Day 798: "No plausible conflict of interest."
1/ A federal judge ordered Pence to testify to a grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Pence, however, can decline to answer questions related to his role in Congress on Jan. 6, when he was serving as president of the Senate for the certification of the 2020 presidential election. Special counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed Pence for his testimony and documents earlier this year in the investigation into whether efforts to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory constituted federal crimes. Pence challenged the subpoena under the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause, which is intended to protect the separation of powers. Trump, meanwhile, argued that executive privilege barred Pence from appearing. It’s unclear whether Pence plans to appeal Judge James Boasberg’s decision, but previously said he would take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / NBC News / Politico / Associated Press / CNBC)
- Trump faces several investigations. Here’s where they stand. (New York Times)
2/ The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas collected nearly $600,000 in anonymous donations for a conservative group. Between 2019 and the end of 2021, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas acted as the self-described “convener” who helped raise $596,000 in donations to Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, which were channeled through the right-wing think tank Capital Research Center. The majority of that money – $400,000 – was routed through a different nonprofit, Donors Trust, which receives money from wealthy donors whose identities are not disclosed and steers it toward conservative causes. The arrangement, known as “fiscal sponsorship,” meant that Crowdsourcers didn’t have to disclose the donors, information about the group’s activities, or its spending that would’ve been required if it had registered as a nonprofit. It is not clear how much compensation, if any, Ginni Thomas received. Mark Paoletta, a lawyer for Ginni Thomas, claimed her activism with people and groups that have interests before the court represents “no plausible conflict of interest issue with respect to Justice Thomas.” (Washington Post / USA Today)
3/ Kevin McCarthy demanded a meeting with Biden to discuss raising the debt limit. The White House, however, responded to McCarthy’s demands by calling for House Republicans produce a budget proposal first. Republicans wants Biden and the Democrats to agree to spending cuts as a condition of raising the debt limit, but the White House has called on Republicans to accept a “clean” debt limit increase without any conditions – like they did three times during Trump’s presidency. Biden released his budget earlier this month, which would cut the deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade, and asked House Republicans to release a budget to begin negotiations on spending cuts from there. Republicans have yet to release their budget. Congress must raise or suspend the current $31 trillion cap by this summer or risk a default. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / The Hill / CNBC)
poll/ 46% of Americans think Trump has done something illegal, and an additional 29% consider Trump to have done something unethical, but not illegal. 23% of Americans, meanwhile, say Trump has done nothing wrong. (NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll)
poll/ 78% of Americans are not confident that life for their children’s generation will be better than it has been for them. 21% feel confident that their children are better off. (Wall Street Journal)
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