1/ Kansas voters rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have allowed the legislature to ban abortions. About 60% of voters wanted to maintain abortion protections compared with roughly 40% who wanted to strip them from the state constitution. Kansas was the first state to vote on abortion rights since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. “This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions,” Biden said in a statement. (Washington Post / NPR / Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg)
2/ Biden plans to sign a second executive order to support individuals traveling out state for an abortion. Both orders direct Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider “all appropriate actions to ensure health care providers comply with federal non-discrimination laws so that women receive medically necessary care without delay.” It also calls for Becerra to “consider action to advance access” to abortion, including through Medicaid, for those who travel out of state. (New York Times / CNN / USA Today)
3/ The Senate passed legislation that expands medical care to an estimated 3.5 million veterans who may have been exposed to toxic burn pits on U.S. military bases. It’s the largest expansion of care in VA history, and is expected to cost $280 billion over a decade. While the House and Senate already passed the measure, a technical error required another Senate vote last week. However, 41 Republican senators voted against advancing the bill after Joe Manchin announced a deal with Chuck Schumer on a separate, unrelated tax and spending bill. The PACT Act was ultimately approved 86 to 11 several days later, and now heads to Biden for his signature. “Our veterans across America can breathe a sigh of relief,” Schumer said. “This is good news.” (Politico / NPR / NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg)
4/ The Justice Department subpoenaed Trump’s White House counsel as part of its investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection. Pat Cipollone is the highest-ranking White House official known to be called to testify by federal investigators. Cipollone witnessed Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, “including discussions about seizing voting machines, meddling in the Justice Department, and sending false letters to state officials about election fraud.” Last month, Cipollone spoke to the House Jan. 6 committee behind closed doors for more than seven hours. (ABC News / New York Times / NBC News / CNN)
5/ The Pentagon erased the phones of Trump’s departing senior defense officials, including text messages related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Court records indicate that the Pentagon “wiped” the government-issued phones of officials in charge of mobilizing the National Guard to respond to the Capitol attack, including then-acting defense secretary Chris Miller and then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy. Separately, the inspector general at Homeland Security notified Congress last month that Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 were “erased” as part of a device replacement program. (CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg / The Hill / CNBC)
6/ Two Arizona Republicans who participated in efforts to submit fake slates of electors claiming Trump won the state told a Trump lawyer they were concerned that the plan “could appear treasonous.” Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, and Kelly Townsend, a state senator, raised concerns to Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer working for Trump’s campaign, about the alternate slate of electors plan because there were no legal challenges that could flip the results of Arizona’s election. Chesebro shared their concerns in a Dec. 11, 2020, email to other members of the legal team, which included Rudy Giuliani. Despite the concern, Ward joined the effort and signed a “certificate of the votes of the 2020 electors from Arizona” and claimed that Trump had won the state’s 11 Electoral College votes. Townsend, however, did not serve as one of the electors. Both have since received subpoenas from the Justice Department asking about the fake electors plan. (New York Times)
7/ A Trump-endorsed election denier won the Republican nomination to oversee voting in Arizona. Mark Finchem will appear on the November general election ballot for secretary of state. Finchem was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and introduced several resolutions this year seeking to decertify the 2020 election in three Arizona counties based on false allegations of fraud. (NPR / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)
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