Thursday night was the first of several public hearings of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters. Chair Bennie Thompson’s and Vice Chair Liz Cheney’s opening statements outlined the content of future hearings and previewed evidence of former President Donald Trump’s authoritarian efforts to overturn a free and fair election and his culpability in spurring his supporters to violence.
Plus, a hearing in our lawsuit for public records from Wisconsin’s sham election investigation took an unexpected and significant turn on Friday morning — more on that below.
Jan. 6 Timeline
As you tune into future hearings — the next one is set for Monday — be sure to reference the timeline we created with minute-by-minute details from that dark day as you assess new information and cross-check testimony.
- The timeline combines public records we obtained through FOIA, including call logs, emails, and internal agency notes, as well as public reporting, into one comprehensive overview of Jan. 6’s chain of events and the government’s response.
The Select Committee’s Hearings
The witnesses in Thursday night’s hearing included documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who embedded with the Proud Boys and followed their planned and coordinated attack on the Capitol, and Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a head injury in what she described as a “war scene.”
- “I am from a part of the country where people justified the actions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and lynching,” Thompson said during his opening remarks. “I’m reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try and justify the actions of the insurrectionists on Jan. 6, 2021.”
- Thompson, who called the attack a “culmination of an attempted coup,” introduced a video of former Attorney General Barr saying he had told Trump that the voter-fraud lies were “bulls***.” Other video evidence showed more Trump aides and family members saying they didn’t believe the stolen-election claims either.
- Disturbing, never-before-seen footage of the violence that afternoon was also played, providing an often graphic retelling of the siege.
- “Not only did President Trump refuse to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he placed no call to any element of the U.S. government to instruct that the Capitol be defended,” Cheney said. “Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day, and made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets.”
The committee also previewed its findings related to Trump’s scheme to use the Justice Department to remain in power, his pressure on state legislators and his own vice president to aid in his democracy-destroying plots, and his determination to fan the flames of distrust even as his top advisers told him his voter-fraud fantasies were fiction.
- The next hearing, set for Monday, will focus on Trump’s “massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information.”
- Other witnesses expected to testify this month include former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, top aides to Vice President Pence, and Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Mark Meadows. (American Oversight previously obtained an email from her to Georgia’s deputy secretary of state, around the time Trump was pressuring state leaders to overturn his election loss.)
Here are headlines related to the hearing and the broader investigation of Trump’s election-overturning efforts:
- Without Mark Meadows, January 6th might never have happened (New Yorker)
- What we know about Trump’s actions as insurrection unfolded (Associated Press)
- Draft order would have given armed Trump supporters power to seize voting data (Mother Jones)
- Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate Kelley arrested on Jan. 6 riot-related charges (Detroit News)
- January 6 committee chairman says witnesses have described conversations between extremists and Trump’s orbit (CNN)
- Jan. 6 panel lets Trump allies narrate the case against him (Politico)
Wisconsin Assembly OSC Found in Contempt of Court
On Friday morning, during a tense hearing in our lawsuit for records from the partisan election investigation in Wisconsin, Michael Gableman angrily refused to answer any questions and at times was openly disdainful of the proceedings.
- The hearing, which sought to address issues in the ongoing lawsuit, came after the judge ruled earlier this week that Gableman must appear in court in response to a subpoena from American Oversight for his testimony.
- After determining the Assembly’s Office of Special Counsel had failed to provide satisfactory evidence that its failure to produce documents was not unintentional, the judge found OSC in contempt of court for failing to comply with a court order to release records. Read more here.
Arizona Sham ‘Audit’ Documents
We obtained more documents previously held by Cyber Ninjas, the lead contractor for the Arizona Senate’s discredited election “audit,” which reveal new details about the review’s partisan bias, its connections to other states, and its subcontracts.
- The records outline the central role played by Lyle Rapacki, a security and intelligence specialist who has worked with Arizona lawmakers, in recruiting and vetting volunteers for the ballot review, including concerns he had about volunteers who had prior Democratic Party registrations. Read more here.
The Coronavirus Pandemic
Across the globe and the country, the pandemic has exposed stark inequality. According to a new study, workers in the retail, service, and labor sectors made up nearly 70 percent of deaths from Covid-19 among working-age U.S. adults in 2020 and were five times more likely to die than people in higher socioeconomic positions.
- Vaccine distributors threw out more than 82 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from December 2020 through mid-May 2022, making up 11 percent of the total doses distributed by the federal government. The waste is a result of declining demand and requirements that unused doses in opened multi-dose vials be discarded at the end of the day.
- Despite access to federal funding, only one-third of public schools reported updating their HVAC systems, according to a CDC study. Most schools relied on low-cost strategies such as opening windows and inspecting existing systems.
