1/ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen backed Biden’s position that a recession is “not inevitable.” Yellen acknowledged, however, that she expects some economic slowing as the Federal Reserve aggressively tries to curb inflation with increased interest rates. The year-over-year inflation rate is currently at 9.6% – a 40-year high – and the major stock market indexes are all down more than 20% from their highs. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, however, said all the “precedents point towards a recession,” adding that the unemployment rate would need to rise above 5% for a sustained period in order to curb inflation. Biden, meanwhile, suggested pausing the federal gas tax as a way to reduce prices for Americans. The gas tax adds 18.4 cents total per gallon of gasoline, which currently cost about $5 a gallon on average. Biden is also considering lifting Trump-era tariffs to slow inflation. (Washington Post / Politico / ABC News / Bloomberg)
2/ The Supreme Court ruled that Maine cannot exclude religious schools from a state tuition program that lets parents to use vouchers to send their children to public or private schools. The program that does not allow public funds to go to schools that promote religious instruction. The court, however, ruled that if the state used taxpayer money to pay for students attending nonreligious private schools, it must also allow the use of taxpayer funds to pay for attendance at religious schools. The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal justices in dissent. (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / CNN)
3/ The Jan. 6 committee revealed evidence that Trump had a “direct and personal role” in pressuring state and local officials to overturn the 2020 election results, as well as involved in a scheme to put forward slates of fake pro-Trump electors in states won by Biden. The panel’s fourth hearing featured testimony from Republican officials on the receiving end of Trump’s outreach after the election, which showed that Trump knew that his claims of election fraud were unfounded and risked causing violence. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom Trump asked to “find” enough votes to flip the election in Georgia, testified that Trump received fewer votes than expected because roughly 28,000 Republicans who voted didn’t choose a president that year. “The numbers are the numbers,” he said. “The numbers don’t lie.” Arizona House of Representatives Speaker Rusty Bowers testified that Rudy Giuliani – despite acknowledging that he didn’t have any evidence – pressed him to allow a state committee to study evidence of voter fraud and to look into potentially removing Biden’s electors in the state. Bowers also said Trump lawyer John Eastman inquired about decertifying the electors. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, meanwhile, testified that during a conference call, Trump had Eastman talk about helping to assemble the fake electors as a contingency. The committee also presented a text exchange between an aide to Sen. Ron Johnson and an aide to Pence attempting to arrange a handoff of fake electors minutes before Pence began to count electoral votes. The aide, Sean Riley, told Pence’s legislative director Chris Hodgson that Johnson wanted to hand deliver Pence lists of the fake electors from Michigan and Wisconsin to be introduced during the count. Hodgson replied: “Do not give that to him.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / NPR / Associated Press / CNBC)
4/ The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed a documentary filmmaker for footage of Trump and his inner circle before and after the insurrection. The existence of this footage was previously unreported. Alex Holder confirmed that he had turned over the footage to the committee, which includes “unparalleled access and exclusive interviews” with Trump, his children, Jared Kushner, and Mike Pence both before and after the events of Jan. 6, as well as never-before-seen footage of the Capitol riot. Holder’s cooperation and the footage came as a surprise to several former officials on Trump’s reelection campaign, who all claimed that they each had no idea that a documentary about Trump’s reelection campaign was being filmed. “What the fuck is this?” a former senior official on Trump’s reelection team said after seeing the news. (Politico / Rolling Stone / Washington Post / NPR)
5/ Homeland and national security officials are worried about Russia using Trump’s election lies to exploit U.S. divisions in November’s midterms. Five current and former U.S. officials suggested that Russia could deliberately stage small hacks of local election authorities designed to be noticed in order to seed more conspiracies about the integrity of U.S. elections. (CNN)
poll/ 58% of Americans think Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol – up from 52% in April. (ABC News)
Most Americans think Trump should be prosecuted. It’s not that easy. (Washington Post)
Despite growing evidence, a prosecution of Trump would face challenges. “If the Justice Department were to bring a case against Trump, prosecutors would face the challenge of showing that he knew — or should have known — that his position was based on assertions about widespread election fraud that were false or that his attempt to block the congressional certification of the outcome was illegal.” (New York Times)
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