. Willis said the grand jury was needed because a “significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony.” A grand jury could issue subpoenas compelling them to provide information. Willis said that Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, was among those who had refused to cooperate without a subpoena. In a Jan. 2, 2021, call, Trump pressured Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to overturn the state’s presidential election results. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / New York Times / CNBC)
3/ The Supreme Court rejected Trump’s request to block the release of more than 750 pages of his White House records related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The court’s order effectively rejected Trump’s claim of executive privilege and paves the way for the release of the material from the National Archives — which Biden has already approved. Congressional investigators have sought the documents, which include speech drafts, call and visitor logs, handwritten notes, and other files, to determine Trump’s actions and mindset in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack, as well as what he did as his supporters were rioting at the Capitol. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House committee investigating the attack, said the committee will make Trump’s White House records public “as soon as we can go through them.” (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Politico / Bloomberg)
4/ The Jan. 6 Committee requested voluntary testimony from Ivanka Trump, saying witnesses have told investigators she was “in direct contact” with Trump on the day of the riot and that she may have “direct knowledge” of Trump’s efforts to pressure Pence to block Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results. “One of the president’s discussions with the vice president occurred by phone on the morning of January 6th,” the committee’s chairman, Bennie Thompson wrote in a letter to Ivanka Trump. “You were present in the Oval Office and observed at least one side of that telephone conversation.” The committee also said it has information that White House aides asked Ivanka aides to get Trump to intervene as his supporters ransacked the Capitol. (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
5/ Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the Jan. 6 Committee that Trump held secret meetings at the White House in the days before the insurrection. Grisham said that only a few staffers knew about Trump’s meetings, which were mostly scheduled by then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. While the former press secretary told the committee she wasn’t sure who Trump met with in the White House residence, she directed the panel to former chief usher Timothy Harleth, who Grisham said would waved participants upstairs to the meetings. Grisham resigned from the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, following the Capitol riot. (The Guardian)
poll/ 56% of Americans disapprove of how Biden is handling his job as president, while 43% approve. In July, 59% of Americans said they approved of Biden’s job performance. 28% of Americans say they want Biden to run for reelection in 2024, including 48% of Democrats. (Associated Press)
poll/ 5% of Americans say Biden’s presidency has been better than expected, while 36% say it has been worse than expected, and 59% say it’s just as expected. The 5% who say Biden’s presidency has been better than expected is the lowest for any president on this question going back to Clinton in 1994. (NBC News)
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