- Importers of personal protective equipment were scammed out of millions early in the pandemic by international fraudsters exploiting weaknesses in trade systems.
Case counts are exceeding 111,000 per day, and hospitalizations are at a daily average of more than 29,000. Still waiting on a pandemic aid package from Congress, the government plans to reroute $10 million in federal funds from testing and protective equipment to antivirals and vaccines.
- The White House is preparing to make vaccines for children under 5 available at pharmacies across the country as early as June 21, if approved by the FDA.
- The Bureau of Prisons is tasked with increasing regular testing in prisons, better containing the spread of the virus, and expanding data collection and reporting, as part of an executive order signed by Biden last week.
- Moderna has developed a booster containing the omicron variant that the company reports creates a stronger immune response than their current vaccine.
- The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the state health department can release records on Covid-19 outbreaks, which the state’s largest business lobbying group had previously sought to block from public view.
- Florida significantly undercounted cases and deaths and failed to report demographic data from March to October 2020, according to a state auditor.
- A new study found that one-third of incarcerated people and less than 30 percent of homeless individuals in Minnesota were vaccinated by the end of 2021, compared with 70 percent of the state’s overall population.
On the Records
Florida Gov. DeSantis’ Draft Legislation
This week, the Tampa Bay Times reported on records we obtained that show that late last year — just nine days after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for cutting the gas tax for five months — the governor’s office shared with lawmakers drafted legislation to limit the gas tax break to only October 2022. The bill passed in March.
- DeSantis and lawmakers said they chose to wait until October not because of the proximity to the election but because it’s when there are the fewest tourists. There is no data to back this up, however.
- We also obtained legislation drafted by DeSantis’ office that show his wide-ranging plans to increase his authority, to make it more difficult to obtain public records, and to make it harder to amend the state’s constitution. Read more about these records here.
Other Stories We’re Following
Election ‘Audits’ and Investigations
- A deposition in Gableman’s election investigation unraveled when it was to be conducted by an unlicensed attorney (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- Pennsylvania Republicans are no closer to re-inspecting Fulton County’s 2020 voting machines (WITF Harrisburg)
- OAN correspondents’ organization supplied volunteers for the Arizona “audit” (Arizona Mirror)
- Arizona audit: Cost of Senate review of 2020 election nears $5 million (Arizona Republic)
- Lawmaker offered ‘forensic audit’ in bid to access Michigan voting machines (Detroit News)
The Big Lie
- A look at Doug Mastriano’s ties to Jan. 6 and his efforts to throw out Pa.’s 2020 election (Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Fake Trump electors in Ga. told to shroud plans in ‘secrecy,’ email shows (Washington Post)
- Texts reveal GOP mission to breach voting machine in Georgia (Daily Beast)
- She helped create the Big Lie. Records suggest she turned it into a Big Grift. (Reveal)
- Michigan widens probe into voting system breaches by Trump allies (Reuters)
- How influential election deniers have fueled a fight to control elections (New York Times)
Voting Rights and Election Administration
- Republicans helped Arizona champion voting by mail. Now they want it gone (Votebeat)
- Yavapai County, AZ drop boxes: GOP voters love them despite far-right opposition (Votebeat)
- Maricopa County to double voting locations, citing Covid-19 and misinformation (Votebeat)
- Doxxing and death threats against U.S. poll workers intensify as the right wing continues its ‘campaign of fear’ (Grid)
- Trump set to be questioned under oath by New York AG next month (New York Times)
- U.S. officials under Trump slowed family reunifications, migrant lawyers say (Washington Post)
- U.S. sees heightened extremist threat heading into midterms (Associated Press)
- The Supreme Court gives lawsuit immunity to Border Patrol agents who violate the Constitution (Vox)
- Sweltering heat to bake Southwest, California before South, Southeast (Washington Post)
- House passes gun control legislation (New York Times)
- Lawyers for migrants say U.S. officials slowed family reunifications (Washington Post)
In the States
- Arizona proposes half a billion dollars to address border security (Axios)
- How Missouri helps abortion opponents divert state taxes to crisis pregnancy centers (ProPublica)
- Louisiana enacts anti-trans sports ban after its Democratic governor declines to take action (CNN)
- Lawyer Don Millis set to return to Wisconsin Elections Commission as chair selection looms (Wisconsin State Journal)
- New York let residences for kids with serious mental health problems vanish. Desperate families call the cops instead. (ProPublica)
- DeSantis spokeswoman belatedly registers as agent of foreign politician (Washington Post)
- South Dakotans refuse to weaken ballot initiatives, keeping hopes alive for Medicaid expansion (Bolts)
- Ohio Senate likely to take up transgender sports bill that includes genital examination clause, top Republican says (Cleveland.com)