The Jan. 6 Investigation
The House select committee investigating Jan. 6 held what was likely its final public hearing on Thursday, concluding the meeting with a solemn vote to subpoena the testimony of former President Donald Trump, who it called the “central cause” of that day’s events.
Alongside footage of the violence and of congressional leaders working to secure the Capitol, the committee laid out evidence that in the days leading up to the attack, Trump knew he’d lost, was told repeatedly that wild claims of fraud were unsupported, and yet still, as Rep. Elaine Luria stated, “maliciously repeated this nonsense to a wide audience, over and over again. His intent was to deceive.”
- Greg Jacob, counsel to former Vice President Pence, said that some in the White House planned to declare victory “prior to the election results being known.”
- According to testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, Trump had told Chief of Staff Mark Meadows something to the effect of “I don’t want people to know we lost, Mark. This is embarrassing. Figure it out.”
- The committee also showed how the efforts to overturn the election was done with Trump’s “direct participation,” including his pressuring of Pence to interfere in the certification of the election as well as his involvement in the scheme to submit false slates of electors, even after being told it was illegal.
While questions remain about the erasure of Secret Service text messages from that day, the committee outlined new information it received from the agency that show its awareness of the prospect of violence, including reports about the prevalence of weapons in the crowd.
Here are other headlines related to the select committee’s investigation, as well as other inquiries into Trump’s effort to overturn his election loss:
- Violent threats against Jan. 6 witnesses spread on fringe sites (Washington Post)
- Lawyers group asks court to punish an author of Trump electors scheme (New York Times)
- In Trump case, Texas creates a headache for Georgia prosecutors (New York Times)
- Trump probe: Fulton jurors seek testimony from Gingrich, Flynn (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson cooperating with investigation of Trump effort to overturn election results in Georgia (CNN)
- Oath Keeper describes group’s large weapons cache ahead of Jan. 6 (Politico)
American Oversight Litigation Update
Texas: In our lawsuit seeking the release of public records — including Attorney General Ken Paxton’s messages surrounding Jan. 6 as well as Paxton’s and Gov. Greg Abbott’s communications with firearms advocacy groups — both Paxton’s and Abbott’s offices have filed motions to dismiss, claiming the attorney general is the final word on Texas’ public records law and that no court may review Paxton’s decisions.
- On Thursday, we asked a court to reject those motions to dismiss our lawsuit, asserting that Texas law is clear and that the court is a vital check on the attorney general’s powers. Read more here.
Kentucky: Earlier this week, we asked a Kentucky court to order the state attorney general’s office to conduct a further search for public records related to the “Ballot Integrity Task Force” that the office created before the 2020 election. American Oversight filed suit for the records in the fall of 2020.
- In July, the court ruled that Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office must release a number of public records that it had improperly withheld, finding the original search inadequate.
- In our response and objection this week, we alerted the court that the office’s subsequent search was also inadequate, and asked for an additional search.
On the Records
DeSantis’ Partisan Redistricting Consultants
Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed through a new congressional map that aggressively favored his own party and significantly reduced the voting power of the state’s Black residents. ProPublica published a report this week on how that map was devised, citing records we obtained that revealed the governor’s office had worked with consultants connected to the national Republican Party — a potential violation of the state’s constitution.
- The records include an email from Jan. 5 inviting top officials in DeSantis’ office to join a “Florida Redistricting Kick-off Call” with out-of-state operatives who, as reported by ProPublica, “had also been working with states across the country to help the Republican Party create a favorable election map.”
- DeSantis’ efforts included Jason Torchinsky, a Republican election attorney and redistricting strategist, as well as strategist Thomas Bryan.
- In collaborating with the operatives, wrote ProPublica, DeSantis’ office “appears to have misled the public and the state legislature and may also have violated Florida law” prohibiting partisan-driven redistricting.
Trump Lawyer Christina Bobb
The New York Times reported that the Justice Department last week interviewed Christina Bobb, a former right-wing media host and current member of Trump’s legal team, in its criminal investigation of Trump’s handling of classified documents. Bobb had in the spring, at the request of another lawyer, signed a statement to the department attesting that Trump’s legal team had searched Mar-a-Lago and found only a few files not returned to the government.
- The Times’ report cited documents we obtained in our investigation of the sham election “audit” of Arizona’s Maricopa County, showing that Bobb had back-channeled requests from Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to Arizona officials.
DeSantis Migrant Flights
Late last week, we obtained contract documents from DeSantis’ September flight that transported migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
- The records include memos outlining flight costs, requisition and purchase order documents, and the approval of advance payment by the Florida Department of Transportation to flight contractor Vertol Systems Company.
- American Oversight obtained the documents in our investigation into DeSantis’ exploitation of migrants as part of a political stunt. More details about the records are here.
Other Stories We’re Following
Threats to Democracy
- In Kari Lake, Trumpism has found its leading lady (The Atlantic)
- 2020 election denier resurfaces in Macomb County clerk’s office (Detroit News)
- Pro-Trump Georgia officials plotted to swipe voting data. We caught them (Rolling Stone)
- Trump supporters seek ‘digital warriors’ to combat supposed election fraud in Loudoun (Loudoun Times)
- The right can’t stop talking about this conspiracy theory movie — and it’s roiling the midterms (HuffPost)
- Michael Flynn’s ReAwaken roadshow recruits ‘Army of God’ (Associated Press)
- Election workers face surge of cyberattacks (Time)
- Federal judge demands True the Vote identify who provided access to poll worker data (Votebeat Texas)
- Finchem wants to ban voting machines and do hand counts, that is ‘unrealistic’ (Arizona Mirror)
- Michigan county hires ‘Stop the Steal’ ringleader to recruit poll workers (Politico)
- Biden administration scrambling to get more people boosted before winter (Politico)
- FDA authorizes updated Covid-19 boosters for kids as young as 5 (Stat News)
- What the White House sees coming for Covid this winter (NPR)
- Scientists question Florida’s advice against Covid mRNA vaccines for some men (Tampa Bay Times)
- U.S. hospitals brace for an unprecedented winter of viruses (NBC News)
Trump Administration Accountability
- Supreme Court rejects Trump’s request in dispute over Mar-a-Lago documents (NBC News)
- U.S. will begin turning many Venezuelan migrants back to Mexico (Texas Tribune)
- Trump worker told FBI about moving Mar-a-Lago boxes on ex-president’s orders (Washington Post)
- Newly released emails debunk Trump and allies’ attempts to blame the GSA for packing boxes that ended up in Mar-a-Lago (CNN)
- Trump forms new company, drawing scrutiny from N.Y. attorney general (New York Times)
In the States
- Lawsuit accuses DeSantis of withholding records over migrant flights (Politico)
- Federal judge upholds Florida Medicaid ban on covering gender-affirming care (Politico)
- Florida K-3 teachers who discuss LGBTQ issues will lose their licenses (Washington Post)
- Leonard Leo pushed the courts right. Now he’s aiming at American society (New York Times)
- Revealed: U.S. military bought mass monitoring tool that includes internet browsing, email data (Vice)
- Alex Jones ordered to pay $965 million in Sandy Hook defamation trial (ABC News)
- Police need warrants to search homes. Child welfare agents almost never get one. (ProPublica)
- DHS watchdog appointed by Trump has fueled an exodus of agency lawyers, sources say (NPR)