News Roundup: 187 Minutes

Thursday’s hearing of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection focused on perhaps the biggest question about that afternoon: what former President Trump was doing for the 187 minutes that the U.S. Capitol was under attack by his supporters.

“President Trump did not fail to act,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who led the hearing with fellow military veteran Rep. Elaine Luria. “He chose not to act.” The committee walked through a timeline of those 187 minutes, juxtaposing disturbing footage of the violence — including video showcasing the rioters’ obedience to Trump’s directions — with Trump’s continued inaction and his incendiary tweets.

  • Before the hearing, American Oversight updated our detailed, minute-by-minute timeline of the events of Jan. 6 with new records of communications we obtained from the Justice Department. They include an email sent at 4:01 p.m. that day stating that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy “has not released the [D.C. National Guard] to assist.” The National Guard did not arrive at the Capitol until 5:40.
  • Trump refused to call off the rioters despite pleas from top advisers, family members, and even members of Congress who were under siege. Instead, he remained in front of the television. 
  • He made no calls to law enforcement or any national security agency. The afternoon’s White House call logs and presidential diary were blank. But the committee said he had called a number of senators during that time to urge them to delay or object to the certification of electoral votes.
  • Members of Vice President Pence’s security detail feared for their lives. “A lot of very personal calls over the radio, so it was disturbing,” an anonymous White House security official told the committee. “I don’t like talking about it, but there were calls to say goodbye to family members, so on and so forth.”
  • The committee also highlighted the fears and condemnations of Republican leaders — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — in the immediate aftermath of the attack. (They also contrasted Sen. Josh Hawley’s encouragement of the mob earlier in the day with footage of him quickly fleeing the Senate floor.)
  • Trump was also keen to avoid statements that veered from praise for his supporters. He resisted using the word “peace” in a tweet to his supporters. In the infamous video message in which he told the rioters they were “very special,” he did not say the scripted line that would call on them to go home. And in video outtakes from the address Trump gave the next day, he said, “I don’t want to say the election is over.”

Of course, even today Trump and many of his supporters still refuse to acknowledge that the election is over.

American Oversight Legal Victories Exposing the Big Lie

In our ongoing legal fight for records from the partisan election investigation Vos launched last year, a Wisconsin court ruled that Vos had violated the state’s public records law and ordered him to respond to our records requests within 20 days.

  • The judge wrote that Vos “not only untimely delayed responses to records requests, but that his responses have also failed to include countless records, either willfully or because of neglectful office-wide practices which might have caused the loss of records.”
  • Meanwhile in Arizona, the Superior Court of Maricopa County ordered the state Senate and contractor Cyber Ninjas to immediately release to us documents related to the partisan “audit” of the 2020 election. This was the first time the court directly ordered Cyber Ninjas to release records in response to our litigation.

The Coronavirus Pandemic

President Biden tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, with the White House saying he was  experiencing mild symptoms. His diagnosis comes as the nation faces a rapidly spreading surge. And unreported tests and a hands-off approach to managing the virus are leaving communities with little sense of the wave’s magnitude and few protective measures, setting the stage for future variants to develop.

  • The Biden administration’s planned reorganization of the Department of Health and Human Services would elevate the office of the assistant secretary for preparedness and response to effectively the same level as the CDC and FDA.
  • Anthony Fauci said he plans to retire by the end of Biden’s current term. 
  • The CDC stopped reporting Covid-19 cases on cruise ships this week.
  • The federal government launched a new website hosting data on how states and localities are spending American Rescue Plan relief money, but the interface is missing key details, according to the COVID Stimulus Watch project.

Daily averages of case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths are all steadily rising.

  • Nurse staffing shortages are worsening the impacts of the pandemic on hospitals.
  • Florida parents are struggling to get their children under 5 vaccinated, and many of them are blaming Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration’s vaccine skepticism. 
  • Federal regulators fined Bank of America $225 million for mistakenly freezing customers’ accounts, cutting off their access to unemployment benefits and pandemic relief money.
  • Deaths from synthetic opioid overdoses increased significantly during the pandemic across all groups, but especially among Black and Native American populations.

On the Records

No Records of Evidence — or “Gut Feeling”
In June, the county commission in New Mexico’s Otero County — citing baseless concerns about voting machines — refused to certify the results of the primary election. Even after the state supreme court ordered the commission to do so, Commissioner Couy Griffin still dissented, saying his vote wasn’t based on “any evidence” or “any facts,” but rather on his “gut feeling.”

