👋 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).
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1/ The Justice Department is investigating Trump’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol as part of its criminal probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Prosecutors are questioning witnesses before a grand jury about Trump’s conversations and meetings in December 2020 and January 2021 about his involvement in efforts to reverse his election loss, his campaign to pressure Pence into overturning the election, and what instructions he gave his lawyers and advisers about the fake electors scheme. Investigators have also received phone records of key officials and aides in the Trump administration, including Mark Meadows, and recently seized phone records of top aides, including John Eastman, the lawyer who helped develop the fake electors scheme, and Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who supported Trump’s efforts to stop Biden from becoming president. Attorney General Merrick Garland, meanwhile, said the department will pursue justice “without fear or favor. We intend to hold everyone, anyone, who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6th, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable — that’s what we do. We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.” (Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC)
The Justice Department has reached out to more Trump White House officials. “The Justice Department has already brought two top aides to Pence in front of a federal grand jury, a move that signals its probe has reached inside former President Donald Trump’s White House and that investigators are looking at conduct directly related to Trump and his closest allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election.” (CNN)
Cassidy Hutchinson has recently cooperated with the Department of Justice investigation into the events of Jan. 6. “Hutchinson publicly testified before the Jan. 6 committee earlier this month, spending some two hours recounting details about what she said went on behind the scenes at the White House leading up to, during, and after the Jan. 6 attack.” (ABC News / CNN)
2/ The Jan. 6 committee and the House Oversight Committee called for a new inspector general to lead the investigation into erased Secret Service text messages related to the Capitol attack. In a letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and the head of the Council of Inspectors General, Bennie Thompson and Carolyn Maloney raised concerns about Inspector General Joseph Cuffari’s “failure to inform Congress of deleted Secret Service text messages in a timely manner despite being required by law to ‘immediately’ report problems or abuses that are ‘particularly serious or flagrant.’” The lawmakers added: “We do not have confidence that Inspector General Cuffari can achieve those standards.” (Washington Post / NPR / CNN)
3/ The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points for the second straight month to cool inflation that is running at a 40-year high. The rate increase is the Fed’s fourth hike this year – the most aggressive pace since the 1980s – lifting their benchmark rate to a range between 2.25% and 2.5%. Officials said they likely needed to raise rates to about 3.4% this year and 3.8% in 2023 to slow economic growth, which could send the unemployment rate up. While Chair Jerome Powell said “another unusually large increase could be appropriate at our next meeting,” he rejected speculation that the U.S. economy is in recession, saying “There’s just too many areas of the economy that are performing too well.” The Fed aims for inflation around 2%. The latest inflation data, however, showed prices increased 9.1% in June from a year earlier. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / CNBC)
4/ Joe Manchin – in a sudden reversal – reached a deal with Democrats on legislation to reform the tax code, combat climate change, and lower health care costs. Manchin agreed to support roughly $370 billion in energy and climate spending, $300 billion in deficit reduction, three years of subsidies for Affordable Care Act premiums, prescription drug reform, impose a 15% corporate minimum tax, and increase investments in IRS tax enforcement. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 would “fight inflation, invest in domestic energy production and manufacturing, and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030.” Lawmakers could advance the measure as soon as next week if it meets the Senate Parliamentarian’s budget reconciliation rules, which would allow Democrats to pass it without any GOP votes. The reconciliation package was revealed hours after the Senate passed a $280 billion bipartisan bill aimed at boosting U.S. competitiveness with China by subsidizing the domestic production of semiconductors. Two weeks ago Manchin abandoned negotiations with Democrats, telling party leaders that he would not support any legislation dealing with climate or tax programs, citing inflation concerns. It’s not clear what changed Manchin’s mind about the plan, but some Republicans accused Manchin of being “deceitful” about his intentions on the reconciliation bill in order to get Mitch McConnell to stop blocking the semiconductor bill. Biden said the deal was “the action the American people have been waiting for.” (Washington Post / CNBC / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Axios / CNN)
poll/ Democrats have a 52% chance to win the Senate – up from 40% on June 1. Republicans, meanwhile, have an 83% chance to win the House in the midterm elections. (FiveThirtyEight)
poll/ 75% of Democratic voters want the party to nominate someone other than Biden in the 2024 election. (CNN)
poll/ 79% of Americans feel that Trump acted either unethically or illegally in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including 45% who believe his actions were illegal. 66% of Republicans, meanwhile, still believe Biden’s win was not legitimate. (CNN)
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