1/ In its seventh public hearing, the Jan. 6 committee detailed how divisions between White House lawyers and outside advisers pressing Trump to pursue election fraud conspiracy claims exploded into an “unhinged” meeting that featured screaming, personal insults, accusations of disloyalty, and a challenge to physically fight. Rep. Jamie Raskin said “the meeting has been called, quote, ‘unhinged,’ ‘not normal,’ and the ‘craziest meeting of the Trump presidency.’” Arguments during the Dec. 18, 2020, meeting broke out over Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne urging Trump to declare a national emergency, take voting machines from states, and name Powell as a special counsel to pursue baseless claims of fraud – all in an effort to remain in office. Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone recalled “pushing back” on the group by asking them to provide evidence that the election was fraudulent, but they showed a “general disregard for the importance of actually backing up what you say.” Former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann added that at one point he challenged Flynn to a fight as Flynn berating the White House attorneys for being “quitters” and not fighting hard enough for Trump. Herschmann said the group had suggested that Venezuela had meddled with the election and that internet-connected thermostats were changing votes. Cipollone added that he “was not happy to see the people in the Oval Office […] I don’t think any of these people were providing the president with good advice and I didn’t understand how they had gotten in.” The meeting lasted over six hours, beginning in the Oval Office and ending in Trump’s private residence. Hours later, Trump turned to riling up his supporters, tweeting for them to come to Washington and protest the Jan. 6 electoral vote count. “Be there, will be wild!” (Bloomberg / NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Politico / CNBC / CNN)
2/ The Jan. 6 committee notified the Justice Department that Trump contacted one of its witnesses who hasn’t publicly testified yet. “After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation, a witness you have not yet seen in these hearings,” Liz Cheney said. “That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call. Their lawyer alerted us.” It’s not the first time the panel has warned of potential attempts at tampering. In one phone call, according to the committee, a witness was told to be a “team player” and would remain in “good graces in Trump world” if they demonstrate that they were “protecting who I need to protect.” The Justice Department has the power to prosecute Trump if it determines he tampered with a congressional witness. “President Trump is a 76-year-old man, he is not an impressionable child,” Cheney said. “Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices.” (Axios / New York Times / CNBC / Associated Press / Washington Post)
3/ The Biden administration told hospitals that they “must” provide women access to abortions in emergencies, even in states that have banned the procedure following the Supreme Court’s decision to end a constitutional right to abortion. The Department of Health and Human Services cited federal law that health emergencies take priority over state laws banning abortion. “Under the law, no matter where you live, women have the right to emergency care — including abortion care,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “Today, in no uncertain terms, we are reinforcing that we expect providers to continue offering these services, and that federal law preempts state abortion bans when needed for emergency care.” The Justice Department also announced that it’s launching a “reproductive rights task force” to prevent overreach from state and local governments seeking to impose new bans on access. Democrats in Congress, meanwhile, plan to vote this week on legislation that would protect the right to travel for abortion services and explicitly give health care providers the right to provide abortion services and patients the right to obtain them. The bills, however, are all but certain to fail in the Senate where Democrats lack the 60 votes required to break a Republican filibuster. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press)
- Voters in Michigan will have the opportunity to vote on the Reproductive Freedom for All amendment this November. The initiative, if certified and passed, could enshrine permanent protections into the state’s constitution for abortion and other reproductive health services including miscarriage management, birth control, prenatal care, and in-vitro fertilization. (Politico)
- A judge in Minnesota struck down several state laws restricting access to abortions. State District Judge Thomas Gilligan said the “laws violate the right to privacy because they infringe upon the fundamental right under the Minnesota Constitution to access abortion care and do not withstand strict scrutiny,” adding: “The parental notification law violates the guarantee of equal protection for the same reasons. The informed consent law also violates the right to free speech under the Minnesota Constitution, because it is misleading and confusing, and does not withstand intermediate scrutiny. Accordingly, this court is declaring those laws unconstitutional.” (NBC News)
4/ Biden still plans to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in Kentucky despite several Senate Democrats promising to vote against Chad Meredith’s confirmation. While Biden has not formally nominated Meredith, the White House informed Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s office in a June 23 email. Biden’s plan to nominate Meredith is purported to be part of a deal with Mitch McConnell to stop obstructing other judicial nominees in the deadlocked Senate. (HuffPost / USA Today)
5/ The Biden administration is working on a plan to allow a second Covid-19 booster shot to all adults, pending federal agency approval. Currently, a second booster shot is available only to those 50 and older or those 12 and older who are immunocompromised. BA.5 Omicron subvariant has recently become dominant the variant in the U.S., accounting for more than 60% of all new infections. Antibodies from vaccines and previous coronavirus infections offer limited protection against BA.5. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times)
6/ Jill Biden apologized for comparing the Latino community to breakfast tacos. “The diversity of this community – distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami, and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio – is your strength,” Biden said in a speech. “And yet, it’s when you speak with one voice – unidos – that you find your power.” Biden also mispronounced the Spanish word “bodegas” in that line of the speech. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, meanwhile, responded: “We are not tacos […] Do not reduce us to stereotypes.” (Dallas Morning News / Business Insider / ABC News / Politico)
poll/ 49% of Republican voters said they would support Trump in the 2024 election, while 25% said they would vote for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. (New York Times)
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