Day 526: "A better justification."
1/ Virginia Thomas – the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – told the Jan. 6 committee she saw no reason testify. In an eight-page letter to the committee, her attorney said he wants “a better justification for why Mrs. Thomas’s testimony is relevant” before she’ll comply with the request to talk about her role in seeking to reverse Trump’s 2020 election loss. “Mrs. Thomas is eager to clear her name and is willing to appear before the Committee to do so,” her lawyer, Mark Paoletta, wrote. “However, […] I am asking the Committee to provide a better justification for why Mrs. Thomas’s testimony is relevant to the Committee’s legislative purpose.” Paoletta noted that it’s “been a particularly stressful time” amid the Supreme Court rulings to eliminate the constitutional right to an abortion and expand gun rights. Thomas exchanged text messages with Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff at the time, urging him to challenge Biden’s victory. The committee also obtained emails between Thomas and John Eastman, the lawyer who promoted the legal strategy that Pence could block or delay the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6, 2021. (Daily Caller / New York Times / NBC News / Politico / Washington Post)
- John Eastman dropped his lawsuit that tried to block the Jan. 6 committee from getting his call logs after the committee made clear “that they were not seeking the content” of Eastman’s communications – only the call logs from his carrier, Verizon. (NBC News)
2/ Harris called for abortion-rights supporters “to stand together” and “win the midterms,” but declined to support the idea of term limits for Supreme Court justices. “We cannot underestimate the significance of the upcoming elections and the need for all people who care about this issue to understand that we have to have a pro-choice Congress” to pass a law codifying abortion rights, Harris said, mentioning Senate races in Georgia, North Carolina, and Colorado. Republicans, however, are expected to take control of the House, and possibly the Senate, in the 2022 midterms. Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, met with Pope Francis and received Communion despite the church’s strong opposition to abortion. (NPR / Associated Press)
3/ Consumer spending was weaker in early 2022 than previously reported, suggesting that the economy is on weaker footing than previously thought. According to new Commerce Department data, spending, adjusted for inflation, increased 0.5% in the first three months of the year – down from the government’s earlier estimate of 0.8% growth. In the final quarter of 2021, spending grew 0.6%. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, meanwhile, said he was more concerned about stamping out high inflation than about the possibility of raising interest rates too high and pushing the economy into a recession. “There’s no guarantee” the Fed can bring down inflation without causing a recession, Powell said, adding that “the process is highly likely to involve some pain.” (New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)
4/ Justice Stephen Breyer will retire from the Supreme Court tomorrow, ending a nearly three-decade tenure and clearing the way for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in. Jackson – the court’s first Black female justice – will be sworn in immediately after Breyer’s official retirement. (Politico / Washington Post)
poll/ 85% of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, and 79% describe the economy as poor. 39% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president, while 60% disapprove. (Associated Press)
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