Aftermath of the Trump Administration, June 2022


My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!


For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.


Wednesday, 1 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: With the war in Ukraine nearing its 100th day, Russia and the United States traded barbs over Washington’s pledge to bolster Kyiv’s military defense with advanced rocket systems, while the key Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk appears to be on the brink of capture, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Marisa Iati, Annabelle Timsit, Adela Suliman, Bryan Pietsch, and Rachel Pannett, Wednesday, 1 June 2022: “After President Biden announced the shipment of more firepower to Ukraine, Moscow accused America of ‘pouring fuel on the fire.’ But Secretary of State Antony Blinken denied that U.S. officials were escalating the conflict, and he urged Russia to end the war. Meanwhile, the battle for the Donbas continued, and local officials said Russian forces were close to claiming full control of Severodonetsk, a city important to Moscow’s strategy in the east. If Russia can capture the city, it would give the Kremlin a badly needed symbolic and territorial victory.

  • The war has left at least 5.2 million children ‘in need of humanitarian assistance,’ the United Nations said Wednesday. Each day, the conflict kills at least two children and injures four more, according to U.N. figures.
  • Germany said it would send a modern air defense system and an artillery-tracking radar to Ukraine, two crucial pieces of equipment.
  • Russia’s Defense Ministry said its strategic missile forces were conducting exercises northeast of Moscow. They reportedly involve mobile launchers of the Yars, an intercontinental ballistic missile, and about 1,000 military service members.
  • The European Commission approved the disbursement of Poland’s share of the European Union’s pandemic recovery fund — a decision seen as an expression of goodwill toward a country harboring roughly 3 million Ukrainian refugees.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 98 of the War in Ukraine. Pitched street battles raged in Sievierodonetsk as Russian forces pushed into the city center. Germany promised Ukraine an advanced air-defense system, a day after the U.S. said it would send more powerful artillery. The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer, Wednesday, 1 June 2022: “Though much of the world’s focus in the war has been on Russia’s disorganized and flawed campaign, Ukraine, too, is struggling. Ukraine’s army has suffered heavy losses, shown signs of disarray and, step by step, fallen back from some long-held areas in Donbas, the eastern region that is now the war’s epicenter. The momentum Ukraine generated after pushing Russian forces back from Kyiv, the capital, and Kharkiv, the second-largest city, has given way in the east to weeks of give-and-take over villages, heavy shelling — and a stream of Ukrainian dead and wounded from the battlefields. Ukraine’s troops now face a Russian force that has shifted strategy from the hasty, reckless advances of the early weeks of the war to a creeping, grinding march enabled by massive artillery bombardments.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 1 June 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian forces closed in on the last remaining areas under Ukrainian control in the eastern Luhansk region. The Luhansk regional governor said 80% of the city of Sievierodonetsk is under occupation, but Ukrainian forces have launched counterattacks and captured Russian troops. He said Ukraine still held onto the nearby city of Lysychansk, a militarily advantageous area on a hill. The U.S. is sending more advanced rocket systems and munitions to Ukraine, but not to be shot into Russia. This will include longer-range weapons as part of a new military aid package estimated at $700 million. President Biden wrote the new weapons will enable Ukrainians to make more precision strikes, but stressed that ‘we are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders.’ Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the weapons increased the risk of a direct conflict breaking out between Russia and the U.S. Germany also promised heavy weapons to Ukraine, including an air-defense system. Russia’s nuclear forces held drills northeast of Moscow, according to the Russian news agency Interfax, citing the country’s defense ministry. The drills in the Ivanovo region were said to involve 1,000 troops and more than 100 units of equipment, including Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, reported to have a range of over 6,800 miles. Ukraine made headway prosecuting Russians for war crimes. A court in the central Ukrainian city of Poltava handed guilty verdicts to two Russian soldiers — the second ruling in a war crimes trial in the country since Russia invaded, The Washington Post reports. The court sentenced the soldiers on Tuesday to 11 1/2 years for ‘violating the laws and customs of war’ when they shelled civilian sites in a town in the northeastern Kharkiv region. Ukraine’s chief prosecutor said 80 alleged war crimes cases were underway of around 15,000 incidents reported since the start of the February invasion. Ukraine’s soccer team won 3-1 against Scotland for a chance to qualify for this year’s World Cup. The game in Glasgow was the Ukrainian team’s first competitive match since Russia invaded their country on Feb. 24. Next the team will face Wales. Russia’s team has been banned, and the Ukrainian team got several extra months to prepare. Ukraine has not qualified to play in the World Cup since 2006.”

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, June 2022:

Tapes reveal Republican plan to contest elections: ‘It’s going to be an army.’ Placing Republican party operatives as poll workers and building a ‘hotline’ to friendly attorneys are among the strategies to be deployed in Michigan and other swing states. Politico, Heidi Przybyla, Wednesday, 1 June 2022: “Video recordings of Republican Party operatives meeting with grassroots activists provide an inside look at a multi-pronged strategy to target and potentially overturn votes in Democratic precincts: Install trained recruits as regular poll workers and put them in direct contact with party attorneys. The plan, as outlined by a Republican National Committee staffer in Michigan, includes utilizing rules designed to provide political balance among poll workers to install party-trained volunteers prepared to challenge voters at Democratic-majority polling places, developing a website to connect those workers to local lawyers and establishing a network of party-friendly district attorneys who could intervene to block vote counts at certain precincts. ‘Being a poll worker, you just have so many more rights and things you can do to stop something than [as] a poll challenger,’ said Matthew Seifried, the RNC’s election integrity director for Michigan, stressing the importance of obtaining official designations as poll workers in a meeting with GOP activists in Wayne County last Nov. 6. It is one of a series of recordings of GOP meetings between summer of 2021 and May of this year obtained by POLITICO. Backing up those front-line workers, ‘it’s going to be an army,’ Seifried promised at an Oct. 5 training session. ‘We’re going to have more lawyers than we’ve ever recruited, because let’s be honest, that’s where it’s going to be fought, right?'”


Thursday, 2 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Street battles continue in Severodonetsk; Zelensky says Russia holds 20% of Ukraine, The Washington Post, Rachel Pannett, Amy Cheng, Victoria Bisset, Ellen Francis, Brittany Shammas, Lateshia Beachum, and Michael Birnbaum, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “Ukraine is suffering significant setbacks in parts of the east, amid grueling street-by-street battles in the key city of Severodonetsk, with the British Defense Ministry saying most of the city is in Russian hands. After nearly 100 days of fighting, Russian forces control 20 percent of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech to the Luxembourg parliament. Ukraine may face a long war of attrition with Russia, and its allies need to find a way to make their support ‘sustainable’ over the long term, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday. The NATO leader said in an interview with The Washington Post that the fighting could easily drag into an ‘unresolved conflict,’ with neither side willing to make the concessions necessary for any deal. ‘We need to be prepared that this may actually drag on for a long time,’ he said.

  • Stoltenberg acknowledged that the price tag of Western support for Ukraine is steadily rising but said ending the support would also be costly since it would embolden Russia.
  • The United States announced a new round of sanctions on Russian officials and targeted yachts and aircraft it identified as linked to sanctioned Russian elites.
  • The Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 99 of the War in Ukraine. While President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged Russian gains, Ukrainian forces pressed a counteroffensive in the south. The African Union’s leader was set to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin and urge him to release Ukraine’s grain. The New York Times, Marc Santora, Matthew Mpoke Bigg, and Michael Levenson, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “As the war in Ukraine approaches its 100th day, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that Russian forces now control one-fifth of the country, a blunt acknowledgment of the slow but substantial gains that Moscow has made in recent weeks. Though battered, depleted and repulsed from their initial drive to capture the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Russian troops have used their superior artillery power to grind closer to their goal of taking over the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, known collectively as the Donbas, where Kremlin-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian troops since 2014. Mr. Zelensky said Russia had expanded its control of Ukrainian territory from an area roughly the size of the Netherlands before the invasion began to an area now greater than the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined. Seizing that swath of land could give President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia huge leverage in any future talks to end the war, as well as a base of operations to launch further attacks inside Ukraine. Yet momentum in the war can shift quickly and unpredictably. As Russia has pounded targets in the east, Ukrainian forces have regained control of 20 small towns and villages in a counteroffensive in the south of the country, a regional official, Hennadiy Lahuta, said on national television.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 2), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Luxembourg’s parliament that Russia now occupies about 20% of Ukraine and the Russian army ‘has already destroyed almost the entire Donbas.’ He made a plea for more weapons and for more sanctions on Russia. Separately, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba thanked U.S. officials for authorizing $700 million in new military aid, including long-range rocket systems. The Biden administration plans to sell Ukraine drones that can be armed with Hellfire missiles, a U.S. official confirmed to NPR. The drones, whose sale requires congressional approval, would be a significant upgrade to the smaller, shorter range unmanned aerial systems that Ukraine has been using. President Biden separately met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the military alliance’s summit later this month. The White House also announced new sanctions against Russian officials and oligarchsaiming to crack down on evasion of existing penalties and crank up the pressure on President Vladimir Putin and his allies. The sanctions are in partnership with 30 other countries, the Biden administration said. They include targets like yachts and yacht brokerages the administration says are connected to Putin and his inner circle. Ukraine more than doubled its interest rate to 25% in the first hike since the war began. The central bank at first froze its 10% rate but now finally increased it — to the highest level in seven years. The goal is to slow surging inflation and prop up the country’s currency, the hryvnia, as the war is expected to shrink Ukraine’s economy by more than a third. The new U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget Brink, presented her credentials to Zelenskyy and said America would stand with Ukraine as long as it faced Russian aggression. Brink is the first permanent ambassador to Ukraine in three years. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv reopened two weeks ago, having temporarily closed just before Russia invaded in February.”

The House Oversight Committee Is Examining Jared Kushner Over Saudi Investment in a Private Equity Firm Started by Kushner, Trump’s Son-In-Law and Former Adviser. The committee is seeking documents related to the $2 billion investment by a Saudi fund. The New York Times, Kate Kelly and David D. Kirkpatrick, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “A House committee said on Thursday that it was investigating whether Jared Kushner, former President Donald J. Trump’s son-in-law and former adviser, traded on his government position to land a $2 billion investment in his new private equity firm from a prominent Saudi Arabian wealth fund. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, the New York Democrat who leads the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, gave Mr. Kushner a two-week deadline in a letter sent on Thursday to furnish documents related to the Saudi fund’s investment last year in his firm, Affinity Partners. She also asked for any personal correspondence between Mr. Kushner and the Saudi kingdom’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, during or after the Trump administration. The committee, Ms. Maloney wrote in the eight-page letter, is investigating ‘whether your personal financial interests improperly influenced U.S. foreign policy during the administration of your father-in-law, former President Trump.'”

President Biden calls for assault weapons ban and other measures to curb gun violence, NPR, Ximena Bustillo, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “President Biden called on Congress to ban assault weapons or to raise the age to be able to buy one from 18 to 21 …. ‘If we can’t ban assault weapons then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21,’ Biden said. He also called for a ban on high-capacity magazines, background checks, red flag laws and a repeal of the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from legal liability if their weapons are used in violence. The remarks came the day after the 233rd mass shooting in the U.S. this year took place in Tulsa, Okla., that resulted in five people dead including the shooter at Saint Francis Hospital. This was a week after 19 students and two teachers were killed, and 17 others injured at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. And a little over two weeks after 10 people were killed and three others were injured during a racist attack at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y.” See also, Full Transcript: Biden’s Speech on Guns, The New York Times, Thursday, 2 June 2022.

CNN Exclusive: Republicans who texted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows with urgent pleas on January 6 say Trump could have stopped the violence, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb, and Elizabeth Stuart, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “Within minutes of the US Capitol breach on January 6, 2021, messages began pouring into the cell phone of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Among those texting were Republican members of Congress, former members of the Trump administration, GOP activists, Fox personalities – even the President’s son. Their texts all carried the same urgent plea: President Donald Trump needed to immediately denounce the violence and tell the mob to go home. ‘He’s got to condem (sic) this shit. Asap,’ Donald Trump Jr. texted at 2:53 p.m. ‘POTUS needs to calm this shit down,’ GOP Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina wrote at 3:04 p.m. ‘TELL THEM TO GO HOME !!!’ former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus messaged at 3:09 p.m. ‘POTUS should go on air and defuse this. Extremely important,’ Tom Price, former Trump health and human services secretary and a former GOP representative from Georgia, texted at 3:13 p.m. ‘Fix this now,’ wrote GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas at 3:15 p.m. One of the key questions the January 6 House committee is expected to raise in its June hearings is why Trump failed to publicly condemn the attack for hours, and whether that failure is proof of ‘dereliction of duty’ and evidence that Trump tried to obstruct Congress’ certification of the election. The Meadows texts show that even those closest to the former President believed he had the power to stop the violence in real time. CNN obtained the 2,319 text messages that Meadows selectively handed over to the January 6 committee in December before he stopped cooperating with the investigation. According to a source familiar with the committee’s investigation, the texts provide a valuable ‘road map’ and show how Meadows was an enabler of Trump, despite being told there was no widespread election fraud.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.), Reversing Trump, Will Restore States’ Power to Block Pipelines. A proposed rule would make it easier for state officials and tribal authorities to stop pipelines and other energy projects that could pollute local waters. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “The Biden administration on Thursday will move to restore authority to states and tribes to veto gas pipelines, coal terminals and other energy projects if they would pollute local rivers and streams, reversing a Trump-era rule that had curtailed that power. For 50 years, the Clean Water Act has given states and tribes the ability to review federal permits for industrial facilities and block projects that could discharge pollution into local waterways. Without their certification, the federal government cannot approve a project. Michael S. Regan, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said the agency was proposing a rule that ‘builds on this foundation by empowering states, territories, and tribes to use congressionally granted authority to protect precious water resources while supporting much-needed infrastructure projects that create jobs and bolster our economy.’ Water resources are ‘essential to thriving communities, vibrant ecosystems and sustainable economic growth,’ Mr. Regan said in a statement.” See also, Reversing a major Trump administration rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) empowers states and tribes to oppose pipelines. Under the Biden administration’s proposed rule, energy infrastructure will get more scrutiny from local regulators. The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Thursday it would seek to return authority to states to oppose gas pipelines, coal terminals and other projects that pose a threat to lakes, rivers and streams — reversing a major Trump administration rule. For half a century, states under the Clean Water Act had broad authority to alter or even block many energy projects and other infrastructure that threatened to pollute or harm waterways within their borders. But in 2020, President Donald Trump issued a regulation reining in that power. Now, the EPA is seeking to restore states’ authority, making it easier for local officials, including Native American tribes, to scrutinize proposals to build many highways, hydroelectric dams, shopping malls, housing developments and even wineries and breweries.”

The Florida Supreme Court Refuses to Consider a Challenge to a New Map of the Congressional Districts That the Republican State Legislature Approved. This decision means the November elections there will most likely be based on legislative maps that a lower court said illegally diluted the power of Black voters. The New York Times, Michael Wines, Reid J. Epstein, and Nick Corasaniti, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “The Florida Supreme Court refused on Thursday to step into a challenge to a new map of the state’s congressional districts that was approved by the Republican State Legislature. The ruling all but ensures that the November elections will be based on districts that a lower state court said diluted the voting power of Black residents, violating the State Constitution. The ruling, which preserves the new House map personally ordered by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, was a fitting coda to a once-a-decade redistricting process that began with efforts to reduce the raw political self-interest built into the exercise. But in the end, it devolved into a power struggle between Democrats intent on preserving their narrow majority in the House of Representatives and Republicans who feel confident about retaking control of the House in advance of the 2024 presidential race. The Democrats appear to have come out of the map-drawing battles in slightly better shape than before they began. But their gains are marginal in the face of President Biden’s plummeting approval ratings and the historical pattern of losses by the party in power. The Florida court ruling appeared to extinguish their last hope of further bolstering their midterm prospects. In its two-sentence denial, the State Supreme Court said it was premature for the justices to intervene in a suit seeking to overturn the congressional map because the case had not yet wound its way through the state court system, which could take months or years.” See also, Florida Supreme Court locks in Republican Governor DeSantis’ redistricting map. Groups that challenged the map sharply criticized the ruling and said they will not drop their underlying lawsuit. Politico, Gary Fineout, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to redraw the state’s congressional map and give a substantial advantage to Republicans will likely remain in place for this year’s elections. The state Supreme Court — in a 4-1 divided ruling in which two justices recused themselves — declined to wade into an ongoing legal dispute over the map. Voting and civil rights groups opposed to the GOP-approved redistricting map asked the state high court to block it in late May. They argue the redistricting maps violate Florida’s Fair Districts provisions, or anti-gerrymandering amendments in the state constitution.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger Testifies for Fulton County Grand Jury, The New York Times, Maya King, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, testified on Thursday before a Fulton County special grand jury as part of an investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. Mr. Raffensperger is the first of roughly 50 witnesses asked to appear in front of the grand jury over the next several weeks. His wife, Tricia, and several of his staff members, including Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer for the secretary of state’s office, have also been called to testify. Mr. Raffensperger, who testified for nearly five hours, and his wife left the courthouse on Thursday without answering questions from reporters. The special grand jury was impaneled in May and its 23 members have been directed to determine whether Mr. Trump or his allies broke state law in their efforts to overturn the election results in Georgia. After Mr. Trump lost in Georgia, he, along with several lawyers and politicians, made unfounded accusations of voter fraud and discrepancies, sued to conduct additional reviews of the vote and ultimately tried to delay final certification of the election, among other actions. The panel has one year to complete its investigation before providing a report to the Fulton County district attorney, Fani T. Willis, on whether to pursue criminal charges. Mr. Raffensperger was expected to face questions about a January 2021 phone call between his office and Mr. Trump in which the former president asked the secretary of state to ‘find’ enough votes to flip the election in his favor. The investigation is also expected to scrutinize state officials’ interactions with several Trump associates, including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former Trump lawyer, and the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.”

How Trump’s Team Conned Susan Collins Into Dooming Roe v. Wade. Trump officials privately mocked the Maine Republican in the run-up to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, predicting it would be easy to get the pro-choice senator to vote for a seemingly anti-choice nominee, Rolling Stone, Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley, Thursday, 2 June 2022: “When the Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade leaked, Sen. Susan Collins said she was flabbergasted, deeply troubled, even shocked. After all, soon-to-be-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had promised her in 2018 that Roe was a matter of settled law — despite his deeply conservative track record on abortion. Turns out, Collins wasn’t just wrong about Kavanaugh. She was deliberately manipulated by Trump administration officials — and a future Supreme Court Justice — who viewed her as an easy mark. Two former senior Trump White House officials tell Rolling Stone that the pro-choice Collins wasn’t even considered a serious threat to the devoutly conservative Kavanaugh. Instead, the team predicted she’d need only a vague assurance that the nominee would uphold the half-century-old ruling defending abortion rights. And they were right. ‘The thinking from Trump … and everybody else who worked to make this happen was that, as long as his nominees didn’t say anything stupid [on abortion] and let the Susan Collins-es of the world think what they needed to think and hear what they needed to hear, then it would get done,’ said one of the ex-officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the team’s hearing preparations. Some administration officials who worked on the Kavanaugh confirmation privately mocked Collins and her public posturing over Roe, the sources recalled, often with crass language such as calling her a ‘cheap date.'”


Friday, 3 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukrainian troops are locked in brutal combat for the key eastern city of Severodonetsk. Putin believes time is on his side. The Washington Post, Lateshia Beachum, Victoria Bisset, Andrew Jeong, Amy Cheng, Ellen Francis, Jonathan Edwards, Timothy Bella, Catherine Belton, and Reis Thebault, Friday, 3 June 2022: “As the Russian invasion stretched beyond 100 days, Ukraine’s troops remain locked in brutal combat for the key eastern city of Severodonetsk, whose loss would allow Russian leaders to claim a symbolic and territorial victory. U.S. military officials have assessed that the coming weeks could bring a decisive phase in the warRussian President Vladimir Putin believes time is on his side, according to members of Russia’s economic elite, who say the Kremlin will use economic weapons such as a blockage of Ukrainian grain exports to weaken Western support. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told The Washington Post on Thursday that Ukraine-supporting nations need to develop ‘sustainable’ strategies for their aid.

  • Almost 3 million Ukrainian refugees had registered for temporary protection in Europe by the end of last month, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • The head of the African Union met Putin and called for steps to end the growing food crisis in Africa caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • The scale of destruction in Ukrainian cities ‘defies comprehension,’ the International Committee of the Red Cross said as the country marked 100 days of war.
  • The Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 100 of the War in Ukraine. The grinding conflict has rocked the global order, wrought destruction that ‘defies comprehension’ and shows little sign of ending soon. The New York Times, Valerie Hopkins, Neil MacFarquhar, Steven Erlanger, and Michael Levenson, Friday, 3 June 2022: “One hundred days ago, before sunrise, Russia launched artillery strikes on Ukraine before sending troops racing toward major cities, beginning a war against a much smaller country and outnumbered military that seemed destined to quickly topple the government in Kyiv. But the brutal invasion has ripped apart those predictions, reawakening old alliances, testing others and spreading death and destruction across the country. Both armies are now locked in fierce and bloody battles across a 600-mile-long front for control of Ukraine’s east and to gain the upper hand in the conflict. The winner, if there is one, is not likely to emerge even in the next 100 days, analysts say. Some foresee an increasingly intractable struggle in eastern Ukraine and a growing confrontation between President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and the West. New Western arms promised to Ukraine — such as long-range missiles announced by President Biden this week — could help it reclaim some towns, which would be significant for civilians in those areas, said Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a political risk consulting organization. But they are unlikely to dramatically alter the course of the war, he said.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today, (June 3), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 3 June 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: It’s the 100th day of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with no end in sight to the war. The fighting has killed thousands, forced millions to flee the country and left Ukrainian cities in ruins. Both Russia and Ukraine have claimed some successes and losses. In recent weeks, Russia has focused its efforts in the east and south, now controlling one-fifth of Ukraine. In the eastern Donbas region, Russian troops are making gains in a grinding artillery battle as Ukraine awaits new shipments of longer-range and heavier weaponry from the West. The war has had global ripple effects, and cease-fire negotiations have stalled. More than 2 million Ukrainians have crossed back into the country since the heaviest violence shifted away from the capital, Kyiv, and other population centers. The European Union’s border agency, Frontex, said now more people have started going back to Ukraine than are leaving. But the United Nations refugee agency still says Ukrainians are experiencing ‘the largest human displacement crisis in the world today,’ with 7.1 million people displaced within Ukraine and more than 6.5 million refugees. Russian troops occupying the Ukrainian city of Mariupol are still detaining civilian men and sending them to overcrowded camps in the area, according to the city’s Mayor Vadym Boichenko. He told reporters in Kyiv that 100,000 residents remain in his devastated port city, now under full Russian control. Boichenko, who fled before Russian forces captured Mariupol, says food and drinking water are scarce and there’s no electrical power or cellphone service. Thousands of bodies are buried in shallow, makeshift graves. Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of ‘shifting the responsibility’ on Russia for a looming global food crisis. Russian forces have occupied much of Ukraine’s coastline, but the Kremlin blames the blockages of food shipments on Western sanctions and on Ukraine’s defensive mining of Black Sea ports. After a meeting with Putin, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, who leads the African Union, tweeted that Russia’s leader ‘expressed readiness to facilitate’ wheat exports. Speaking to state TV, Putin said Russia wouldn’t attack grain shipments if Ukraine demined the waters, or that exports could go through Belarus, which would require lifting of sanctions on that country. The European Union stepped up sanctions on Russia, including against Russian military commanders the bloc describes as the ‘butchers’ of Bucha and Mariupol, cities where Ukraine blames Russian forces for atrocities. The new blacklist also includes former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, described as ‘closely associated’ with Putin; the adult children of Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov; and Arkady Volozh, who immediately stepped down as CEO of Russian tech giant Yandex. All this came a day after the U.S. rolled out new sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs.”

Before January 6, Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Marc Short Warned the Secret Service of Security Risk to Pence. New details flesh out how the pressure campaign by Donald J. Trump and his allies to block certification of the 2020 election left the vice president’s staff fearing for his safety. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Friday, 3 June 2022: “The day before a mob of President Donald J. Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff called Mr. Pence’s lead Secret Service agent to his West Wing office. The chief of staff, Marc Short, had a message for the agent, Tim Giebels: The president was going to turn publicly against the vice president, and there could be a security risk to Mr. Pence because of it. The stark warning — the only time Mr. Short flagged a security concern during his tenure as Mr. Pence’s top aide — was uncovered recently during research by this reporter for an upcoming book, ‘Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,’ to be published in October. Mr. Short did not know what form such a security risk might take, according to people familiar with the events. But after days of intensifying pressure from Mr. Trump on Mr. Pence to take the extraordinary step of intervening in the certification of the Electoral College count to forestall Mr. Trump’s defeat, Mr. Short seemed to have good reason for concern. The vice president’s refusal to go along was exploding into an open and bitter breach between the two men at a time when the president was stoking the fury of his supporters who were streaming into Washington. Mr. Short’s previously unreported warning reflected the remarkable tension in the West Wing as Mr. Trump and a band of allies, with the clock running out, searched desperately for a means of overturning the election. Mr. Trump grew agitated as his options closed, and it became clear that he was failing in his last-ditch effort to muscle his previously compliant vice president into unilaterally rejecting the voting outcomes in key states. The warning also shows the concern at the highest levels of the government about the danger that Mr. Trump’s anticipated actions and words might lead to violence on Jan. 6.”

A Federal Grand Jury Indicted Peter Navarro, a White House Adviser to Former President Donald Trump, for Failing to Comply with a Subpoena From the House Committee Investigating the Capital Attack, Even as the Justice Department Declined to Charge Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino Jr., Two Other Top Officials Who Have Also Refused to Cooperate. The House Had Recommended Contempt Charges Against All Three Trump White House Aides Over Their Stonewalling of Its January 6 Inquiry. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Luke Broadwater, Friday, 3 June 2022: “The indictment against Mr. Navarro, handed up in Federal District Court in Washington, marked the first time that an official who served in Mr. Trump’s White House during the events of Jan. 6, 2021, has been charged in connection with the investigation into the attack. Prosecutors charged Mr. Navarro, 72, with what amounted to a misdemeanor process crime for having failed to appear for a deposition or provide documents to congressional investigators in response to a subpoena issued by the House committee on Feb. 9. The indictment includes two counts of criminal contempt of Congress that each carry a maximum sentence of a year in prison, as well as a fine of up to $100,000. The Justice Department has declined to take similar steps against Mr. Meadows, Mr. Trump’s final chief of staff, and Mr. Scavino, the deputy chief of staff, according to people familiar with prosecutors’ decision and a letter reviewed by The New York Times informing the top House counsel of it. ‘Based on the individual facts and circumstances of their alleged contempt, my office will not be initiating prosecutions for criminal contempt as requested in the referral against Messrs. Meadows and Scavino,’ Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, wrote to Douglas N. Letter, the general counsel of the House, on Friday. ‘My office’s review of each of the contempt referrals arising from the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation is complete.’ Both Mr. Meadows and Mr. Scavino — who were deeply involved in the effort to overturn the 2020 election — engaged in weeks of negotiations with the committee’s lawyers, and Mr. Meadows turned over more than 9,000 documents to the panel, before the House voted to charge them with contempt. By contrast, Mr. Navarro and his ally Stephen K. Bannon, who has also been charged with contempt, fought the committee’s subpoenas from Day 1 and never entered into negotiations.” See also, Grand jury indicts former Trump adviser Peter Navarro for contempt of Congress, CNN Politics, Evan Perez, Paula Reid, Tierney Sneed, Zachary Cohen, and Holmes Lybrand, Friday, 3 June 2022: “A federal grand jury has indicted former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro for contempt of Congress after he refused to cooperate in the House January 6 committee’s investigation. During a court appearance in Washington, DC, on Friday, Navarro said that he still wants to represent himself without a lawyer and accused prosecutors of using ‘hardball’ tactics by arresting him at an airport and not allowing him to make a phone call. Navarro said he was arrested at a DC-area airport Friday on his way to Nashville. He faces two contempt counts: one for his failure to produce documents demanded by the committee and the other for failing to show up for subpoenaed testimony before House investigators. The House had voted in April to refer Navarro to the Justice Department for not complying with the select committee’s February subpoena.”

Psychologist Testifies That Gina Haspel Observed Waterboarding at C.I.A. Black Site in Thailand Before Becoming the C.I.A. Director in 2018. The testimony emerged in pretrial hearings in the Cole bombing case at Guantánamo Bay, where the war court is wrestling with the legacy of torture after 9/11. The New York Times, Carol Rosenberg and Julian E. Barnes, Friday, 3 June 2022: “During Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing to become director of the C.I.A. in 2018, Senator Dianne Feinstein asked her if she had overseen the interrogations of a Saudi prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, which included the use of a waterboard. Ms. Haspel declined to answer, saying it was part of her classified career. While there has been reporting about her oversight of a C.I.A. black site in Thailand where Mr. Nashiri was waterboarded, and where Ms. Haspel wrote or authorized memos about his torture, the precise details of her work as the chief of base, the C.I.A. officer who oversaw the prison, have been shrouded in official secrecy. But testimony at a hearing last month in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, included a revelation about the former C.I.A. director’s long and secretive career. James E. Mitchell, a psychologist who helped develop the agency’s interrogation program, testified that the chief of base at the time, whom he referred to as Z9A in accordance with court rules, watched while he and a teammate subjected Mr. Nashiri to ‘enhanced interrogation’ that included waterboarding at the black site. Z9A is the code name used in court for Ms. Haspel. The C.I.A. has never acknowledged Ms. Haspel’s work at the black site, and the use of the code name represented the court’s acceptance of an agency policy of not acknowledging state secrets — even those that have already been spilled. Former officials long ago revealed that she ran the black site in Thailand from October 2002 until December 2002, during the time Mr. Nashiri was being tortured, which Dr. Mitchell described in his testimony.”

New York Republican Representative Chris Jacobs, who supported assault rifle ban, ends his reelection campaign. Jacobs’s stunning decision to step aside rather than seek reeection proves how almost no room exists within the Republican Party for members who support banning assault weapons or limiting high-capacity magazines. The Washington Post, Marianna Sotomayor, Friday, 3 June 2022: “Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.) announced that he would suspend his reelection campaign Friday after facing pressure by his party to step aside for coming out in support of gun reforms as a solution to stem the tide of mass shootings in the country in recent weeks. Jacobs was born and raised in Buffalo, a city that became the site of a racially motivated shooting last month that left 10 dead at a local grocery store. At a news conference in his district last week, just miles from Buffalo, Jacobs took an unprecedented step for a Republican endorsed by the National Rifle Association by announcing he would vote with Democrats to ban assault weapons, limit high-capacity magazines, raise the age to purchase a gun to 21 and ban civilians from acquiring military-style armor.”


Saturday, 4 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukraine takes back part of Severodonetsk; revered church is engulfed in flames, The Washington Post, Julian Duplain, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, and David Walker, Saturday, 4 June 2022: “Russian troops were destroying bridges Saturday to prevent Ukraine from moving in reinforcements to Severodonetsk, regional governor Serhiy Haidai said, as the battle for the strategic city dragged on. Nonetheless, he said Ukrainian forces were regaining land and now control about half of the city. In the neighboring Donetsk province, Ukraine accused Russian forces of bombing a towering wooden monastery that is part of a revered centuries-old Ukrainian Orthodox Church site. Video showed the ornate building engulfed in flames. Before the war, the All Saints Monastery drew tourists and pilgrims. Moscow denied any involvement. As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unsparing invasion grinds past the 100-day mark, calls for a negotiated settlement are growing. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres reiterated the need for an immediate cease-fire, urging diplomacy. But the head of Ukraine’s negotiating team, David Arakhamia, says Kyiv is awaiting the delivery of new weapons from Western countries before it engages in fresh peace talks with Moscow.

  • Ukrainian prosecutors trying to build a genocide indictment against Russia are examining allegations that Ukrainian children have been forcibly deported to Russian-controlled territory since February’s invasion, Kyiv’s top prosecutor said.
  • Ukrainian investigators have exhumed more than 1,300 bodies of civilians in the Kyiv region as part of the nation’s ongoing investigation into potential war crimes. The identities of more than 200 people found dead have not yet been determined.
  • Belarus, a close ally of Russia, said it is open to letting Ukrainian agricultural products be shipped to Western ports via Belarusian rail in return for an easing of sanctions on its exports. Russia continues to blame the West for the hunger crisis.
  • The Marriott hotel chain said it is suspending all of its operations in Russia after more than 25 years, citing ‘restrictions’ imposed by the United States, United Kingdom and European Union.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 101 of the War in Ukraine. The Ukrainians and Russians both claimed to be inflicting decisive losses in the battle for the city of Sievierodonetsk. Russian forces appeared to attack Kyiv on Sunday after weeks of calm there. The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer and Jason Horowitz, Saturday, 4 June 2022: “As Ukrainian troops tried to claw back territory and stave off a blistering Russian assault along the country’s embattled eastern front, the government on Saturday sought also to repel a demand earlier in the day by President Emmanuel Macron of France that Moscow not be humiliated to improve chances of reaching a diplomatic solution. ‘We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means,’ Mr. Macron, who has sought to position himself as the world’s chief negotiator with the Kremlin, said in an interview with French newspapers. ‘I am convinced that it is France’s role to be a mediating power.’ Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, responded with a scathing post on social media. ‘Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it,’ Mr. Kuleba wrote. Instead, he argued, peace and the saving of lives could best be achieved by Russia being ‘put in its place.’ The exchange comes as the war has settled into what seems increasingly destined to be a slog. The Ukrainians and Russians both claimed Saturday to be inflicting decisive losses against one another in the battle for Sievierodonetsk, the last major city in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine still under Ukrainian control.”

Trump allies explored sending armed private contractors to seize voting machines in 2020 election, Los Angeles Times, Sarah D. Wire, Saturday, 4 June 2022: “Supporters on the fringes of former President Trump’s circle explored seeking sweeping authority after the 2020 election to enlist armed private contractors to seize and inspect voting machines and election data with the assistance of U.S. marshals, according to a draft letter asking the president to grant them permission. The previously undisclosed ‘authorizing letter’ and accompanying emails were sent on Nov. 21, 2020, from a person involved in efforts to find evidence of fraud in the election that year. The documents, which were reviewed by The Times, are believed to be among those in the possession of the House Jan. 6 committee, which is scheduled to begin public hearings Thursday. The letter appears to be one of the earliest iterations of a draft executive order presented to the then-president in the Oval Office on Dec. 18, 2020, by then- Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, former national security advisor Michael Flynn and former Chief Executive Patrick Byrne in an effort to take control of voting machines.”


Sunday, 5 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Putin warns Russia will hit new targets if Ukraine receives longer-range weapons; missiles hit Kyiv, The Washington Post, Julian Duplain, Rachel Pannett, Bryan Pietsch, David walker, Annabelle Chapman, Kim Bellware, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 5 June 2022: “Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to escalate his bombing campaign if Western nations send Ukraine longer-range rockets, and he dismissed the weapons President Biden recently pledged as ‘nothing new.’ In a television interview with state media that was recorded Friday and aired Sunday, Putin said he considered the medium-range missiles Biden promised last month to be replacements for similar artillery that Ukraine has lost in the fighting. But should longer-range systems arrive, Putin said, his military would begin hitting targets it has so far avoided. He offered no specifics. The Russian president also characterized the West’s materiel support as an attempt to ‘prolong’ the conflict. Also on Sunday, Russian rockets struck the Ukrainian capital for the first time in more than a month, shattering the city’s sense of tentative safety. Russia’s Defense Ministry said its missiles destroyed tanks and other armored vehicles sent to Ukraine by Eastern European allies, but Ukrainian authorities denied the claim and again accused Moscow of targeting civilian infrastructure.

  • Ukrainian forces have regained ground in the key eastern city of Severodonetsk, where intense street fighting has raged for weeks.
  • Police in the hard-hit eastern province of Luhansk accused Russian troops of shelling a humanitarian aid facility where 40 civilians were sheltering. There was no immediate information on deaths or injuries.
  • Ukraine’s national soccer team lost an emotional game on Sunday, ending its World Cup dream after a dramatic war-delayed run that saw the country and its diaspora rally in support of the squad.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 102 of the War in Ukraine. The first strikes in the capital in more than a month destroyed tanks supplied by Ukraine’s allies, Russia said. President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow would hit targets ‘we haven’t hit before’ if Western nations delivered longer-range missiles to Ukraine. The New York Times, Valerie Hopkins and Steven Erlanger, Sunday, 5 June 2022: “Russian forces pressed hard on Sunday to take the town of Sievierodonetsk, one of the last obstacles to seizing the region of Luhansk. But as so often in this grinding war of attrition, the Russian Army is finding the going difficult, with Ukrainian forces making counterattacks and seizing back some of the town. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, who said he visited frontline troops near Sievierodonetsk on Sunday, said that fighting was being waged street by street and that the situation was ‘extremely difficult.’ The city is largely in ruins, and thousands of civilians are still sheltering in basements there.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened this weekend (June 4-5), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 5 June 2022: “As the weekend draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments: Putin warned of hitting new targets if Ukraine gets long-range weapons from abroad. As his country attacks Kyiv, Russia’s president said on Sunday that Moscow would hit ‘objects that we haven’t yet struck’ if the West provides Ukraine with long-range rocket systems. Vladimir Putin’s threat came less than a week after the U.S. said it would send advanced weapons to Ukraine as part of a $700-million security aid package. The delivery includes precise, medium-range rocket systems. Russia strikes Kyiv after weeks of security. Early Sunday, Russia bombed Ukraine’s capital for the first time in over a month. Four Russian missiles slammed into four separate buildings at a large railway car repair compound. Russia claimed it was bombing tanks but journalists on the site saw no evidence of weapons. Opera in Kyiv is back. After a three-month hiatus, during which the sounds of air raid sirens and rocket fire echoed in the city, the National Opera House in Ukraine reopened. The Kyiv Opera Company is kicking off the opening with a production of Natalka Poltavka, a romantic drama showcasing Ukrainian folk songs. Ukraine’s World Cup dream ends. The men’s national team pulled off a 3-1 upset win against Scotland last week before losing to Wales on Sunday in the qualifying round. The 1-0 loss dashed Ukraine’s hopes to join the 2022 tournament in Qatar, what would’ve been the country’s first time qualifying for a World Cup since 2006.”

Republican Representative Liz Cheney says the January 6 ‘conspiracy’ was ‘extremely broad … well-organized,’ CBS News, Sunday, 5 June 2022: “This Thursday night, the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will hold its first public hearing in nearly a year, asking us to relive, and reckon with, a day that some would rather have us forget. CBS News’ Robert Costa asked the committee’s vice chair, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, ‘Are you confident that what you have found as a committee will somehow grab the American people by the lapels and say, Wake up: You have to pay attention?’ ‘I am,’ she replied, calling the insurrection ‘an ongoing threat.’ ‘You know, we are not in a situation where former President Trump has expressed any sense of remorse about what happened,’ Cheney said. ‘We are in fact in a situation where he continues to use even more extreme language, frankly, than the language that caused the attack. And so, people must pay attention. People must watch, and they must understand how easily our democratic system can unravel if we don’t defend it.'”

In Races to Run Elections, Candidates Are Backed by Key 2020 Election Deniers. the origin story behind a slate of Republican candidates for secretary of state features a QAnon figure and several promoters of 2020 conspiracies. The New York Times, Alexandra Berzon, Sunday, 5 June 2022: “Key figures in the effort to subvert the 2020 presidential election have thrown their weight behind a slate of Republican candidates for secretary of state across the country, injecting specious theories about voting machines, foreign hacking and voter fraud into campaigns that will determine who controls elections in several battleground states. The America First slate comprises more than a dozen candidates who falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald J. Trump. It grew out of meetings held by a conspiracy-mongering QAnon leader and a Nevada politician, and has quietly gained support from influential people in the election denier movement — including Mike Lindell, the MyPillow founder, and Patrick Byrne, the former executive who has financed public forums that promote the candidates and theories about election vulnerabilities. Members of the slate have won party endorsements or are competitive candidates for the Republican nomination in several states, including three — Michigan, Arizona and Nevada — where a relatively small number of ballots have decided presidential victories. And in Pennsylvania, where the governor appoints the secretary of state, State Senator Doug Mastriano, who is aligned with the group, easily won his primary for governor last month.”


Monday, 6 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: According to a Ukrainian official, the fight for Severodonetsk in the eastern Donbas area has ‘worsened.’ Britain pledges to send rocket systems to Ukraine. The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Rachel Pannett, Jennifer Hassan, Lateshia Beachum, and Reis Thebault, Monday, 6 June 2022: “The fight for Severodonetsk in the eastern Donbas area intensified Monday, according to a regional official, who said the situation in the city has ‘worsened for us.’ Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said in a TV interview Monday that Russian forces were shelling Severodonetsk but that Ukrainian troops remained in control of the city’s industrial zone. Also on Monday, Britain said it will send Ukraine rocket systems that can strike targets up to 50 miles away, despite a threat from Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow would attack unspecified new targets if Ukraine were given longer-range weapons. The United States said last week that it would send Ukraine rocket systems with a slightly shorter range than the systems Britain will provide. In Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned the help being offered to Ukraine by other nations.

  • In Mariupol, fears of constant bombardment have given way to silent threats: Bacteria-laced water and deadly cholera outbreaks.
  • European Council President Charles Michel accused Russia of triggering a global food crisis with its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York on Monday, prompting Moscow’s U.N. ambassador to walk out.
  • A federal judge issued a warrant granting the Justice Department permission to seize two private jets owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.
  • Sexual violence in Ukraine has worsened during the war, according to reports recounted during a session of the U.N. Security Council.
  • Another Russian general was killed in Ukraine on Sunday, according to Russian state television.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 103 of the War in Ukraine. Soldiers desperate for advanced arms to match those of Russian forces have resorted to Google Translate to decipher the instructions for their new tools. The U.S. issued seizure warrants for two planes owned by a billionaire tied to Putin. The New York Times, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Natalia Yermak, Monday, 6 June 2022: “Since Russia invaded, NATO nations have upgraded Ukraine’s arsenal with increasingly sophisticated tools, with more promised, like the advanced multiple-launch rocket systems pledged by the United States and Britain. But training soldiers how to use the equipment has become a significant and growing obstacle…. On Monday, Britain promised to send Ukraine mobile multiple-rocket launchers, improving the range and accuracy of Ukrainian artillery, days after President Biden committed to sending similar weapons. Ukraine’s most advanced new arms are concentrated in the eastern Donbas region, where the fiercest fighting rages as President Vladimir V. Putin’s forces — approaching from the east, north and south — try to crush a pocket of Ukrainian-held territory. At the eastern tip of that pocket, the two sides have waged a seesaw battle for the devastated, mostly abandoned city of Sievierodonetsk. Over the weekend, Ukrainian troops regained some ground in the city, according to Western analysts and Ukrainian officials. But on Monday, the Ukrainians were forced back again as the Russian military ramped up its already intense artillery attack, according to Serhiy Haidai, Ukraine’s administrator for the region.”

Russia-Ukraine War: What happened today (June 6), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 6 June 2022: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The United Kingdom is sending long-range missiles to Ukraine, defying Russia’s warning it will bomb such weapons supplied by the West. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the U.K. will deliver multiple-launch rocket systems that can strike targets up to 50 miles away with great precision, boosting Ukrainian forces’ capabilities against Russia. This follows President Biden’s announcement last week that the United States was sending Ukraine more advanced rockets than previous shipments. The United Nations Security Council met on Ukraine, focusing on sexual violence in the conflict. U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence Pramila Patten warned of a ‘human trafficking crisis,’ saying, ‘Women and children fleeing the conflict are being targeted for trafficking and exploitation — in some cases facing further exposure to rape and other risks while seeking refuge.’ The U.S. Justice Department obtained a seizure warrant for two planes belonging to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, valued at more than $400 million. The luxury jets, manufactured in the U.S., are now under ‘active pursuit’ and will be known as ‘tainted assets.’ The planes were flown to Russia after rules governing such flights changed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a Biden administration official says. Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned U.S. media organizations working in Moscow that they risk losing accreditation in the near future. In a meeting with journalists and representatives from organizations including NPR, spokesperson Maria Zakharova justified any future Russian actions against American media as a reciprocal response to what she called pressure facing Russian journalists working in the U.S. She alleged that Russian media have long faced problems acquiring visas and broadcasting licenses in the U.S., and are now struggling with blocked bank accounts and official harassment. Separately, investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov, who focuses on Russia’s security agencies, said that Russian authorities placed him on their wanted list and froze his bank accounts.”

Proud Boys Charged With Sedition in Violent January 6 Attack on the Capitol. An amended federal indictment charged five members of the far-right group, including Enrique Tarrio, its former leader, with seditious conspiracy for their roles in the January 6 assault. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Adam Goldman, and Luke Broadwater, Monday, 6 June 2022: “Enrique Tarrio, the former chairman of the Proud Boys, and four other members of the far-right group were indicted on Monday for seditious conspiracy for their roles in the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 of last year, some of the most serious criminal charges to be brought in the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation of the assault. The sedition charges came in an amended indictment that was unsealed in Federal District Court in Washington. The men had already been charged in an earlier indictment filed in March with conspiring to obstruct the certification of the 2020 presidential election, which took place during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. The new indictment marked the second time a far-right group has been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6 attack. In January, Stewart Rhodes, the leader and founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was arrested and charged along with 10 others with the same crime. The charge of seditious conspiracy — which can be difficult to prove and carries particular legal weight as well as political overtones — requires prosecutors to show that at least two people agreed to use force to overthrow government authority or delay the execution of a U.S. law. It carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. It was not immediately clear what evidence led to the new charges, but the indictment underscored the central role played by the Proud Boys in the effort to forestall President Donald J. Trump’s defeat and ‘oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force’ by storming the Capitol. The group and its actions around the Capitol will be central to the narrative being pieced together by the House committee investigating the attack and Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, two people familiar with the committee’s plans said on Monday.” See also, Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio and 4 lieutenants charged with seditious conspiracy. Indictments make the Proud Boys the second group whose members face the rare charge in the Capitol attack. The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman, Monday, 6 June 2022: “Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio, the former longtime chairman of the extremist group Proud Boys, was indicted on a new federal charge of seditious conspiracy with four top lieutenants on Monday. The charges expand the Justice Department’s allegations of organized plotting to oppose through violence the certification of President Biden’s election victory, culminating in the attack on the Capitol by a mob on Jan. 6, 2021. Tarrio, 38, was not in the District that day but allegedly guided activities from nearby Baltimore as Proud Boys members engaged in the earliest and most aggressive attacks to confront and overwhelm police at several critical points on restricted Capitol grounds. Another defendant, Dominic Pezzola of Rochester, N.Y., broke through the first window of the building at 2:13 p.m. with a stolen police riot shield, authorities said. A 10-count superseding indictment returned Monday morning charges Tarrio, Pezzola and three other existing defendants — Ethan Nordean of Washington state, Joe Biggs of Florida and Zachary Rehl of Pennsylvania — with ‘opposing the lawful transfer of presidential power by force,’ eventually mustering and coordinating the movements of as many as 300 people around the Capitol that day. The defendants are accused of fomenting and spearheading a riot that stormed the Capitol, eventually forcing the evacuation of Congress as it met to confirm the 2020 election results. Federal prosecutors previously leveled the historically rare charge of seditious conspiracy for the first time in the Jan. 6 attack against Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the extremist group Oath Keepers, and 10 associates. Since the charges were filed in January, a year after the violence, two of the other defendants, Joshua James of Alabama and Brian Ulrich of Georgia, and one other Oath Keeper member, William Todd Wilson of North Carolina, have pleaded guilty to the charge and are cooperating with the Justice Department.” See also, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four others are charged with seditious conspiracy, NPR, Carrie Johnson, Monday, 6 June 2022: “The leader of the far-right Proud Boys group and four associates have been charged with seditious conspiracy related to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack that was intended to block Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election, the Justice Department said on Monday. A federal grand jury in Washington also charged them with conspiring to prevent an officer from discharging any duties. It’s the second group tied to the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol to face the rare and serious charge of conspiring to overthrow the government or prevent the execution of U.S. law. Eleven members of the Oath Keepers group, including leader Stewart Rhodes, were charged with seditious conspiracy earlier this year.”

A federal judge blocks Louisiana’s congressional map, calling it a racial gerrymander. The judge ordered the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to redraw the map to include a second district that gives Black voters the chance to elect a candidate of their choice. The New York Times, Michael Wines, Monday, 6 June 2022: “A federal judge ruled on Monday that Louisiana’s new congressional map represented a racial gerrymander and must be redrawn to include a second district that gives Black voters the chance to elect a candidate of their choice. The judge, Shelly D. Dick of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, ordered the State Legislature to produce a revised map of the state’s six congressional districts by June 20. She also directed the state to extend the filing deadline for House candidates, now set for June 22, to July 8. Her 150-page ruling said the House map enacted by the Republican-controlled Legislature illegally packed Black voters into the Second Congressional District, then split the remaining Black voters among the remaining five districts.”

Email shows fake Trump electors in Georgia told to shroud their plans in ‘secrecy.’ The message informed those involved in the plan that they were not allowed to disclose their intentions, even to State Capitol security. The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Beth Reinhard, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Jacqueline Alemany, Monday, 6 June 2022: “A staffer for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign instructed [fake Trump electors] planning to cast electoral college votes for Trump in Georgia despite Joe Biden’s victory to operate in ‘complete secrecy,’ an email obtained by The Washington Post shows. ‘I must ask for your complete discretion in this process,’ wrote Robert Sinners, the campaign’s election operations director for Georgia, the day before the 16 Republicans gathered at the Georgia Capitol to sign certificates declaring themselves duly elected. ‘Your duties are imperative to ensure the end result — a win in Georgia for President Trump — but will be hampered unless we have complete secrecy and discretion.’ The Dec. 13, 2020, email went on to instruct the electors to tell security guards at the building that they had an appointment with one of two state senators. ‘Please, at no point should you mention anything to do with Presidential Electors or speak to the media,’ Sinners continued in bold. The admonishments suggest that those who carried out the fake elector plan were concerned that, had the gathering become public before Republicans could follow through on casting their votes, the effort could have been disrupted. Georgia law requires that electors fulfill their duties at the State Capitol. On Dec. 14, 2020, protesters for and against the two presidential candidates had gathered on the Capitol grounds.”

Biden allows solar panel imports while also moving to boost domestic production, NPR, Scott Detrow and Eric McDaniel, Monday, 6 June 2022: “The Biden administration is ending its hands-off approach to a Commerce Department tariff investigation that has effectively frozen the solar power industry in the United States. A probe into whether Chinese solar manufacturers had been improperly funneling parts through four other Asian countries had cut solar installation forecasts nearly in half — and done so at a time when the Biden White House’s ambitious clean energy agenda is stalled in Congress. Rapidly shifting the country away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy is one of President Biden’s top goals. But a legally required trade investigation in response to a U.S. solar panel manufacturer’s complaint has put the administration into a bind: at once trying to spur a transition to zero-emissions power generation by 2035 and leading a ‘quasi-judicial’ Commerce Department investigation the administration conceded it had no legal power to stop or dismiss had hampered the solar industry. On Monday the administration announced a compromise: the investigation will continue, but solar panels will be allowed to be imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam for two years without fear of steep retroactive tariffs — granting the solar industry a measure of certainty as they await the Commerce Department’s decision.Speaking to reporters on background, a White House official defended the move. The Tariff Act, the official said, authorizes the Commerce secretary and president to take emergency actions. ‘And here he [Biden] is using that authority to ensure the reliable supply of solar components from southeast Asian countries. … that play a key role in the reliable supply of solar [panels].’ The solar industry cheered the move. ‘The president’s action is a much-needed reprieve from this industry-crushing probe,’ said Abigail Ross Hopper, the president and chief executive officer of the Solar Energy Industries Association.” See also, The Biden Administration Announced a Two-Year Pause on Imposing Any New Tariffs on the Solar Industry, a Decision That Follows an Outcry From Importers Who Have Complained the Levies Are Threatening Broader Adoption of Solar Energy in the United States, The New York Times, Ana Swanson, David Gelles, and Jim Tankersley, Monday, 6 June 2022: “The move is a victory for domestic solar installers, who said the tariffs would put at risk the Biden administration’s goal of significantly cutting carbon emissions by the end of the decade by reducing the flow of products into the United States. But it goes against the wishes of some American solar manufacturers and their defenders, who have been pushing the administration to erect tougher barriers on cheap imports to help revive the domestic industry. It was the latest example of President Biden’s being caught between competing impulses when it comes to trying to steer the United States away from planet-warming fossil fuels, as he has pledged to do. By limiting tariffs, Mr. Biden will ensure a sufficient and cheap supply of solar panels at a time of high inflation and attempt to put stalled solar projects back on track. But the decision will postpone other White House efforts that might have punished Chinese companies for trade violations and lessened Beijing’s role in global supply chains. To counteract complaints by the domestic solar industry, the administration said that Mr. Biden would attempt to speed U.S. manufacturing of solar components, including by invoking the authorities of the Defense Production Act, which gives the president expanded powers and funding to direct the activities of private businesses.” See also, Biden announces new executive actions to spur domestic solar and clean energy development, CNN Politics, Ella Nilsen, Monday, 6 June 2022: “President Joe Biden authorized the Defense Production Act to spur US manufacturing of solar and several other forms of clean energy, the White House announced Monday. Biden authorized the Energy Department to use the DPA to speed up domestic manufacturing of solar panel components, energy-efficient heat pumps, building insulation, electric transformers needed for the power grid and equipment like electrolyzers and fuel cells. The White House also announced it will leverage the power of the federal government’s purse for clean energy, using federal procurement to increase US solar manufacturing. The White House also announced a two-year suspension of anti-circumvention tariffs on solar panels that have effectively ground much of the US solar industry to a halt, after intense lobbying from much of the US solar industry. US solar installers and trade associations said the threat of these tariffs had a chilling impact on the industry, after the Commerce Department launched a tariff probe in March. Because of the steep, retroactive tariffs that could result from the probe, hundreds of utility-scale solar projects in the US have been delayed or canceled, and solar industry workers laid off as a result.”


Tuesday, 7 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Mayor says Ukrainian soldiers in Severodonetsk, the eastern city under continuous Russian bombardment, are holding their positions despite relentless shelling, The Washington Post, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, Rachel Pannett, Jennifer Hassan, Adela Suliman, Kim Bellware, Lateshia Beachum, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 7 June 2022: “Ukrainian soldiers in Severodonetsk, the eastern city under continuous Russian bombardment, are holding their positions despite relentless shelling, and troops are ‘doing their utmost to defend the city,’ its mayor, Oleksandr Stryuk, said Tuesday. The situation remains ‘difficult,’ he said, and ‘the fighting is not fading.’ He issued the update a day after President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine has “every chance” of winning the battle for Severodonetsk, even though analysts and officials say Russia controls a significant part of the city. At the same time, Moscow is preparing to seize Zaporizhzhia, a major southeastern city that would give Russian troops better access to the heart of the country, Zelensky warned. Aerial photographs from across eastern Ukraine revealed the destructive path Russia’s invasion has cut through that part of the country, where fighting has been focused for several weeks. The satellite images show fields full of artillery craters, city blocks reduced to rubble and a 130-foot bomb scar.

  • Zelensky told his country to prepare for a brutal winter amid fuel shortages.
  • The global economy may be headed for years of weak growth and rising prices, the World Bank warned, with fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine aggravating the slowdown.
  • The Kremlin announced more travel bans targeting notable Americans, including several top airline executives and Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen. The measure is largely symbolic.
  • European Council President Charles Michel told the United Nations on Monday that Moscow was creating a global food crisis by weaponizing Ukraine’s grain exports, prompting the Russian ambassador to walk out of the meeting.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 104 of the War in Ukraine. Ukrainian military leaders are increasingly confronting the question of whether to withdraw from frontline cities to preserve soldiers’ lives, even if it means a more brutal fight to regain them. The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer, Tuesday, 7 June 2022: “Just to enter Sievierodonetsk, Ukrainian soldiers run a gantlet of Russian artillery shells zeroed in on the only access route: a bridge littered with the burned husks of cars and trucks that didn’t make it. And once inside the city in eastern Ukraine, the focus of both armies for the past several weeks, Ukrainian soldiers battle Russians in back-and forth combat for control of deserted, destroyed neighborhoods. Ukraine’s leaders now face a key strategic decision: whether to withdraw from the midsize city and take up more defensible positions, or to remain and risk being boxed in if the bridge is blown up. It reflects the choices the country has had to make since the Russian invasion began, between giving ground to avert death and destruction in the short term, and holding out against long odds in hopes it will later pay off. In Sievierodonetsk, that calculation has taken on significance beyond the city’s limited military importance. In remarks to journalists on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to Sievierodonetsk and its neighbor across the river, Lysychansk, as ‘dead cities’ ravaged by Russian attacks and nearly empty of civilians. And yet he insisted there was a compelling reason to stay and fight: Ukraine’s position throughout the war has been that it intends to hold onto its sovereign territory, and not yield it to Moscow.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 7), NPR, NPR Staff, Tuesday, 7 June 2022: “As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The World Bank warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ‘has magnified the slowdown in the global economy, which is entering what could become a protracted period of feeble growth and elevated inflation.’ The bank’s new Global Economic Prospects report projects a drop in global growth from 5.7% last year to 2.9% in 2022 and beyond. ‘For many countries, recession will be hard to avoid,’ World Bank President David Malpass said. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry tweeted that Russia is ‘blocking the exports’ of 22 million tons of grain. The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, accused Russia of destroying a major grain terminal in the southern port city of Mykolaiv — part of a wider campaign that he said is driving up food prices and destabilizing entire regions. And European Council President Charles Michel said at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday that the Kremlin is using food as a missile against poorer countries, which caused Russia’s ambassador to walk out. Meanwhile the U.S. has accused Russia of trying to sell grain it has stolen from occupied parts of Ukraine. Japan and NATO agreed to increase cooperation during a visit to Tokyo by NATO Military Committee chief Rob Bauer. The agreement arose from concerns over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. ‘The security of Europe and Asia are closely intertwined, especially now with the international community facing serious challenges,’ said Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. If Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends the next NATO summit, to be held in Spain at the end of June, he will become the first Japanese leader to do so. State Department spokesman Ned Price accused the Kremlin of engaging ‘in a full assault on media freedom, access to information and the truth’ after Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned Moscow-based U.S. journalists and media representatives Monday and threatened them with expulsion. Price told reporters in Washington that the U.S. ‘continues to issue visas to qualified Russian journalists, and we have not revoked the Foreign Press Center credentials of any Russian journalists working in the United States.’ Meanwhile, both Price and Russia’s U.S. Ambassador Anatoly Antonov praised an interview with U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan that appeared in Russia’s TASS news agency on Monday: Antonov called it a sign of Russia’s openness to other points of view, while Price said it showed that the U.S. ‘continues to engage with Russian media outlets because we believe it is vital for the people of Russia to have access to information.'”

Trump’s call on January 6 for his supporters to ‘walk down to the Capitol’ prompted a Secret Service scramble. The Agency’s actions are part of the January 6 committee’s probe into Trump’s role in inciting the violent attack. The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey, Peter Hermann, and Jacqueline Alemany, Tuesday, 7 June 2022: “Shortly before pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Secret Service agents scrambled to try to secure a motorcade route so then-President Donald Trump could accompany his supporters as they marched on Congress to demand he stay in power, according to two people briefed on witnesses’ accounts to congressional investigators. The hectic events that day followed nearly two weeks of persistent pressure from Trump on the Secret Service to devise a plan for him to join his supporters on a march to the Capitol from the park near the White House where he was leading a rally that he predicted would be ‘wild.’ The agency had rebuffed Trump’s early entreaties, but the rushed effort on Jan. 6 to accommodate the president came as Secret Service personnel heard Trump urge his rally audience of nearly 30,000 people to march to the Capitol while suggesting he would join them. Their mission was clear, he said: pressure ‘weak’ Republicans to refuse to accept the election results that made Joe Biden the next president. Witnesses have told the House Jan. 6 committee that, immediately after Trump made that remark, Secret Service agents contacted D.C. police about blocking intersections, according to the people briefed on the testimony. Police officials declined, as they were stretched thin because they were monitoring numerous protests and later assisting with a growing mob at the Capitol, the people said. A senior law enforcement official told The Washington Post that the president’s detail leader scuttled the idea as untenable and unsafe. A D.C. official on Tuesday confirmed that the Secret Service sought D.C. police for help with a presidential motorcade on Jan. 6.” See also, Secret Service considered options to get Trump to Capitol on January 6, CNN Politics, Whitney Wild and Annie Grayer, Tuesday, 7 June 2022: “The Secret Service says former President Donald Trump’s call to supporters to walk alongside him to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, led the agency to consider options to secure a motorcade, but ultimately found that transporting the former President to the Capitol unfeasible. A minute-by-minute accounting of the President’s movements has been a central focus of the House select committee investigating January 6, and sources tell CNN that several members of the Secret Service have testified. ‘Secret Service personnel assigned to the President’s detail told administration officials that proposed travel plans to visit the Capitol on January 6 would not be feasible,’ Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement Tuesday.”

First on CNN: House Democrats investigating whether foreign gifts to Trump went missing, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen and Kylie Atwood, Tuesday, 7 June 2022: “House Democrats are investigating former President Donald Trump’s ‘apparent failure to account for gifts from foreign government officials while in office’ after learning there may be thousands of dollars-worth of items that are either missing or were not tracked properly, according to a new letter sent to the National Archives by the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairwoman and first obtained by CNN. The committee says it has received information from the State Department that ‘indicates the Trump administration “did not prioritize this obligation” and failed to comply with the law that governs foreign gift reporting during President Trump’s final year in office,’ the letter states. ‘As a result, the foreign sources and monetary value of gifts President Trump received remain unknown,’ it adds. ‘The Department of State also stated that it was unable to determine the identities of some government officials who received foreign gifts during the Trump Administration, as well as the sources of those foreign gifts.'”


Wednesday, 8 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.N. seeks deal on food exports as war drives up prices and hurts millions worldwide, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Rachel Pannett, Amy Cheng, Adela Suliman, Reis Thebault, and Brittany Shammas, Wednesday, 8 June 2022: “Top United Nations officials are leading negotiations on a package deal to ensure that both Ukraine and Russia can export stalled shipments of grain and fertilizer, which would buoy a global market in dire need of food as severe hunger crises loom, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday. The announcement from Guterres came the same day the international body released a bleak new assessment on the ways Russia’s invasion has ‘exacerbated a global cost-of-living crisis unseen in at least a generation.’ The report warned of worldwide social and economic upheaval if world leaders do not act fast. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky laid out in stark terms the stakes of the battle for Severodonetsk, the eastern city where the war’s most intense fighting has lately been focused. ‘In many ways, the fate of our Donbas is being decided there,’ he said in his nightly address, referring to the contested area that includes the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

  • The foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey said they held ‘substantial’ talks on a proposal to create a shipping corridor to allow wheat exports from Ukraine, but they did not announce an agreement amid the worsening global food crisis.
  • President Biden will travel to Europe for Group of Seven and NATO summits later this month, the White House announced, as he continues his efforts to sustain international support for Ukraine.
  • A Russian radio station’s news bulletin was interrupted Wednesday by Ukrainian anthems and antiwar songs, in what the editor in chief called an apparent hack.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 105 of the War in Ukraine. Moscow said its military had repaired hundreds of miles of track, and a key freshwater source is flowing again to Russian-occupied Crimea. Connecting Russia to territory captured in southern Ukraine would accomplish one of Moscow’s major Objectives in the war. The New York Times, Marc Santora, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Anton Troianovski, and Michael Levenson, Wednesday, 8 June 2022: “Even as Russia hammers eastern Ukraine with heavy artillery, it is cementing its grip on the south, claiming to have restored roads, rails and a critical freshwater canal that could help it claim permanent dominion over the region. The extension of Russian infrastructure into the occupied south could allow Moscow to fortify a ‘land bridge’ between Russia and Crimea and build on efforts to claim control through the introduction of Russian currency and the appointment of proxy officials. Russia’s defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, said on Tuesday that the military, working with Russian Railways, had repaired about 750 miles of track in southeastern Ukraine and set the conditions for traffic to flow from Russia through Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region to occupied territory in Kherson and Crimea. Mr. Shoigu also said that water was once again flowing to Crimea through the North Crimean Canal — an important source of freshwater that Ukraine cut off in 2014 after the Kremlin annexed the peninsula. Mr. Shoigu claimed that car traffic was now open between ‘continental’ Russia and Crimea. Mr. Shoigu’s claims of restored roads and rails could not be immediately verified.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 8), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 8 June 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russia turned over the bodies of 210 Ukrainian soldiers killed in Mariupol, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said. Many of the troops died defending the last holdout in the southeastern city, the Azovstal steel plant. Russia seized control of Mariupol in May after a weeks-long siege culminated in fierce fighting against a Ukrainian regiment at the steel plant. Russia said more than 2,400 of the fighters surrendered. Ukraine’s government said remains of fallen Azovstal defenders arrived in Kyiv following an exchange of war dead with Russia. Ukraine’s parliament speaker made a plea for European Union membership at the European Parliament. Ruslan Stefanchuk warned in a speech to lawmakers that any signal otherwise would only encourage Russian President Vladimir Putin. EU leaders are expected to take up Ukraine’s application for EU candidate status later this month. The Turkish and Russian foreign ministers held talks in Ankara, but failed to reach a breakthrough toward shipping millions of tons of grain and seed stuck in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Ukraine is a big exporter of key foods like wheat that countries in Africa and the Middle East rely on, but Russia’s invasion has blocked Ukraine’s ports. Turkey said if Russia agreed to create a safe corridor, the West should consider Moscow’s demand to lift sanctions. Ukraine was not part of the talks and raised objections to the proposal for the corridor, saying security guarantees are needed. Russia has also demanded that Ukraine remove mines from the Black Sea. Ukraine continued to defend parts of the eastern Donbas region from Russia’s assault, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. The areas hit hardest by fighting were the city of Sievierodonetsk, he said, as well as the towns of Popasna and Lysychansk. Russia’s defense minister said his country controls 97% of the Luhansk province. But according to British defense intelligence and Zelenskyy, Ukrainian forces were holding on. The United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry said Ukraine made successful counterattacks in the southwestern Kherson region, regaining a foothold on the eastern bank of the Inhulets River.”

House Passes Gun Control Legislation. After a morning of emotional testimony from survivors of recent gun violence and experts, lawmakers voted on measures that would curb access to firearms, largely along party lines. The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 8 June 2022: “A divided House on Wednesday approved a wide-ranging package of gun control legislation in a party-line vote, but the measures were all but certain to go nowhere in the evenly divided Senate, where negotiations continued on more modest proposals that could draw the bipartisan support necessary to move forward. The 223-to-204 vote came hours after parents and children affected by mass shootings across the country — including an 11-year-old from Uvalde, Texas, who survived a massacre at her school by smearing herself in a classmate’s blood and pretending to be dead — delivered wrenching testimony to a House committee, urging Congress to act on gun violence. In searing remarks, Dr. Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician who treated many of the victims in Uvalde, described to lawmakers how he saw children’s bodies ‘pulverized’ and ‘decapitated’ by bullets. But the wrenching testimony quickly gave way to political reality on Capitol Hill, where Republicans split bitterly with Democrats over their gun control proposals, both in the committee and during votes on the legislation later in the day.”


Thursday, 9 June 2022:


In First January 6 Hearing, Graphic Footage and Stark Testimony Show Depth of Attack. The bipartisan House panel investigating the attack, led by Representatives Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, opened its landmark series of public hearings by making the case for a methodical conspiracy led by former President Donald J. Trump. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Thursday, 9 June 2022: “The House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol opened a landmark set of hearings on Thursday by showing video of aide after aide to former President Donald J. Trump testifying that his claims of a stolen election were false, as the panel laid out in meticulous detail the extent of the former president’s efforts to keep himself in office. Over about two hours, the panel offered new information about what it characterized as an attempted coup orchestrated by Mr. Trump that culminated in the deadly assault on the Capitol. The panel’s leaders revealed that investigators heard testimony that Mr. Trump endorsed the hanging of his own vice president as a mob of his supporters descended on Congress. They also said they had evidence that members of Mr. Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. The session kicked off an ambitious effort by the nine-member committee, which was formed after Republicans blocked the creation of a nonpartisan commission, to lay out the full story of a remarkable assault on U.S. democracy, orchestrated by a sitting president, that led to a deadly riot, an impeachment and a crisis of confidence in the political system. ‘Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy,’ said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee. ‘And ultimately, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy.'” See also, 5 Takeaways From the First January 6 Hearing, The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman, 10 June 2022. See also, January 6 committee blames Trump for ‘carnage’ at U.S. Capitol. With new video and dramatic testimony, panel members begin making their case that Trump triggered the assault. The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman and Jacqueline Alemany, Thursday, 9 June 2022: “The House committee that has spent a year investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol aired video clips of former president Donald Trump’s daughter, son-in-law and closest aides Thursday night as it began making its case that the assault was the violent culmination of an attempted coup. At a rare evening congressional hearing, aired live by broadcast networks, the nine-member panel pinned blame for the violence squarely on Trump, who knew he had lost the 2020 presidential election but lied to the American people that his defeat was due to fraud and then actively worked to subvert democracy. After conducting 1,000 interviews and gathering 140,000 documents over the course of the year, the committee launched its presentation with a blunt reminder of the vicious violence unleashed by the mob that day. Setting the tone was a chilling compilation of never-before-seen video of a mob surging into the building, including new security footage of aides scattering in fear inside the office of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a Trump ally. That was followed by two witnesses who testified live to their harrowing experiences at the Capitol that day. Caroline Edwards, a U.S. Capitol Police officer seriously injured as pro-Trump rioters forced their way into the building, described the scene as ‘carnage.’ Nick Quested, a British filmmaker who embedded with and documented the activities of an extremist group, the Proud Boys, said he watched ‘the crowd turn from protesters to rioters to insurrectionists.’ ‘The violence was no accident,’ Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said as he opened the hearing. ‘It represented Trump’s last, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power. And ultimately, Donald Trump — the president of the United States — spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy.’ In a statement punctuated by clips from testimony gathered so far by the committee — including from close Trump aides and his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner — Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) promised that the committee would explain in the coming weeks Trump’s multi-prong strategy to subvert democracy and remain in power despite losing the election. According to snippets of testimony played by Cheney, Trump’s attorney general, William P. Barr, told Trump his claims were ‘complete nonsense.’ Ivanka Trump was persuaded by the assurance. ‘I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying,’ she told the committee.” See also, Live updates, January 6 hearing, NPR, Thursday, 9 June 2022. See also, New revelations and 3 other takeaways from the first January 6 committee hearing, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, published on Friday, 10 June 2022. See also, Takeaways from the prime-time January 6 committee hearing, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Marshall Cohen, Zachary Cohen, and Alex Rogers, Thursday, 9 June 2022. See also, Liz Cheney says Trump oversaw a ‘sophisticated 7-part plan’ to overturn the election and stay in power, Business Insider, Oma Seddiq, Thursday, 9 June 2022: “Republican Rep. Liz Cheney on Thursday said former President Donald Trump oversaw a ‘sophisticated seven-part plan’ to overturn the 2020 presidential election and remain in power. ‘Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power,’ said Cheney, the vice chair of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. ‘In our hearings, you will see evidence of each element of this plan.’ Cheney’s comments came during the first of several public hearings that the January 6 panel plans to hold this month to reveal its findings after a year-long investigation. The committee has interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and reviewed thousands of documents as part of its probe. Cheney announced that the panel will show testimony from more than a half dozen former Trump administration officials who were in the West Wing of the White House during the time of the attack on the Capitol. Some of the testimony the panel collected found that Trump was ‘yelling and really angry’ at his aides who were pushing him to  respond to the violence, Cheney said.” See also, Trump Is Depicted as a Would-Be Autocrat Seeking to Hang Onto Power at All Costs. As the January 6 committee outlined during its prime-time hearing, Donald J. Trump executed a seven-part conspiracy to overturn a free and fair democratic election. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Thursday, 9 June 2022: “In the entire 246-year history of the United States, there was surely never a more damning indictment presented against an American president than outlined on Thursday night in a cavernous congressional hearing room where the future of democracy felt on the line. Other presidents have been accused of wrongdoing, even high crimes and misdemeanors, but the case against Donald J. Trump mounted by the bipartisan House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol described not just a rogue president but a would-be autocrat willing to shred the Constitution to hang onto power at all costs. As the committee portrayed it during its prime-time televised hearing, Mr. Trump executed a seven-part conspiracy to overturn a free and fair democratic election. According to the panel, he lied to the American people, ignored all evidence refuting his false fraud claims, pressured state and federal officials to throw out election results favoring his challenger, encouraged a violent mob to storm the Capitol and even signaled support for the execution of his own vice president. ‘Jan. 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after Jan. 6, to overthrow the government,’ said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the select committee. ‘The violence was no accident. It represents Trump’s last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.'” See also, Republicans Try to Undercut January 6 Committee With Inaccurate Claims. Before public hearings begin, Republican lawmakers sought to portray the panel as illegitimate. The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Thursday, 9 June 2022. See also, January 6: The Story So Far, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Luke Broadwater, Maggie Haberman, Katie Benner, and Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 9 June 2022. See also, Full Transcript From the June 9 Hearing of the House Select Committee Investigating the January 6th Capitol Attack, NPR, published on Friday, 10 June 2022.

War in Ukraine: With death sentences, criminal probes, and aggressive rhetoric, Russia on Thursday lashed out at Western businesses, the Ukrainian government, and three foreign fighters in separate moves that alarmed human rights advocates and underlined Moscow’s defiant stance 15 weeks into the war, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Paulina Villegas, Annabelle Timsit, Bryan Pietsch, Rachel Pannett, Adela Suliman, Mary Ilyushina, and Robyn Dixon, Thursday, 9 June 2022: “In Ukraine’s Russian-backed Donetsk region, two Britons and a Moroccan man who fought for the Ukrainian military were accused of acting as mercenaries and sentenced to death in what one British lawmaker deemed a ‘Soviet-era style show trial.’ The case sets a foreboding precedent for other foreign soldiers captured by Russia, which has signaled that they would not be afforded the protections granted to prisoners of war by the Geneva Conventions. Meanwhile, Russian investigators said they have opened more than 1,100 criminal cases against the Ukrainian government, accusing it of crimes ‘against the peace and security of mankind’ and raising fears that captured soldiers will face mass sham trials. In a speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin compared himself to Russia’s first emperor, Peter the Great, and he said businesses that left the country after his invasion of Ukraine ‘will regret it.’

  • Zelensky said the fight for the strategic city of Severodonetsk has turned into ‘probably one of the most difficult throughout this war.’ About 10,000 civilians remain stuck in the city and evacuations are ‘impossible’ for most because of the intensity of Russian attacks, the city’s mayor said Thursday.
  • The foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey said they held ‘substantial’ talks on opening a shipping corridor for wheat from Ukraine but did not announce any agreement, with tensions high over a looming global food crisis.
  • The U.S. military has devised a plan to train Ukrainian soldiers a platoon at a time on how to use sophisticated multiple-launch rocket artillery, the Pentagon’s top general said Wednesday, raising the likelihood that more of the weapons could be sent to Ukraine.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 106 of the War in Ukraine. Amid relentless Russian attacks, Ukraine is holding on and waiting for Western weapons. The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer, Thursday, 9 June 2022: “Just to move about town, Ukrainian soldiers accelerate to breakneck speeds in their S.U.V.s, screech around corners, zip into courtyards, then pile out and run for cover. ‘They see us and they open fire,’ Col. Yuriy Vashchuk said of the need to move quickly or become a vulnerable target for Russian artillery. ‘There’s no place in this town that is safe.’ He was careering around on the high ground of Lysychansk, across the river from Sievierodonetsk, the site of the fiercest fighting in Ukraine’s east. To be prepared, he placed a hand grenade in the cup holder between the front seats of his vehicle. A box of pistol ammunition slid back and forth on the dashboard as he drove. Signs of Ukraine’s tenuous military positions are everywhere: On the hills overlooking Sievierodonetsk, smoke from a dozen or so fires testify to weeks of seesaw urban combat. The single supply route to the west is littered with burned vehicles, hit by Russian artillery. The clanging, metallic explosions of incoming shells ring out every few minutes. These two cities, separated by the Seversky Donets River, have become the focal point of the battle in the east, though weeks of bombardment have driven away most civilians, and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine recently referred to them as ‘dead cities.’'”

Russia-Ukraine War: What happened today (June 9), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 9 June 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian forces control most of the city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, with Ukrainians holding ground in its industrial zone, the governor of Luhansk said on social media. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the battle as the epicenter and key to the fate of the Donbas region. Both sides are believed to be suffering heavy losses in the urban fighting but are keeping casualty figures quiet. Western intelligence agencies say that a Russian victory in Sievierodonetsk would allow Russia to continue pushing farther into parts of eastern Ukraine. Radiation detectors at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant are back online. The International Atomic Energy Agency says the detectors have found normal radiation levels at Chernobyl, the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters in 1986. Russia seized the plant on the first day of its invasion in February. Russia’s actions in the area raised international concerns they could cause radiation to spike in the exclusion zone around the plant. Ukraine retook control of the area in late March. Two British citizens and a Moroccan received death sentences for fighting for Ukraine, in a court in the pro-Russian separatist Donetsk region. Russia’s RIA Novosti reported that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner of the United Kingdom and Saaudun Brahim from Morocco are accused of being mercenaries, who surrendered in Mariupol, Ukraine, in April. They have a month to appeal the sentence, the state news agency said. The British foreign secretary condemned the ruling as ‘a sham judgement with absolutely no legitimacy.’ A Ukrainian court upheld a ban on a political party with ties to Russia. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a law last month banning pro-Russian parties from government. The law allows the justice ministry to seize the assets of any party that ‘glorifies or justifies any armed aggression’ against Ukraine. Before Russia’s invasion, the only pro-Russian party in parliament held about one-tenth of seats. After the invasion, the party disbanded, rebranded and came back with an anti-war stance. But officials ordered the party to liquidate. Now there’s no official pro-Russian position in Ukraine’s government for the first time since independence 30 years ago. At least 4.8 million refugees from Ukraine are in Europeaccording to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. The updated figure is based on data from national authorities and reflects Ukrainians’ movements into different countries, as well as those returning home, since the Russian invasion. As of Tuesday, the agency recorded 7.3 million border crossings from Ukraine and another 2.3 million crossings back into the country.”


Friday, 10 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukrainian leaders have made urgent calls for more help from the West as an intense ‘artillery war’ with Russian forces in the country’s east saps ammunition and weapons stocks, The Washington Post, Meryl Kornfield, Emily Rauhala, Ellen Francis, Amy Cheng, María Paúl, Timothy Bella, and Michael Birnbaum, Friday, 10 June 2022:“’Everything now depends on what [the West] gives us,’ Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s minister intelligence, said in an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper Friday. The pleas come during a fierce battle centered on the strategic city of Severodonetsk, which is largely controlled by Russian forces. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate said Friday that despite Russia’s superior firepower, the war’s grinding pace could mean another year of fighting. A prolonged war could jeopardize Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union and other Western institutions. Ahead of an E.U. summit this month, diplomats said it was not yet clear if the 27-member bloc would agree to grant Ukraine ‘candidate status,’ an early step on the long path to membership.

  • Ukraine has now almost completely run out of ammunition for the Soviet-era weapons systems that were the mainstay of its arsenal, a government adviser said.
  • British Defense Minister Ben Wallace met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this week and vowed to ‘work even more closely’ with Ukraine ‘as the conflict enters a different phrase.’
  • The restaurants formerly known as McDonald’s will reopen this Sunday in Russia, under a new name and logo, after the fast-food titan pulled its business from the country last month.
  • Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said there is evidence of a potential cholera outbreak in the port city that could kill thousands.
  • A British lawmaker said two captured Britons who were sentenced to death, along with a Moroccan man, for fighting against Russia in Ukraine, were being ‘used as hostages.’
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 107 of the War in Ukraine. Shells for Soviet-era weapons are running short, and powerful Western weapons are not arriving fast enough to make up the difference, giving Russia a big advantage in artillery on the battlefields in the east. The New York Times, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Andrew E. Kramer, and Natalia Yermak, Friday, 10 June 2022: “Nearly four months after Russia invaded, the Ukrainian military is running low on ammunition for its Soviet-era artillery and has not received enough supplies from its allies to keep the Russians at bay, Ukrainian officials and artillery officers in the field say. The shortage has put Ukrainian troops at a growing disadvantage in the artillery-driven war of attrition in the country’s east, with Russia’s batteries now firing several times as many rounds as Ukraine’s. While the West is sending in weapons, they are not arriving fast enough or in sufficient numbers to make up for Ukraine’s dwindling arsenal. The Western weapons, heavy, long-range artillery pieces and multiple-launch rocket systems, are more accurate and highly mobile, but it takes time to deploy them and train soldiers to use them. In the meantime, Ukraine is running out of ammunition for the older weapons. On the front lines in Donbas, Ukrainian soldiers are being forced to conserve shells, and are often unable to return fire one for one.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 10), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 10 June 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Between 100 and 200 Ukrainian troops are being killed on the front line every dayUkraine’s senior presidential aide told the BBC. That’s double the combat toll previously estimated by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as battles for the country’s eastern regions grind into another week. Despite billions of dollars in military aid from the U.S. and European allies, Ukraine still says it’s outgunned by Russia, and Kyiv continues to plead for more weapons. Concerns are growing about a possible cholera outbreak in the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol. The city’s mayor, now based outside Mariupol, said 20,000 civilians may have died in Russia’s siege of the southern port city, and corpses have been contaminating the wells. The British Defense Ministry said medical services in Mariupol are near collapse, as Russia struggles to provide public services in occupied areas. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv, and pledged to continue supporting Ukraine with military and other aid. The United Kingdom is also pushing for the release of two British nationals convicted of ‘mercenary activities’ and sentenced to death by a court in the pro-Russian separatist Donetsk region. British officials said they were working with Kyiv to secure the soldiers’ release. Russia’s central bank cut its interest rates to their prewar level, citing slowing inflation. The bank chopped its key rate to 9.5%, more than Western economists had expected, as Russia eases back from the 20% emergency rate hike when the war began and Western sanctions followed. Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said the effect of sanctions so far has been ‘less acute’ than feared, though she acknowledged they haven’t reached their full effect.”

January 6 Panel Puts Focus on Cabinet Discussions About Removing Trump. Other reports verify Representative Liz Cheney’s assertion that cabinet members considered using the 25th Amendment to oust Donald Trump after the assault on the Capitol. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 10 June 2022: “When Representative Liz Cheney asserted at the House Jan. 6 hearing on Thursday that Trump administration cabinet members weighed invoking the constitutional process to remove President Donald J. Trump from office after the attack on the Capitol by his supporters, she did not immediately provide details or evidence. But as the federal government convulsed in the hours and days after the deadly riot, a range of cabinet officials weighed their options, and consulted one another about how to steady the administration and ensure a peaceful transition to a new presidency. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state at the time, and Steven Mnuchin, then the Treasury secretary, discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would have required the vice president and the majority of the cabinet to agree that the president could no longer fulfill his duties to begin a complex process of removal from office. Their discussion was reported by Jonathan Karl of ABC News in his book ‘Betrayal,’ and described to The New York Times by a person briefed on the discussion. Mr. Pompeo has denied the exchange took place, and Mr. Mnuchin has declined to comment.”

Former President Donald Trump, Long Known for Distancing Himself From or Tossing Aside Staff Members Who Contradicted Him While He Was in the White House, Discovered a New Target on Friday: His Elder Daughter Ivanka Trump, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Friday, 10 June 2022: “The morning after the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol played recorded video testimony of his daughter, Ivanka Trump, at its prime-time public hearing, Mr. Trump used his social media website to separate himself from what she had said and to say she was ‘checked out’ during the final days of his administration. In the testimony, Ms. Trump said she was influenced by a Dec. 1, 2020, statement by William P. Barr, then the attorney general, that there was no widespread fraud that had altered the outcome of the election. She testified that she respected Mr. Barr and ‘accepted what he was saying.’ ‘Ivanka Trump was not involved in looking at, or studying, Election results,’ Mr. Trump wrote on his social media website, Truth Social, in one of eight messages he posted there in response to the hearing. ‘She had long since checked out and was, in my opinion, only trying to be respectful to Bill Barr and his position as Attorney General (he sucked!).'” See also, Trump claims daughter Ivanka ‘checked out’ and wasn’t looking at election results, CNN Politics, Kristen Holmes, Friday, 10 June 2022.

Liz Cheney states Trump said on January 6 that Pence ‘deserves’ to be hanged, The Washington Post, Timothy Bella, Friday, 10 June 2022: “President Donald Trump said on Jan. 6, 2021, during the riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol, that Vice President Mike Pence ‘deserves’ to be hanged for not tossing out electoral votes for Joe Biden, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) stated at Thursday night’s congressional hearing. At the first prime-time House select committee hearing on the insurrection, the nine-member panel that has investigated the Capitol riot for the last year squarely blamed Trump for the violence that unfolded more than 17 months ago. The attack led to the deaths of five people and injuries to 140 law enforcement officers. The committee noted that Trump was told he had lost the 2020 presidential election multiple times but lied to the American people that his defeat was due to fraud. In her opening statement, committee Vice Chair Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump and was ousted from her position as the No. 3 House Republican, promised the world that it would hear testimony from ‘more than half a dozen former White House staff in the Trump administration, all of whom were in the West Wing of the White House on January 6.’ ‘You will hear testimony that “the president did not really want to put anything out” calling off the riot or asking his supporters to leave,’ Cheney said. ‘You will hear the President Trump was yelling and “really angry” at advisers who told him he needed to be doing something more.’ Then, Cheney said that the president indicated his support for the pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021, that started chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence!’ ‘Aware of the rioters’ chants to “hang Mike Pence,” the president responded with this sentiment: “Maybe our supporters have the right idea.” Mike Pence “deserves it,” ‘ Cheney said.”

Emails show Ginni Thomas pressed 29 Arizona lawmakers to help overturn Trump’s defeat, The Washington Post, Emma Brown, Friday, 10 June 2022: “Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed 29 Republican state lawmakers in Arizona — 27 more than previously known — to set aside Joe Biden’s popular vote victory and ‘choose’ presidential electors, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post. The Post reported last month that Thomas sent emails to two Arizona House members, in November and December 2020, urging them to help overturn Biden’s win by selecting presidential electors — a responsibility that belongs to Arizona voters under state law. Thomas sent the messages using FreeRoots, an online platform intended to make it easy to send pre-written emails to multiple elected officials. New documents show that Thomas indeed used the platform to reach many lawmakers simultaneously. On Nov. 9, she sent identical emails to 20 members of the Arizona House and seven Arizona state senators. That represents more than half of the Republican members of the state legislature at the time. The message, just days after media organizations called the race for Biden in Arizona and nationwide, urged lawmakers to ‘stand strong in the face of political and media pressure’ and claimed that the responsibility to choose electors was ‘yours and yours alone.’ They had ‘power to fight back against fraud’ and ‘ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen,’ the email said.”


Saturday, 11 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Governor of Luhansk says Russia controls most of Severodonetsk, The Washington Post, Amy Cheng, Ellen Francis, Victoria Bisset, Timothy Bella, and Meryl Kornfield, Saturday, 11 June 2022: “Ukraine, on the brink of losing the eastern region of Luhansk to Russia, is warning that its outgunned military desperately needs faster deliveries of Western arms. Fierce street fighting is continuing in the strategic city of Severodonetsk, but ‘most of the city is controlled by Russians,’ the Luhansk governor said Saturday. An adviser to Ukraine’s government said its forces could respond with only about one artillery round for every 10 fired by Russia. The fighting continues despite about 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers already having died during the invasion, a Ukrainian military adviser said Saturday. Ukraine recently noted that between 100 and 200 soldiers are killed each day. On Saturday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with Zelensky in Kyiv to discuss Ukraine’s E.U. candidacy, ahead of an expected recommendation from the commission on Ukraine’s status this month.

  • President Biden said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ‘didn’t want to hear’ U.S. warnings of a potential Russian attack before the invasion began, according to the Associated Press. Ukrainian officials have objected to Biden’s assertion.
  • Speaking via video at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a key annual security summit in Singapore, Zelensky said that it’s ‘too late’ to persuade Russia to end its invasion, and that it’s up to the world to put Russia ‘in its place.’
  • Ukraine’s attorney general said the deaths of 24 more children have been recorded in the southern city of Mariupol, bringing the confirmed number of children killed in Ukraine since the war began to 287. The United Nations says it has confirmed the deaths of 274 children. Both totals have been acknowledged as incomplete.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 108 of the War in Ukraine. With the Ukrainians running short of guns and ammunition, and pressures growing on Western governments, Moscow’s fortunes may be rising. The New York Times, Marc Santora and Roger Cohen, Saturday, 11 June 2022: “A war in Ukraine that began with a Russian debacle as its forces tried and failed to take Kyiv has seemingly begun to turn, with Russia now picking off regional targets, Ukraine lacking the weaponry it needs and Western support for the war effort fraying in the face of rising gas prices and galloping inflation. On the 108th day of President Vladimir V. Putin’s unprovoked war, driven by his conviction that Ukraine is territory unjustly taken from the Russian Empire, Russia appeared no closer to victory. But its forces did appear to be making slow, methodical and bloody progress toward control of eastern Ukraine.”

January 6 Committee Appears to Lay Out Road Map for Prosecuting Trump. The first prime-time hearing into the January 6 attack confronted the fundamental question that has haunted Donald J. Trump since he left office: Should he be prosecuted in a criminal court? The New York Times, Peter Baker and Katie Benner, Saturday, 11 June 2022: “He had means, motive and opportunity. But did Donald J. Trump commit a crime? A House committee explicitly declared that he did by conspiring to overturn an election. The attorney general, however, has not weighed in. And a jury of his peers may never hear the case. The first prime-time hearing into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol this past week confronted the fundamental question that has haunted Mr. Trump, the 45th president, ever since he left office: Should he be prosecuted in a criminal court for his relentless efforts to defy the will of the voters and hang on to power? For two hours on Thursday night, the House committee investigating the Capitol attack detailed what it called Mr. Trump’s ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’ seven-part plan to prevent the transfer of power. The panel invoked the Justice Department, citing charges of seditious conspiracy filed against some of the attackers, and seemed to be laying out a road map for Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to their central target. Several former prosecutors and veteran lawyers said afterward that the hearing offered the makings of a credible criminal case for conspiracy to commit fraud or obstruction of the work of Congress. In presenting her summary of the evidence, Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the committee’s vice chairwoman, demonstrated that Mr. Trump was told repeatedly by his own advisers that he had lost the election yet repeatedly lied to the country by claiming it had been stolen. He pressured state and federal officials, members of Congress and even his own vice president to disregard vote tallies in key states. And he encouraged the mob led by extremist groups like the Proud Boys while making no serious effort to stop the attack once it began. ‘I think the committee, especially Liz Cheney, outlined a powerful criminal case against the former president,’ said Neal K. Katyal, a former acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama. ‘A crime requires two things — a bad act and criminal intent,’ Mr. Katyal said. By citing testimony by Mr. Trump’s own attorney general, a lawyer for his campaign and others who told him that he had lost and then documenting his failure to act once supporters stormed the Capitol, Mr. Katyal said, the panel addressed both of those requirements.”

Pence-world’s final takedown of Trump’s January 6 bid to remain in power revealed in his lawyer’s memo. Top adviser told the then-vice president that the courts would likely not support him if he gave in to Trump’s pressure to delay certifying electoral votes. Politico, Betsy Woodruff Swan and Kyle Cheney, Saturday, 11 June 2022: “A day before a mob of Donald Trump supporters smashed their way into the Capitol to disrupt the transfer of presidential power, then-Vice President Mike Pence’s top lawyer dashed off a fateful memo. In the three-page document, attorney Greg Jacob concluded that if Pence were to embrace Trump’s demand that he single-handedly block or delay the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6, he would be breaking multiple provisions of the Electoral Count Act, the law that has governed the transfer of power since 1887. Such a move, Jacob concluded, would assuredly fail in court. Or worse, he said, the courts would refuse to get involved and leave America in an unprecedented political crisis. In that case, he said in the memo obtained by POLITICO and published for the first time, ‘the Vice President would likely find himself in an isolated standoff against both houses of Congress … with no neutral arbiter available to break the impasse.’ Jacob is scheduled to testify publicly Thursday to the Jan. 6 select committee about Pence’s decision to resist Trump’s pressure campaign. The panel declined to comment on Jacob’s memo. The memo informed Pence’s ultimate decision to rebuff pressure from Trump to reverse the outcome of the election. Pence announced his decision the next day, when he traveled to the Capitol to preside over the Jan. 6 meeting of the House and Senate. His decision, in a letter that closely tracked Jacob’s memo, inflamed a crowd of thousands of Trump supporters that the president had called to Washington to protest his defeat.”

The town crier. Deepening suspicions. A parallel voting system. Dumpster diving for documents. In northwest Georgia, a woman known as ‘Burnitdown’ portends what the Trump movement is becoming. The Washington Post, Stephanie McCrummen, Saturday, 11 June 2022: “Six years into the grass-roots movement unleashed by Donald Trump in his first presidential campaign, Angela Rubino is a case study in what that movement is becoming. Suspicious of almost everything, trusting of almost nothing, believing in almost no one other than those who share her unease, she has in many ways become a citizen of a parallel America — not just red America, but another America entirely, one she believes to be awash in domestic enemies, stolen elections, immigrant invaders, sexual predators, the machinations of a global elite and other fresh nightmares revealed by the minute on her social media scrolls. She is known online as ‘Burnitdown.’ She is also among the people across the country willing to do whatever they can to ensure that the imagined enemies of the United States are defeated in the 2022 midterm elections and beyond. From school boards to state houses to Congress, their goal is to take political territory, and for evidence that this is possible, they look to northwest Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose first-time candidacy two years ago defined the fringe of the Republican Party and who is now running for reelection as one of its standard bearers.”


Sunday, 12 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.S. official says Russia is likely to seize control of eastern Ukrainian region within weeks, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Victoria Bisset, Julian Duplain, Kendra Nichols, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 12 June 2022: “As fighting continues in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, causing heavy casualties and leaving Ukrainian forces with dwindling ammunition, a senior U.S. defense official said Russia is likely to seize control of the entire region within a few weeks. The cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, in Luhansk, are increasingly under duress and could fall to Russia within a week, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Ukrainian officials said Russia is bombarding a chemical plant sheltering hundreds of soldiers and civilians in Severodonetsk, a strategic city that is mostly under Russian control after weeks of intense battles. Russia ‘will throw all their reserves in order to capture the city’ within a day or two to take control of the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway, a vital supply route, predicted Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region.

  • McDonald’s in Moscow is no longer McDonald’s. It’s ‘Vkusno i Tochka,’ which translates as ‘Tasty and that’s it.’
  • NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday that the alliance remains hopeful about progress on the membership applications of Finland and Sweden, despite opposition from Turkey.
  • China’s defense minister appeared to play down his country’s support of Moscow and said it has not supplied weapons to Russia for its war on Ukraine.
  • Local authorities in western Ukraine said 22 people were injured in a missile strike Saturday evening near Chortkiv. Russia claimed it targeted a warehouse containing missiles.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 109 of the War in Ukraine. A Ukrainian official said that Russian forces could cut off the eastern city within days. Capturing the city would give President Vladimir Putin a key victory in his bid to control all of the Donbas region. The New York Times, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Sunday, 12 June 2022: “With Russia about to encircle Sievierodonetsk, a city critical to its goal of seizing Ukraine’s east, and with a neighboring city squarely in Moscow’s sights, the question of how realities on the ground will shape the next phase of the war became still more pressing Sunday for Ukraine’s Western allies. ‘The Russians are making every effort to cut off Sievierodonetsk,’ the regional governor, Serhiy Haidai, said Sunday on Telegram, the messaging app. ‘The next two or three days will be significant.’ Across the river, Ukrainians trying to hold fast against the Russians in Lysychansk had the advantage of good terrain — but dwindling weaponry to defend it with. ‘If there is no help with military equipment, of course they will drive us out,’ said Oleksandr Voronenko, 46, a military police officer stationed in Lysychansk. ‘Because everyday the equipment is destroyed. You have to replace it with something new.'”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened this weekend (June 11-12), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 12 June 2022: “As the weekend draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments: Ukrainian officials said 23 people were injured after a Russian rocket struck Chortkiv in the Ternopil region of western Ukraine. ‘There was no tactical or strategic sense in this strike, as in the vast majority of other Russian strikes,’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday. ‘This is terror, just terror.’ The family of a 48-year-old British man detained by Russian-backed rebels called for his release on Saturday after he was sentenced to death in a trial in the separatist-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic of Ukraine. Shaun Pinner, who has lived in Ukraine for four years, served in the division defending Mariupol before it fell to Russian forces. Another Briton and a man from Morocco were also sentenced to death in what Pinner’s family described as a ‘show trial.’ Russian forces are using more deadly, inaccurate ordinance as munitions run low, Ukrainian and U.K. officials said Saturday. With modern munitions in short supply, Russia has resorted to using old anti-ship missiles designed to take out aircraft carriers. However, the munitions are highly inaccurate and can cause extreme collateral damage. A former British soldier was killed fighting in eastern Ukraine. Jordan Gatley, a former rifleman in the British army, was fighting on the front lines in Severodonetsk in Ukraine’s Donbas region. Both Ukrainian and Russian forces have suffered heavy casualties during intense fighting around Severodonetsk, a key city that Russia wants to capture.”

Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal on Gun Safety. The agreement, which falls short of the changes championed by Democrats, is a significant step toward ending a yearslong impasse over gun reform legislation. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Annie Karni, Sunday, 12 June 2022: “Senate negotiators announced on Sunday that they had struck a bipartisan deal on a narrow set of gun safety measures with sufficient support to move through the evenly divided chamber, a significant step toward ending a yearslong congressional impasse on the issue. The agreement, put forth by 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats and endorsed by President Biden and top Democrats, includes enhanced background checks to give authorities time to check the juvenile and mental health records of any prospective gun buyer under the age of 21 and a provision that would, for the first time, extend to dating partners a prohibition on domestic abusers having guns. It would also provide funding for states to enact so-called red-flag laws that allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed to be dangerous, as well as money for mental health resources and to bolster safety and mental health services at schools. The outline has yet to be finalized and still faces a perilous path in Congress, given the deep partisan divide on gun measures and the political stakes of the issue. It falls far short of the sprawling reforms that Mr. Biden, gun control activists and a majority of Democrats have long championed, such as a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks. And it is nowhere near as sweeping as a package of gun measures passed almost along party lines in the House last week, which would bar the sale of semiautomatic weapons to people under the age of 21, ban the sale of large-capacity magazines and enact a federal red-flag law, among other steps.” See also, Bipartisan group of senators announces deal for school safety and gun measures, NPR, Kelsey Snell, Sunday, 12 June 2022: “A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators say they have reached a deal on a package of safety and gun-related measures narrowly focused on preventing future shootings similar to the one in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed in their school. The proposal, which has not been written into legislative text, includes money to encourage states to pass and implement so-called ‘red flag’ laws to remove guns from potentially dangerous people, money for school safety and mental health resources, expanded background checks for gun purchases for people between the ages of 18 and 21 and penalties for illegal straw purchases by convicted criminals. The agreement has the support of at least 20 senators who worked closely over the past several weeks to find the areas of common ground that could pass the closely divided Senate. The group includes 10 Republicans, meaning a final bill could potentially garner the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.” See also, Senators strike bipartisan gun deal, heralding potential breakthrough, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Leigh Ann Caldwwell, Sunday, 12 June 2022: “A bipartisan group of senators announced Sunday that it had reached a tentative agreement on legislation that would pair modest new gun restrictions with significant new mental health and school security investments — a deal that could put Congress on a path to enacting the most significant national response in decades to acts of mass gun violence. Twenty senators — 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans — signed a statement announcing the framework deal. The move indicated that the agreement could have enough GOP support to defeat a filibuster, the Senate supermajority rule that has impeded previous gun legislation.”


Monday, 13 June 2022:


Second January 6 House Committee Hearing: Former Attorney General William Barr Says Trump Was ‘Detached From Reality.’ On the second day of the hearing, William P. Barr, the former attorney general, said in a recorded deposition that claims of widespread electoral fraud were nonsense. As the hearing closed, Representative Zoe Lofgren said Mr. Trump used lies about fraud as a fund-raising tool. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 13 June 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump’s attorney general testified that he believed the president had grown delusional as he insisted on pushing false claims of widespread election fraud that he was told repeatedly were groundless, according to a videotaped interview played on Monday by the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. ‘He’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff,’ William P. Barr, the former attorney general, told the panel, adding, ‘There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.’ In a hearing focused on the origins and spread of Mr. Trump’s lie of a stolen election, the panel played excerpts from Mr. Barr’s testimony, as well as that of a chorus of campaign aides and administration officials who recounted, one after the other, how his claims of election irregularities were bogus.

  • The session began with the testimony of Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, Bill Stepien, who testified on video that he had told his boss on election night that he had no basis for declaring victory, but Mr. Trump insisted on doing so anyway.

    Mr. Trump ‘thought I was wrong. He told me so,’ Mr. Stepien said in his interview.

  • Then the panel laid out how Mr. Trump’s initial lie gave way to more falsehoods of election fraud, which grew more outlandish as time wore on. It made extensive use of the recorded testimony from Mr. Barr, who said he had told Mr. Trump repeatedly that his claims of fraud were ‘bullshit.’

    At one point during his deposition, Mr. Barr could not control his laughter at the absurdity of the claims, which included defense contractors in Italy using satellites to flip votes and a scheme orchestrated by the former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013.

  • The panel fleshed out how there was a power struggle after the election among officials in Mr. Trump’s campaign, the White House, the Justice Department — many of whom repeatedly told him there was no evidence of widespread fraud — and outside figures, including his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who fueled the groundless claims of major irregularities.

  • On election night, rather than heed Mr. Stepien’s caution, Mr. Trump chose to listen to the advice of an ‘apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani’ and declare victory, said Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman of the committee.

    Mr. Stepien said there were essentially two teams advising Trump. He called his team ‘Team Normal.’

  • The committee asserted that Mr. Trump used the lie of a stolen election to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, duping his donors and ultimately fooling his supporters into showing up at the Capitol to press his bogus claims of a massive election ‘steal.’

    The committee presented evidence that there was not, in fact, an ‘Election Defense Fund’ for the Trump campaign, despite the campaign soliciting millions in donations for one.

    ‘The big lie was also a big rip-off,’ said Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, who was leading the presentation on Monday.

  • Evidence of Mr. Trump’s determination to say groundlessly that he had won was interspersed with testimony from Chris Stirewalt, the former political editor of Fox News, who appeared in person and described in detail his data-driven analysis that concluded on election night that Mr. Trump was losing.

  • Other witnesses appearing on Monday afternoon included Byung J. ‘BJay’ Pak, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta who resigned abruptly after refusing to say that widespread voter fraud had been found in Georgia.

  • He said his office investigated wild claims about suitcases full of ballots being wheeled in to change election results. ‘The allegations made by Mr. Giuliani were false,’ Mr. Pak testified.

Second January 6 House Committee Hearing: Aides testify Trump pushed ‘big lie’ despite being told election fraud claims were false, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, John Wagner, Eugene Scott, and Mariana Alfaro, Monday, 13 June 2022: “The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection asserted in its second hearing Monday that the Capitol attack was the direct result of Donald Trump’s repeated baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Trump continued pursuing ever-outlandish claims of election fraud — then fundraised off of those false claims — despite being told repeatedly that Joe Biden had won the race fairly, according to testimony from those who had been close to the former president. The committee played video of its deposition with former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, in which Stepien said he advised Trump on election night that it was too early to call the race and that they needed to wait until early and mail-in ballots were counted. Trump objected to that advice, Stepien said, and claimed that night that he had won, baselessly calling the race a ‘fraud’ and an ’embarrassment.’ Stepien told the committee that Trump’s orbit had cleaved into ‘Team Crazy’ vs. ‘Team Normal’ and that he was glad to be on the latter. However, Trump was increasingly listening only to allies who pushed conspiracy theories about the election. ‘I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, boy … he has become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff,’ former Trump attorney general William P. Barr said, according to video testimony the committee played Monday. ‘When I went into this and would tell them how crazy some of these allegations were, there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.’

  • Monday’s hearing follows a prime-time hearing Thursday in which the panel began making its case that the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was the violent culmination of a coup attempt. In the second hearing, panel members also addressed how Trump’s ‘big lie’ about election fraud drove Republican fundraising appeals after Biden won the election.
  • Chris Stirewalt, a former political editor for Fox News, testified that he was proud of his team’s decision to call Arizona for Biden before other networks did on election night. He also said his team had taken ‘pains’ to caution viewers about a ‘red mirage’ — showing a Republican ahead on election night — noting that the results were likely to change after early votes were counted. ‘The Trump campaign and the president had made it clear that they were going to try to exploit this anomaly … When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, it doesn’t matter which piece you put in first. It ends up with the same image,’ Stirewalt testified.
  • The committee had to scramble Monday morning after Stepien canceled his planned in-person testimony because his wife had gone into labor, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the committee chairman, said. Others who testified in person Monday were Benjamin Ginsberg, a Republican election lawyer; former U.S. attorney Byung J. ‘BJay’ Pak; and Al Schmidt, a former Philadelphia city commissioner.

Second January 6 House Committee Hearing: In video, former Attorney General Bill Barr calls Trump’s election claims ‘detached from reality,’ NPR, Monday, 13 January 2022: “The committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held its second public hearing, with a focus on former President Donald Trump’s role in perpetuating the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. In video testimony shown on Monday, former Trump advisers and administration officials said they told Trump that claims of massive voter fraud and a stolen election were false. The committee showed video of former Attorney General Bill Barr saying that Trump’s claims of fraud were ‘bogus’ and ‘detached from reality,’ and called claims of Dominion voting machine fraud ‘idiotic.’ Former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue said he pushed back repeatedly against Trump’s allegations of fraud, and told Trump, ‘much of the info you’re getting is false.’ BJay Pak, a Trump-appointed former U.S. attorney in Georgia, told the committee he looked into the president and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s claims of ‘suitcases of ballots’ in Georgia — and found them to be false, while former City Commissioner of Philadelphia Al Schmidt said he found no evidence of widespread fraud in the city. Earlier, Trump’s former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, talked about the hours and days around the 2020 election. Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor, told the panel that the so-called ‘red mirage,’ in which an apparent Republican lead on election day dissipates because absentee ballots heavily favor Democrats, ‘happens every time.'”

4 Takeaways From Day 2 of the January 6 House Committee Hearings, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Monday, 13 June 2022. See also, 4 takeaways from the second January 6 House committee hearing, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Monday, 13 June 2022: “The Jan. 6 committee used its second hearing to lay out evidence that Donald Trump must have known better: that he was repeatedly informed that his claims of widespread voter fraud were bogus and that he had lost the 2020 election — and he pressed forward in trying to overturn the result regardless. The question is crucial when it comes to determining whether Trump’s effort meets the legal definition of acting ‘corruptly.'” See also, Full Transcript From the June 13 Hearing of the House Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Capitol Attack. NPR, Monday, 13 June 2022. See also, 6 takeaways from the second January 6 House committee hearing, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, Monday, 13 June 2022. See also, 7 takeaways from the second January 6 House committee hearing, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Jeremy Herb, and Marshall Cohen, Monday, 13 June 2022. See also, The Fractious Night That Began Trump’s Bid to Overturn the Election. Donald J. Trump’s advisers urged him not to declare victory on election night in 2020. He listened to the one who told him what he wanted to hear. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 13 June 2022: “Rudolph W. Giuliani seemed drunk, and he was making a beeline for the president. It was election night in 2020, and President Donald J. Trump was seeing his re-election bid slip away, vote by vote. According to video testimony prepared by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and personal lawyer for Mr. Trump, was spouting conspiracy theories. ‘They’re stealing it from us,’ Mr. Giuliani told the president when he found him, according to Jason Miller, one of the president’s top campaign aides, who told the Jan. 6 committee that Mr. Giuliani was ‘definitely intoxicated’ that night. ‘Where do all the votes come from? We need to go say that we won.’ Several times that night, Mr. Trump’s own family members and closest advisers urged him to reject Mr. Giuliani’s advice. Mr. Miller told him not to ‘go and declare victory’ without a better sense of the numbers. ‘It’s far too early to be making any proclamation like that,’ said Bill Stepien, his campaign manager. Even his daughter Ivanka Trump told him that the results were still being counted. But in the end, Mr. Giuliani was the only one that night who told the president what he wanted to hear. Mr. Giuliani’s rantings about stolen ballots fed into the president’s own conspiracy theories about a rigged election, nursed in public and private since long before the votes were counted. They helped spark a monthslong assault on democracy and — in the committee’s view — led inexorably to the mob that breached the Capitol hoping to stop the certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as president. Mr. Trump told Mr. Miller, Mr. Stepien and the rest that they were being weak and were wrong. During a conversation in the reception area of the White House living quarters, he told them he was going to go in ‘a different direction.’ Not long after, Mr. Trump did just that, appearing for the cameras at 2:21 a.m. in the East Room in front of a wall of American flags. He denounced the election in the speech, calling the vote ‘a fraud on the American public’ and an ’embarrassment’ to the country. ‘We were getting ready to win this election,’ he told his supporters and the television viewers. ‘Frankly, we did win this election.’ The inside account of the White House that night was assembled by the Jan. 6 committee. During its second public hearing on Monday, the committee played a video that painted a vivid portrait of how Mr. Trump rejected cautions from his closest aides and advisers and went out to declare himself the winner. Testimony from those closest to the former president effectively documented the formal beginning of Mr. Trump’s insistence that the election was stolen.” See also, January 6 House Committee Tracks How Trump Created and Spread Election Lies. In its second hearing this month, the committee showed how the former president ignored aides and advisers in declaring victory prematurely and relentlessly pressing claims of fraud he was told were wrong. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Monday, 13 June 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol made a wide-ranging case on Monday that former President Donald J. Trump created and relentlessly spread the lie that the 2020 election had been stolen from him in the face of mounting evidence from an expanding chorus of advisers that he had been legitimately defeated. The committee, in its second hearing this month, traced the origins and progression of what it has described as Mr. Trump’s ‘big lie.’ It showed through live witness testimony and recorded depositions how the former president, defying many of his advisers, insisted on declaring victory on election night before the votes were fully counted, then sought to challenge his defeat with increasingly outlandish and baseless claims that he was repeatedly informed were wrong.”

War in Ukraine: Russia makes progress in the east as Ukraine pleads for weapons, The Washington Post, Lateshia Beachum, Brittany Shammas, Bryan Pietsch, María Luisa Paúl, Julian Duplain, and Jennifer Hassan, Monday, 13 June 2022: “As Russian forces position themselves to take more of Ukraine’s eastern regions in the coming days, Ukrainian officials are intensifying requests for Western help while their forces see death tolls climb and weapons dwindle. Russian forces now control the center of Severodonetsk in the east and could claim Donetsk to the south within days, and then the entire Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine in a few weeks, according to U.S. officials. All bridges leading to Severodonetsk have been destroyed, leaving many trapped and presaging a hard fight for Ukrainian forces. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, was ‘straightforward’ on Monday about what he wanted — 1,000 drones, 2,000 armored vehicles and other equipment — as key cities endure attacks. He tweeted that Ukraine will be waiting to see what decision comes out of a Wednesday meeting in Brussels where NATO ministers of defense will discuss the ongoing war. Russia initially stumbled in its invasion of Ukraine, but the daily bombardment of the southeastern region of Donbas shows that the Kremlin has pivoted its strategy to a steady devastation that could make the imbalance of weapons and troops between the two countries even wider.

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will host a Ukraine Defense Contact Group Meeting at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday.
  • Russia has repeatedly used cluster munitions — a type of weapon that drops explosives indiscriminately on a wide area — in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Sweden on Monday, a day after talks with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. The two Nordic nations, alarmed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have applied to join NATO.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

Russia-Ukraine War: Brittney Griner’s W.N.B.A. Team Meets With the State Department. The star player has been detained in Russia since February. As Russia forges ahead in eastern Ukraine, Europe recalculates. The New York Times, Monday, 13 June 2022:

  • Brittney Griner’s team meets with the State Department over her detention in Russia.

  • The battle for Ukraine’s Donbas will be remembered for its brutality, Zelensky says.

  • An outgunned Ukraine is adding to the pressure on Europe.

  • A top Ukrainian official says urgency is missing in the West’s response to the war.

  • Across the river from a crucial battle, residents of Lysychansk wait for what comes next.

  • Attacked at home, Boris Johnson is honored in Ukraine with a pastry in his image.
  • The forests outside Kyiv used to be for summer picnics. Now they’re crime scenes.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 13), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 13 June 2022: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian troops are pushing to fully encircle the key city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian officials say the next few days could be critical. A victory there would give Russia control of every major city of the Luhansk region, part of Ukraine’s industrial eastern area of Donbas. The regional governor said Russian troops have destroyed bridges spanning a river that the Ukrainian military relied on to bring troops, arms and supplies into Sievierodonetsk. Early in its invasion, Russia’s assault on Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, killed hundreds of civilians with relentless, indiscriminate bombardments that constitute war crimes, Amnesty International said in a new report. The human rights group’s researchers documented repeated shelling and the use of cluster munitions — banned by many countries — in several residential neighborhoods. The organization cited the regional medical director as saying 606 civilians had been killed and 1,248 injured in the Kharkiv region between Feb. 24 and April 28. Ukrainian cybersecurity officials are tracking an attempted hack targeting local news outlets. Malware emails went out to 500 people in Ukraine, many at radio stations, websites and newspapers, the officials said. Ukraine’s Computer Emergency Response Team warned Ukrainian media groups especially to avoid clicking messages advertising interactive maps, which could contain malware. The team said it’s moderately confident the attack can be linked to Russian hacking group Sandworm, which experts have tied to major Russian cyberattacks in Ukraine for years. Nicaragua raised eyebrows in Washington and concern in Central America by granting permission for Russia to send military forces, planes and ships to the country. The Nicaraguan government, which is friendly with the Kremlin, regularly authorizes the arrival of Russian military personnel and equipment, ostensibly for training, law enforcement and emergency response activities. But now, given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, ‘the idea that Russia can be a responsible partner in military or law enforcement training in the Western Hemisphere — or anywhere else — is ludicrous,’ a U.S. State Department official said. The president of Costa Rica, which borders Nicaragua, said his army-less country is ‘worried, for a good reason.'”


Tuesday, 14 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Pentagon official says casualties rise as Russia makes incremental gains in east, The Washington Post, Lateshia Beachum, Dan Lamothe, Rachel Pannett, Annabelle Timsit, Bryan Pietsch, David Walker, and Kim Bellware, Tuesday, 14 June 2022: “Casualties are rising on each side as Russia makes incremental gains in Ukraine’s east, a senior Pentagon official said, with the U.S. announcing plans to send more weapons to Ukraine to defend against the Kremlin’s unrelenting bombardment. Colin Kahl, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, said Tuesday that four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems sent to Ukraine so far are just the beginning. Ukrainian officials have been asking for the weapons for months, seeing them as important to achieve something closer to parity against a Russian military that relies heavily on artillery. The destruction of the last bridge connecting the key city of Severodonetsk to Ukrainian resupply routes has left more than 500 people trapped inside in a chemical plant. Russia has offered to set up a humanitarian corridor Wednesday for civilians.

  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will host a meeting Wednesday in Brussels with defense leaders from other countries that support Ukraine.
  • Three seasons of Ukraine’s wheat harvests are unlikely to reach global markets due to the war, exacerbating a global shortage, Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi told Reuters.
  • Russia earned nearly $100 billion in revenue from fossil fuel exports in the first 100 days of the war, according to a new report, in a sign of the challenge the West faces in trying to cripple its economy.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

Ukraine News: As Battle Grows Desperate, U.S. Says It Won’t Push Kyiv Into Talks. Western officials prepare to meet in Brussels this week amid growing European concerns about the costs and risks of the war in Ukraine. The New York Times, Tuesday, 14 June 2022:

  • The battle for control of the Donbas reaches a critical moment.

  • In an eastern city, desperate fighting as the last bridge goes down.

  • The U.S. says it won’t pressure Ukraine to negotiate an end to the war.

  • Russian gas flows to Germany get snarled in Canada.

  • The U.S. Open will allow Russian and Belarusian tennis players to compete.

  • Ukrainian forces claim gains in the south, bringing them to within 12 miles of occupied Kherson.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 14), NPR, NPR Staff, Tuesday, 14 June 2022: “As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian forces control as much as 80% of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, said the governor of the Luhansk region, which includes the city. Ukraine struggled to evacuate civilians after Russia destroyed the last bridge to the besieged city. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the fate of the whole eastern region is being decided in Sievierodonetsk, which Russians have pounded with heavy artillery for weeks. Russia said Ukrainian troops holed up in the city’s Azot chemical plant must lay down their weapons and surrender by Wednesday morning. Ukraine says hundreds of civilians are sheltering inside the plant. Russia has barred dozens of British journalists, security officials and analysts from entry. The country’s foreign ministry accused them of spreading false information about Russia and also said it was acting in response to U.K. sanctions. The blacklist includes 29 people from British media organizations including the BBC, Sky News and the Guardian, plus 20 others linked to the defense industry. A Russian court extended the pretrial detention of WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner by another 18 daysaccording to Russian state news agency Tass. Russian authorities have held the U.S. athlete on drug charges since February, when vape cartridges with cannabis oil were allegedly found in her luggage at a Moscow airport. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The State Department views Griner as wrongfully detained, and on Monday, briefed her U.S. basketball team on efforts to gain her freedom. The U.S. Tennis Association has decided to allow Russian players to compete — under a neutral flag — in this year’s U.S. Open, which takes place in New York in August. U.S. Tennis Association CEO and Executive Director Lew Sherr told The Associated Press that the decision resulted from ‘concern about holding the individual athletes accountable for the actions and decisions of their governments.’ He said his group condemns ‘what is an unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine by Russia.’ Wimbledon, which gets underway later this month, has banned Russian tennis players.”

January 6 House Committee Puts Trump Fund-Raising Tactics Under Scrutiny. Questions about misleading donors with claims of election fraud are one facet of the committee’s examination of the former president’s ongoing, aggressive solicitations. The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel and Rachel Shorey, Tuesday, 14 June 2022: “Since Election Day in 2020, Donald J. Trump and his close allies have raised more than $390 million through aggressive fund-raising solicitations promising bold political actions, including fighting to overturn his re-election campaign defeat, helping allied candidates win their own campaigns and fighting ‘to save America from Joe Biden and the radical left.’ In reality, though, campaign finance filings show that much of the money spent by political committees affiliated with Mr. Trump went toward paying off his 2020 campaign expenses and bolstering his political operation in anticipation of an expected 2024 presidential run. As of a few months ago, $144 million remained in the bank. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is suggesting that there might be criminal exposure in one particular strain of Mr. Trump’s misleading fund-raising appeals — those urging his supporters to donate to efforts to overturn his loss in the 2020 election. In a hearing on Monday, the panel highlighted fund-raising solicitations sent by Mr. Trump’s campaign committees in the weeks after the election, seeking donations for an ‘Official Election Defense Fund’ that the Trump team claimed would be used to fight what they asserted without evidence was rampant voter fraud favoring candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr. ‘The select committee discovered no such fund existed,’ a committee investigator said in a video shown at the hearing. It cast the fund as a marketing gimmick being used to bilk Mr. Trump’s supporters. It was an especially cynical endeavor, according to the committee, because Mr. Trump and his allies knew his claims of a stolen election were false. Yet they continued using fund-raising appeals to spread that falsehood, and to raise money that the committee suggested was paid to Mr. Trump’s business, and groups run by his allies. Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who led the committee’s presentation on Mr. Trump’s fund-raising, suggested that his allies continued their futile legal challenges to the election because they needed to justify their fund-raising.”

January 6 House committee is divided over whether to issue criminal referral of Trump. Disagreement reflects debate within committee over best strategy to hold former president and others accountable. The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Devlin Barrett, Tuesday, 14 June 2022: “After nearly a year of presenting a relatively united front to the world, divisions among lawmakers on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot are coming into view. The chief disagreement revolves around one of the most closely watched questions the committee will face: whether to make any criminal referrals, particularly of former president Donald Trump. Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) told reporters Monday evening — capping a day of headlines about Trump ignoring advisers who had informed him that claims of election fraud were unfounded — that the committee would not be making a formal criminal referral to the Justice Department of the former president, or anyone else. ‘That’s not our job,’ he said. ‘Our job is to look at the facts and the circumstances around January 6th, what caused it, and make recommendations after that.’ But within minutes, his declaration had prompted a flurry of responses that left no doubt Thompson’s panel is far from unanimous on the question. ‘The January 6th Select Committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time,’ tweeted Thompson’s vice chairwoman, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) went further, tweeting, ‘If criminal activity occurred, it is our responsibility to report that activity to the DOJ.’ Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) also weighed in, saying in an interview on CNN that the committee had yet to have a discussion on the issue. He thought, he said, that any decision would have to wait until the investigation had concluded. The mixed messages are in stark contrast to the polished and highly choreographed way in which the committee has carried out its two public hearings. In each, members have stuck to a carefully crafted script, with none of the sparring or crosstalk that is typical of congressional inquiries. The clashing public statements presage the dilemma that lawmakers will face at the end of the investigation: Do they issue a criminal referral that spells out their findings in the clearest terms possible, but that runs the risk of adding political pressure to the Justice Department’s work? Or do they let their findings speak for themselves?”

New details emerge of Oval Office confrontation three days before January 6. Jeffrey Clark, a mid-level Justice Department official, wanted Trump to name him attorney general in a plan aimed at potentially overturning the election. The Washington Post, Michael Kranish, Tuesday, 14 June 2022: “Three days before Congress was slated to certify the 2020 presidential election, a little-known Justice Department official named Jeffrey Clark rushed to meet President Donald Trump in the Oval Office to discuss a last-ditch attempt to reverse the results. Clark, an environmental lawyer by trade, had outlined a plan in a letter he wanted to send to the leaders of key states Joe Biden won. It said that the Justice Department had ‘identified significant concerns’ about the vote and that the states should consider sending ‘a separate slate of electors supporting Donald J. Trump’ for Congress to approve. In fact, Clark’s bosses had warned there was not evidence to overturn the election and had rejected his letter days earlier. Now they learned Clark was about to meet with Trump. Acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen tracked down his deputy, Richard Donoghue, who had been walking on the Mall in muddy jeans and an Army T-shirt. There was no time to change. They raced to the Oval Office. As Rosen and Donoghue listened, Clark told Trump that he would send the letter if the president named him attorney general. ‘History is calling,’ Clark told the president, according to a deposition from Donoghue excerpted in a recent court filing. ‘This is our opportunity. We can get this done.’ Donoghue urged Trump not to put Clark in charge, calling him ‘not competent’ and warning of ‘mass resignations’ by Justice Department officials if he became the nation’s top law enforcement official, according to Donoghue’s account. ‘What happens if, within 48 hours, we have hundreds of resignations from your Justice Department because of your actions?’ Donoghue said he asked Trump. ‘What does that say about your leadership?'”

More than 100 Republican primary winners back Trump’s false fraud claims. A Washington Post analysis shows the former president’s election denialism has become a price of admission in many Republican primaries. The Washington Post, Amy Gardner and Isaac Arnsdorf, Tuesday, 14 June 2022: “About a third of the way through the 2022 primaries, voters have nominated scores of Republican candidates for state and federal office who say the 2020 election was rigged, according to a new analysis by The Washington Post. District by district, state by state, voters in places that cast ballots through the end of May have chosen at least 108 candidates for statewide office or Congress who have repeated Trump’s lies. The number jumps to at least 149 winning candidates — out of more than 170 races — when it includes those who have campaigned on a platform of tightening voting rules or more stringently enforcing those already on the books, despite the lack of evidence of widespread fraud.”

Donald Trump and two of his eldest children to give sworn depositions in real estate investigation. New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating Trump’s valuing of assets. ABC News, Aaron Katersky, Tuesday, 14 June 2022: “New York’s highest court declined to take up an appeal by former President Donald Trump and two of his adult children, a decision that obligates the Trumps to sit for depositions next month in the ongoing civil investigation into how they valued their real estate holdings. The New York Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal ‘upon the ground that no substantial constitutional question is directly involved.’ Former President Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump have now exhausted their appeals and must sit for depositions beginning July 15, according to a previous stipulation filed in the case. The New York Attorney General’s Office has been investigating potential discrepancies in how the Trump Organization valued certain assets when seeking loans or when pursuing tax breaks.”

Herschel Walker, Critic of Absentee Fathers, Has a Second Son He Doesn’t See. Walker is the Republican nominee for Senate from Georgia. The New York Times, Maya King, Tuesday, 14 June 2022: “Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for Senate from Georgia, who has often spoken out against absentee fathers, particularly in Black households, on Tuesday publicly acknowledged having fathered a second son with whom he is not in contact. The admission came in response to a report by The Daily Beast, which said it had confirmed the 10-year-old boy’s parentage but withheld his name and that of his mother. It said the child’s mother had sued Mr. Walker a year after giving birth to obtain a declaration of paternity and child support, and that the suit lasted until August 2014, when Mr. Walker was ordered to pay child support. The boy, by then more than 2 years old, took Mr. Walker’s last name. Mr. Walker, who faces Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, in November, has praised his relationship with his 22-year-old son, Christian, in interviews and campaign speeches. At the same time, he has repeatedly criticized fatherless homes in Black communities: In a 2020 interview with the conservative activist Charlie Kirk, he called the absence of fathers ‘a major, major problem’ in Black households and boasted of having been ‘like a father’ to many young people in his hometown in Georgia.”


Wednesday, 15 June 2022:


Russia-Ukraine War: Two Americans Go Missing While Fighting in Ukraine. President Biden Says the U.S. Will Send Another $1 Billion in Equipment and Arms to Ukraine. The New York Times, Wednesday, 15 June 2022:

  • Two U.S. veterans fighting in Ukraine have gone missing, family members say.

  • A brutal urban artillery battle sends civilians running in eastern Ukraine.

  • In a stadium littered with shrapnel, children’s soccer takes on new meaning.

  • U.S. and NATO allies send more military aid to Ukraine to counter Russia.

  • The battle for Mariupol came down to a single factory. Will Sievierodonetsk go the same way?

  • China’s Xi offers closer cooperation with Russia in a call with Putin.

War in Ukraine: U.S. announces additional $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine, The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, Annabelle Timsit, Rachel Pannett, Amy Cheng, David Walker, and Lateshia Beachum, Wednesday, 15 June 2022: “The United States plans to give another $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine as that country’s forces endure a brutal pummeling from Russia in the eastern Donbas region, President Biden said Wednesday. The move comes in response to pleas from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for more cutting-edge weapons that can hold off Moscow’s more advanced military as the war approaches its four-month mark. In the besieged city of Severodonetsk, Moscow’s troops are likely to focus their efforts on a small number of civilians and soldiers holed up in a chemical plant there, the British Defense Ministry said.

  • Two U.S. military veterans have gone missing in Ukraine, and it is feared they have been captured by Russian forces, family members of the missing Americans said.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said that Zelensky ‘will have to negotiate with Russia at some point.’
  • A new poll found that more than a third of Europeans favor ending the conflict as soon as possible, even if Ukraine has to concede territory.
  • British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace argued that the West should focus on training ‘exhausted’ and outgunned Ukrainian troops, rather than on giving Ukraine more weapons.
  • The annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, sometimes called the Davos of Russia, begins Wednesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin is slated to address the event Friday, but Western attendance will be minimal.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

Russia-Ukraine War: What happened today (June 15), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 15 June 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The Biden administration has committed an additional $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, though the aid falls short of Ukrainian leaders’ recent demands as they warn their fighters remain outgunned by Russia. The new U.S. military package is expected to include more howitzers and artillery rounds as well as two ground-based Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley also said some 60 Ukrainian troops have completed training on long-range rocket systems, which will be on the battlefield ‘in a few weeks.’ Planned evacuations of civilians from the besieged Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk appear to have been disrupted, as Russia continues to make slow gains around the city. Russia had said it would open a humanitarian corridor from the city on Wednesday. Hundreds of civilians and Ukrainian soldiers are believed to be sheltering at a chemical plant. Russian-backed separatists in the region blamed Ukrainian fighters for disrupting the evacuations, a claim NPR has not been able to independently verify. Sievierodonetsk is the last major city in the eastern Luhansk region still partially under Ukrainian control. Six million acres of winter crops will not be harvested this year, including wheat and barley planted in the fall, Ukraine’s agriculture ministry said. The government said the unharvested food could be worth as much as $1.4 billion. Ukraine has more than 23 million tons of grain in the country, stuck in storage because Russian warships in the Black Sea are blocking exports. Farmers are expected to begin the wheat and barley harvest in the coming weeks. But without extra storage, many fear the food will go to rot. In a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, China’s leader Xi Jinping reiterated his country’s support for Russia. ‘China is willing to continue mutual support with Russia on issues related to sovereignty, security and issues of major concern,’ Xi said, according to China’s state broadcaster. China has refrained from condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This was the second call between Xi and Putin since February, when the two countries agreed to a strategic partnership. The State Department says it is aware of unconfirmed reports that Russian forces have captured two U.S. citizens fighting in Ukraine, and is in touch with Ukrainian authorities about the reports. At the White House, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said, ‘We discourage Americans from going to Ukraine and fighting in Ukraine.'”

Far-Right Republicans Press Closer to Power Over Future Elections. Midway through primary season, the party has nominated several candidates who deny the 2020 outcome for posts that will have significant sway over the 2024 presidential election. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein and Nick Corasaniti, Wednesday, 15 June 2022: “The potential for far-right Republicans to reshape the election systems of major battleground states is growing much closer to reality. As the halfway point nears of a midterm year that is vastly friendlier to Republicans, the party’s voters have nominated dozens of candidates for offices with power over the administration and certification of elections who have spread falsehoods about the 2020 presidential contest and sowed distrust in American democracy…. In Michigan, Pennsylvania and now Nevada, Republican voters have elevated candidates who owe their political rise to their amplification of doubts about Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, and who are now vying in elections for governor, secretary of state and attorney general — offices that will hold significant sway over the administration of the 2024 presidential election in critical swing states. The rise of election deniers is far from over. Primary contests coming later this month in Colorado and in early August in Arizona and Wisconsin will provide more clarity on the depth of Republican voters’ desire to rally behind candidates devoted to the false idea that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald J. Trump.”

The January 6 House Committee Investigating the Attack on the Capitol Said a Man Who Toured the Capitol Complex With Georgia Republican Lawmaker Barry Loudermilk on January 5, 2021, Later Marched on the Building While Making Threats Against Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Other Prominent Democrats, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 15 June 2022: “The panel released surveillance video of a tour of parts of the Capitol complex conducted by Representative Barry Loudermilk, Republican of Georgia, a day before the violence. During the tour — which lasted several hours, despite the complex being closed to the public at the time — he is seen with the group entering three different office buildings and approaching the entrances to tunnels leading to the Capitol. Individuals on the tour photographed and recorded areas of the complex that are ‘not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases and security checkpoints,’ the committee said. The video that the committee released also featured footage apparently taken by a person who is marching toward the Capitol on Jan. 6, and can be heard saying, ‘There’s no escape, Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler. We’re coming for you.’ A committee aide said investigators had learned that the voice was that of the man seen in the surveillance footage of Mr. Loudermilk’s tour taking a photograph of a staircase in the Capitol complex. ‘The behavior of these individuals during the Jan. 5, 2021, tour raises concerns about their activity and intent while inside the Capitol complex,’ Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the committee, wrote in a letter to Mr. Loudermilk, seeking for a second time to interview him. The video gets at a charge that some Democrats leveled in the immediate aftermath of the assault on the Capitol and that the House committee investigating it has hinted at ever since: that Republican members of Congress effectively made it possible for some of the rioters to study the layout of the complex before their violent rampage.” See also, Loudermilk tour group taking basement photos ‘raises concerns’ for January 6 House committee. The select committee released video footage that shows the group taking photos and videos ‘not typically of interest to tourists,’ including security checkpoints. Politico, Nicholas Wu and Kyle Cheney, Wednesday, 15 June 2022: “People who joined Georgia Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk for a Capitol complex tour on Jan. 5, 2021 photographed and recorded places ‘not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints,’ according to materials released Wednesday by the Jan. 6 select committee. ‘The behavior of these individuals during the January 5, 2021 tour raises concerns about their activity and intent while inside the Capitol complex,’ panel chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote in a letter to Loudermilk, renewing their request for testimony.”

The House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol has obtained email correspondence between Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and lawyer John Eastman, who played a key role in efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, according to three people involved in the committee’s investigation, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, and Emma Brown, Wednesday, 15 June 2022: “The emails show that Thomas’s efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, two of the people said. The three declined to provide details and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. The committee’s members and staffers are now discussing whether to spend time during their public hearings exploring Ginni Thomas’s role in the attempt to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, the three people said. The Washington Post previously reported that the committee had not sought an interview with Thomas and was leaning against pursuing her cooperation with its investigation. The two people said the emails were among documents obtained by the committee and reviewed recently. Last week, a federal judge ordered Eastman to turn more than 100 documents over to the committee. Eastman had tried to block the release of those and other documents by arguing that they were privileged communications and therefore should be protected.”

Federal judge rejects former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s effort to dismiss the criminal contempt case against him for defying a subpoena from the January 6 House select committee, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Wednesday, 15 June 2022: “In an oral ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols rebuffed a series of arguments Bannon had lodged, including that Trump had asserted executive privilege to block his former aide’s testimony. Nichols contended that there’s insufficient evidence that Trump truly did assert privilege or seek to block Bannon from testifying to the panel the House created to investigate the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 and related events. Nichols, a Trump appointee, also rejected Bannon’s claim that internal Justice Department opinions granted him ‘immunity’ from a congressional subpoena for documents related to his contacts with Trump while Trump was in office. But Nichols said Bannon’s team had not presented evidence that DOJ’s opinions applied in his case — the case of a former White House aide subpoenaed for testimony related to a former president. The ruling is an early win for the Justice Department against Bannon, who is slated to go on trial next month on two charges for contempt of Congress. The Jan. 6 select committee subpoenaed him in September, but Bannon refused to appear or provide any documents. The House held Bannon in contempt in mid-October and DOJ charged him three weeks later.”

John Eastman, a Lawyer Advising President Donald J. Trump, Claimed in an Email After Election Day 2020 to Have Insight Into a ‘Heated Fight’ Among the Supreme Court Justices Over Whether to Hear Arguments About Trump’s Efforts to Overturn His Defeat at the Polls, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 15 June 2022: “John Eastman, made the statement in a Dec. 24, 2020, exchange with a pro-Trump lawyer and Trump campaign officials over whether to file legal papers that they hoped might prompt four justices to agree to hear an election case from Wisconsin. ‘So the odds are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices’ spines, and I understand that there is a heated fight underway,’ Mr. Eastman wrote, according to the people briefed on the contents of the email. Referring to the process by which at least four justices are needed to take up a case, he added, ‘For those willing to do their duty, we should help them by giving them a Wisconsin cert petition to add into the mix.’ The pro-Trump lawyer, Kenneth Chesebro, replied that the ‘odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be “wild” chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.’ Their exchange took place five days after Mr. Trump issued a call for his supporters to attend a ‘protest’ at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, the day Congress would certify the electoral vote count confirming Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. ‘Be there. Will be wild!’ Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. The previously unreported exchange is part of a group of emails obtained by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters. Mr. Chesebro’s comment about the justices being more open to hearing a case if they fear chaos was striking for its link to the potential for the kind of mob scene that materialized at the Capitol weeks later. And Mr. Eastman’s email, if taken at face value, raised the question of how he would have known about internal tension among the justices about dealing with election cases. Mr. Eastman had been a clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas.”

Biden Signs Measure to Protect L.G.B.T.Q Rights, Citing ‘Hateful Attacks.’ The executive order is designed to counter efforts by Republican politicians like Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, who pushed through what opponents have called the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 15 June 2022: “President Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday aimed at protecting L.G.B.T.Q. people from a cascade of legislation in conservative states that increasingly targets the rights of gays, lesbians, transgender youth and others. The order is designed to counter efforts by Republican politicians like Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who has pushed through a measure — called by some the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law — banning teachers from providing instruction regarding gender identity or sexual orientation. Other laws passed in conservative states include prohibitions on transgender girls competing in high school sports and efforts to ban the provision of gender-affirming care. White House officials have called the new laws ‘un-American’ and said they are designed to discriminate against families and children based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Mr. Biden’s executive order takes direct aim at so-called conversion therapy, a discredited therapy in which doctors falsely claim to be able to adjust a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation with treatment. In a ceremony in the East Room packed with L.G.B.T.Q. supporters, Mr. Biden said he was moved to take action to prevent what he called ‘hateful attacks’ by Republican governors and legislatures around the country.”


Thursday, 16 June 2022:


January 6 House Committee Argues That Former President Donald J. Trump Carried Out a Plan to Overturn the 2020 Election Despite Knowing the Scheme Was Illegal, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 16 June 2022: “President Donald J. Trump continued pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to go along with a plan to unilaterally overturn his election defeat even after he was told it was illegal, according to testimony laid out in extensive detail on Thursday by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. The committee showed how Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign — aided by a little-known conservative lawyer, John Eastman — led his supporters to storm the Capitol, sending Mr. Pence fleeing for his life as rioters demanded his execution. In the third public hearing this month to lay out its findings, the panel recounted how Mr. Trump’s actions brought the nation to the brink of a constitutional crisis, and raised fresh questions about whether they were also criminal. It played videotaped testimony in which Mr. Pence’s top White House lawyer, Greg Jacob, said Mr. Eastman had admitted in front of Mr. Trump two days before the riot that his plan to have Mr. Pence obstruct the electoral certification violated the law. Following the riot, Mr. Eastman sought a pardon after being informed by one of Mr. Trump’s top White House lawyers that he had criminal exposure for hatching the scheme, according to an email displayed by the committee during the session. The panel also offered a reconstruction of Mr. Pence’s harrowing day on Jan. 6. It began with a heated phone call in which Mr. Trump berated him as a ‘wimp\ and questioned his manhood for resisting his order to obstruct the electoral count. It grew more dire as the president, knowing his supporters were attacking the Capitol with the vice president inside, tweeted a public condemnation of him, further whipping up a crowd chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence!'” See also, January 6 House Committee Hearings Day 3 Key Moments: Committee Says Trump Brought the Nation to the Verge of a Constitutional Crisis. As rioters surrounded the Capitol, President Trump condemned Vice President Pence for failing to go along with a plan he’d been told would break the law, the House committee said. John Eastman, the plan’s chief architect, later sought a pardon. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 16 June 2022. See also, 4 Takeaways From Thursday’s January 6 House Committee Hearing, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Thursday, 16 June 2022. See also, January 6 House committe reveals new details about Vice President Mike Pence’s terrifying day. Threatened by a mob, and allegedly called a ‘wimp’ by Trump, the former vice president spent much of his time during the riot sheltering in an underground parking. The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 16 June 2022: “Before heading to the U.S. Capitol to preside over a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence undertook one last unpleasant task from his Naval Observatory home: a phone call with Donald Trump, the president to whom he had always been loyal. Pence had told Trump repeatedly he would not use his ceremonial role overseeing the counting of electoral college votes that day to overturn Joe Biden’s election, but Trump had not listened. The call was ‘heated,’ in the words of Trump’s daughter Ivanka, in new testimony revealed Thursday by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Trump called Pence a ‘wimp,’ Trump aide Nicholas Luna testified. Trump’s badgering of his own vice president so distressed his daughter that she walked the halls of the White House, expressing her displeasure to multiple aides, several testified. She told her chief of staff that ‘her dad had just had an upsetting call with the vice president,’ the aide testified, noting that Trump had called Pence the ‘p-word.’ The day that began with the vice president being called a ‘p—-‘ by his boss ended with him huddled in a parking garage with his family, as a violent mob intent on doing him physical harm rampaged through the seat of American democracy and a top aide read from a Bible nearby. The Democratic-led committee unspooled new details of Pence’s terrifying day on Jan. 6, as it sought to explain how easily democracy could have fallen if the Republican vice president had not resisted an unrelenting campaign from Trump to ignore his legal advisers and his own conscience and use his role to give Trump a second term. Mike Pence said no. He resisted the pressure. He knew it was illegal. He knew it was wrong,’ said Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.). ‘We are fortunate for Mr. Pence’s courage.'” See also, January 6 House select committee makes a criminal referral–its own way. For all the quibbling over whether they should ask the Department of Justice to investigate Donald Trump, panel members effectively did so on Thursday. Politico, Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu, Thursday, 16 June 2022: “The Jan. 6 select committee made its most forceful case Thursday that Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election was more than an affront to the democratic process — it was a crime. For all the panel’s public quibbling over whether to vote on referring Trump to the Justice Department for a possible criminal case, members did it their own way. They used Thursday’s public hearing to present what they see as some of their most compelling evidence and thereby mount a case, with Attorney General Merrick Garland watching, that Trump broke the law in his effort to make former Vice President Mike Pence single-handedly overturn the election. ‘It was clear that the president was upset with the vice president not agreeing to do something that was clearly illegal, and so he wanted to put as much pressure on Mike Pence as he could,’ committee chair Bennie Thompson told reporters Thursday. ‘What the president wanted the vice president to do was not just wrong. It was illegal and unconstitutional,’ panel vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said. Their case came into sharp relief Thursday, when the panel presented its evidence in a clear chronology.” See also, 8 takeaways from day 3 of the January 6 House committee hearings, CNN, Jeremy Herb, Marshall Cohen, and Zachary Cohen, Friday, 17 June 2022: “The House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection on Thursday detailed how former President Donald Trump tried to pressure his vice president to join in his scheme to overturn the presidential election – and how Mike Pence’s refusal put his life in danger as rioters called for his hanging on January 6, 2021. Two witnesses testified at Thursday’s hearing who advised Pence that he did not have the authority to subvert the election, former Pence attorney Greg Jacob and retired Republican judge J. Michael Luttig. The committee walked through how conservative Trump attorney John Eastman put forward a legal theory that Pence could unilaterally block certification of the election – a theory that was roundly rejected by Trump’s White House attorneys and Pence’s team but nevertheless embraced by the former President.” See also, Vice President Mike Pence prevented a fall into chaos, and 3 other takeaways from January 6 hearing, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, Thursday, 16 June 2022.

Pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman sought pardon after pushing plan to overturn the 2020 election, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Eugene Scott, Amy B Wang, and Mariana Alfaro, Thursday, 16 June 2022: “John Eastman, a conservative lawyer advising President Donald Trump, sought a presidential pardon after pushing a plan to overturn the 2020 election that he knew to be illegal, evidence and testimony showed during a hearing Thursday by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Eastman had aggressively pushed a plan for Vice President Mike Pence to use his authority to help overturn the results, but acknowledged to Pence attorney Greg Jacob that the plot violated the law and would lose at the Supreme Court ‘nine to nothing,’ Jacob testified. Meanwhile, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House committee, said earlier Thursday that the panel plans to invite Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to be interviewed. People involved in the investigation say newly obtained email correspondence between her and Eastman have revealed that her efforts to overturn the 2020 election were more extensive than previously known. Thomas said in a media interview that she looks forward to talking to the committee.

  • Another witness, J. Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge, said Pence heeding Trump’s directive would have ‘plunged America into what I believe would have been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis.’
  • Thompson opened the hearing by praising Pence’s ‘courage’ in resisting Trump’s demands.
  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the panel’s vice chairwoman, also praised Pence, saying: ‘Vice President Pence understood that his oath of office was more important than his loyalty to Donald Trump. He did his duty. President Trump unequivocally did not.’
  • Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, did not appear in person, but the committee aired excerpts of closed-door testimony he has provided.
  • After 11 months and more than 1,000 interviews, the House committee has started sharing what it knows. Here’s what to watch for in these hearings.

Justice Department says January 6 House committee’s ‘failure’ to turn over transcripts is hurting criminal investigations, Business Insider, C. Ryan Barber and Camila DeChalus, Thursday, 16 June 2022: “The House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol has unnecessarily complicated criminal cases with its ‘failure’ to turn over interview transcripts to prosecutions, the Justice Department said in a letter sent Wednesday to the congressional panel. With the two-page letter, the Justice Department ratcheted up the pressure on the House committee to release transcripts of the more than 1,000 interviews the congressional panel has conducted during its months-long examination of the Capitol attack and former President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. The Justice Department previously requested transcripts in April, but Rep. Bennie Thompson, chair of the House January 6 committee, responded that it would be premature for the panel to share its work while its inquiry remains ongoing. In renewing the request for those transcripts, the Justice Department said the committee’s interviews could be relevant not only ‘to our overall criminal investigations, but are likely relevant to specific prosecutions that have already commenced.'” See also, Justice Department accuses January 6 House committee of refusing to share transcripts, The New York Times, Katie Benner, Thursday, 16 June 2022: “The Justice Department accused the House committee investigating Jan. 6 of hampering the federal criminal investigation into the attack by refusing to share interview transcripts with prosecutors, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the Justice Department sent a two-page letter to the committee on Wednesday that renewed its request for transcripts of the committee’s more than 1,000 witness interviews related to actions undertaken by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to unlawfully overturn the 2020 election results as well as the attack on Congress by a pro-Trump mob. The letter was earlier reported by Insider.”

War in Ukraine: In Kyiv visit, European leaders back Ukraine’s candidacy to join the European Union (E.U.), The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Rachel Pannett, Julian Duplain, Jennifer Hassan, Paulina Villegas, Meryl Kornfield, and Amy Cheng, Thursday, 16 June 2022: “The leaders of France, Germany and Italy backed Ukraine’s candidacy to become a member of the European Union — a poignant display of diplomatic support as Ukraine struggles to fend off a fierce assault on the country’s eastern Donbas region. The leaders of Europe’s three largest economies met with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Thursday, where they expressed their support for Ukraine’s candidacy to join the 27-member bloc. French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi pledged their backing after traveling by overnight train to the capital, a visit they said was aimed at sending a ‘message of unity’ and ‘unconditional support’ for Zelensky and the Ukrainian people. Draghi described the meeting as a ‘historic day in Europe,’ and said Italy ‘wants Ukraine in the European Union,’ adding that it will support it at the next European Council summit in Brussels next week. The backing comes as Zelensky has pleaded with Europe to provide more weapons to fend off Russia’s assault in the east, warning that Ukraine continues to suffer ‘painful losses.’

  • President Biden on Wednesday responded to calls from Ukraine for more weapons as he announced an additional $1 billion in security assistance to the country.
  • Russia’s war has pushed global displacement figures to record levels, the U.N. refugee agency said Thursday — more than 100 million people have been forced to flee their homes, up from 89.3 million at the end of 2021.
  • Two U.S. military veterans were reported missing in Ukraine and it is feared they have been captured by Russia, family members of the missing Americans said. A third American, Grady Kurpasi, went missing several weeks ago, the State Department said Thursday.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Celebrates Support for Kyiv’s Path to Join the European Union. On a day of full-throated political support from Europe, Ukrainian leaders still warn that weapons are what they need to stave off Russia. The New York Times, Thursday, 16 June 2022:

  • Zelensky praises the path to E.U., but says arms are the key.

  • European leaders assure Ukraine of support, but questions remain.

  • The State Department says a third American fighter may be missing in Ukraine.

  • Moscow says babies born in occupied Kherson will automatically get Russian citizenship.

  • Zelensky appears as a hologram at tech festivals in Europe, asking for help.

  • After past cease-fire deal failures, Ukraine casts a wary eye on Europe’s intent.
  • ‘It is a terrible war’: The leaders visit Irpin, a site of atrocities during the war.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 16), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 16 June 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, showing support for Ukraine in fending off the Russian invasion and for its path toward European Union membership. Zelenskyy had accused France, Germany and Italy of not doing enough to help defend his country. Among new promised aid packages, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to send more truck-mounted artillery guns to the country. The EU leaders arrived by train in Kyiv to air raid sirens. They also visited Irpin, northeast of the capital, where Macron said there were signs of massacres. Russia’s central bank head warned that the country’s economy is unlikely to bounce back anytime soon to prewar conditions. Russia’s economic development minister said the gross domestic product will fall by 7.8% this year, as international sanctions and business pullouts take a toll. NATO allies want to beef up deterrence along its eastern flank so Russia doesn’t plan further aggression in the region. Meeting with member countries’ defense chiefs in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called for more air, sea and cyber defenses, plus prepositioned equipment and weapons. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. and its allies would place more equipment in Eastern Europe and put troops on higher alert. Baltic countries urged for more troops to be stationed there, too. The U.S. State Department said it’s in touch with families of three U.S. citizens reported missing in Ukraine. This could be the first time Americans have been captured by Russian forces during the war. Earlier, a court in a Russian-controlled region of Ukraine charged two captured British fighters and one Moroccan man as mercenaries and sentenced them to death. They were among the thousands of foreigners who have joined the fight in Ukraine. The State Department has encouraged Americans not to travel to the country. In a new round of sanctions, the United Kingdom targeted the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, for supporting the war in Ukraine. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Kirill ‘repeatedly abused his position to justify the war.’ The new sanctions also include Russia’s children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova ‘for her alleged involvement in the forced transfer and adoption of Ukrainian children.’ She is accused of facilitating the forced adoption of 2,000 Ukrainian children sent to Russia.”

Herschel Walker, Republican Nominee for Senate in Georgia, Acknowledges Two More Children He Hadn’t Mentioned. Walker has often criticized absentee fathers. But this week it has emerged that in addition to a son he often talks about, he has three other children. The New York Times, Maya King, Thursday, 16 June 2022: “Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for Senate in Georgia, who has been a frequent critic of absentee fathers, especially in Black households, has acknowledged that he is the father of a second son he had not previously mentioned publicly, as well as an adult daughter who was born when he was in his early 20s. The revelation, reported on Thursday by The Daily Beast, is the second this week about children Mr. Walker has fathered but did not publicly disclose. The outlet reported on Tuesday about a 10-year-old son of Mr. Walker’s with whom he is not in contact. On Wednesday, Mr. Walker’s campaign shared with the news outlet a form that he filled out in 2018 in order for him to be appointed to former President Donald J. Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition. It listed the names of four children: his 22-year-old son Christian, whom Mr. Walker has often talked about on the campaign trail; the 10-year-old son; a 13-year-old child; and an adult daughter. The Daily Beast withheld the names of the children and their mothers out of privacy concerns.”


Friday, 17 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: European Commission backs Kyiv’s European Union ambitions as Putin lashes out at West, The Washington Post, Emily Rauhala, Adela Suliman, Amy Cheng, Jaclyn Peiser, Timothy Bella, and Lateshia Beachum, Friday, 17 June 2022: “The European Commission on Friday issued an opinion recommending that Ukraine should be granted candidate status for European Union membership — a first step that will add significant momentum to the country’s campaign to join the bloc. While the recommendation boosts Ukraine’s campaign to join the bloc, it does not confer membership or candidate status. To move forward, all 27 member states must agree. Even if they do, full membership could be many years away. Putin also lashed out at the West on Friday, describing the sanctions against Russia as ‘reckless and insane.’

  • Russia has sharply reduced gas flow to Europe, a move officials say is deliberate political retribution for Europe’s support for Kyiv.
  • Ukrainian forces struck a Russian naval tugboat with at least one U.S.-made Harpoon anti-ship missile, a U.S. defense official said Friday, confirming a claim by the Ukrainian military.
  • former U.S. soldier who disappeared in Ukraine is alive, family members said Friday.
  • Zelensky met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday, as the British leader came with a new offer to help train Ukrainian armed forces.
  • Putin’s speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, sometimes called the ‘Russian Davos,’ was delayed due to a cyberattack, according to the Kremlin.
  • The war has pushed global displacement figures to record levels, the U.N. refugee agency has said — over 100 million people have been forced to flee their homes, up from 89.3 million at the end of 2021.

Russia-Ukraine War: Putin Stokes Anti-American Sentiment as Kyiv Steps Closer to the European Union. The Russian leader accused the U.S. of treating its allies as colonies while declaring itself ‘the messenger of the Lord on Earth.’ The European Commission recommended that Ukraine be granted E.U. candidate status, the first step in a long process. The prime minister of Britain made another surprise visit to Kyiv. The New York Times, Friday, 17 June 2022:

  • Putin denounces the U.S. as a fading world power.

  • British prime minister pays a second surprise visit to Kyiv.

  • The Dutch intelligence service says it prevented a Russian spy from infiltrating the International Criminal Court.

  • Foreign fighters in Ukraine, many in motley groups, face perils if captured.
  • The European Commission recommends E.U. candidacy for Ukraine and Moldova, but not Georgia.
  • Ukraine attacks Russian forces on land, air and sea in southern areas controlled by Moscow.
  • Egypt, America’s Middle Eastern ally, maintains warm relations with Putin.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 17), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 17 June 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union came one step closer as the EU’s executive arm recommended giving Ukraine official candidate status. Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission head, tweeted: ‘Ukraine has clearly shown commitment to live up to European values and standards.’ EU leaders will take up the recommendation later this month, but membership in the bloc can take years to formalize. Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a scathing critique of the United States, saying the U.S. was to blame for a crisis in global relations, food security, inflation and trade. In his speech at Russia’s annual economic forum, Putin presented his country as part of a new global order willing to challenge an America clinging to its past status as the world’s lone superpower. He also said he had no objection to Ukraine’s bid for EU membership because it isn’t a military organization. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and offered ‘major’ military training and continued aid. It was Johnson’s second visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country. Ukraine won this year’s Eurovision song contest, but won’t be hosting the competition next year due to the war. The European Broadcasting Union, which operates Eurovision, announced ‘with deep regret’ that hosting next year’s contest in Ukraine is not a viable option. Britain, this year’s runner-up, is now the possible 2023 host. Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said on Twitter that his country didn’t agree with the EBU’s decision and posted a statement saying, ‘We demand additional negotiations on hosting Eurovision 2023 in Ukraine.'”

January 6 House Committee Could Start Sharing Transcripts With Justice Department as Soon as July. Congressional Democrats, under pressure from federal prosecutors, say they will begin sharing interviews after their series of public hearings concludes. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush and Luke Broadwater, Friday, 17 June 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack could start sharing some transcripts of witness interviews with federal prosecutors as early as next month as Justice Department officials ratchet up public pressure on the panel to turn over the documents. Negotiations between Justice Department officials and Timothy J. Heaphy, the lead investigator for the House panel and a former federal prosecutor, have intensified in recent days, as the two sides wrangle over the timing and content of the material to be turned over, according to several people familiar with the talks but not authorized to publicly discuss the matter. Prosecutors have previously said that the committee planned to publicly release the documents requested in September. ‘The select committee is engaged in a cooperative process to address the needs of the Department of Justice,’ said a spokesman for the committee, Tim Mulvey. ‘We are not inclined to share the details of that publicly. We believe accountability is important and won’t be an obstacle to the department’s prosecutions.'”

A Day After a Portrait of Pence in Danger, Trump Attacks Him Again. In a speech, Donald J. Trump was undeterred by the January 6 House committee’s account of how his rioting supporters menaced the vice president, and the panel’s dismantling of many of his election lies. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Friday, 17 June 2022: “A day after the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault illustrated the serious danger that rioters posed to Mike Pence, former President Donald J. Trump unleashed a new attack on the man who had served him as vice president, criticizing him for refusing to interfere with the Electoral College certification of the 2020 presidential contest. Speaking on Friday afternoon before a faith-based group, Mr. Trump said that ‘Mike did not have the courage to act’ in trying to unilaterally reject the Electoral College votes that were being cast for Joseph R. Biden Jr. On Thursday, the House panel demonstrated that Mr. Trump and his advisers were told repeatedly that Mr. Pence had no power to block the certification and that doing so would violate the law, but pressed him to try anyway. The committee also used witnesses to dismantle and debunk Mr. Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud — arguments that he repeated in his keynote speech on Friday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Nashville. Mr. Trump has grown angry watching the hearings, knowing that he lacks a bully pulpit from which to respond, according to his advisers. He used much of his Friday address to repeat his false election claims and to denigrate Mr. Pence.”

Michael Luttig explains why the January 6 House committee hearings are important. Luttig did more than demolish Trump’s claims that Pence could have stopped the electoral counting. He delivered a frightening analysis of American democracy on the brink and the former president’s role in bringing the country to the edge of further chaos. The Washington Post, Dan Balz, Friday, 17 June 2022: “J. Michael Luttig spoke softly and sometimes haltingly when he testified Thursday before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. His understated presentation belied the five-alarm fire that was his written statement — a loud and clear warning to a country whose democracy, he said, is on ‘a knife’s edge.’ Luttig was there because he had advised Vice President Mike Pence that Pence could not legally do what President Donald Trump wanted him to do, which was to interject himself in the process of ratifying the electoral count on Jan. 6 and prepare the ground to have the election overturned. But the former federal appellate court judge far more than demolished the legal arguments Trump had bought into. His prepared statement was a clear-and-present-danger document, describing the fraught state of American democracy, the war that rages internally, and the role Trump and his followers have played to bring us to this moment.”

Proud Boys Led Major Breaches of Capitol on January 6, New York Times Video Investigation Finds. A monthslong Times investigation using court documents, text messages, and videos reveals how teams of Proud Boys instigated critical breaches of the Capitol on January 6. The New York Times, Natalie Reneau, Stella Cooper, Alan Feuer, and Aaron Byrd, Friday, 17 June 2022: “For almost 18 months, the Proud Boys have been at the center of the criminal and congressional investigations of the violent attack on the Capitol last year. More than 40 members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group, have been indicted in connection with the assault, among them several of its leaders who are now facing charges of seditious conspiracy. The organization was also prominently featured this month at the first hearing of the Jan. 6 House committee, which suggested that the Proud Boys played an instrumental part in fomenting the storming of the Capitol. Building off the work of online researchers, The New York Times has come up with a newly detailed view of the Proud Boys’ role in instigating the chaos that consumed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. After months of studying video footage of the attack and poring over internal communications by the Proud Boys, The Times has determined that members of the group maneuvered in a coordinated fashion that day in a way that was not previously known and in a manner that was unlike that of the hundreds of other rioters who stormed the building. The analysis by The Times found a pattern in how the Proud Boys moved on the ground. Over and over, at key moments when the Capitol was breached, the group used the same set of tactics: identifying access points to the building, riling up other protesters and sometimes directly joining in the violence. When met with resistance, leaders of the group reassessed, and teams of Proud Boys targeted new entry points to the Capitol. Moreover, members of the Proud Boys, following the orders of their leaders, did not wear their typical black-and-yellow uniforms that day. Instead, they intentionally dressed to blend into the crowd and look like other protesters in a way that disguised their actions and — until now — played down their importance in moving the action forward.”


Saturday, 18 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia makes ‘marginal gains’ near Severodonetsk, The Washington Post, Amy Cheng, Adela Suliman, Victoria Bisset, Marisa Iati, and Meryl Kornfield, Saturday, 18 June 2022: “Russia has amassed forces near Severodonetsk in an attempt to seize Ukraine’s last urban foothold in the east, Ukrainian officials said, but the invaders made little progress there on Saturday. Kremlin-backed forces progressed in the southeastern suburbs of the city and stalled elsewhere, according to the Ukrainian army. The result was ‘marginal gains’ amid mounting losses, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank. On the same day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a rare trip to the war’s front lines in the southern city of Mykolaiv as Kyiv’s forces there hold off Russian troops trying to move west, toward the port of Odessa. Ukraine has notched some victories in the south, including a successful strike on a Russian tugboat with at least one U.S.-made Harpoon anti-ship missile, a U.S. defense official confirmed. Officials have said the United States hopes the West’s upcoming surge of military assistance to Ukraine — along with Russia’s increasing isolation on the world stage — will drain President Vladimir Putin’s will to fight. The danger of Russia swallowing its neighbor and trying to reverse other territorial losses is so high that Biden administration officials said they are willing to risk the global economic turmoil that could accompany a protracted war.

  • A senior Ukrainian official hinted that peace talks with Russia could start again in August after, Kyiv officials hope, Ukraine wins several battles.
  • Russia has sharply reduced the flow of natural gas to European countries such as Italy and France in a move viewed as retaliation for their support of Ukraine. The curtailment poses no immediate risks but could have consequences when energy demands rise later in the year.
  • A former U.S. soldier who disappeared in Ukraine is alive, according to his family members, who have seen a video of him taken after he was reportedly captured by Russian forces.
  • Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to meet with European Union counterparts next week to discuss putting pressure on Russian oligarchs. Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo will visit Turkey and the UAE next week as the United States seeks to rally support for a clampdown on Russian assets abroad.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Visits War-Torn Mykloaiv and Odesa in Southern Ukraine. The president’s trip aimed to highlight Ukraine’s grip on the area and to lift the spirits of an embattled populace. The New York Times, Megan Specia, Saturday, 18 June 2022: “President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Saturday made unannounced visits to Mykolaiv, a southern Ukrainian city battered by the war that has been held up by Kyiv as a sign of fierce resistance, and the nearby port city of Odesa. The visit by Mr. Zelensky, his first to the region, came one day after President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a defiant address sought to rally support and blame the West for the continuing fallout of the war, as the two leaders battle to convince their citizens and the world that they have the upper hand in the fighting. In the early weeks of the war, Mr. Zelensky had been a fixture in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, often delivering addresses to the nation from easily identifiable locations, as he sought to steady his shellshocked citizenry. But increasingly, he has ventured closer to the front lines to demonstrate that his forces have a sufficiently firm grip on these volatile areas to allow him to move about safely. The trips have become a tool to lift morale among the troops and the public, and to distract from the terrible losses being inflicted as fierce fighting continues.”

Death in Ukraine: A Special Report: From battlefields pockmarked by artillery shells to basements and backyards filled with civilian corpses, the war has exacted a staggering toll in lives lost. New York Times Reporters who have covered the war present accounts of the many ways that death arrived in Ukraine. The New York Times, Jason Horowitz, Saturday, 18 June 2022: “A little boy blown up by a mine at the beach. A young mother shot in the forehead. A retired teacher killed in her home. Soldiers killing and dying every day by the hundreds. Older people and young people and everyone in between. A war can be measured by many metrics. Territory won or lost. Geopolitical influence increased or diminished. Treasure acquired or resources depleted. But for the people suffering under the shelling, who hear the whistling of incoming missiles, the crack of gunfire on the streets and the wails of loss out of shattered windows, the death toll is the most telling account of a war. In Ukraine, no one is quite sure exactly what that toll is, except that many many people have been killed. An ‘endless caravan of death,’ said Petro Andryushchenko, an official for the devastated city of Mariupol. In its latest updates, the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said 4,509 civilians had been killed in the conflict. But it is clear that many thousands more have been killed. Ukraine’s chief of police, Ihor Klymenko, said this past week that prosecutors had opened criminal proceedings ‘for the deaths of more than 12,000 people who were found, in particular, in mass graves.’ And in Mariupol, the Black Sea city flattened by Russian bombardment, Ukrainian officials in exile have said that examinations of mass graves using satellite imagery, witness testimony and other evidence have led them to believe that at least 22,000 were killed — and possibly thousands more. The casualty figures exclude the thousands believed killed in territories held by Russian forces. And even where Ukraine has regained control, Mr. Klymenko said, it was premature to calculate the dead in mass graves, as more are found every week.”

Former federal judge J. Michael Luttig warns of danger to American democracy, NPR, Adrian Florido, Robert Baldwin III, and Natalie Winston, Saturday, 18 June 2022: “During Thursday’s Jan. 6 committee hearing, retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig issued a dire warning to the country. Luttig, who advised former Vice President Mike Pence, said that 17 months after the riot on the U.S. Capitol, ‘Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy.’ Luttig said the United States is at a crossroads similar to the one the country faced during the Civil War, and he said America needs help. Luttig was appointed to the federal bench by George H.W. Bush and worked in both the Bush and Reagan administrations. He said in his written testimony that the U.S. is in a ‘war’ over the nation’s democracy and that ‘only the party that instigated this war can end it,’ calling on the Republican Party to start a reconciliation process.”


Sunday, 19 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukraine awaits European Union (E.U.) candidate decision; leaders prepare for long war, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Bryan Pietsch, Julian Duplain, Rachel Pannett, Jennifer Hassan, Annabelle Chapman, and Brittany Shammas, Sunday, 19 June 2022: “Ukraine is preparing to mark a ‘truly historic’ week as the country awaits a decision on its candidate status for the European Union and girds itself for an aggressive new round of attacks from Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday. The European Council is expected to issue a decision on whether Ukraine will become a candidate to join the bloc after a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. An endorsement from the 27 E.U. member states would be the first step on what could be a years-long path. Such a show of support would come at a crucial time, with Moscow pummeling eastern Ukraine and world leaders — most recently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson — warning that the war could drag on for years. Both combat sides have suffered low morale recently, according to an assessment from Britain’s Defense Ministry. Whole Russian units have refused orders in some cases, while Ukrainian forces have probably seen desertions, the report said.

  • Miami police say they plan to donate guns to Ukraine after a buyback program designed to get weapons off the streets.
  • In a Father’s Day message, Zelensky praised dads who defend Ukraine.
  • Russian forces control most of Severodonetsk, a bitterly contested city crucial to Russian hopes of advancing in the eastern Luhansk region, governor Serhiy Haidai said Sunday. He added that Russia has massed reserves in the area in preparation for a large attack.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Rushes Reinforcements to Sievierodonetsk. As Russia pummeled eastern Ukraine with strikes, losses were climbing for both sides in a grinding war that Western leaders warned could last years. The New York Times, Sunday, 19 June 2022:

  • Ukraine rushes troops to reinforce its faltering defense of Sievierodonetsk.

  • Ukraine bans some Russian music and books.

  • Children of Ukraine’s fallen soldiers spend Father’s Day in new grief.

  • Western leaders warn that the war in Ukraine could last years.

  • Germany will fire up coal plants again in an effort to save natural gas.
  • Russia launches strikes against targets across eastern Ukraine.

Texas Republicans Approve Far-Right Platform Declaring Biden’s Election Illegitimate. The platform, which was voted on at the Republican state party convention in Houston, was the latest sign of Texas conservatives moving further to the right. The New York Times, Azi Paybarah and David Montgomery, Sunday, 19 June 2022: “The Republican Party in Texas made a series of far-right declarations as part of its official party platform over the weekend, claiming that President Biden was not legitimately elected, issuing a ‘rebuke’ to Senator John Cornyn for his work on bipartisan gun legislation and referring to homosexuality as ‘an abnormal lifestyle choice.’ The platform was voted on in Houston at the state party’s convention, which concluded on Saturday. The resolutions about Mr. Biden and Mr. Cornyn were approved by a voice vote of the delegates, according to James Wesolek, the communications director for the Republican Party of Texas. The statements about homosexuality — as well as additional stances on abortion that called for students to ‘learn about the Humanity of the Preborn Child’ — were among more than 270 planks that were approved by a platform committee and voted on by the larger group of convention delegates using paper ballots. The results of those votes were still pending on Sunday, but Mr. Wesolek said it was rare for a plank to be voted down by the full convention after being approved by the committee.” See also, At Texas Republican convention, loyalists embrace far-right, anti-gay rhetoric, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Sunday, 19 January 2022: “Thousands of Republican activists meeting in Houston this weekend for the state’s party convention agreed to a resolution that rejects the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and refers to Joe Biden as an illegitimate president. The delegates also called for the repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was passed to end discrimination against Black Americans at the polls. Separately, a party platform presented to convention delegates labeled homosexuality ‘an abnormal lifestyle choice.’ According to the Texas Tribune, the platform also advocates for children to learn in school about ‘the humanity of the preborn child,’ promoting new messaging after the state has taken steps to vastly restrict abortion. And less than a month after 19 children and two teachers were shot to death at a Texas elementary school, convention delegates adopted a formal ‘rebuke’ of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) for engaging in bipartisan gun-control talks. Attendees also loudly booed him when he gave a convention speech Friday when he tried to explain potential legislation.” See also, The platform of the Texas Republican Party says Biden didn’t really win. It also calls for secession. NPR, Bill Chappell, published on Monday, 20 June 2022: “President Biden is the ‘acting’ president because he didn’t win legally; Texans should vote on seceding; the Voting Rights Act of 1965 should be repealed; any gun control is a rights violation: this is the world as seen by the Republican Party of Texas, according to its newly adopted party platform. ‘We can’t compromise with Democrats who have a different and incompatible vision for our future,’ Matt Rinaldi, the state GOP chairman, said, according to The Texas Newsroom. ‘We need to be a bold and unapologetic conservative party, ready to go on offense and win the fight for our country.’ The Republicans’ 2022 platform is outlined in a 40-page document that addresses state issues but also much broader priorities — such as calling for the U.S. to leave the United Nations. Delegates approved it over the weekend, at the party’s convention in Houston.”


Monday, 20 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Kremlin says captured Americans are ‘soldiers of fortune,’ not subject to Geneva Conventions, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Emily Rauhala, Bryan Pietsch, Victoria Bisset, Rachel Pannett, Jennifer Hassan, Andrea Salcedo, and Brittany Shammas, Monday, 20 June 2022: “The Kremlin’s top spokesman on Monday confirmed that two Americans who had disappeared after joining the war effort in Ukraine were taken into Russian custody, and he said they would not be afforded protections granted by the Geneva Conventions to prisoners of war. It was Moscow’s first comment on the captured U.S. citizens, the military veterans Alexander J. Drueke and Andy Tai Huynh. The spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told NBC News that the two men were ‘involved in firing and shelling’ Russian troops, and he accused them of being ‘soldiers of fortune,’ or mercenaries. In response to Peskov’s comments, the State Department said in a statement: ‘We call on the Russian government — as well as its proxies — to live up to their international obligations in their treatment of any individual, including those captured fighting in Ukraine.’ Earlier this month, a Russia-backed tribunal in the separatist Donetsk region ignited international outrage when it handed down death sentences to fighters from Britain and Morocco. Peskov told NBC that the Americans’ fate ‘depends on the investigation.’

  • U.S. citizen has been killed in combat in Ukraine, making him at least the second American to die as a result of the war.
  • Talks in Brussels on Monday failed to resolve Turkey’s objection to Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join NATO, but negotiations will continue in the coming days, officials said.
  • Moscow summoned Lithuania’s chargé d’affaires over the Baltic country’s decision to prevent the transit of sanctioned goods through its territory to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
  • E.U. foreign ministers are meeting in Luxembourg to discuss how to free up millions of tons of grain stuck in Ukraine due to a Russian blockade of Black Sea ports.
  • The Netherlands on Monday became the latest European nation to say it would need to burn more coal to compensate for dwindling gas deliveries from Russia.
  • China’s imports of Russian crude oil hit a record in May, as Chinese buyers took advantage of discounted prices after Beijing pledged to continue normal economic ties with Moscow.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine News: Kremlin Calls 2 Captured Americans ‘Soldiers of Fortune.’ The U.S. veterans taken prisoner while fighting for Ukraine are not protected by the rules of war, a Kremlin official claimed. Moscow also vowed to retaliate against Lithuania for barring shipments to a Russian territory. The New York Times, Tuesday, 20 June 2022:

  • Russia threatens to retaliate against Lithuania, a NATO member, over restrictions on shipments to Kaliningrad.

  • Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s food exports is a ‘war crime,’ says the E.U.’s foreign policy chief.

  • A Russian official says Ukraine hit drilling rigs in the Black Sea.

  • A small eastern town becomes a flash point in Russia’s campaign to seize the Donbas.

  • Russia steps up bombardments of Kharkiv, where Ukraine had pushed back its forces.

  • Ukraine bans some Russian music and books as a global culture war grows.

In Ad, Shotgun-Toting Eric Greitens, a Republican Candidate for the United States Senate in Missouri, Asks Voters to Go ‘RINO Hunting.’ The right-wing Senate candidate accompanies a squad of heavily armed men as they storm a home looking for ‘Republicans in name only.’ The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Monday, 20 June 2022: “Eric Greitens, a Republican candidate for the United States Senate in Missouri, released a violent new political advertisement on Monday showing himself racking a shotgun and accompanying a team of men armed with assault rifles as they stormed — SWAT team-style — into a home in search of ‘RINOs,’ or Republicans in name only. ‘Join the MAGA crew,’ Mr. Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, declares in the ad. ‘Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.’ The ad by Mr. Greitens was just the latest but perhaps most menacing in a long line of Republican campaign ads featuring firearms and seeking to equate hard-core conservatism with the use of deadly weapons. It was posted online less than a week after the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol showed how threats by former President Donald J. Trump against his own vice president, Mike Pence, had helped to instigate the mob attack on the building. During a hearing by the committee on Thursday, J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge widely respected by conservatives, suggested that Mr. Trump and his allies posed a ‘clear and present danger to American democracy.'”

Trump campaign documents show advisers knew fake-elector plan was baseless. A review of emails and memos shows that lawyers advising the former president knew the plan was baseless but pursued it anyway. The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Monday, 20 June 2022: “The convening of the electoral college on Dec. 14, 2020, was supposed to mark the end of the wild, extended presidential election that year. But when the day arrived, a strange thing happened. In seven swing states won by Joe Biden, when the Democrat’s electors assembled to formally elect him president, Trump supporters showed up, too, ready to declare that their man had actually won. ‘The electors are already here — they’ve been checked in,’ a state police officer told the group in Michigan, according to a video of the encounter, as he barred the Republicans from the Capitol in a state Biden won by more than 154,000 votes. In Nevada, a state Biden had won by about 33,600 votes, a photo distributed by the state Republican Party showed Trump supporters squeezing around an undersize picnic table dressed up with a bit of bunting, preparing to sign formal certificates declaring that they were ‘the duly elected and qualified’ electors of their state. At the time, the gatherings seemed a slapdash, desperate attempt to mimic President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede. But internal campaign emails and memos reveal that the convening of the fake electors was apparently a much more concerted strategy, intended to give Vice President Mike Pence a reason to declare that the outcome of the election was somehow in doubt on Jan. 6, 2021, when he was to preside over the congressional counting of the electoral college votes.” See also, Timeline: The Trump team’s ‘fake elector’ plot, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Monday, 20 June 2022: “It’s the narrative throughline of virtually everything the Jan. 6 committee is detailing in its hearings this month: Donald Trump and Co. knew what they were doing was wrong or even illegal, but they did it anyway. Trump was personally told that his biggest voter-fraud claims were false, but he kept pushing them. His attorneys also seemed to know that their Jan. 6 plot to have Vice President Mike Pence overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election was illegal, but that didn’t stop them, either. Now, in a new report, The Washington Post’s Rosalind S. Helderman details how this pattern also applies to the Trump team’s push for alternate electors — in actuality, ‘fake electors.’ Trump attorney John Eastman and others appeared to know that the fake electors they designated in seven states were invalid, because they weren’t certified by state legislatures and/or didn’t comply with state law. But they were a necessary part of the Jan. 6 plot. And, apparently, you work with what you have.”

Op-Ed: The insurrection won’t end until Trump is prosecuted and disqualified from future office, Los Angeles Times, Laurence H. Tribe, Phillip Allen Lacovara, and Dennis Aftergut, Monday, 20 June 2022: “In a powerful warning Thursday, the patron saint of the conservative legal movement, former federal appellate Judge J. Michael Luttig, testified before the Jan. 6 Committee and pronounced former President Trump and his allies a ‘clear and present danger’ to American constitutional democracy. As Luttig knows better than most, this historic phrase generates an extraordinary constitutional power of government to act — and a duty to do so. Luttig’s verdict should be understood as a plea for Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland to proceed toward charging Trump with federal crimes that the public record now amply establishes. Only then will this nation be able to move forward from the ongoing insurrection. Beyond the avalanche of documents and testimony pointing to Trump’s guilt and the principle that no one is above the law, there is an additional reason to indict Trump for his multi-faceted conspiracy in 2020 to override the vote. Upon a conviction for inciting insurrection, or being an accessory to insurrection, Trump would be subject to disqualification from acquiring federal office. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment directs: ‘No person shall . . . hold any office . . . under the United States . . . who, having previously taken an oath . . . as an officer of the United States . . . to support the Constitution shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.’'”

Tuesday, 21 June 2022:


House Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the Capitol by Violent Trump Supporters Ties Trump to Fake Elector Plan, Mapping His Attack on Democracy, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 21 June 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack directly tied Donald J. Trump on Tuesday to a scheme to put forward fake slates of pro-Trump electors and presented fresh details on how the former president sought to bully, cajole and bluff his way into invalidating his 2020 defeat in states around the country. Using sworn in-person testimony from Republicans and videotaped depositions from other officials, the panel showed how the former president and a group of allies laid siege to state lawmakers and election officials after the balloting in a wide-ranging plot to reverse the outcome. The campaign led to harassment and threats of violence against anyone who resisted. The hearing on Tuesday amounted to the most comprehensive picture to date of a president who directed an attack on democracy itself and repeatedly reached into its essential machinery — the administration of free and fair elections. It was the committee’s fourth hearing, and it captured how, long before a throng of his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Mr. Trump used election lies to whip up violence against anyone who dared to deny his false claims of victory. ‘The president’s lie was and is a dangerous cancer on the body politic,’ said Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who led the questioning on Tuesday. ‘If you can convince Americans they cannot trust their own elections, that any time they lose is somehow illegitimate, then what is left but violence to determine who should govern?’ Over nearly three hours, the committee demonstrated how Mr. Trump and his supporters — including his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows — sought to persuade state officials to avoid certifying vote counts to give Mr. Trump a victory in the Electoral College. Mr. Trump also sought to persuade lawmakers to create the slates of alternate electors, hoping that Vice President Mike Pence might use them to subvert the normal democratic process when he oversaw the official count of electoral votes on Jan. 6. And the panel presented evidence tying Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona and Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin to the plan.” See also, 4 Takeaways From Tuesday’s January 6 House Committee Hearings. Donald J. Trump was personally involved in a scheme to put forward fake electors, the House committee revealed at a hearing that highlighted the pressure that state officials faced to overturn the election results. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Tuesday, 21 June 2022. See also, January 6 hearing updates, NPR, Tuesday, 21 June 2022. See also, Representative Adam Schiff says the Trump campaign tried to use fake electors, NPR, Rachel Treisman, Tuesday, 21 June 2022: “As Rep. Adam Schiff reminded listeners, every four years Americans cast their votes not directly for presidential candidates but for electors pledged to those candidates to the Electoral College. In December, electors in each state meet, cast their votes and send those votes to Congress, which meets in January to count those votes, and the winner becomes president. Schiff spent several minutes detailing how, as he put it, former President Donald Trump and his campaign ‘were directly involved in advancing and coordinating the plot to replace Biden electors with fake electors not chosen by the voters.’ He said that entailed convincing fake electors to cast and submit votes through fake certificates that said they would only be used in the event that Trump won his legal challenges — but continued the scheme even after courts rejected those lawsuits. Even Trump’s own lawyers doubted the legal basis of the plan and some walked away rather than participate, he added. He then played a video showing Casey Lucier, investigative counsel for the committee, outlining the details of that plan. She said the committee heard testimony that people close to Trump hatched a plan to organize fake electors for Trump in states that he lost in the weeks after the election. Video clips captured testimony from former Trump staffers who were involved in or knew of the plot, lawyers who warned against it and Republican Party officials. They also detailed the lengths the Trump campaign and fake electors took to carry out the scheme.” See also, Full transcript from the June 21 hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack, NPR, Tuesday, 21 June 2022. See also, 4 takeaways from the fourth January 6 House select committee hearing, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Tuesday, 21 June 2022. See also, House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection by violent Trump supporters links Trump to fake electors plan, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Mariana Alfaro, Eugene Scott, and Amy B Wang, Tuesday, 21 June 2022: “Arizona House Speaker Russell ‘Rusty’ Bowers (R) on Tuesday told the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection that he resisted repeated overtures from President Donald Trump and his allies to change his state’s 2020 presidential election results because he saw no evidence supporting Trump’s claims of fraud and didn’t want to be ‘used as a pawn.’ Georgia state officials also testified, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), whom Trump asked to ‘find’ enough votes to flip the election in that state, and his deputy, Gabe Sterling. During his testimony, Raffensperger debunked multiple claims of fraud that Trump used to pressure him. The committee also heard from Shaye Moss, a Georgia election worker who was wrongly accused of committing election fraud by Trump and his allies. She was subject to vile attacks as a result. The hearing also revealed that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) offered to deliver fake electors to Vice President Mike Pence. The committee showed text messages between a staffer for Johnson and a staffer for Pence just minutes before the beginning of the joint session of Congress to count the electoral votes on Jan. 6.

  • Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the House select committee, said that ‘pressuring public servants into betraying their oaths was a fundamental part of the playbook’ for Trump in trying to overturn the election results.
  • Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), a Jan. 6 panel member, played a lead role in Tuesday’s hearing. Schiff said Trump’s repeated false claims fomented death threats and harassment against state legislators and election officials.
  • Trump directly tapped Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and her organization to get involved in his quest to overturn the 2020 election, according to testimony.
  • In video testimony, Robert Sinners, a former Trump campaign staffer, said he felt as if those who participated in the effort to field slates of fake electors in seven states were ‘kind of useful idiots or rubes.'”

War in Ukraine: U.S. attorney general visits Kyiv as heavy fighting continues in Luhansk, The Washington Post, María Luisa Paúl, Jonathan Edwards, Julian Mark, Andrea Salcedo, Adam Taylor, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 21 June 2022: “U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland met with Ukraine’s top prosecutor Tuesday during an unannounced trip to Kyiv. Garland, announcing the launch of a U.S. ‘war crimes accountability team,’ pledged to ‘pursue every avenue of accountability for those who commit war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine.’ In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Americans captured in Ukraine would not be covered by the Geneva Conventions’ protections for prisoners of war. He also said Tuesday that Russia ‘can’t rule out’ that two American captives would face death sentences. Ukrainian forces continue to face a punishing fight in the eastern Luhansk region, where Ukrainian officials warn that Russia is staging heavy military equipment. Taking full control of the city of Severodonetsk would deliver a key victory to Russia — and bring its forces closer to fulfilling Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal of overpowering the eastern Donbas region bordering Russia. The days ahead could bring some of the most decisive battles in the war, Ukrainian officials warned.

  • Russian forces have captured the strategically important village of Toshkivka, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk said Tuesday. Control of the village could allow Russian troops to encircle cities that have been at the heart of the battle for the Donbas region for weeks.
  • German howitzers arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday, according to the country’s defense minister — the first of a tranche of heavy weapons Berlin has pledged.
  • Ukraine’s application to join the European Union — along with those of former Soviet republics Georgia and Moldova — will be discussed during this week’s European Council summit.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine News: Civilians Are Urged to Flee Russian-Occupied Areas in South. In eastern Ukraine, U.S. officials say, Moscow is likely to end up with more territory, but neither side will gain full control of the region. China and India are snapping up Russian crude, bolstering Moscow’s economy. The New York Times, Tuesday, 21 June 2022:

  • Ukraine urges civilians to flee the occupied south ahead of a promised counteroffensive.

  • The U.S. attorney general visits Ukraine and names a veteran prosecutor to help investigate Russian war crimes.

  • The U.S. confirms the death of an American presumed to be the second killed on the battlefield in Ukraine.

  • Asia is buying discounted Russian oil, making up for Europe’s cutbacks.

  • As Russia renews shelling in Kharkiv, the civilian death toll is growing, officials say.

  • Backers of an international nuclear arms ban meet, with Putin’s threats on their minds.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 21), NPR, NPR, Tuesday, 21 June 2022: “As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland visited Ukraine for discussions with Ukraine’s top prosecutor on suspected Russian war crimes. Garland is launching a war crimes accountability team, which will share expertise in forensics, evidence collection and legal advice. He says the team will play a key role in ongoing war crimes investigations. The U.S. is already sending money to Ukraine to help the country gather, preserve and analyze evidence of suspected war crimes, including the killing of civilians. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova says the country has identified more than 15,000 potential Russian war crimes. Ukraine’s parliament and various government agencies are working in overdrive to adopt European-style standards, including approving the Istanbul Convention on gender-based violence prevention. A summit later this week will consider Ukraine’s European Union candidacy. A U.S. citizen was killed fighting in Ukraine. The State Department said Stephen Zabielski died in Ukraine but wouldn’t elaborate on details. According to an obituary in The Recorder newspaper, Zabielski died on May 15, at age 52, while fighting in Ukraine. He is at least the second American confirmed killed in the Ukraine war, following Willy Joseph Cancel, who was killed in April. Russia says two Americans captured fighting for Ukraine won’t be protected by international law from possibly facing the death penalty. News reports last week said the two former U.S. service members were captured in the war in Ukraine. The Kremlin acknowledged them this week, and spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said they wouldn’t be covered under the Geneva Convention because they’re accused of being mercenaries. Earlier this month, three other foreign fighters received death sentences in a court in Russian-backed separatist territory in Ukraine. Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov’s award medal sold at auction for $103.5 million, which Muratov is donating to UNICEF to help Ukrainian refugee children. The sale price is a record for a Nobel medal. Muratov, a founder and editor of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was jointly awarded the Peace Prize last year with Philippine journalist Maria Ressa. Novaya Gazeta was shut down in March, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine.”

Unseen Trump tapes subpoenaed by House committee investigating January 6. Alex Holder, a documentary filmmaker who was granted extensive access to then-President Donald Trump and his inner circle, is expected to fully cooperate. Politico, Eugene Daniels and Ryan Lizza, Tuesday, 21 June 2022: “The House select committee investigating Jan. 6 sent a subpoena last week to Alex Holder, a documentary filmmaker who was granted extensive access to then-President Donald Trump and his inner circle. Holder shot interviews with the then-president both before and after Jan. 6. The existence of this footage is previously unreported. A source familiar with the project told POLITICO on Monday night that Holder began filming on the campaign trail in September 2020 for a project on Trump’s reelection campaign. Over the course of several months, Holder had substantial access to Trump, Trump’s adult children and Mike Pence, both in the White House and on the campaign trail. According to the subpoena, which was obtained exclusively by POLITICO, the committee has subpoenaed ‘any raw footage you or your colleagues took in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021’; raw footage of interviews he conducted with Trump, Pence, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner; and raw footage ‘pertaining to discussions of election fraud or election integrity surrounding the November 2020 presidential election.’ Holder is expected to fully cooperate with the committee in an interview scheduled for Thursday.”


Wednesday, 22 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia intensifies push to seize Luhansk, The Washington Post, David Walker, Amy Cheng, Ellen Francis, Bryan Pietsch, Sammy Westfall, and Reis Thebault, Wednesday, 22 June 2022: “The fate of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region is on the line as Russian forces continue to advance. Ukraine says the village of Toshkivka, south of Lysychansk, fell to Russia this week and is being used as a base to bombard the city, where Ukrainian forces are digging in. ‘Hellish battles’ are ongoing in Severodonetsk, the regional governor said Wednesday, while Lysychansk is ‘constantly suffering from enemy fire.’ Elsewhere in Europe, Russia’s stranglehold on gas could force the hand of governments intent on reducing carbon emissions back toward coal power. Ahead of a European Council summit Thursday and Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is conducting a marathon session of calls with leaders across the continent to maximize his country’s chances of being granted candidate status for membership in the European Union. ‘The lives of thousands of people depend directly on the speed of our partners — on the speed of implementation of their decisions to help Ukraine,’ he said in a speech Tuesday night.

  • Amid the invasion of Ukraine, the international view of Russia has taken a hit; the images of the United States and NATO have not, according to polling by Pew.
  • Washington ‘continues to systematically destroy bilateral relations, which are already in a deplorable state,’ Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement. She was responding to the U.S. decision not to allow Russian aircraft to convey Russian diplomats from the United States.
  • The press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said Russian forces ‘executed’ a Ukrainian photojournalist and a soldier who accompanied him in a forest near Kyiv in March.

Russia-Ukraine War: More Brutal Fighting Is Expected in Eastern Ukraine. Moscow’s advancing forces threaten Lysychansk, the last major urban center in Ukrainian hands in Luhansk province. Ukrainian forces are bracing for another bitter fight in neighboring Donetsk province. The New York Times, Wednesday, 22 June 2022:

  • The fight in Luhansk suggests a bloody struggle to come in Donetsk.

  • After Russia breaks through front line, Ukrainian troops in key city brace for an onslaught.

  • A study of the war details Russia’s many failed cyberattacks, but also its power in disinformation.

  • As the war grinds on, U.S. lawmakers press for better military assessments of allies’ will to fight.

  • A Ukrainian journalist was executed ‘in cold blood’ by Russian soldiers, Reporters Without Borders says.

  • Brittney Griner’s supporters call on Biden to strike a deal to free her from Russian detention.

  • The arrival of Western weapons begins to reshape the battle off Ukraine’s coast.

  • Turkey seeks to unlock a Russian blockade that is fueling a global food crisis.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 22), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 22 June 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The most intense battles in Ukraine are still taking place in the east, but fighting has been picking up in the north and south of the country as well. Ukraine’s military says it carried out strikes against Russian positions on Snake Island, an outpost in the Black Sea, suggesting the use of longer-range weapons recently provided by Western countries. In northern Ukraine, Russia has stepped up shelling of Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, where Ukrainian officials say long-range Russian shelling has killed at least 15 civilians this week. Ukraine pushed back Russian troops from the outskirts of the city more than a month ago. Ukrainian officials are gearing up to receive candidate status for the European Union. In their latest comments, Ukrainian leaders including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said they expected unanimous support of all EU members for Ukraine to be put on the lengthy path toward potential membership in the bloc. An EU summit begins in Brussels on Thursday. The Kremlin threatened to retaliate against Lithuania for blocking some goods headed to Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the retaliation wouldn’t be diplomatic but practical, raising fears of a confrontation between Russia and NATO. Kaliningrad is a part of Russia that’s surrounded by Lithuania and Poland — both NATO and EU members. Lithuania said it was banning the movement of goods like steel and other metals to the Russian territory as part of EU sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia commemorated the 81st anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II. Activists held candle-lighting ceremonies across the country and, according to Russian RIA news agency, also in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol. President Vladimir Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin in honor of the estimated 27 million Soviets killed in what Russia calls the Great Patriotic War. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created the largest refugee crisis since that time. Microsoft reported that Russian state-backed hackers have targeted organizations in 42 countries allied with Ukraine. The report identified the U.S. as the top target, followed by Poland, a key logistics hub for aid to Ukraine. Hackers succeeded at infiltrating networks 29% of the time, and at least a quarter of those intrusions resulted in stolen data. Microsoft said the key targets were governments, but also included think tanks, humanitarian groups, IT companies, and energy and other critical infrastructure suppliers.”

January 6 probe expands with fresh subpoenas in multiple states. Recipients of subpoenas include a state party chairman as officials probe deeper into pro-Trump efforts to use invalid electors to thwart Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Josh Dawsey, and Devlin Barrett, Wednesday, 22 June 2022: “The Justice Department stepped up its criminal investigation of a plan by President Donald J. Trump and his allies to create slates of so-called fake electors in a bid to keep Mr. Trump in power during the 2020 election, as federal agents delivered grand jury subpoenas on Wednesday to at least four people connected to the plan. One of those who received a subpoena, according to two people familiar with the matter, was Brad Carver, a lawyer and official of the Georgia Republican Party who claimed to be one of Mr. Trump’s electors in the state, which was won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. Another subpoena recipient was Thomas Lane, an official who worked on behalf of Mr. Trump’s campaign in Arizona and New Mexico, the people said. A third person, Shawn Flynn, a Trump campaign aide in Michigan, also got a subpoena, according to the people familiar with the matter. A fourth subpoena was issued to David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, who also served as a fake elector for Mr. Trump.” See also, Justice Department Issues More Subpoenas in Trump Electors Investigation. Federal prosecutors sought information from two men who had worked on behalf of the Trump campaign and a third who signed up as a Trump Elector in Georgia, a state won by President Biden. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 22 June 2022: “Federal agents investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday dropped subpoenas on people in multiple locations, widening the probe of how political activists supporting President Donald Trump tried to use invalid electors to thwart Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. Agents conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity Wednesday morning at different locations, FBI officials confirmed to The Washington Post. One was the home of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector. The other was the Virginia home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico. The FBI officials did not identify the people associated with those addresses, but public records list each of the locations as the home addresses of the men. Among those who received a subpoena Wednesday was David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, who served as a Trump elector in that state, people familiar with the investigation said. Shafer’s lawyer declined to comment. Separately, at least some of the would-be Trump electors in Michigan received subpoenas, according to a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. But it was not immediately clear whether that activity was related to a federal probe or a state-level criminal inquiry. The precise nature of the information being sought by the Justice Department at the homes of Carver and Lane was not immediately clear. Officials have previously said that the Justice Department and the FBI were examining the issue of false electors, whom Trump and others hoped might be approved by state legislators in a last-ditch bid to keep Trump in the White House. Until now, however, those investigative efforts seemed to primarily involve talking to people in Republican circles who knew of the scheme and objected; the subpoenas issued Wednesday suggest the Justice Department is now moving to question at least some of those who allegedly agreed to pursue the effort.” 

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson is under fire over fake-electors disclosure at January 6 House select committee hearing, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 22 June 2022: “Weeks before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) held a hearing on election fraud in an attempt to legitimize former president Donald Trump’s false allegations of voting irregularities. Four days before the attack on the Capitol, Johnson signed a statement with nine other Republican senators that they intended to object to certifying Joe Biden’s electors and demand ‘an emergency 10-day audit of the election.’ This week, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot revealed that Johnson’s chief of staff tried to deliver to Vice President Mike Pence a slate of fake electors backing Trump, raising questions about the Wisconsin Republican’s role in a deliberate and coordinated plan to block Biden’s win and give Trump the presidency. The disclosure also underscores the extent of Johnson’s role as one of Congress’s most prominent election deniers and Jan. 6 apologists — spreading conspiracy theories about rigged votes and playing down the severity of the violent assault on the Capitol as mostly ‘peaceful,’ while floating the idea that it might have been an inside job by the FBI.”

The House January 6 select committee is extending the timetable for its public hearings into July, NPR, NPR Washington Desk, Wednesday, 22 June 2022: “Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told reporters that Thursday’s hearing, focused on former President Donald Trump’s pressure on the Department of Justice, will be the last for the month of June with more hearings to come after Congress’ July 4th recess. The House will reconvene the week of July 11, and Thompson indicated that’s the earliest hearings would likely resume. A committee aide tells NPR’s Claudia Grisales: ‘The Select Committee continues to receive additional evidence relevant to our investigation into the violence of January 6th and its causes. Following tomorrow’s hearing, we will be holding additional hearings in the coming weeks. We will announce dates and times for those hearings soon.’ Thompson said the new evidence the committee has includes hours of video footage handed over by a British documentarian who followed Trump, his family and aides, as well as conducting interviews with them, for weeks before and after the 2020 election. Thompson also said there is ‘a lot of information to the tip line’ that the committee has set up. Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said at Tuesday’s hearing that Trump’s former White House counsel Pat Cipollone should testify and that the committee is still working to make that happen. Over the weekend, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the committee has more witnesses it would like to hear from and wouldn’t rule out a subpoena for former Vice President Mike Pence. The committee had originally been expected to hold hearings throughout the month of June, followed by a report on its findings in September.”


Thursday, 23 June 2022:


January 6 House Hearings Day 5: Trump Pressured Justice Department to Help Him Overturn the Election, and Trump’s Allies Sought Pardons. The committee painted a picture of how President Donald J. Trump directed a wide-ranging and relentless scheme to misuse the Justice Department to keep himself in power. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Katie Benner, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol painted a vivid picture on Thursday of how former President Donald J. Trump directed a wide-ranging bid to strong-arm the Justice Department into overturning the 2020 election, the most brazen attempt by a sitting president since Watergate to manipulate the nation’s law enforcement apparatus to keep himself in power. In a stunning display of evidence, including testimony from top officials who resisted the former president’s efforts, the committee laid out how Mr. Trump tried repeatedly to use the Justice Department to interfere in the election. In near-daily conversations, he badgered its leaders to act on unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, including wild internet hoaxes, accusing them of failing to do their jobs. He explored naming a conspiracy theorist who was circulating outlandish stories of voting irregularities to serve as a special counsel to look into possible election misdeeds. ‘Why don’t you guys just seize machines?’ Mr. Trump demanded to know at one point, later calling a top official at the Homeland Security Department when informed that voting machines fell under that agency’s purview, not the Justice Department’s. When top Justice Department officials repeatedly told him that they had investigated and debunked his allegations of widespread election fraud, Mr. Trump said they need not find evidence. ‘Just say the election is corrupt and leave the rest to me,’ he told them. And when the officials refused to comply, Mr. Trump embraced a plan to remove the acting attorney general and install a loyalist, Jeffrey Clark, to do his bidding. During a heated showdown in the Oval Office, only the threat of a mass resignation at the department persuaded Mr. Trump to back down.” See also, 5 Takeaways From Thursday’s Hearing by the January 6 House Committee, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 23 June 2022. See also, 5 takeaways from the January 6 hearing on Trump’s Justice Department plot, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “The Jan. 6 committee on Thursday held its fifth major hearing, this one focused on President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign on the Justice Department to help him overturn the election. The plot was spearheaded within the department by an official named Jeffrey Clark, whose home federal agents searched Wednesday in a significant development that reflects the increasing legal jeopardy faced by Trump’s allies and perhaps Trump himself. Trump at one point considered installing Clark as acting attorney general to further the plot — which prompted mass resignation threats.” See also, ‘Just say it was corrupt’ and 3 other takeaways from Thursday’s House committee hearing, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, Thursday, 23 June. See also, Full Transcript From the 23 June Hearing of the House Select Committee Investigating the Violent January 6 Attack on the Capitol, NPR, Thursday, 23 June 2022. See also, Republican lawmakers asked the White House for pardons before and after January 6, NPR, Ximena Bustillo, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “Various Republican members of Congress requested pardons from then-President Donald Trump in the final days of the administration, testimony revealed today. Five days after the insurrection, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., sent an email with the subject line ‘Pardons’ to the White House requesting a pardon for Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., himself and ‘every congressman or senator who voted to reject the electoral college vote submissions of Arizona and Pennsylvania.’ In a taped deposition shown during the hearing, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said Brooks and Gaetz advocated for blanket pardons for House members who were involved in a Dec. 21 White House meeting. Specifically, Gaetz had been asking for a pardon since ‘early December,’ Hutchinson said, noting Reps. Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and Scott Perry also sought pardons from the White House. John McEntee, a former White House aide, also said Gaetz had told him he asked Meadows for a pardon. Hutchinson testified she had heard that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia had requested a pardon from the White House counsel’s office, but did not communicate with Greene about that. No pardons were issued. ‘The only reason you ask for a pardon is if you think you’ve committed a crime,’ Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the Democratic-led select committee, said during today’s hearing.” See also, Pennsylvania Republican Representative Scott Perry played key role in promoting false claims of fraud and vote manipulation in the 2020 presidential election, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Emma Brown, and Amy Gardner, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “Of all the fantastical false claims of fraud and vote manipulation in the 2020 presidential election, ‘Italygate’ was one of the most extreme. And Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) was at the heart of bringing it to Donald Trump’s attention. This particular allegation of fraud centered around what one former Justice Department official described Thursday as an ‘absurd’ claim: that an Italian defense contractor had conspired with senior CIA officials to use military satellites to flip votes from Trump to Joe Biden. As The Washington Post has reported, the theory was pushed by a Virginia horse-country socialite who once gave an extended television interview from a 22-bedroom mansion that she repeatedly described as her own, even though it was not. But as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol demonstrated Thursday, Italygate also made its way to the highest levels of the U.S. government. The committee showed Dec. 31, 2020, text messages between Perry and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that included a YouTube video about it, with Perry asking: ‘Why can’t we just work with the Italian government?’ Meadows discussed the claim ‘frequently,’ according to Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who led the questioning during the committee hearing on Thursday, which focused on Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to help overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Perry also pressed acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen to investigate. ‘I told him this whole thing about Italy had been debunked,’ Rosen said during Thursday’s hearing. Another former Justice official who testified Thursday, Richard Donoghue, said the theory was ‘pure insanity’ and ‘patently absurd.’ See also, In its fifth hearing, the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection focused on President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to help overturn the 2020 presidential election, which was won by Joe Biden, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Eugene Scott, Amy B Wang, and Mariana Alfaro, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “Multiple Republican members of Congress asked White House officials whether Trump would preemptively pardon them for their activities in the lead-up to Jan. 6 before he left office, testimony provided by former White House aides to the committee shows. Former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen testified Thursday that the Justice Department ‘held firm’ against political pressure to take sides over the 2020 election results. Rosen said he told Trump that the department could not seize voting machines from the states because there was nothing wrong with the machines; Trump grew agitated. Richard Donoghue, another senior Justice Department official, said Trump pressured officials to declare there was voter fraud in the election. ‘Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,’ Trump said. Donoghue said he found none of Trump’s fraud allegations credible. Steven A. Engel, a long-serving department official who warned Trump that any move to replace Rosen would prompt mass resignations, also appeared in person before the committee Thursday.

  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the committee’s vice chair, said in her opening remarks that the panel will reveal which Republican lawmakers sought presidential pardons from Trump after the Jan. 6 attack.
  • Federal agents conducted a search Wednesday at the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who played a key role in Trump’s efforts to get law enforcement officials to challenge Biden’s victory.
  • A Justice Department official who was working from the inside to help push Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen was working directly with John Eastman, a key Trump legal adviser, the committee revealed.
  • Thursday’s hearing will be the final hearing this month by the Jan. 6 committee, but the panel is planning hearings in July as it weighs what members have said is voluminous evidence still coming in.

Federal Authorities Search Home of Trump Justice Department Official Jeffrey Clark, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Adam Goldman, and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “Federal investigators carried out an early-morning search on Wednesday at the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official, in connection with the department’s sprawling criminal inquiry into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, people familiar with the matter and an associate of Mr. Clark said. It remained unclear exactly what the investigators may have been looking for. But Mr. Clark was central to President Donald J. Trump’s unsuccessful effort in late 2020 to strong-arm the nation’s top prosecutors into supporting his claims of election fraud, and the search suggested that the criminal investigation could be moving closer to Mr. Trump. The law enforcement action at Mr. Clark’s home in suburban Virginia came just one day before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol held a hearing setting out in vivid and powerful detail Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to help him reverse his election defeat. The committee explored Mr. Clark’s role in particular in helping Mr. Trump try — ultimately unsuccessfully — to pressure the department into lending credence to his baseless assertions of election fraud and pressure officials in Georgia, a key swing state, into reconsidering their certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.” See also, Federal agents searched the home of Trump Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark. Clark, a lawyer, was deeply involved in efforts to get the Department of Justice to embrace President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud. The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Devlin Barrett, and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “Federal agents conducted a search Wednesday at the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who played a key role in President Donald Trump’s efforts to get law enforcement officials to challenge Joe Biden’s election victory. The search was confirmed by Clark’s current employer, who said in a written message that agents led a pajama-clad Clark out of his house in suburban Virginia early in the morning and ‘took his electronic devices.'”

Supreme Court Strikes Down New York Law Limiting Guns in Public, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Americans have a broad right to arm themselves in public, striking down a New York law that placed strict limits on carrying guns outside the home and setting off a scramble in other states that have similar restrictions. The decision is expected to spur a wave of lawsuits seeking to loosen existing state and federal restrictions and will force five states — California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey, home to a quarter of all Americans — to rewrite their laws. The ruling follows the mass shootings last month in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, and was handed down on a day when the Senate passed gun control legislation that would enhance background checks for prospective gun buyers ages 18 to 21, provide incentives for states to enact so-called red-flag laws and tighten a federal ban on domestic abusers buying firearms. It was Congress’s most significant action on gun legislation in nearly three decades. The 6-to-3 decision again illustrated the power of the six conservative justices, all of whom voted to strike down the New York law, in setting the national agenda on social issues. The court’s three liberal members dissented. The Second Amendment, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, protects ‘an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.’ States can continue to prohibit guns in some locations like schools and government buildings, Justice Thomas wrote, but the ruling left open where exactly such bans might be allowed. Moments after the ruling was issued, Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York vowed to reconvene the Legislature as early as next month to enact new measures that could let the state maintain existing regulations. Democratic lawmakers in Maryland also suggested they would rewrite legislation to survive expected legal challenges. ‘We’re already dealing with a major gun violence crisis,’ Ms. Hochul said. ‘We don’t need to add more fuel to this fire.'” See also, Supreme Court finds New York law violates right to carry guns outside home. The 6-3 ruling clears the way for legal challenges to similar restrictions in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that law-abiding Americans have a right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense, issuing a watershed constitutional ruling against firearm restrictions as the nation reels from a spate of mass shootings and its political leaders are divided over how to curb such violence. The court’s conservatives prevailed in a 6-to-3 decision that struck a New York law requiring a special need for carrying a weapon and puts at risk similar laws in Maryland, California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Massachusetts. The ruling is likely to make it easier to carry guns in some of the nation’s biggest cities. Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s longest-serving justice and perhaps its most outspoken Second Amendment advocate, wrote a sweeping, 66-page opinion for the court’s conservatives that was specific to New York’s law, but also raises substantial obstacles at the high court for future gun-control measures. ‘The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees,’ Thomas wrote, referring to a previous Supreme Court ruling. ‘We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.’ The court’s dissenting liberals said the majority distorted history and ignored the court’s precedents. President Biden and Democratic officials called the ruling tone-deaf and ill-timed in the wake of recent mass killings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Tex., which have spurred Congress to advance bipartisan legislation strengthening federal gun laws. ‘On a day when the U.S. Senate is about to pass historic, bipartisan gun safety legislation that will save lives, the current Supreme Court has issued a decision that will likely put more lives at risk,’ said Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) ‘Today’s court is led by conservative judicial activists who twist constitutional analysis to substitute their own policy preferences for laws passed by Congress or the states.'” See also, Supreme Court strikes down New York gun law along ideological lines, Politico, Josh Gerstein, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of gun owners who want to carry their weapons outside the home, striking down New York state’s rules giving local officials broad authority to deny such permits for almost any reason. The 6-3 decision, which divided the court along the usual ideological lines, is the latest in a series of moves by the increasingly conservative high court to adopt a muscular interpretation of the right to bear arms found in the Second Amendment to the Constitution.” See also, Supreme Court strikes down New York law that restricts concealed carrying of guns, NPR, Nina Totenberg, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority on Thursday declared for the first time that there is a constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self defense. By a vote of 6-to-3, the court struck down a century-old gun law in New York that limited licenses to carry a gun outside the home to people carrying them for sports like hunting or shooting, and those with a special need, like messengers carrying cash. The court’s decision is the most sweeping to date, and will shake up gun regulation across the country, making it far more difficult to defend rules that limit guns in public places.” See also, Supreme court says Constitution protects right to carry a gun outside the home, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue and Tierney Sneed, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York gun law enacted more than a century ago that places restrictions on carrying a concealed handgun outside the home – an opinion marking the widest expansion of gun rights in a decade. ‘Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution,’ Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court’s 6-3 majority. The opinion changes the framework that lower courts will use going forward as they analyze other gun restrictions, which could include the proposals currently before Congress if they eventually become law. ‘The majority’s expansion of what the Second Amendment protects will have monumental ramifications far beyond carrying firearms in public – on everything from age restrictions to assault weapons bans to limits on high-capacity magazines,’ said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. ‘We’re in for a whole new slew of litigation challenging any and every gun-control measure in light of the analysis in today’s ruling,’ Vladeck said. Critics say the ruling will impair sensible solutions they think can curb gun violence.  Only about a half dozen states have similar laws to New York’s – California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey – have similar regulations, but those states [have] of some of the most densely populated cities in the country. Twenty-five states generally allow people to carry concealed weapons in most public spaces without any permit, background check or safety training, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.”

Senate Passes Bipartisan Gun Bill, Breaking a Decades-Long Impasse. The 65-33 vote late Thursday was aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court struck down New York’s gun law, likely limiting the ability of other state and local governments to restrict guns outside the home. The New York Times, Annie Karni and Emily Cochrane, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “The Senate approved bipartisan legislation on Thursday aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people, after a small group of Republicans joined Democrats to break through their party’s longstanding blockade of gun safety measures and shatter nearly three decades of congressional paralysis on toughening the nation’s gun laws. Spurred to action by a mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the Senate passed the measure 65 to 33, with 15 Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, breaking ranks to side with Democrats in support of the measure. Two Republican senators were absent. It would enhance background checks for prospective gun buyers ages 18 to 21, requiring for the first time that juvenile records, including mental health records beginning at age 16, be vetted for potentially disqualifying material. The bill would provide incentives for states to pass ‘red flag’ laws that allow guns to be temporarily confiscated from people deemed by a judge to be too dangerous to possess them. And it would tighten a federal ban on domestic abusers buying firearms, and strengthen laws against straw purchasing and trafficking of guns. It also includes hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for mental health programs and to beef up security in schools. ‘This is not a cure-all for all the ways gun violence affects our nation, but it is a long overdue step in the right direction,’ Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, said on the Senate floor. ‘It’s significant — it’s going to save lives.’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced on Thursday night that the House would move to take up the measure on Friday morning. White House officials have said President Biden would sign it, calling the bill ‘one of the most significant steps Congress has taken to reduce gun violence in decades.’ The bipartisan breakthrough came on the same day that the Supreme Court struck down a New York law that placed strict limits on carrying guns outside the home, reflecting a stark divergence between the conservative-leaning court and the Democratic-controlled Congress on one of the most politically intractable issues in the country.” See also, Senate passes bipartisan gun violence bill, marking breakthrough. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is poised to pass the House Friday and be signed by President Biden. It includes the most significant new gun restrictions since the mid 1990s. The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “The Senate on Thursday passed legislation aimed at stanching acts of mass gun violence, with 15 Republicans joining Democrats to advance a bill combining modest new firearms restrictions with $15 billion in mental health and school security funding. The 65-to-33 vote represented an unlikely breakthrough on the emotional and polarizing question of U.S. gun laws, which have gone largely unchanged for more than 25 years, even as the nation has been repeatedly scarred by mass shootings whose names have become etched in history — from Columbine and Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook and Parkland. But the May 24 killing of 19 students and two teachers inside a Uvalde, Tex., elementary school prompted renewed action, compelling a small group of senators to negotiate a narrow, bipartisan package focused on keeping guns away from dangerous potential killers while also bulking up the nation’s mental-health-care capacity with billions of dollars in new funding. The resulting Bipartisan Safer Communities Act garnered support from all 50 members of the Democratic caucus and a cadre of dealmaking Republicans on Thursday, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has opposed previous attempts to toughen gun laws after mass shootings.”

War in Ukraine: Kyiv granted European Union (E.U.) membership candidacy in symbolic win amid war, The Washington Post, Emily Rauhala, David Walker, Adela Suliman, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, Sammy Westfall, and Lateshia Beachum, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “European Union leaders meeting on Thursday approved Ukraine’s request to become a formal candidate for E.U. membership status, giving the war-torn country and its leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, a much-needed morale boost. The European Parliament also backed the move in a Thursday vote. Candidate status is just a first step in a bid for full membership, which could take years or decades. But the decision is a major step for Europe, and sends a signal to Russia. On the ground, Russian forces have made further gains south of the eastern city of Lysychansk, Ukrainian authorities said Thursday, with defending forces reportedly repositioning to avoid being encircled. The fall of the settlements of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka came on top of Russia’s seizure of the strategic village of Toshkivka earlier in the week. Much of Lysychansk’s battered twin city of Severodonetsk is already under Russian control as Moscow seeks to occupy the whole of Luhansk province.

  • The United States will send an additional $450 million in weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, including additional multiple-launch rocket systems and patrol boats to defend its shores.
  • Ukraine has received a batch of M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, commonly known as HIMARS, from the United States, Ukraine’s defense minister said Thursday.
  • The sports apparel giant Nike plans to fully withdraw from Russia in the latest corporate move to isolate Moscow from the global economy.
  • Amid the invasion of Ukraine, the international view of Russia has taken a hit; the images of the United States and NATO have not, according to polling by Pew.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia Calls the European Union Move to Advance Ukraine’s Joining ‘Hostile.’ The decision, which sets Ukraine on a probably lengthy path toward becoming a member of the bloc, signals more resistance to Putin. Russian forces advanced on a key eastern city, threatening its supply lines. The New York Times, Thursday, 23 June 2022:

  • Moscow sends mixed messages on Ukraine’s bid to join the E.U.

  • European leaders give Ukraine coveted E.U. candidate status.

  • Ukrainians struggle to hold in the east as U.S. artillery rocket system arrives.

  • The U.S. announces an additional $450 million in military aid for Ukraine.

  • Young soccer players rushed out of Ukraine find themselves in a lonely limbo.

  • Ukraine’s entire oil refining sector is at a standstill.

  • Ex-Ukrainian defense minister says a drawn-out battle in the east is still a measure of success.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 23), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 23 June 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: European Union leaders approved Ukraine’s candidacy to join the 27-nation bloc. Ukraine applied shortly after Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24. ‘Our future is together,’ tweeted European Council President Charles Michel. This first official step toward membership, agreed at a summit in Brussels, will be followed by a long process to reach a final decision on whether Ukraine can join the EU. That process is expected to take years. The EU leaders also approved Moldova’s candidacy for membership. The Pentagon announced an additional $450 million in security assistance for Ukraine, including four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. Ukraine considers the long-range weapon system critical in beating back Russian forces. This latest wave of security assistance comes on top of $1 billion in weaponry recently announced by the White House. Russia’s military continues to grind away at Ukrainian defenses in the east, pushing toward the eastern city of Lysychansk, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry. Ukrainian regional authorities are carrying out evacuation and humanitarian aid missions every day in the embattled city. There’s also been an uptick in attacks in the north, with local military officials reporting about 100 incidents of Russian shelling in the Sumy and Kharkiv areas and cross-border shelling in the Chernihiv region. Russia initially attacked all of these places at the start of its invasion, before retreating in late March. Ukraine began preliminary hearings for its first trial of a Russian soldier accused of rape during the invasion, but doesn’t have the suspect in custody. Mikhail Romanov will be tried in absentia for charges of repeatedly raping a Ukrainian woman after he and another Russian soldier killed her husband in a village outside Kyiv in March. Reuters reports that prosecutors are investigating 50 other cases of sexual violence reported since the war began in February. Experts say there are signs Russian forces have used rape as a war weapon. Nike is officially exiting Russiajoining other marquee businesses to have done so, including McDonald’sStarbucks and Ikea. Back in March, Nike said it would suspend operations in Russia. Now its Russian website says it and the mobile app will no longer be accessible in Russia, and Nike stores will not reopen. Nike had previously said Russia and Ukraine together accounted for less than 1% of its revenue, but even symbolically, its departure from Russia marks the exit of one of the biggest global brands. In an updated assessment, UNESCO raised the number of Ukrainian heritage sites damaged in the war to 152. Of that total, nearly half are religious buildings. The rest include historical buildings, monuments, cultural centers, museums and libraries. Most of the damaged sites are located in the Donetsk, Kharkiv and Kyiv regions. Ukraine is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites but none have been damaged so far, UNESCO says. The destruction of heritage sites is considered a war crime.”


Friday, 24 June 2022:


Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade: In 6-to-3 Ruling, Supreme Court Ends Nearly 50 Years of Abortion Rights, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 24 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years in a decision that will transform American life, reshape the nation’s politics and lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states. ‘Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,’ Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority in the 6-to-3 decision, one of the most momentous from the court in decades. Bans in at least eight states swiftly took effect after they enacted laws meant to be enforced immediately after Roe fell. More states are expected to follow in the coming days, reflecting the main holding in the decision, that states are free to end the practice if they choose to do so. The decision, which closely tracked a leaked draft opinion, prompted celebrations and outcries across the country, underlining how divisive the topic of abortion remains after decades of uncompromising ideological and moral battles between those who see making the choice to terminate a pregnancy as a right and those who see it as taking a life. The outcome, while telegraphed both by the leaked draft opinion and positions taken by the justices during arguments in the case, nonetheless produced political shock waves, energizing conservatives who are increasingly focused on state-by-state-fights and generating new resolve among Democrats to make restoring abortion rights a central element of the midterm elections. Protests swelled across the country on Friday evening. Outside the Supreme Court, thousands of abortion rights supporters demonstrated alongside small groups of celebrating anti-abortion activists, who blew bubbles. Throngs spilled into the streets in large cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, and smaller crowds gathered in places like Louisville, Ky., and Tallahassee, Fla.” See also, The Dobbs v. Jackson Decision, Annotated, The New York Times, Friday, 24 June 2022. See also, Thousands Protest End of Constitutional Right to Abortion. The Supreme Court decision on Friday was immediately met with celebration and anger. Crowds gathered in cities like Washington, New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles as many states enacted abortion bans and clinics stopped offering the procedure. The New York Times, Shawn Hubler, Friday, 24 June 2022: “As the Supreme Court’s reversal of abortion rights sank in among Americans on Friday, protests swelled in Washington, D.C., and in city centers, town plazas and parks across the United States. Some were coordinated, some less so. Outside the Supreme Court, a divided crowd that had begun gathering early in the day had swelled to thousands of mostly outraged abortion rights demonstrators by evening, clashing with small groups of joyful anti-abortion activists who blew bubbles and celebrated the end of the federal guarantee of access to a safe and legal means of ending a pregnancy.” See also, Tracking Where Abortion Is Now Banned, The New York Times, Friday, 24 June 2022: “Abortion is now banned in at least nine states, with trigger bans in several more set to take effect in the coming days. Laws in eight states took effect on Friday after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Oklahoma passed a law in May prohibiting nearly all abortions.” See also, President Biden Tries to Galvanize Voters After Supreme Court Abortion Ruling, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Friday, 24 June 2022: “Calling the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade a ‘tragic error,’ President Biden on Friday tried to galvanize voters ahead of the midterm elections and called on Americans to ‘make their voices heard.’ Speaking from the White House, Mr. Biden said the Justice Department would defend any woman who travels to a different state to have an abortion and said the Department of Health and Human Services would make sure abortion medications were available. But to truly protect a ‘constitutional right that is so fundamental,’ Mr. Biden said voters must elect candidates who will codify Roe v. Wade into federal law. ‘This decision must not be the final word,’ Mr. Biden said. ‘My administration will use all of its appropriate lawful powers. Congress must act. And your vote? You can have the final word. This is not over.’ The president’s speech, just hours after the Supreme Court overturned the nearly 50-year-old decision, signaled that Mr. Biden’s party will likely make abortion a central issue in the midterms in an attempt to energize voters at a time when Democrats are expected to face losses.” See also, The Decision to Overturn Roe Clashes With the Views of a Majority of Americans, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 24 June 2022: “Few issues are more politically fraught than abortion. So, it is notable that the decision by Republican-appointed justices to end a constitutional right to abortion conflicted with the views of a majority of Americans. In a recent SCOTUSPoll, for example, 62.3 percent of respondents opposed overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 precedent that established abortion rights. Just 37.8 percent of respondents believed the Supreme Court should do so. The nationally representative survey was conducted from March 30 to April 6, before a draft version of the opinion leaked, and polled more than 2,100 adult residents of the United States. It was sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the University of Texas. Not surprisingly, the results were somewhat different when broken down by political party. By an even larger margin, Democrats overwhelmingly said they opposed overturning Roe, 78.8 percent to 21.2 percent. A smaller but still large majority of independents and members of third parties shared that view: 62.7 percent to 37.4 percent. By contrast, a slightly smaller but also still sizable majority of Republicans — 59.2 percent — said they wanted the Supreme Court to overturn Roe, while 40.8 percent of Republicans said they were opposed.” See also, Justice Clarence Thomas’s Concurring Opinion Raises Questions About What Rights Might Disappear Next, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 24 June 2022: “Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, laid out a vision that prompted concerns about what other rights could disappear: The same rationale that the Supreme Court used to declare there was no right to abortion, he said, should also be used to overturn cases establishing rights to contraception, same-sex consensual relations and same-sex marriage. In the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel A. Alito, the court said that nothing in its decision ‘should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.’ Justice Thomas said he agreed with that. However, he noted that in its rationale, the court’s majority found that a right to abortion was not a form of ‘liberty’ protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — as the court had said in Roe. Then, he took aim at three other landmark cases that relied on that same legal reasoning: Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 decision that declared married couples had a right to contraception; Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case invalidating sodomy laws and making same-sex sexual activity legal across the country; and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case establishing the right of gay couples to marry. Justice Thomas wrote that the court ‘should reconsider’ all three decisions, saying it had a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents. Then, he said, after ‘overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions’ protected the rights they established. This kind of language is just what advocates for reproductive rights and for L.G.B.T.Q. rights have been fearing. Defenders of the right to abortion have repeatedly warned that if Roe fell, the right to contraception and same-sex marriage would be next.” See also, Here’s What the Justices in the Majority Opinion Said About Roe During Their Confirmation Hearings, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 24 June 2022. See also, Attorney General Merrick Garland Says the Justice Department Will Protect Access to an Abortion, The New York Times, Katie Benner, Friday, 24 June 2022: “Attorney General Merrick B. Garland called the Supreme Court decision to strike down the right to an abortion ‘a devastating blow to reproductive freedom,’ and he vowed to use the Justice Department’s authority to protect the right to the procedure. In a detailed statement, Mr. Garland said that the decision undermines stare decisis, a longstanding doctrine that the court should respect precedents. That principle has helped to uphold the rule of law by keeping the court’s work consistent and preserving the public’s faith that it act as a neutral arbiter. Mr. Garland called on Congress to pass a federal law that protects the right to an abortion, which he said has ‘safeguarded women’s ability to participate fully and equally in society.’ His plea comes as Republicans, energized by the Supreme Court’s decision, are encouraging state legislatures to ban abortions in every state in the country. ‘The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the court’s decision,’ Mr. Garland said in a statement. ‘This decision deals a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States. It will have an immediate and irreversible impact on the lives of people across the country. And it will be greatly disproportionate in its effect — with the greatest burdens felt by people of color and those of limited financial means.’ Mr. Garland has put civil rights at the center of his tenure as attorney general, and he told The New York Times in an interview in March that a woman’s right to control whether and when to have a family is a central civil rights issue.”

President Biden says restoring abortion rights is up to voters, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Ann E. Marimow, John Wagner, Mariana Alfaro, Eugene Scott, Amy B Wang, Praveena Somasundaram, and James Bikales, Friday, 24 June 2022: “President Biden on Friday called the Supreme Court decision that overturns of Roe v. Wade a ‘tragic error’ and implored voters to turn out in November to elect members of Congress willing to write abortion protections into law. Speaking from the White House, Biden said, ‘This is a sad day for the country in my view, but it doesn’t mean the fight is over.’ Biden said the decision puts reproductive health at risk and singled out Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion, in which he opened the door to the court revisiting decisions on contraception and same-sex marriage. Biden’s comments came hours after the court overturned the fundamental right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago, a stunning reversal that leaves states free to drastically reduce access to or even outlaw abortion. ‘Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,’ Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote. The vote was 6 to 3 to uphold a restrictive Mississippi law. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., though, criticized his conservative colleagues for taking the additional step of overturning Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had reaffirmed the right to abortion.

  • The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health was the most anticipated of the court’s term, with political tension surrounding the fight over abortion rights erupting in May with the leak of a draft opinion indicating a majority of justices intended to end the long-standing precedent.
  • The justices were considering a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law had not taken effect because lower courts said it was at odds with the national right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade in 1973 and affirmed by subsequent Supreme Court rulings.
  • In their joint dissent, the court’s three liberal justices took note of the states that will move quickly to restrict abortion access and emphasized the sweeping impact of the court’s decision on the rights of women to terminate their pregnancies.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who helped shepherd several conservative justices onto the court, celebrated the Supreme Court ruling as ‘courageous and correct’ and said the American people have gotten ‘their voice back’ on the issue.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned that her Republican colleagues in Congress are now ‘plotting a nationwide abortion ban’ and that more extreme measures could be enacted in the states.

Supreme Court ruling leaves states free to outlaw abortion. The justices voted 6 to 3 to uphold a restrictive Mississippi law, but Chief Justice John Roberts criticized his conservative colleagues for taking the additional step of overturning Roe v. Wade. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Friday, 24 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Friday overturned the fundamental right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, a stunning ruling that could alter the nation’s political landscape and leaves states free to drastically reduce or even outlaw a procedure that abortion rights groups said is key to women’s equality and independence…. The vote was 6 to 3 to uphold a restrictive Mississippi law. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. did not join the opinion and criticized his conservative colleagues for taking the additional step of overturning Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a subsequent case decided in the early 1990s that reaffirmed the constitutional right to abortion.” See also, Read the full decision for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, The Washington Post, Friday, 24 June 2022. See also, 6 takeaways from the Supreme Court opinion that ended Roe v. Wade, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Friday, 24 June 2022. See also, Supreme Court goes against public opinion in rulings on abortion and guns. Until recently, the court hewed closely to shifting public views on key social issues like same-sex marriage, private sexual conduct, workplace protections for transgender people, and popular support for laws and executive orders on immigration and health care. The Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Friday, 24 June 2022: “The U.S. Supreme Court’s new majority boldly signaled with twin rulings this week that public opinion would not interfere with conservative plans to shift the nation’s legal landscape. The court rejected Roe v. Wade, a 49-year-old legal precedent that guaranteed the right to an abortion, after a string of national polls showed a clear majority of Americans wanted the opposite result. A similar court majority invalidated a 108-year-old New York state law restricting who can carry concealed guns that is supported by nearly 8 in 10 New Yorkers, according to a recent poll by Siena College. Rather than ignore the dissonance, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority in the abortion decision, attacked the notion that the court should consider the public will. He quoted late chief justice William H. Rehnquist from a previous ruling: ‘The Judicial Branch derives its legitimacy, not from following public opinion, but from deciding by its best lights.'” See also, After Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Attorney General Merrick Garland gears up for the next legal battles. In decrying the historic legal decision, the attorney general vows to fight on several abortion-related fronts. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Friday, 24 June 2022: “Attorney General Merrick Garland signaled Friday that in response to the Supreme Court’s historic decision allowing states to limit or ban abortions, the Justice Department is preparing for legal battles on a host of related issues — from women traveling to states where the procedures are legal, to accessing pills that can induce abortions. There is little the Justice Department can do to alter the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision, which is now the law of the land and is expected to significantly restrict abortion access in 13 states in the short term. As conservative-leaning state legislatures respond to the ruling, similar restrictions are likely to spread to another dozen or so states. ‘This decision deals a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States,’ Garland said in a statement. But Garland, a former federal appeals court judge, also laid down important markers for how the Biden Justice Department will handle any legal aftershocks of the decision, such as if states try to pass laws preventing women from traveling to other states to get abortions. Garland said ‘bedrock constitutional principles’ protect women’s rights to seek reproductive care in states where abortions remain legal. New York’s Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul, immediately declared her state a ‘safe harbor’ for those seeking abortions. Garland also signaled that abortion counseling services must be allowed even in states where abortion is banned, calling it a ‘fundamental’ principle of the First Amendment that ‘individuals must remain free to inform and counsel each other about the reproductive care that is available in other states.’ The stern and lengthy statement from the nation’s top law enforcement official shows that the Justice Department, like many advocates on either side of the abortion debate, expect Friday’s decision will lead to a flurry of new state laws — and therefore court fights — about abortion-related issues.” See also, What conservative justices said about Roe at their confirmation hearings. Most justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday told the Senate at their confirmation hearings that the decision was settled precedent. The Washington Post, Mariana Alfaro, Friday, 24 June 2022.

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for almost 5 decades, NPR, Nina Totenberg and Sarah McCammon, Friday, 24 June 2022: “In a historic and far raching decision, the U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade on Friday, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion upheld for nearly a half century, no longer exists. Writing for the court majority, Justice Samuel Alito said that the 1973 Roe ruling and repeated subsequent high court decisions reaffirming Roe ‘must be overruled’ because they were ‘egregiously wrong,’ the arguments ‘exceptionally weak’ and so ‘damaging’ that they amounted to ‘an abuse of judicial authority.’ The decision, most of which was leaked in early May, means that abortion rights will be rolled back in nearly half of the states immediately, with more restrictions likely to follow. For all practical purposes, abortion will not be available in large swaths of the country. The decision may well mean too that the court itself, as well as the abortion question, will become a focal point in the upcoming fall elections and in the fall and thereafter.” See also, Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue, Tierney Sneed, Chandelis Duster, and Devan Cole, Friday, 24 June 2022: “The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion.  The opinion is the most consequential Supreme Court decision in decades and will transform the landscape of women’s reproductive health in America.   Going forward, abortion rights will be determined by states, unless Congress acts.  Already, nearly half of the states have or will pass laws that ban abortion while others have enacted strict measures regulating the procedure.” See also, We’re Not Going Back to the Time Before Roe. We’re Going Somewhere Worse. We are entering an era not just of unsafe abortions but of the widespread criminalization of pregnancy. The New Yorker, Jia Tolentino, Friday, 24 June 2022: “In the weeks since a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a case about a Mississippi law that bans abortion after fifteen weeks, with some health-related exceptions but none for rape or incest—was leaked, a slogan has been revived: ‘We won’t go back.’ It has been chanted at marches, defiantly but also somewhat awkwardly, given that this is plainly an era of repression and regression, in which abortion rights are not the only rights disappearing. Now that the Supreme Court has issued its final decision, overturning Roe v. Wade and removing the constitutional right to abortion, insuring that abortion will become illegal or highly restricted in twenty states, the slogan sounds almost divorced from reality—an indication, perhaps, of how difficult it has become to comprehend the power and the right-wing extremism of the current Supreme Court. Support for abortion has never been higher, with more than two-thirds of Americans in favor of retaining Roe, and fifty-seven per cent affirming a woman’s right to abortion for any reason. Even so, there are Republican officials who have made it clear that they will attempt to pass a federal ban on abortion if and when they control both chambers of Congress and the Presidency. Anyone who can get pregnant must now face the reality that half of the country is in the hands of legislators who believe that your personhood and autonomy are conditional—who believe that, if you are impregnated by another person, under any circumstance, you have a legal and moral duty to undergo pregnancy, delivery, and, in all likelihood, two decades or more of caregiving, no matter the permanent and potentially devastating consequences for your body, your heart, your mind, your family, your ability to put food on the table, your plans, your aspirations, your life.”

No One Is Above the Law, and That Starts With Donald Trump, The New York Times, Richard L. Hasen, Friday, 24 June 2022: “In a 2019 ruling requiring the former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify at a congressional hearing about former President Donald Trump’s alleged abuses of power, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson declared that ‘presidents are not kings.’ If we take that admonition from our next Supreme Court justice seriously and look at the evidence amassed so far by the House select committee on the Jan. 6 attack, we can — and in fact must — conclude that the prosecution of Mr. Trump is not only permissible but required for the sake of American democracy. This week’s hearings showed us that Mr. Trump acted as if he thought he was a king, not a president subject to the same rules as the rest of us. The hearings featured extraordinary testimony about the relentless pressure to subvert the 2020 election that the former president and his allies brought against at least 31 state and local officials in states he lost, like Michigan, Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. He or his allies twisted the arm of everyone from top personnel at the U.S. Department of Justice to lower-level election workers. The evidence and the testimony offered demonstrates why Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Justice Department should convene a grand jury now, if it hasn’t already, to consider indicting Mr. Trump for crimes related to his attempt to overturn the results of the election, before he declares his candidacy for president in 2024, perhaps as early as this summer. Although a Trump prosecution is far from certain to succeed, too much focus has been put on the risks of prosecuting him and too little on the risks of not doing so. The consequences of a failure to act for the future of democratic elections are enormous.”

War in Ukraine: Ukraine pulls back from Severodonetsk, The Washington Post, Victoria Bisset, Adela Suliman, Andrew Jeong, Amy Cheng, Mary Ilyushina, and Claire Parker, Friday, 24 June 2022: “Ukraine will withdraw its forces from Severodonetsk, the eastern city that is the locus of Russia’s war effort, regional governor Serhiy Haidai said early Friday. The move comes after months of grinding artillery bombardments. Russian troops are advancing toward the neighboring city of Lysychansk, he said. The retreat ‘may take some time,’ the head of the Severodonetsk regional administration told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The Pentagon sought to downplay the significance of the withdrawal. A senior U.S. defense official said Friday that the Ukrainians are moving to a ‘position where they can better defend themselves.’ Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday accused the E.U. and NATO of assembling a ‘coalition’ for ‘war.’ Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov played down the E.U.’s decision Thursday to grant Ukraine and Moldova candidate status while cautioning that Russia’s relationship with Europe was at a low ebb. At a news conference after a meeting of top officials from around the world in Berlin on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that ‘Russia has already lost.’ He cited Moscow’s failure to take away Ukraine’s sovereignty and the predicted further shrinking of Russia’s economy because of Western sanctions.
  • Blinken is in Berlin for a gathering of foreign ministers on food security — an issue that has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and Russia’s blockade of key ports.
  • A Ukrainian official said Friday that the country would require at least a decade to remove mines and explosives that riddle the country, Reuters reported.
  • The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency warned Friday that conditions have become ‘untenable’ at the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine, which Russian forces took over in March.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Retreats From Embattled City of Sievierodonetsk, as Russia Grinds On. With the withdrawal from Sievierodonetsk, the fighting shifts to neighboring Lysychansk, the last city in the Luhnask rregion still under Ukrainian control. The New York Times, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Marc Santora, and Michael Levenson, Friday, 24 June 2022: “After weeks of bloody street fighting and months of withering artillery fire, Ukrainian forces will withdraw from Sievierodonetsk, a city that President Volodymyr Zelensky once said would determine the ‘fate’ of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. The retreat from the devastated industrial city on the east bank of the Siversky Donets River was confirmed Friday by Serhiy Haidai, the head of the military administration in Luhansk. It represents the most significant loss for the Ukrainian military since Russian forces seized Mariupol a month ago after a similarly brutal campaign of heavy shelling and street fighting left that southern port in ruins.It means the Russian military can now concentrate fully on taking control of Lysychansk,  Sievierodonetsk’s twin city on the west bank of the river and the last city in the Luhansk region still under Ukrainian control. Analysts expect that the Russians will then set their sights on seizing the remnant of the Donetsk region still held by Ukrainian forces, which would complete their conquest of Donbas.”

Saturday, 25 June 2022:


‘Trigger Laws’ Set Off a Scramble for Abortion Services. For abortion clinics and pregnant women, the shift in some states has been sudden and jarring. Clinics have canceled appointments out of fear of prosecution. Women are rushing to find treatment in other states. The New York Times, Julie Bosman, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “A new and rapidly shifting reality took hold across America on Saturday as abortion, a basic legal right for nearly a half century, was outlawed in some states, and the initial bursts of elation and shock from the overturning of Roe v. Wade gave way to action. At abortion clinics across the country, providers hastily canceled appointments out of fear of prosecution, and stunned women abruptly made plans to cross state lines into places where abortion was still allowed — traveling from Missouri to Illinois, from Wisconsin to Minnesota.” See also, Decades Ago, Alito Laid Out Methodical Strategy to Eventually Overrule Roe v. Wade. A slow-burning hostility to constitutional abortion rights runs through the career of the author of the Supreme Court opinion overturning them. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “In the spring of 1985, a 35-year-old lawyer in the Justice Department, Samuel A. Alito Jr., cautioned the Reagan administration against mounting a frontal assault on Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that declared a constitutional right to abortion. The Supreme Court was not ready to overturn it, he said, so urging it to do so could backfire. In a memo offering advice on two pending cases that challenged state laws regulating abortion, Mr. Alito advocated focusing on a more incremental argument: The court should uphold the regulations as reasonable. That strategy would ‘advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime, of mitigating its effects.’ More than three decades later, Justice Alito has fulfilled that vision, cementing his place in history as the author of a consequential ruling overturning Roe, along with a 1992 precedent that reaffirmed that decision, Planned Parenthood v. CaseyThe reversal means tens of millions of women in conservative-controlled states are losing access to abortion. The move has cast a spotlight on a man who has otherwise been a lower-profile member of the court’s conservative bloc since his appointment by President George W. Bush more than a decade ago. It has also drawn attention to glimpses of how he slowly and patiently sought to chip away at abortion rights throughout his career before demolishing them in the majority opinion on Friday.” See also, How to Discipline a Rogue Supreme Court, The New York Times, Jamelle Bouie, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “The Supreme Court does not exist above the constitutional system. It can shape the constitutional order, it can say what the Constitution means, but it cannot shield itself from the power of the other branches. The Supreme Court can be checked and the Supreme Court can be balanced. It is tempting, in the immediate wake of the court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, to say that there’s nothing to be done about the reactionary majority on the court. But that’s just not true. The Constitution provides a number of paths by which Congress can restrain and discipline a rogue court. It can impeach and remove justices. It can increase or decrease the size of the court itself (at its inception, the Supreme Court had only six members). It can strip the court of its jurisdiction over certain issues or it can weaken its power of judicial review by requiring a supermajority of justices to sign off on any decision that overturns a law. Congress can also rebuke the court with legislation that simply cancels the decision in question.” See also, Republican governors in four blue states pledge to uphold right to seek abortion, The Washington Post, Andrew Jeong and James Bikales, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “U.S. states are free to ban or drastically reduce access to abortion after the Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, a landmark ruling that has for nearly five decades established a fundamental right to the procedure. In as many as 20 states — the vast majority of which are dominated by Republicans — bans are already in place or could be enacted within months. Republicans also control the governor’s mansion in four blue states: Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire and Vermont. Polls indicate the four GOP governors are among the most popular executives in the country, and all have governed with a lighter touch on social issues relative to their conservative colleagues elsewhere. All four governors have said they will uphold abortion rights, though some have fought against expanding access to the procedure.” See also, Supreme Court Throws Abortion to an Unlevel State Playing Field. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade shifted the abortion fight to state legislatures, where gerrymandering has given Republicans an advantage. The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman and Jazmine Ulloa, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “In his concurring opinion to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh struck a note of optimism that democracy and the will of the people would prevail, even on the agonizing issue of a woman’s right to end a pregnancy. ‘The nine unelected Members of this Court do not possess the constitutional authority to override the democratic process,’ he wrote, adding that the court’s decision merely ‘restores the people’s authority to address the issue of abortion through the processes of democratic self-government.’ States, in other words, hold the power. For Democrats, that is extraordinarily bad news: In many states, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia and Florida, abortion’s new battleground is decidedly unlevel, tilted by years of Republican efforts to gerrymander state legislatures while Democrats largely focused on federal politics. As abortion becomes illegal in half of the country, democratic self-governance may be nearly out of reach for some voters. By neutralizing federal rights and powers, the Supreme Court is turning states into battle zones. That goes beyond abortion and includes voting, immigration and civil rights. And if, as expected, the court restricts the federal government’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide, state governments, stepping in for a gridlocked Congress, will be left to address climate change as well.” See also, Abortion protests continue after Supreme Court ends Roe v. Wade; Biden criticizes court’s ‘terrible decisions,’ The Washington Post, Timothy Bella, Kim Bellware, James Bikales, Praveena Somasundaram, and Meryl Kornfield, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “As the nation continues to feel the fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision that overturns Roe v. Wade, Washington and cities coast to coast were venues for street demonstrations after the ruling was met with an outpouring of joy and rage Friday night. After signing a bipartisan gun bill into law on Saturday, Biden again criticized the Supreme Court, saying the justices had ‘made some terrible decisions.’ The comments come after the court overturned the fundamental national right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago, a ruling that leaves states free to drastically reduce access to or even outlaw abortion. Biden has said the decision puts reproductive health at risk, and he singled out Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion, in which the justice opened the door to the court revisiting decisions on contraception and same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, Republicans are celebrating the end of Roe as the culmination of their decades-long fight to defeat the constitutional right to abortion. Democratic lawmakers and candidates are promising to make abortion rights a decisive issue for voters in November.

  • The vote was 6 to 3 to uphold a restrictive Mississippi law. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., though, criticized his conservative colleagues for taking the additional step of overturning Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had reaffirmed the right to abortion.
  • In their joint dissent, the court’s three liberal justices took note of the states that will move quickly to restrict abortion access and emphasized the sweeping impact of the court’s decision on the rights of women to terminate their pregnancies.
  • A group of French lawmakers proposed a bill Saturday to enshrine the right to an abortion in the country’s constitution. Aurore Bergé, a legislator who heads President Emmanuel Macron’s party in Parliament, told the radio station France Inter that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade demonstrated the need to secure the right in the constitution.
  • Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) on Saturday called on Biden to declare a public health emergency over abortion access.

Russia will soon exhaust its combat capabilities, Western assessments predict. Small shifts in territorial control matter less than the overall balance of forces, which analysts say could shift back in favor of Ukraine in the coming months. The Washington Post, Liz Sly, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “The Russian military will soon exhaust its combat capabilities and be forced to bring its offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region to a grinding halt, according to Western intelligence predictions and military experts. ‘There will come a time when the tiny advances Russia is making become unsustainable in light of the costs and they will need a significant pause to regenerate capability,’ said a senior Western official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue. The assessments come despite continued Russian advances against outgunned Ukrainian forces, including the capture on Friday of the city of Severodonetsk, the biggest urban center taken by Russia in the east since launching the latest Donbas offensive nearly three months ago.”

Biden Signs Gun Bill Into Law, Ending Years of Stalemate. The bill is the most significant gun measure to clear Congress in nearly three decades, though it falls short of more restrictive gun control proposals that Democrats favor. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “President Biden on Saturday signed into law a bipartisan gun bill intended to prevent dangerous people from accessing firearms and increase investments in the nation’s mental health system, ending nearly three decades of gridlock in Washington over how to address gun violence in the United States. Final passage of the legislation in Congress came one month after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, left 19 children and two teachers dead, a horror that galvanized a bipartisan group of lawmakers to strike a narrow compromise…. The president acknowledged that the legislation fell far short of the sweeping measures he had pushed for, but he said it included some long-sought priorities. ‘When it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential,’ Mr. Biden said. For lawmakers, advocates and survivors of gun violence, the law is the culmination of decades of work, building on repeated failed efforts to overcome Republican opposition and overhaul the nation’s gun laws in response to mass shootings across the country. But the law’s enactment came the same week that the Supreme Court struck down a New York law limiting where gun owners could carry a firearm outside the home, citing the Second Amendment.” See also, Biden signs gun-control legislation into law, The Washington Post, Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Marianna Sotomayor, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “Moments before he signed a bipartisan gun-control bill into law, President Biden recounted meeting family members of gun violence victims in Uvalde, Tex., Parkland, Fla., and Newtown, Conn., and dozens of mourning communities in between. ‘Their message to us was do something,’ Biden said. ‘How many times have you heard that? Just do something. For God’s sake, just do something. But today we did.’ The gun-control act is the most significant law of its kind in the last three decades, although Biden has conceded it doesn’t do everything that he wants — or everything that advocates have asked for…. In addition to providing funding for mental health services and school security initiatives, the legislation expands criminal background checks for some gun buyers, bars a larger group of domestic-violence offenders from purchasing firearms, and funds programs that would allow authorities to seize guns from troubled individuals.” See also, Biden signs gun safety bill into law, NPR, Don Clyde and Shauneen Miranda, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “President Biden on Saturday signed into law the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years. The signing comes just over a month after the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school killed 19 children and two adults. That attack came 10 days after a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket killed 10 Black people. ‘While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives,’ Biden said just before signing the measure. ‘Today, we say more than enough. We say more than enough,’ he added. ‘At a time when it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential.’ The legislation, which passed the House 234-193 Friday night following Senate approval Thursday, includes incentives for states to pass so-called red flag laws that allow groups to petition courts to remove weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.”

The Order of a  Federal Judge in Texas Means Millions More Could Now Be Targeted for Deportation. The Biden administration had instructed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to focus on immigrants who were considered a threat to public safety. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Saturday, 25 June 2022: “A Biden administration policy that prioritized the arrest of undocumented immigrants who are considered a threat to public safety and national security has been suspended as of Saturday, rendering millions of people vulnerable to deportation. A federal judge in Texas had ruled the prioritization policy illegal on June 10, a ruling that took effect late Friday after a federal appeals court failed to issue any decision blocking it. The Department of Homeland Security said it effectively had no discretion under the ruling to set priorities for how its agents enforced the nation’s immigrant-removal laws. ‘While the department strongly disagrees with the Southern District of Texas’ court decision to vacate the guidelines, D.H.S. will abide by the court’s order as it continues to appeal it,’ the department said in a statement. It said Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents would make enforcement decisions on a case-by-case basis ‘in a professional and responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement officials and in a way that best protects against the greatest threats to the homeland.'”


Sunday, 26 June 2022:


Republican governors defend their states’ bans on abortion, The Washington Post, Maxine Joselow, Amy B Wang, and Praveena Somasundaram, Sunday, 26 June 2022: “Republican governors on Sunday defended their states’ ‘trigger laws’ on abortion, which will ban the procedure within 30 days of the Supreme Court’s Friday decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Many of the state laws lack exceptions for rape or incest. ‘I believe every life is precious,’ South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) said on CBS News’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday. ‘ … I just have never believed that having a tragedy or a tragic situation happen to someone is a reason to have another tragedy occur.’ Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) spoke in support of his state’s trigger law, despite previously expressing unease toward its lack of exceptions for incest or rape. The ban makes an exception for protecting the life of the mother. As the abortion decision drew sharp criticism from leaders abroad, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, lawmakers in the United States were looking toward the midterm elections in November with varying focuses on the post-Roe landscape.

  • Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to arrest protesters outside the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.
  • Demonstrations celebrating and condemning the fall of Roe continued to reverberate across the country Sunday. The gatherings have been largely peaceful, though damage and temporary road closures were reported in some cities this weekend.
  • The Friday vote to uphold a restrictive Mississippi abortion law was 6 to 3. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., though, criticized his conservative colleagues for taking the additional step of overturning Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had reaffirmed the right to abortion.
  • In their joint dissent, the court’s three liberal justices took note of the states that will move quickly to restrict abortion access and emphasized the sweeping effect of the court’s decision on the rights of women to terminate their pregnancies.

War in Ukraine: Russian airstrikes hit Kyiv; Biden says G-7 will ban Russian gold imports, The Washington Post, Siobhán O’Grady, Matt Viser, Ashley Parker, Rachel Pannett, Julia Duplain, Annabelle Timsit, Kim Bellware, and James Bikales, Sunday, 26 June 2022: “Russian airstrikes early Sunday disrupted a sense of relative calm in Ukraine’s capital since Russian forces withdrew in April and refocused their efforts on other parts of the country. The latest attacks on Kyiv — which hit an apartment block and a kindergarten playground — killed a man and injured his 7-year-old daughter, among several others. President Biden said the Group of Seven nations will announce an import ban on Russian gold in an attempt to further isolate the country from financial markets and punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the invasion of Ukraine. Biden, who is in Germany attending a two-day G-7 summit beginning Sunday, said in a tweet that gold is a ‘major export that rakes in tens of billions of dollars for Russia.’ Russia is attempting to draw Belarus more directly into the war, according to Ukrainian officials, who said Saturday marked the first time that Russia fired missiles from Belarusian airspace. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke directly to Belarusians in his nightly address Sunday, telling them they can refuse to participate in the war. ‘You are not slaves or cannon fodder,’ he said. ‘You do not have to die. And you can prevent anyone from deciding for you what awaits you next.

  • G-7 leaders on Sunday reportedly discussed capping the price of Russian oil and gas imports.
  • Despite Moscow’s recent territorial gains in the east, the war could shift back in Kyiv’s favor in the coming months because the Russian military will soon deplete its combat capabilities, Western intelligence assessments and military experts say.
  • Moscow is closing in on the city of Lysychansk, near the strategically important city of Severodonetsk, which Russia captured last week in one of its biggest wins since it launched its offensive in the Donbas region nearly three months ago. If Lysychansk falls, it would give Russia almost complete control of the eastern Luhansk region.


Monday, 27 June 2022:


War in Ukraine: Zelensky says Russian strike hits crowded mall in central Ukraine, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Matt Viser, Loveday Morris, Annabelle Timsit, Bryan Pietsch, Rachel Pannett, Jennifer Hassan, Adam Taylor, and Reis Thebault, Monday, 27 June 2022: “A Russian strike hit a crowded shopping mall in central Ukraine Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram. At least 15 civilians were killed and scores injured, according to officials, with figures expected to rise. Videos shared in the aftermath appear to show the mall in the industrial city of Kremenchuk engulfed in flames. The strike came amid a spate of escalating missile attacks across Ukraine, and as Ukrainian officials pressed the West for more supplies. President Biden told Zelensky on Monday that the United States intends to provide Kyiv with advanced medium- and long-range air defense capabilities, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. Washington is ‘in the process of finalizing a package’ that will also include other items of ‘urgent need, including ammunition for artillery and counter-battery radar systems,’ he said. Meeting in Germany’s Bavarian Alps, leaders from the Group of Seven, the world’s wealthiest democracies, condemned the mall strike. ‘We stand united with Ukraine in mourning the innocent victims of this brutal attack,’ the statement read. ‘Indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime. Russian President Putin and those responsible will be held to account.

  • NATO is set to sharply increase the number of forces it keeps at a high readiness level to 300,000, in a move that amounts to the ‘biggest overhaul of our collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War,’ Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.
  • France may reopen a recently shuttered coal-fired power station this winter as the war in Ukraine pushes up energy prices and raises the prospect of fuel shortages.
  • Russia defaulted on its foreign currency debt for the first time in more than a century — although the Kremlin said its attempts to pay its overseas creditors were rejected because of Western sanctions.

Russia-Ukraine War: The West Seeks a More Effective Way to Tighten Sanctions on Russia. the Group of 7 nations is considering a proposal on oil price caps as they struggle to limit global economic havoc. A Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping mall in central Ukraine, killing at least 16 people. The New York Times, Monday, 27 June 2022:

  • The G7 faces dueling pressures: Penalize Russia while easing their nations’ economic pain.

  • A missile strike hits a crowded shopping center in central Ukraine.

  • After Monday’s mall airstrike, shocked residents grapple with the destruction, the dead and the missing.

  • Lithuania blames Russia for cyberattacks, citing threats over cargo restrictions.

  • The U.S. will buy Ukraine an advanced air defense system, an official says.

  • Civilians should immediately evacuate a Ukrainian city that is under fire, a regional official warned.

  • NATO will sharply increase the number of troops on standby.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 27), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 27 June 2022: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: A Russian missile hit a crowded shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk. The regional governor said at least 13 people were killed and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to sabotage people’s normal life, targeting a site with over 1,000 people believed inside that posed no military threat. Monday also saw deadly attacks in other Ukrainian cities including Kharkiv and Lysychansk, Ukrainian authorities said. More than 50 Russian missiles hit cities across Ukraine over the weekend. NATO aims to increase the strength of its rapid reaction force from 40,000 to 300,000 troops, the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. Stoltenberg called the change part of the ‘biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.’ NATO allies will meet this week in Madrid and are also expected to approve additional aid to Ukraine. Zelenskyy met via video with Group of Seven leaders at their summit in Germany, and urged them to approve more military help for his country. The G-7 leaders pledged in a statement to ‘continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.’ Russia appears to have defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time in over a century, after sanctions blocked the country’s efforts to pay interest to its overseas creditors. Russian officials reject the designation as artificially forced by the West, because Russia has the money but the U.S. Treasury in May closed the last pathway for American investors to receive debt payments. In practical terms, little impact is expected immediately as Russia already faces many punishments that might befall an economy in default. A Russian court set a July 1 start date for the trial of U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner, her lawyer told NPR. Russian authorities arrested the WNBA player for allegedly carrying cannabis vaping products in February, days before President Biden announced sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine. The U.S. government says Griner is wrongfully detained and it assigned a hostage affairs envoy to work to get her released. The Russian judge ordered Griner to remain in detention throughout the trial, according to her lawyer. She could face 10 years in prison if convicted.”

Federal Agents Seized Phone of John Eastman, Key Figure in January 6 Plan to Overturn the Results of the 2020 Election, The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Adam Goldman, Monday, 27 June 2022: “Federal agents armed with a search warrant have seized the phone of John Eastman, a lawyer who advised former President Donald J. Trump on key elements of the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to a court filing by Mr. Eastman on Monday. The seizure of Mr. Eastman’s phone is the latest evidence that the Justice Department is intensifying its sprawling criminal investigation into the various strands of Mr. Trump’s efforts to remain in power after he was defeated for re-election. In the past week alone, the department has delivered grand jury subpoenas to a variety of figures with roles in backing Mr. Trump’s efforts and it carried out at least one other search of a key figure. The filing by Mr. Eastman, a motion to recover property from the government, said that F.B.I. agents in New Mexico, acting on behalf of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, stopped Mr. Eastman as he was leaving a restaurant last Wednesday and seized his iPhone. A copy of the warrant included as an exhibit in Mr. Eastman’s filing said that the phone would be taken to either the Justice Department or the inspector general’s forensic lab in Northern Virginia. According to the filing, the seizure of Mr. Eastman’s phone came on the same day that federal agents raided the home and seized the electronic devices of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who was central to Mr. Trump’s attempts to coerce the department’s leaders into backing his false claims of fraud in the election.”

Supreme Court Declines to Revisit Landmark Press-Freedom Case. Justice Thomas dissented as the court turns away a case aimed at ‘actual malice’ standard established in New York Times v. Sullivan. The Wall Street Journal, Jan Wolfe, Monday, 27 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Monday again declined to revisit New York Times v. Sullivan, a landmark 1964 case that set a high bar for suing news organizations for defamation, drawing a dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas. The court turned away an appeal by Coral Ridge Ministries Media, a Florida-based evangelical organization that unsuccessfully sued the Southern Poverty Law Center for calling it a ‘hate group.'” See also, Supreme Court Declines to revisit landmark First Amendment decision, leaving higher bar for libel in place, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue, Monday, 27 June 2022: “The Supreme Court has declined to revisit the landmark First Amendment decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, a 1964 ruling that created a higher bar for public figures to claim libel and has been a bedrock of US media law. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from the court’s refusal to take up the case. ‘I would grant certiorari in this case to revisit the “actual malice” standard,’ Thomas wrote. ‘This case is one of many showing how New York Times and its progeny have allowed media organizations and interest groups to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.'”

Abortion Rights Groups Take Up the Fight in the States, The New York Times, Shawn Hubler and Mitch Smith, Monday, 27 June 2022: “The battle over abortion shifted to the states on Monday as a weekend of furious protest and prayerful thanksgiving in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade reversal gave way to a coast-to-coast wave of lawsuits, legislation and pitched political fights. With conservatives in roughly half of the states moving swiftly to end or dramatically restrict reproductive rights, and liberals in about 20 more scrambling to preserve them, the national debate suddenly fragmented into a contentious patchwork, with lawyers and lawmakers dissecting state constitutions and statutes after Friday’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. ‘It’s all about the states from here on out,’ said Jessie Hill, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University who has worked on abortion rights cases. ‘We can fantasize about federal solutions to this issue or nationwide settlements of the abortion question, but I think that after Dobbs, I don’t see a lot of possibilities at the federal level.'” See also, California Lawmakers Place a Constitutional Amendment Protecting Abortion Rights on the Fall Ballot, The New York Times, Shawn Hubler, Monday, 27 June 2022: “California state lawmakers on Monday put a state constitutional amendment on the ballot that would explicitly protect reproductive rights, moving swiftly on the first business day after the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade. The amendment, which will go to California voters in November for approval, comes as abortion rights groups across the country react to the sweeping decision ending longstanding abortion protections. It comes after Vermont leaders earlier this year agreed to put a constitutional guarantee before voters in that state. At least 15 states and the District of Columbia affirmed or expanded abortion rights before Friday’s court shift, while roughly two dozen other states signaled that they would end or dramatically restrict access to the procedure.”


Tuesday, 28 June 2022:


White House Aide Cassidy Hutchinson Testifies Trump Urged Armed Supporters to the Capitol, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Michael S. Schmidt, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “The first White House aide to testify publicly before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack provided a damning account on Tuesday of how former President Donald J. Trump, knowing his supporters were armed and threatening violence, urged them to march to the Capitol and sought to join them there, privately siding with them as they stormed the building and called for the hanging of the vice president. The testimony from the aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, was extraordinary even by the standards of Mr. Trump’s norm-busting presidency and the inquiry’s remarkable string of revelations this month. In fly-on-the-wall anecdotes delivered in a quiet voice, she described how frantic West Wing aides failed to stop Mr. Trump from encouraging the violence or persuade him to try to end it, and how the White House’s top lawyer feared that Mr. Trump might be committing crimes as he steered the country to the brink of a constitutional crisis. Drawing from conversations she said she overheard in the West Wing and others contemporaneously relayed to her by top officials, Ms. Hutchinson, a 26-year-old who was an aide to Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s final chief of staff, provided crucial details about what the former president was doing and saying before and during the riot. She painted a portrait of an unhinged president obsessed with clinging to power and appearing strong, and willing to tolerate violence as a result — as long as it was not directed at him. ‘They’re not here to hurt me,’ she testified that Mr. Trump said as he demanded that security checkpoints be removed outside his rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, knowing that many of his supporters were armed and threatening violence. ‘Take the f-ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.’ It was an act of vanity by Mr. Trump, who wanted his crowd to appear as large as possible, that recalled his first day in office, which was consumed by his false claims about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. Ms. Hutchinson recounted it as she laid out a day of chaos in the White House, in which the president’s top advisers sought to rein him in and Mr. Trump pressed repeatedly to join up with his supporters. She recalled being told of one particularly dramatic moment in which an irate Mr. Trump tried to grab the wheel of his vehicle from a Secret Service agent when he was told he could not go to the Capitol to join his supporters, an account that the former president quickly denied and that Secret Service officials said would be rebutted in forthcoming testimony.” See also, Day 6 Recap of the January 6 House Committee Hearings, Six Main Takeaways: Witness Cassidy Hutchinson Details Trump’s Rage and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s Inaction on January 6. Hutchinson said Mr. Trump wanted armed protesters to move freely and that her boss, Mark Meadows, sought a pardon. The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “The surprise hearing on Tuesday of the special House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack lived up to the drama that preceded it, providing the most detailed and intimate picture yet of President Donald J. Trump’s actions as a mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name. The explosive and cinematic firsthand testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a trusted longtime aide of Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, portrayed the president as almost unhinged with fury when his Secret Service detail told him he could not go to the Capitol as his supporters, many of them armed, descended on it. Ms. Hutchinson said Mr. Trump knew of the threat of violence by his supporters but was unconcerned by it, since they were not targeting him; and that he sympathized with them as they chanted for the execution of Vice President Mike Pence, who had refused his entreaties to overturn the election. And she testified that senior aides had tried in vain to persuade Mr. Trump to call off the mob, but he resisted for hours. Her testimony was replete with stunning revelations.” See also, A President Untethered. In the final, frenzied days of his administration, Donald J. Trump’s behavior turned increasingly volatile as he smashed dishware and lunged at his own Secret Service agent, according to testimony. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “He flung his lunch across the room, smashing the plate in a fit of anger as ketchup dripped down the wall. He appeared to endorse supporters who wanted to hang his own vice president. And in a scene laid out by a former aide that seemed more out of a movie than real life, he tried to wrestle away the steering wheel of his presidential vehicle and lunged at his own Secret Service agent. Former President Donald J. Trump has never been seen as the most stable occupant of the Oval Office by almost anyone other than himself, but the breathtaking testimony presented by his former aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, at Tuesday’s House select committee hearing portrayed an unhinged commander in chief veering wildly out of control as he desperately sought to cling to power and egged on armed supporters to help make it happen. The president that emerged from her account was volatile, violent and vicious, single-minded in his quest to overturn an election he lost no matter what anyone told him, anxious to head to the Capitol to personally disrupt the constitutional process that would finalize his defeat, dismissive of warnings that his actions could lead to disaster and thoroughly unbothered by the prospect of sending to Congress a mob of supporters that he knew included people armed with deadly weapons.” See also, Transcript from the June 28 hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, NPR, Tuesday, 28 June 2022. See also, A Timeline of the Key Scenes in Cassidy Hutchinson’s January 6 Testimony, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Tuesday, 28 June 2022. See also, Cassidy Hutchinson Testifies Trump sought to lead armed mob to Capitol on January 6, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Jacqueline Alemany, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “A former White House official revealed explosive new details Tuesday about President Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, telling Congress that he knew his supporters were carrying weapons, insisted on personally leading the armed mob to the Capitol, physically assailed the senior Secret Service agent who told him it was not possible, expressed support for the hanging of his own vice president, and mused about pardoning the rioters. The testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an assistant to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, was the most chilling to date in the House select committee’s Jan. 6 investigation. Recounting granular detail and private dialogue, she presented to the public a penetrating account of Trump’s actions and mind-set as the Capitol came under siege from his own supporters, who were determined to stop the counting of electoral votes and impede the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. Testifying alone, her appearance punctuated by clips from taped depositions given by herself and others, the 25-year-old Hutchinson detailed how Trump and other powerful officials around him alternately encouraged, tolerated and excused the insurrection as it unfolded in front of them. Informed that his supporters had come to the rally armed with weapons, Trump urged that security precautions at his rally be lifted, Hutchinson testified. ‘They’re not here to hurt me,’ she recalled him saying. Even after the day’s violence had ended, Hutchinson said, Trump persisted in his support for the rioters. ‘He didn’t think they did anything wrong,’ she said, summarizing Trump’s attitude. ‘The person who did something wrong that day was Mike Pence.'” See also, Former White House aide recounts play-by-play of the West Wing leading up to January 6, NPR, Ximena Bustillo and Jonathan Franklin, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “A surprise hearing called with a former White House staffer unveiled details about the days leading up to and the moments during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Cassidy Hutchinson, once an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, told the committee that former President Donald Trump knew that some protesters at the rally at the Ellipse were armed when he called for them to march to the Capitol. She also said that he didn’t want to stop the Capitol riot and that Meadows and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani both sought pardons as a result of the events of Jan. 6. Trump did not pardon either adviser. Hutchinson depicted a West Wing where some staff were extremely concerned about violence erupting at the Capitol that day – and others, like Trump and Meadows, were not. Throughout the hearing, Trump responded to her testimony, labeling it ‘fake’ and calling Hutchinson someone he ‘hardly’ knew and ‘bad news’ in posts to the social media network Truth that he owns and controls.” See also, Trump’s legal exposure may be growing–and 4 other takeaways from the January 6 House select committee hearing, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, Tuesday, 28 June 2022. See also, Trump wanted armed mob to march to Capitol, and he wanted to join the mob, Cassidy Hutchinson testifies to January 6 House committee investigating the violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Jacqueline Alemany, Amy B Wang, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Rosalind S. Helderman, Eugene Scott, and Matt Brown, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, delivered explosive testimony Tuesday to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, offering startling details on the activities of President Donald Trump and those around him before the attack on the U.S. Capitol and on the deadly day itself.

  • Meadows and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, sought pardons related to their roles in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, Hutchinson testified. She said Trump also expressed interest in pardoning the Capitol rioters.
  • Trump was so ‘irate’ that he wasn’t being driven to the Capitol after his speech on the Ellipse on Jan. 6 that he attempted to grab the steering wheel of his limousine and lunged at a member of his Secret Service detail, Hutchinson testified, citing the account of a senior-ranking colleague.
  • Hutchinson described an outburst by Trump at his attorney general in which he threw dishes, leaving ketchup streaming down the wall.
  • Hutchinson testified that Trump was informed that attendees at a Jan. 6 rally near the White House were armed but that he still wanted security removed from the area and the crowd to march to the Capitol. Trump waved off concerns that the rallygoers had been reported to be armed. ‘You know, I don’t even care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me,’ Hutchinson testified Trump said.
  • Hutchinson said that as violence increased at the Capitol, she witnessed White House counsel Pat Cipollone telling Meadows: ‘Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die. The blood is going to be on your f—ing hands.’
  • Hutchinson recalled that Meadows told her days before insurrection that ‘things might get real, real bad’ at the Capitol on that day.

War in Ukraine: Turkey drops opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, The Washington Post, Emily Rauhala, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, David Walker, Annabelle Timsit, Karina Tsui, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “Turkey has agreed to support Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in NATO, paving the way for the alliance to grow. The leaders of the three countries signed a memorandum Tuesday at a NATO summit in Madrid confirming Turkey’s support for the membership bids by Helsinki and Stockholm. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed Finland and Sweden to seek to join the alliance. Leaders from the Group of Seven wealthiest democracies ended their summit in Germany promising to ‘urgently’ explore price caps on Russian oil and gas. They did not, however, impose new energy sanctions. In closing remarks, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘must not win the war.’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky again urged the United States to name Moscow a state sponsor of terrorism — a designation that would trigger significant penalties — after a Russian missile strike on a shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk killed at least 18 people. In a Tuesday speech to the U.N. Security Council meeting, Zelensky said Russia should be stripped of its seat on the council and a tribunal should be established to investigate Moscow’s ‘daily terrorist acts.’

  • Closed-circuit TV footage from a park in central Ukraine shows the moment a Russian missile struck a nearby shopping mall on Monday, killing at least 18 people.
  • President Biden on Tuesday announced new military commitments in Europe, pledging to order two additional destroyers to Naval Station Rota in Spain.
  • The United States is moving forward to impose a broad swath of sanctions on hundreds of Russian officers and Russian Federation entities, in the Biden administration’s latest move to hold the Kremlin accountable for its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia-Ukraine War: Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan Drops His Opposition to Finland and Sweden Joining the Alliance, The New York Times, Yana Dlugy, Tuesday, 28 June 2022:

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 28), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 29 June 2022: “As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The death toll climbed to at least 20 after Monday’s missile attack on a crowded mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, which leaders at a Group of Seven meeting called a ‘war crime.’ On Tuesday, emergency responders ended a rescue search for survivors. Russia’s government denied hitting the shopping center, claiming it caught fire after Russia struck a nearby weapons depot. But Ukraine’s president said it was a ‘calculated’ strike against the mall. As NATO’s Madrid summit got underway, Turkey agreed to support Finland and Sweden in joining the alliance. The foreign ministers of Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum of understanding ‘that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism,’ NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters. A formal decision to invite Finland and Sweden to join is expected Wednesday, to be followed by NATO’s ratification process. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the United Nations Security Council that Russia is acting like a ‘terrorist’ state, going on a ‘killing spree’ across Ukraine. Speaking via video, he read out names of Ukrainian victims of recent Russian attacks, saying the country has struck schools, a shopping mall and many other civilian targets. He said Russia has no right to remain in the powerful U.N. body. The U.S. imposed new sanctions to punish Russia for its war in Ukraine. The sanctions include restrictions on 70 Russian defense-related businesses, including Rostec, a state-owned corporation ‘considered to be the cornerstone of Russia’s defense, industrial, technology, and manufacturing sectors,’ the State Department said. The U.S., along with G-7 countries, is also banning the import of Russian gold. Prominent Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin was detained in Moscow and sentenced to 15 days in prison on charges of disobeying police orders. As many Russian opposition leaders have fled the country, Yashin stayed and openly opposed the war in Ukraine. His circumstances now parallel the April arrest of a vocal Kremlin critic, Vladimir Kara-Murza, whose 15-day detention has been extended for months.”

Rudy Giuliani Is at the Center of Georgia’s Trump Investigation. Of all the legal threats Rudy Giuliani faces, the criminal inquiry into efforts to reverse the 2020 Georgia election may be the most dire. The New York Times, Danny Hakim and Richard Fausset, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “Rudolph W. Giuliani has emerged as a central figure in a Georgia criminal investigation of efforts by Donald J. Trump and his allies to overturn his election loss in the state, with prosecutors questioning witnesses last week before a special grand jury about Mr. Giuliani’s appearances before state legislative panels after the 2020 vote, the witnesses said. For Mr. Giuliani, the developments are the latest in a widening swath of trouble. While grand jurors were hearing testimony in Atlanta last week, the House committee in Washington investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol highlighted video footage of Mr. Giuliani’s activities in Georgia. He also participated in a scheme to create slates of fake presidential electors in 2020 that is now the subject of an intensifying investigation by the Department of Justice. (Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mr. Trump’s final chief of staff, recounted on Tuesday, in testimony before the Jan. 6 committee, that Mr. Giuliani had sought a pre-emptive pardon from Mr. Trump in the waning days of his presidency.) In yet another investigation, this one into his dealings in Ukraine, federal agents seized cellphones and computers from his home and office last year. In addition, Mr. Giuliani’s law license has been suspended in New York, a rare and humbling step against a former United States attorney, and he is among the subjects of civil suits by two makers of voting machines, Dominion and Smartmatic, that seek billions of dollars in damages. But it is the Georgia investigation that may place Mr. Giuliani in the most immediate legal jeopardy, according to lawyers involved in, or closely observing, the case. The investigation is being conducted by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, which encompasses most of Atlanta. The crux of his conduct came during two hearings in December 2020, when Mr. Giuliani appeared before state legislative panels and spent hours peddling false conspiracy theories about secret suitcases of Democratic ballots and corrupted voting machines. He told members of the State House, ‘You cannot possibly certify Georgia in good faith.'”

Supreme Court Revives Republican-Drawn Voting Map in Louisiana. A federal judge had ordered lawmakers to redraw the state’s six congressional districts to include two in which Black voters were in the majority. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated a Republican-drawn congressional map in Louisiana that a federal judge had said diluted the power of Black voters. The court’s three liberal members dissented. The Supreme Court’s brief order, which included no reasoning, blocked the judge’s ruling and granted a petition seeking review in the case. The justices will, the order said, hold the Louisiana case while the court decides a similar one from Alabama in its next term. As a practical matter, the court’s order ensures that congressional elections in Louisiana this fall will proceed under a map fashioned by Republican lawmakers, delivering a setback to Democrats, who face tight races in their bid to retain control of Congress.” See also, Supreme Court frees Louisiana to use congressional map drawn by Republicans. A federal judge had directed the state legislature to create an additional district more favorable to Black voters. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared Louisiana to use this fall a Republican-drawn congressional map that a federal district judge said likely diminishes the electoral power of the state’s Black voters. The justices agreed with a request by the state’s Republican secretary of state to put on hold U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick’s order that the state create a second district where African Americans would have the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. An appeals court backed the district court’s decision, but the state legislature refused to redraw the map. The Supreme Court majority on Tuesday did not supply a reason for granting the state’s request, as is common in emergency orders. But it noted the court has accepted for the term that begins in October a case from Alabama that raises similar questions about a state’s obligation to create what can be known as majority-minority districts under the Voting Rights Act. The court’s three liberal justices — Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — said they would have denied the state’s request. That would have meant new districts before the fall elections.” See also, The Supreme Court has delayed creating a majority Black voting district in Louisiana, NPR, Hansi Lo Wang, Tuesday, 28 June 2022: “The U.S. Supreme Court has put a temporary hold on a lower court’s order for the creation of a second majority Black congressional district in Louisiana. The order by the high court, released Tuesday with dissents from the three liberal justices, comes after the lower court found that a newly drawn map of voting districts for Louisiana’s six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives would likely violate the Voting Rights Act by diluting the votes of Black voters. The justices have paused the drawing of a new voting district until the high court rules next term in a separate but related redistricting case about Alabama’s new congressional map. The court, which is hearing oral arguments in the Alabama case in October, put out a similar order for that state’s map in February and has now also agreed to hear this Louisiana redistricting case. As with Alabama, the delay ordered by the Supreme Court means that midterm elections in Louisiana have to take place this year using maps that lower courts have found are likely to hurt the power of Black voters. In Louisiana, the map for this year’s House races has white voters making up the majority in five out of six districts, as approved by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.”


Wednesday, 29 June 2022:


January 6 House Committee Subpoenas Pat Cipollone, Trump’s White House Counsel. Mr. Cipollone, who repeatedly fought extreme plans to overturn the election, has resisted publicly testifying to the panel. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 29 June 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued a subpoena Wednesday for the testimony of Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel to President Donald J. Trump who repeatedly fought back against extreme plans to overturn the 2020 election, after he resisted testifying publicly. In a statement accompanying the subpoena, the leaders of the committee said they were seeking Mr. Cipollone’s deposition testimony because investigators needed to ‘hear from him on the record, as other former White House counsels have done in other congressional investigations.’ The committee said it was seeking information about Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his involvement in plans to submit false slates of electors to Congress and interfere with the Justice Department. The subpoena of a White House counsel, a rare step for a congressional committee, sent a clear signal of the aggressive tactics the panel is willing to use to try to force cooperation of even the White House’s former top lawyer, who most likely could invoke attorney-client privilege in response to many questions. But the testimony of Mr. Cipollone — who participated in key conversations on Jan. 6 and throughout Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, and is known to have doubted the legality of many of those plans — could prove consequential. The committee has at times used the leverage a subpoena creates to force witnesses to negotiate a deal for their cooperation. Discussions about the scope of a possible appearance are expected to begin soon.” See also, January 6 committee subpoenas former White House counsel Pat Cipollone. The panel has been ramping up the pressure, believing his testimony about former president Donald Trump could be explosive. The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey, Wednesday, 29 June 2022: “The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection issued a subpoena Wednesday evening to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone after blockbuster testimony from a former aide identified the lawyer as having firsthand knowledge of potential criminal activity in the Trump White House. The decision followed extensive negotiations between Cipollone and the committee, as well as sharply escalating pressure on him in recent days to come forward and testify. Committee members have come to believe that the former counsel’s testimony could be critical to their investigation, given his proximity to Donald Trump and presence during key moments before, during and after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The subpoena is likely to trigger a lengthy legal battle. Cipollone sat for an informal interview with the committee on April 13, according to a letter from the panel’s chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), but he has declined to cooperate further.” See also, 7 takeaways from Tuesday’s shocking January 6 House select committee hearing, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen, Zachary Cohen, and Alex Rogers, Wednesday, 29 June 2022. See also, Key Questions Posed by Cassidy Hutchinson’s Testimony. The former White House aide’s appearance before the House January 6 committee raised a host of issues sure to be topics of further inquiry. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Like Broadwater, and Michael S. Schmidt, Wednesday, 29 June 2022: “For two hours, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, laid out a devastating account on Tuesday of former President Donald J. Trump’s actions and state of mind on Jan. 6, 2021, and in the days leading up to it. Her testimony to the House select committee and a national television audience raised a series of questions that are sure to be the focus of continued inquiry by the committee, federal prosecutors and others seeking to flesh out Mr. Trump’s effort to reverse his election loss and remain in power.” See also, Liz Cheney calls Trump ‘a domestic threat that we have never faced before.’ In a forceful speech, the congresswoman also denounced Republican leaders who had ‘made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man.’ The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 29 June 2022: “Representative Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican and vice chairwoman of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021, described former President Donald J. Trump in stark terms on Wednesday night as a threat to the republic who had ‘gone to war with the rule of law. At this moment, we are confronting a domestic threat that we have never faced before — and that is a former president who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic,’ Ms. Cheney said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., where her address was met with a sustained standing ovation. ‘He is aided by Republican leaders and elected officials who made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man,’ she said, continuing, ‘Even after all we’ve seen, they’re enabling his lies.’ Ms. Cheney is facing a Trump-backed primary challenger for her Wyoming congressional seat in August, and the race is widely seen as an uphill battle for her.”

Supreme Court says Oklahoma can prosecute crimes in ‘Indian country,’ The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow and Robert Barnes, Wednesday, 29 June 2022: “The Oklahoma decision announced Wednesday limits the reach of a 2020 ruling that reclassified a large swath of the state, including the city of Tulsa, as Indian land and disrupted criminal prosecutions. The 5-to-4 decision, criticized by tribal leaders, said state officials have the authority to prosecute non-Indians for crimes against Native Americans within a tribal reservation. ‘The Court’s precedents establish that Indian country is part of a State’s territory and that, unless preempted, States have jurisdiction over crimes committed in Indian country,’ Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote for the majority. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the court after the 2020 decision and provided the key vote Wednesday. Two years ago, the court said about 43 percent of Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation. That decision, written by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who dissented from Wednesday’s ruling, prevented state law enforcement from prosecuting Native Americans who commit crimes on Indian land. Two years ago, the court said about 43 percent of Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation. That decision, written by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who dissented from Wednesday’s ruling, prevented state law enforcement from prosecuting Native Americans who commit crimes on Indian land. In his dissent, Gorsuch said that the majority had misread history and that tribes retain their authority unless Congress intervenes. ‘Truly, a more ahistorical and mistaken statement of Indian law would be hard to fathom,’ wrote Gorsuch, who was joined by Breyer and Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. ‘Tribes are not private organizations within state boundaries. Their reservations are not glorified private campgrounds. … Tribal sovereignty means that the criminal laws of the States “can have no force” on tribal members within tribal bounds unless and until Congress clearly ordains otherwise,’ he wrote.” See also, Supreme court Narrows Ruling for Tribes in Oklahoma. The decision followed a landmark 2020 ruling that said much of eastern Oklahoma falls within Indian reservation lands, limiting the authority of state prosecutors. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 29 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Wednesday narrowed the sweep of its landmark 2020 decision declaring that much of eastern Oklahoma falls within Indian reservation lands, allowing state authorities to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians on the reservations. The ruling left in place the basic holding of the 2020 decision, McGirt v. Oklahoma, which said that Native Americans who commit crimes on the reservations, which include much of the city of Tulsa, cannot be prosecuted by state or local law enforcement and must instead face justice in tribal or federal courts.”

War in Ukraine: U.S. to increase military presence in Europe, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Emily Rauhala, David Walker, Annabelle Timsit, Rachel Pannett, Amy Cheng, Claire Parker, and Reis Thebault, Wednesday, 29 June 2022: “President Biden, speaking Wednesday on the second day of a NATO summit, unveiled plans for an increased U.S. military presence in Europe, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The new deployments are to include a permanent headquarters for the U.S. 5th Army Corps in Poland — a move that Russian President Vladimir Putin has long resisted — as well as the movement of two more F-35 fighter jet squadrons to the United Kingdom. Leaders of NATO member states decided Wednesday to invite Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, announcing the move a day after Turkey agreed to drop its opposition to their bids. The addition of the two Nordic countries will bring the alliance to 32 members and underscores how Russia’s war in Ukraine is transforming regional security. Putin said Wednesday that Russia will respond in kind to Finland and Sweden joining NATO if the expansion includes troop and military infrastructure deployments, repeating a months-old threat.

  • Russia and Ukraine each exchanged 144 soldiers on Wednesday in a swap that Ukrainian authorities called the largest prisoner exchange since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion in February.
  • Putin still intends to capture most of Ukraine, with the war likely setting into a grinding conflict in the near-term, the top U.S. intelligence official said.
  • The Treasury Department announced the delivery of $1.3 billion in economic aid to Ukraine to help the beleaguered nation respond to the enormous financial impact of Russia’s invasion.
  • Bulgaria says it is expelling 70 Russian diplomats on grounds that they pose a threat to national security. The diplomats must depart by Sunday.
  • The U.S. has accused several companies and research institutes in China of supporting Russia’s military after the Ukraine invasion began, in one of the first concrete signs of Chinese entities allegedly helping Russia against Washington’s wishes.

Russia-Ukraine War: Prisoner Exchange Sends Home Dozens of Fighters Who Defended Mariupol. Ukrainian officials announced the largest prisoner exchange since Russia’s invasion, saying 144 soldiers were being returned to Ukraine. The same number of Russian and pro-Russian forces will go home. The New York Times, Wednesday, 29 June 2022:

  • Ukraine announces largest prisoner exchange yet, including Mariupol fighters.

  • A stronger NATO emerges, as Russia grinds forward slowly in Ukraine.

  • Putin, while shoring up his influence on a tour of Central Asia, issues a threat over NATO’s expansion.

  • The U.N. has documented at least 3,924 Ukrainian civilian deaths in the war.

  • Putin wants to take most of Ukraine, but a quick breakthrough is unlikely, the top U.S. intelligence official says.

  • ‘There are battles everywhere’: Fighting in eastern Ukraine rages across artillery-scoured ground.

  • Turkey’s critics, including Sweden’s Kurdish citizens, lash out over the NATO agreement.

  • The U.S. moves closer to selling F-16s to Turkey.

  • As NATO announces extra troops in Europe, Biden says it will be ‘ready for threats in all directions.’

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 29), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 29 June 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: NATO formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, in the most historic ripple effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Tuesday, Turkey had lifted its objections to the two countries’ membership. NATO also declared Russia the ‘most significant and direct threat’ to its members. The U.S. said it would boost its military presence in Europe, including a permanent army headquarters in Poland. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed NATO leaders, reiterating the country’s need for more weapons and aid. Russian forces made ‘incremental advances’ to encircle Lysychansk, the last Ukrainian-controlled town in the eastern Luhansk region, according to Britain’s defense ministry. The agency also called it ‘a realistic possibility’ that Russia’s deadly missile strike on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk on Monday was intended to hit nearby infrastructure. Ukrainian authorities said 144 of the country’s soldiers have returned in a prisoner swap with Russia. Of those released, 95 are fighters who defended the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol, which Russian troops captured in May. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report concluding that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has ‘created disastrous consequences for the civilian population and had a devastating impact on the enjoyment of human rights, notably their rights to life, security, health, food, water, education and housing.’ The U.N. has documented more than 10,000 civilian casualties since the war began in February.”


Thursday, 30 June 2022:


Supreme Court Climate Ruling: Supreme Court Limits Environmental Protection Agency’s Ability to Restrict Power Plant Emissions. President Biden vowed to press forward with his climate agenda after a decision that ‘risks damaging our nation’s ability to keep our air clean.’ Republicans cheered the ruling, with Senator Mitch McConnell saying it limited the power of ‘unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.’ The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Thursday limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, making it much tougher for President Biden to achieve his goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade. The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal justices in dissent, saying that the majority had stripped the E.P.A. of ‘the power to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.’ In ruling against the E.P.A., the Supreme Court again waded into a politically divisive issue on the final day of a blockbuster term, adding to the conservative supermajority’s decisions to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion, vastly expand gun rights and further erode the wall separating church and state. The implications of the ruling could extend well beyond environmental policy. It also signals that the court’s newly expanded conservative majority is deeply skeptical of the power of administrative agencies to address major issues facing the nation and the planet. The decision set off criticism from the left, but voices from the coal industry and conservative states praised the ruling. Mr. Biden, left with far fewer tools to fight climate change, said the ruling was ‘another devastating decision that aims to take our country backwards.’ He vowed to take action even as the court limited his ability to act, adding: ‘We cannot and will not ignore the danger to public health and existential threat the climate crisis poses.'” See also, Supreme Court Decision Leaves Biden With Few Tools to Combat Climate Change, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “One by one, the tools available to President Biden to fight climate change are being stripped away. After a Supreme Court decision on Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency will have less authority to limit carbon dioxide from power plants, a major source in this country of the pollution that is dangerously heating the planet. It’s one in a series of setbacks for Mr. Biden, who came into office with the most ambitious climate agenda of any president, pledging to the rest of the world that the United States, the world’s largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases, would cut that pollution in half by the end of the decade.” See also, Supreme Court limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to combat climate change. The decision risks putting the U.S. further off track from President Biden’s goal of running the power grid on clean energy by 2035. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Dino Grandoni, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Thursday sharply cut back the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to reduce the carbon output of existing power plants, a blow to the Biden administration’s plans for combating climate change. The ruling infuriated President Biden and environmentalists, who said it raised formidable obstacles to the United States meeting its climate goals, including the president’s goal of running the U.S. power grid on clean energy by 2035. ‘Another devastating decision that aims to take our country backwards,’ Biden said. But the Republican-led states that challenged the broad authority the EPA claimed said it was a dutiful examination of the Clean Air Act and a proper acknowledgment that Congress had not given such vast powers to the agency. The vote was 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the court’s majority. And it reinforced an emerging view from its conservatives that too much power is vested in executive branch agencies that act without clear authority from Congress.” See also, Supreme Court restricts the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to mandate carbon emissions reductions, NPR, Nina Totenberg, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday dealt a major blow to the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate carbon emissions that cause climate change. The decision by the conservative court majority sets the stage for further limitations on the regulatory power of other agencies as well. By a vote of 6 to 3, the court said that any time an agency does something big and new – in this case addressing climate change – the regulation is presumptively invalid, unless Congress has specifically authorized regulating in this sphere. ‘That’s a very big deal because they’re not going to get it from Congress because Congress is essentially dysfunctional,’ said Harvard law professor Richard Lazarus, an expert on environmental law. ‘This could not have come at a worse time’ because ‘the consequences of climate change are increasingly dire and we’re running out of time to address it.’ As Case Western Reserve professor Jonathan Adler put it, ‘The Court is definitely sending a signal to regulatory agencies more broadly that they only have the power that Congress delegated to them, and that agencies need to think twice before they try to pour new wine out of old bottles.'” See also, Environmental Protection Agency Ruling by the Supreme Court Is Milestone in Long Pushback to Regulation of Business. The decision created greater opportunities for business interests to challenge regulations, reflecting conservative legal theories developed to rein in administrative agencies. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 30 June 2022: “The Supreme Court ruling in the Environmental Protection Agency case on Thursday was a substantial victory for libertarian-minded conservatives who have worked for decades to curtail or dismantle modern-style government regulation of the economy. In striking down an E.P.A. plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, the court issued a decision whose implications go beyond hobbling the government’s ability to fight climate change. Many other types of regulations might now be harder to defend. The ruling widens an opening to attack a government structure that, in the 20th century, became the way American society imposes rules on businesses: Agencies set up by Congress come up with the specific methods of ensuring that the air and water are clean, that food, drugs, vehicles and consumer products are safe, and that financial firms follow the rules. Such regulations may benefit the public as a whole, but can also cut into the profits of corporations and affect other narrow interests. For decades, wealthy conservatives have been funding a long-game effort to hobble that system, often referred to as the administrative state. ‘This is an intentional fight on the administrative state that is the same fight that goes back to the New Deal, and even before it to the progressive era — we’re just seeing its replaying and its resurfacing,’ said Gillian Metzger, a Columbia University professor who wrote a Harvard Law Review article called ‘1930s Redux: The Administrative State Under Siege.’ When the United States was younger and the economy was simple, it generally took an act of Congress to impose a new, legally binding rule addressing a problem involving industry. But as complexity arose — the Industrial Revolution, banking crises, telecommunications and broadcast technology, and much more — this system began to fail. Congress came to recognize that it lacked the knowledge, time and nimbleness to set myriad, intricate technical standards across a broad and expanding range of issues. So it created specialized regulatory agencies to study and address various types of problems. While there were earlier examples, many of the agencies Congress established were part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. Wealthy business owners loathed the limits. But with mass unemployment causing suffering, the political power of elite business interests was at an ebb.”

The Supreme Court Tries to Overrule the Climate: A destructive decision in West Virginia v. E.P.A. The New Yorker, Bill McKibben, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “Credit where due: the Supreme Court’s 6–3 ruling in West Virginia v. E.P.A. is the culmination of a five-decade effort to make sure that the federal government won’t threaten the business status quo. Lewis Powell’s famous memo, written in 1971, before he joined the Supreme Court—between the enactment of a strong Clean Air Act and a strong Clean Water Act, each with huge popular support—called on ‘businessmen’ to stand up to the tide of voices ‘from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians’ calling for progressive change. He outlined a plan for slowly rebuilding the power of industrial élites, almost all the elements of which were taken up by conservative movements over subsequent years: monitoring textbooks and TV stations, attacking left-wing faculty at universities, even building a publishing industry. (‘The news stands—at airports, drugstores, and elsewhere—are filled with paperback and pamphlets advocating everything from revolution to erotic free love. One finds almost no attractive, well-written paperbacks or pamphlets on our side,’ Powell wrote, but he was able to imagine a day when the likes of Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity would reliably top the best-seller lists.) Fatefully, he also wrote: ‘American business and the enterprise system have been affected as much by the courts as by the executive and legislative branches of government. Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.’ At the time he was writing, the ‘activist’ court was standing up for things that most Americans wanted, such as clean air and water—and the right of women to control their own bodies. But the Supreme Court, and hence the judiciary, has come under the control of the kind of men that Powell envisioned—he may not have envisioned women on the bench, but Amy Coney Barrett is otherwise his type of judge. And, with this ruling, they have taken more or less total control of Washington’s ability to generate policy that might disrupt the status quo.”

Supreme Court to Hear Case on State Legislatures’ Power Over Elections. The case, about a North Carolina voting map, has the potential to amplify the influence of state lawmakers over federal elections. The New York Times, Adam Liptak and Nick Corasaniti, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it would hear a case that could radically reshape how federal elections are conducted by giving state legislatures independent power, not subject to review by state courts, to set election rules in conflict with state constitutions. The case has the potential to affect many aspects of the 2024 election, including by giving the justices power to influence the presidential race if disputes arise over how state courts interpret state election laws. In taking up the case, the court could upend nearly every facet of the American electoral process, allowing state legislatures to set new rules, regulations and districts on federal elections with few checks against overreach, and potentially create a chaotic system with differing rules and voting eligibility for presidential elections. ‘The Supreme Court’s decision will be enormously significant for presidential elections, congressional elections and congressional district districting,’ said J. Michael Luttig, a former federal appeals court judge. ‘And therefore, for American democracy.’ Protections against partisan gerrymandering established through the state courts could essentially vanish. The ability to challenge new voting laws at the state level could be reduced. And the theory underpinning the case could open the door to state legislatures sending their own slates of electors.” See also, Supreme Court to Hear case on Republican ‘independent state legislature’ theory that could radically reshape elections. The case stems from the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision this year to throw out the Republican-drawn congressional map for gerrymandering. Politico, Zach Montellaro and Josh Gerstein, Thursday, 6 June 2022: “The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in a case promoting a controversial legal theory that would consolidate elections power in the hands of state legislatures. Just after releasing its final opinions of the term Thursday, the Supreme Court announced it would take up the closely watched case, Moore v. Harper, brought by North Carolina’s Republican state House speaker, who challenged the state Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the legislature’s congressional maps over partisan gerrymandering. The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in February that the state’s congressional maps violated the state constitution by illegally favoring Republicans. The map — drawn by GOP legislators — could have given the party control of as many as 11 of the closely divided state’s 14 districts. But the Republican legislators argued in an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court that the state court had extremely limited authority to police the legislature on federal election matters — a theory known as the ‘independent state legislature’ theorySee also, Supreme Court to take on controversial election-law case, NPR, Nina Totenberg, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a case that could dramatically change how federal elections are conducted. At issue is a legal theory that would give state legislatures unfettered authority to set the rules for federal elections, free of supervision by the state courts and state constitutions. The theory, known as the ‘independent state legislature theory,’ stems from the election clause in Article I of the Constitution. It says, ‘The times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof.’ Proponents of the theory argue that that clause gives state legislatures power to regulate federal elections uninhibited by state courts or state constitutions. If a majority of the Supreme Court agrees, that would hamstring state courts, removing judicial oversight of state elections. ‘Taken to its extreme, the independent state legislature doctrine could be an earthquake in American election law and fundamentally alter the balance of power within states and provide a pathway to subvert election results,’ says professor Richard Hasen, an expert on election law from the University of California, Irvine.” See also, Supreme Court to review state legislatures’ power in federal elections. The justices will look next term at a case from North Carolina, where Republicans want to restore a redistricting map rejected by the state’s supreme court. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will consider what would be a fundamental change in the way federal elections are conducted, giving state legislatures sole authority to set the rules for contests even if their actions violated state constitutions and resulted in extreme partisan gerrymandering for congressional seats. The case, from North Carolina, could have enormous impact on the 2024 election, and it is the second major election law case the justices will review in the term that begins in October. They have already taken a case from Alabama that will allow them to reconsider the scope of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race. Both cases were brought by Republicans challenging adverse decisions in lower courts. In North Carolina, Republicans want to restore a redistricting map that was drawn by the GOP-led legislature but rejected as a violation of the state constitution by the state’s supreme court. ‘This case has the potential to fundamentally rework the relationship between state legislatures and state courts in protecting voting rights in federal elections,’ liberal election law expert Richard Hasen wrote on his Election Law blog. ‘It also could provide the path for election subversion.'” See also, Supreme Court Will Hear Moore v. Harper, the Independent State Legislature Theory Case from North Carolina; This Case Could Severely Curtail the Ability of State Courts to Protect Voting Rights and Stop Partisan Gerrymandering. Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The Supreme Court today just agreed to hear Moore v. Harper, an ‘independent state legislature’ theory case from North Carolina. This case has the potential to fundamentally rework the relationship between state legislatures and state courts in protecting voting rights in federal elections. It also could provide the path for election subversion. The issue presented in this case has been a recurring one in recent years. Two parts of the Constitution, Article I, Section 4 as to congressional elections and Article II as to presidential elections give state ‘legislatures’ the power to set certain rules (in the Art. I, section 4 context, subject to congressional override). The Supreme Court has long understood the use of the term legislature here to broadly encompass a state’s legislative process, such as the need for a governor’s signature on legislative action (or veto override) about congressional elections. See Smiley v. Holm. As recently as 2015, the Supreme Court held that the voters in Arizona could use the initiative process to create an independent redistricting commission to draw congressional districts even when the state legislature objected. See Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission v. Arizona Legislature. But that latter case was 5-4 with a strong dissent by Chief Justice Roberts, who believed the legislature could not be cut out of the process. Most of the Justices in the majority in that case are now off the Court. There’s a more radical version of the idea that the Legislature has power, standing on its own as a body and not part of the general structure of state government, in the independent state legislature theory. Take the facts of the Moore case. The North Carolina Supreme Court, interpreting a provision of the state constitution protecting the right to vote, held that partisan gerrymandering violated the state constitution and required drawing fairer lines, including in Congressional districts. That state court is majority-Democrat and the NC General Assembly is majority Republican. The Republican legislature argued that this holding usurped its sole and plenary power to choose the manner for drawing congressional districts. Pause on that for a moment: the theory in its extreme is that the state constitution as interpreted by the state supreme court is not a limit on legislative power. This extreme position would essentially neuter the development of any laws protecting voters more broadly than the federal constitution based on voting rights provisions in state constitutions. And this theory might not just restrain state supreme courts: it can also potentially restrain state and local agencies and governors implementing rules for running elections.”

Supreme Court Sides With Biden’s Efforts to End ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program. The program, adopted during the Trump administration, requires some migrants to wait in Mexico while their cases are heard. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Miriam Jordan, and Eileen Sullivan, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Biden administration may rescind a Trump-era immigration program that forces certain asylum seekers arriving at the southwestern border to await approval in Mexico. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority in the 5-to-4 ruling, said an immigration law gave the president discretion to return migrants arriving by land to the country from which they came. But that discretion, he continued, did not amount to an obligation. The key provision, the chief justice wrote, used the word ