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1/ A federal judge asserted that Trump “more likely than not” committed felony obstruction in his effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. “Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” U.S. District Court Judge David Carter wrote, ordering the release of 101 emails from Trump adviser John Eastman to the Jan. 6 committee. The committee had subpoenaed Eastman’s university email account, which he used to send key legal memos aimed at overturning Biden’s victory, but Eastman sued to prevent the committee from obtaining his emails from the school, claiming attorney-client privilege. “The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Carter wrote, rejecting Eastman’s effort to shield the documents, saying Eastman and Trump “launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history […] it was a coup in search of a legal theory.” The ruling has no direct role in whether Trump will be charged criminally. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / Politico / ABC News / Associated Press / NBC News)
2/ Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife sent 21 text messages to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows imploring him to take steps to overturn the 2020 election in the weeks after Election Day. Virginia Thomas (who goes by Ginni) regularly checked in with Meadows to encourage him to push claims of voter fraud and work to overturn the election. Thomas also shared several false QAnon-related conspiracy theories, including that Trump had deliberately “watermarked” mail ballots to find potential voter fraud. In February 2021, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s effort to block a Jan. 6 committee subpoena for White House records related to the certification of the election and the Capitol insurrection. Instead of recusing himself from the case, Thomas wrote in a dissent that it was “baffling” and “inexplicable” that the majority had decided against hearing the cases. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection said it will seek an interview with Virginia Thomas. (Washington Post / CBS News / CNN / New York Times / The Guardian / Business Insider / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)
3/ Jared Kushner is expected to voluntarily appear before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. In text messages to Mark Meadows, Ginni Thomas suggested that she was in contact with Kushner regarding Trump attorney Sidney Powell, who promoted false conspiracy theories about widespread voting fraud. (ABC News)
4/ Biden stood by his ad-libbed comment that Putin “cannot remain in power,” claiming he was expressing “moral outrage” rather than “articulating a policy change” during his Saturday speech in Warsaw. “I’m not walking anything back,” Biden said of his unscripted comment. “I make no apologies for it.” Biden added that it was “ridiculous” for any one to view his comment as a call for regime change, saying: “Nobody believes […] I was talking about taking down Putin.” (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NPR / Washington Post / CNBC / Associated Press / NBC News)
5/ Biden proposed a $5.8 trillion budget, which calls for deficit reduction, a new minimum tax on billionaires, and increased funding for police and gun violence prevention. The 2023 budget proposal in fiscal 2023, which begins in October, calls for $1.6 trillion in discretionary spending – a 7% increase over current levels. The White House projects that the proposed budget would reduce the federal deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next decade. Congress, however, is in charge of writing the federal budget and often ignores White House proposals. (NPR / New York Times / Bloomberg / USA Today / Associated Press / Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
6/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The measure — titled the Parental Rights in Education bill — prohibits “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in the state’s public schools and allows parents to sue their school district over violations. (ABC News / NPR / NBC News / Associated Press)
poll/ 40% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – the lowest mark of his presidency. 71% of Americans said they believe the U.S. is on the wrong track, while 22% said they believe it’s headed in the right direction. (NBC News)
poll/ 56% of Americans said Biden has not been “tough enough” on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, while 55% said they believed the U.S. should sanction Russia “as effectively as possible,” even if it hurts the U.S. economy. (Axios)
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