1/ The House passed legislation to enshrine federal protections for marriages of same-sex and interracial couples. The 258-169 vote sends the Respect for Marriage Act to Biden. The Senate passed the same bill last week by a vote of 61-36. The House initially took up the legislation after the Supreme Court’s decision in June that overturned the federal right to an abortion and Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion that the Court should reconsider some past rulings, including its decision on same-sex marriage. Following the vote, Biden called the legislation a “critical step to ensure that Americans have the right to marry the person they love,” adding that it provides “hope and dignity to millions of young people across this country who can grow up knowing that their government will recognize and respect the families they build.” (Associated press / NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / Politico / Bloomberg)
2/ The Justice Department asked a federal judge to hold Trump and his team in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena to return classified documents in his possession. The judge hasn’t held a hearing or ruled on the request, yet. The request came after months of frustration from the Justice Department, which first issued a subpoena in May for any classified documents. While Trump’s lawyers certified that all classified documents had been returned, the FBI seized more than 100 classified documents during its court-authorized search warrant of Mar-a-Lago in August. Trump’s lawyers, meanwhile, recently found at least two classified documents in a Florida storage unit. (Washington Post / CNN)
3/ The Jan. 6 committee is reportedly considering criminal referrals for Trump and at least four others. While the committee hasn’t officially decided who to refer to the Justice Department for prosecution, the panel is considering referrals for Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, and Rudy Giuliani. The committee is expected to reach a decision on criminal referrals when members meet virtually on Sunday. (CNN / Politico)
4/ Michael Flynn appeared before an Atlanta-area special grand jury investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results. Flynn’s appearance came after a Florida judged ordered him to testify, calling him a “necessary and material witness” in the grand jury investigation. (Washington Post / CNN)
5/ The House passed an $858 billion bill to fund the Defense Department, which includes a provision that lifts the Pentagon’s Covid-19 vaccine requirement for active duty service members. The legislation increase the Pentagon’s budget by $45 billion over Biden’s request. The measure now heads to the Senate, where the support of at least 10 Republicans is needed. (CNN / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / New York Times)
6/ WNBA star Brittney Griner was released from Russian detention in a prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is known as the “Merchant of Death.” Nine months ago, Griner was detained at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said they found vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage, which is illegal in Russia. She was sentenced in August to 9.5 years in prison for drug smuggling and sent to a penal colony. (NBC News / Politico / CBS News)
poll/ 43% of Americans approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president, while 55% disapprove. (Associated Press)
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