  • We asked Otero County for records of any materials commissioners used to come to their decision not to certify the vote. But a county employee told us they found no responsive records — which certainly backs up Griffin’s claim of having no evidence.

Former N.C. Supreme Court Justice’s Support for Election-Overturning Lawsuit
The New York Times reported that among those encouraging Trump’s crusade to overturn his election loss was a little-known conservative lawyer named William Olson, who in late December 2020 sent Trump a memo outlining a plan to use the Justice Department to take an election-challenging case to the Supreme Court. Olson mentioned that former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin had also spoken with Trump about the scheme. 

  • We obtained records, reported on by Talking Points Memo, showing that Martin had been an active supporter of the lawsuit, Texas v. Pennsylvania, pushed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. 
  • Other documents we obtained, previously also reported on by TPM, showed that South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson had been in touch with Martin just days before Wilson announced South Carolina would join Paxton’s lawsuit. 

Other Stories We’re Following

Jan. 6
  • Secret Service cannot recover texts; no new details for Jan. 6 committee (Washington Post)
  • Secret Service watchdog knew in February that texts had been purged (Washington Post)
  • Bipartisan Senate group strikes deal to rewrite Electoral Count Act (New York Times)
  • Trump White House aide goes on sexist tirade, calls Jan. 6 panel ‘anti-white’ (Washington Post)
  • GOP lawmaker who gave Jan. 5 tour wants to investigate Jan. 6 panel (Politico)
  • ‘It’s the accumulation’: The Jan. 6 hearings are wounding Trump, after all (Politico)
  • Top Trump lawyers briefed in detail on alternate elector plot on Dec. 13, 2020 (Politico)
The Big Lie
  • Trump-backed election denier Dan Cox wins Maryland’s GOP primary for governor (NBC News)
  • QAnon-aligned election denier makes November ballot in Ohio secretary of state race (
  • False Georgia electors are deemed targets of DA criminal probe (Politico)
  • Judge orders Rudy Giuliani to testify before grand jury in Trump election probe (NBC News)
  • Election officials risk criminal charges under 31 new GOP-imposed penalties (Arizona Mirror
  • Public tests of Yuma County election equipment aim to thwart conspiracy theories (VoteBeat Arizona)
In the States
  • Dane County Judge rejects Michael Gableman’s request to have judge removed from open records case (Wisconsin State Journal)
  • Advocates want Cyber Ninjas, which led Ariz. ballot review, barred from federal work (Washington Post
  • Portland police investigation clears officer who joined Oath Keepers militia (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
  • Ohio Supreme Court strikes down congressional map used in May primary, orders new one (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Colorado election activists part ways with Mike Lindell-funded group (Colorado Newsline)
  • Court allows Georgia’s ‘heartbeat’ abortion law to go into effect post-Roe (Washington Post)
National News
  • Documents show the secret strategy behind Trump’s census citizenship question push (NPR)
  • USPS will make 40% of its new trucks electric, up from 10% (Washington Post)
  • How a conservative U.S. network undermined Indigenous energy rights in Canada (The Narwhal)
  • Republican attorneys general to host private retreat for corporate donors at swanky Palm Beach resort (CNBC)
  • Homeland Security records show ‘shocking’ use of phone data, ACLU says (Politico)
  • Parts of the U.S. bake under triple-digit temperatures with no letup in sight (CNN)
  • Report: Homes deemed unaffordable in most U.S. counties (Washington Post)
  • Delay as the new denial: The latest Republican tactic to block climate action (New York Times)
  • House passes protection for birth-control access; Senate support is unclear (Washington Post)
  • Officials reorganize HHS to boost pandemic response (Washington Post)
Voting Rights
  • Federal hearing held on Arizona voting machines (12 News Phoenix)
  • GOP kills rule allowing clerks to fix minor problems on absentee ballot envelopes (Wisconsin Examiner)
  • A government official helped them register. Now they’ve been charged with voter fraud. (ProPublica)
  • Supreme Court prevents Biden administration from reinstating limits on ICE arrests (CBS News)
  • ‘They don’t have any humanity’: Black immigrants in ICE custody report abuse and neglect (Guardian)