Retired judge to testify on Trump’s ‘well-developed plan’ to overturn election at any cost – live

Retired judge to warn of Trump’s ‘well-developed plan’ to overturn election

In his testimony before the January 6 committee today, former US appellate court judge J Michael Luttig will warn that the plot to overturn the 2020 election was well-coordinated and threatened the nation’s very existence, according to his opening remarks obtained by CNN.

Luttig is one of two guests in Thursday’s third hearing of the committee, which will focus on Trump’s pressure campaign against vice-president Mike Pence to get him to go along with his plans to stop Joe Biden from taking office.

“The war on democracy instigated by the former president and his political party allies on January 6 was the natural and foreseeable culmination of the war for America,” Luttig warns in his opening remarks. “It was the final fateful day for the execution of a well-developed plan by the former president to overturn the 2020 presidential election at any cost, so that he could cling to power that the American People had decided to confer upon his successor, the next president of the United States instead.”

“Had the Vice President of the United States obeyed the President of the United States, America would immediately have been plunged into what would have been tantamount to a revolution within a paralyzing constitutional crisis,” Luttig says.

John Hinckley has been released from court oversight, concluding his punishment for shooting and wounding former president Ronald Reagan and several others in 1981.

Hinckley celebrated his release with a tweet, according to the Associated Press:

“After 41 years 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM AT LAST!!!,” he wrote on Twitter shortly after noon on Wednesday.

The lifting of all restrictions had been expected since late September. US district court judge Paul L Friedman in Washington had said he would free Hinckley on 15 June if he continued to remain mentally stable in the community in Virginia where he has lived since 2016.

Hinckley, who was acquitted of trying to kill the then US president by reason of insanity, spent the decades before that in a Washington mental hospital.

Hinckley has gained nearly 30,000 followers on Twitter and YouTube in recent months as the judge loosened Hinckley’s restrictions before fully lifting all of them.

But the greying 67-year-old is far from being the household name that he became after shooting and wounding the 40th US president and several others outside a Washington hotel. Today, historians say Hinckley is at best a question on a quiz show and someone who unintentionally helped build the Reagan legend and inspire a push for stricter gun control.

“If Hinckley had succeeded in killing Reagan, then he would have been a pivotal historical figure,” HW Brands, a historian and Reagan biographer, wrote in an email to the Associated Press. “As it is, he is a misguided soul whom history has already forgotten.”

The former president’s foundation has objected to the lifting of the oversight on Hinckley.

The Republican point man on the Senate’s efforts to reach a bipartisan gun control compromise says the negotiations are coming down to the wire.

Speaking on conservative host Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Texas senator John Cornyn said lawmakers need to hash out the remaining issues over the compromise today if the chamber is to vote on it next week.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) provides an update on gun reform negotiations on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show:

“We’re about run out of our rope here, and we got to make some final decisions today if we’re going to be able to get this on the floor next week.” pic.twitter.com/oxRC4CqeMq

— The Recount (@therecount) June 16, 2022

While the bill text hasn’t been written yet, the compromise has more momentum behind it that prior attempts to respond to mass shootings. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said he will schedule a vote on the measure as soon as he can, while top Republican Mitch McConnell said he would support it, improving the legislation’s chances of winning the 10 votes necessary from Republicans to pass through the chamber.

January 6 committee to seek testimony from Ginni Thomas

The January 6 committee will ask Ginni Thomas, wife of conservative supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, to testify as evidence mounts that she encouraged efforts to stop Joe Biden from taking office:

NEW: Jan. 6 Select Committee Chair Bennie Thompson says they will request testimony from Ginni Thomas in light of the Eastman emails.

“We think it’s time that we, at some point, invite her to come talk to the committee.”

— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) June 16, 2022

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Thomas had exchanged messages with John Eastman, the lawyer for Donald Trump who was an architect of the efforts to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election win.

Election subversion risks ‘breaking America,’ Pence lawyer to tell committee

Conspiracies like the effort to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election win could tear the United States apart, former vice-president Mike Pence’s lawyer Greg Jacob will tell the January 6 committee today.

“The law is not a plaything for presidents or judges to use to remake the world in their preferred image,” Jacob said in his opening remarks, which do not mention Donald Trump by name but are sharply critical of the idea that Pence could unilaterally decide an election — an idea the former president promoted.

“Our Constitution and our laws form the strong edifice within which our heartfelt policy disagreements are to be debated and decided. When our elected and appointed leaders break, twist, and fail to enforce our laws in order to achieve their partisan ends, or to accomplish frustrated policy objectives they consider existentially important, they are breaking America,” Jacob said.

You can read the full remarks below:

Eric Berger

Eric Berger reports on another factor that led to the United States’s disastrous experience with Covid-19: its lack of a universal health care system:

The US could have saved more than 338,000 lives and more than $105bn in healthcare costs in the Covid-19 pandemic with a universal healthcare system, according to a study.

More than 1 million people died in the US from Covid, in part because the country’s “fragmented and inefficient healthcare system” meant uninsured or underinsured people faced financial barriers that delayed diagnosis and exacerbated transmission, the report states.

The US had the highest death rate from the virus among large wealthy countries and is also the only one among such countries without universal healthcare. It spends almost twice as much on healthcare per capita as the other wealthy countries, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data.

The House subcommittee investigating the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic announced that Deborah Birx, the former president’s Covid-19 coordinator, will testify publicly next week.

For the first time, former White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx will publicly testify about her role in the Trump Administration’s #COVID19 response.

Tune in next week, June 23, at 10AM ET.https://t.co/aOsMX29Q1b

— Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis (@COVIDOversight) June 16, 2022

Birx was among the public health officials who became household names during the pandemic’s worst months, but later fell out of favor with Trump. Last October, the Democratic chair of the subcommittee Jame Clyburn said its interviews with Birx “confirm that President Trump’s prioritization of politics, contempt for science, and refusal to follow the advice of public health experts undermined the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis.”

Hugo Lowell

The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell explain why the January 6 committee has opted to make today’s hearing about the actions of Mike Pence, who played a major role in torpedoing Trump’s plan to stop Biden from taking office:

The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack intends to outline at its third hearing on Thursday how Donald Trump corruptly pressured then vice-president Mike Pence to reject the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election and directly contributed to the insurrection.

The panel will first examine the genesis of Trump’s pressure campaign on Pence to adopt an unconstitutional and unlawful plan to reject certified electors from certain states at the congressional certification in an attempt to give Trump a second presidential term.

The select committee then intends to show how that theory – advanced by external Trump legal adviser John Eastman – was rejected by Pence, his lawyers and the White House counsel’s office, who universally told the former president that the entire scheme was unlawful.

Retired judge to warn of Trump’s ‘well-developed plan’ to overturn election

In his testimony before the January 6 committee today, former US appellate court judge J Michael Luttig will warn that the plot to overturn the 2020 election was well-coordinated and threatened the nation’s very existence, according to his opening remarks obtained by CNN.

Luttig is one of two guests in Thursday’s third hearing of the committee, which will focus on Trump’s pressure campaign against vice-president Mike Pence to get him to go along with his plans to stop Joe Biden from taking office.

“The war on democracy instigated by the former president and his political party allies on January 6 was the natural and foreseeable culmination of the war for America,” Luttig warns in his opening remarks. “It was the final fateful day for the execution of a well-developed plan by the former president to overturn the 2020 presidential election at any cost, so that he could cling to power that the American People had decided to confer upon his successor, the next president of the United States instead.”

“Had the Vice President of the United States obeyed the President of the United States, America would immediately have been plunged into what would have been tantamount to a revolution within a paralyzing constitutional crisis,” Luttig says.

The Washington Post report further detailing Ginni Thomas’s involvement in the effort to stop Joe Biden from taking office underscores just how much evidence the January 6 committee is accumulating in its effort to unravel what happened that day.

It’s not clear if the lawmakers will opt to publicly explore what they’ve learned about conservative supreme court justice Clarence Thomas’s wife in the course of their investigation, but they must surely feel tempted. Thomas was the only one of the court’s nine members who dissented from a January ruling ordering the release of records from the Trump administration to the committee.

The revelations about Ginni Thomas come as tensions around the court are as high as ever. Its conservative majority is widely believed to be poised to strike down the nationwide right to an abortion, and a draft opinion of the decision was leaked last month, sparking uproar. Other decisions expected in the coming days or weeks could expand the right to carry a concealed weapon, weaken the government’s ability to regulate and upend the Biden administration’s effort to end the “remain in Mexico” policy Trump implemented to stop border crossings.

Trump is out of office but the court’s rightward swing is one of his legacies. Had he not won in 2016, it’s possible the institution’s ideological makeup may look quite different.

January 6 committee considering new evidence of Ginni Thomas’ effort to overturn election

Good morning, US politics blog readers! Today’s marquee event in Washington will be the third hearing of the January 6 committee, which is to center on the pressure campaign around Mike Pence, the vice-president to Donald Trump. The Washington Post is reporting that the committee is also considering what to do with new evidence that shows Ginni Thomas, wife of conservative supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, was talking to a lawyer for Trump, who played a major role in trying to stop Joe Biden from taking office.

Here’s what else is happening today:



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