👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ Trump was told that his plan to overturn the 2020 election was illegal, but pressured Pence to go along with it anyway, according to testimony from the Jan. 6 committee’s third hearing. Conservative lawyer John Eastman, the architect of the plan for Pence to use his authority to unilaterally reject the Electoral College results and overturn the 2020 election, admitted in front of Trump two days before the Capitol riot that his scheme was illegal and would lose at the Supreme Court “nine to nothing.” Even after the attack on the Capitol, Eastman continued to push for overturning the election. According to Pence lawyer Greg Jacob, Pence’s initial reaction to the scheme for him to stop the process of transferring presidential power was that there was “no way” this was “justifiable.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)
2/ Shortly after the Capitol riot, John Eastman asked Rudy Giuliani if he could be on Trump’s “pardon list” despite pushing a plan to overturn the 2020 election that he knew was illegal. “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” Eastman wrote to Giuliani in an email. While Trump issued 143 pardons and commutations on his last night as president, Eastman did not receive a pardon. Meanwhile, White House lawyer Eric Herschmann testified that Eastman continued to press his scheme after the Capitol riot. “Get a great f-ing criminal defense lawyer,” Herschmann said he told Eastman. “You’re going to need it. And I hung up on him.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)
3/ John Eastman claimed to have insight into a “heated fight” among the Supreme Court justices over whether to hear arguments about Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Eastman, who once clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, sent an email on Dec. 24, 2020, saying “the odds are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices’ spines […] For those willing to do their duty, we should help them by giving them a Wisconsin cert petition to add into the mix.” Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer advising the Trump campaign, replied that the prospect of “‘wild’ chaos” on Jan. 6 could lead the Supreme Court to take up the case before Congress certified the electoral vote count. Five days earlier, on Dec. 19, Trump issued a call for his supporters to attend a Jan. 6 “protest” in Washington by tweeting: “Be there. Will be wild!” (New York Times / Washington Post)
4/ The Jan. 6 committee has obtained emails between Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and John Eastman. The committee said it plans to invite Thomas to testify about the emails and her involvement in Trump’s attempts to overturn the election. “I can’t wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them,” Thomas said. (Washington Post / CNN / Axios / Politico / Associated Press / CNBC)
5/ The Justice Department is reportedly pursuing a criminal investigation into the formation of alternate slates of pro-Trump electors seeking to overturn Biden’s victory. A federal grand jury issued subpoenas earlier this year to several pro-Trump lawyers who were working on the effort, including Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, and Kenneth Chesebro. (New York Times / CNBC)
6/ Biden signed an executive order aimed at combating “discriminatory legislative attacks” on the LGBTQ community by Republican-controlled states. The order seeks to discourage federal funding for “conversion therapy” while directing federal health and education agencies to expand access to gender affirming care and advance inclusive learning environments for LGBTQ children. The order is meant to counter 300-plus anti-LGBTQ laws introduced by state lawmakers over the past year. (Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times)
7/ There’s a 72% chance that the Federal Reserve’s attempts to address inflation will trigger a recession by 2024. In February, economic models predicted a 0% chance of a recession. A day after the Fed raised interest rates 75 basis points – its biggest interest rate hike in almost three decades – the Dow ended down 2.4%, the S&P 500 fell more than 3%, and the Nasdaq dropped more than 4%. Strategists said the S&P 500’s declines imply there’s an 85% chance of a U.S. recession, while European equities imply there’s an 80% chance of a recession. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate in the U.S., meanwhile, jumped to 5.78% – the fastest pace since 1987. One year ago, the average rate was less than 2.93%. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times)
poll/ 54% of Americans support the idea of the Justice Department indicting Trump over the Capitol riot, compared to 37% who oppose the idea. 71% of Republicans, however, opposed the DOJ filing criminal charges against Trump. (Newsweek)
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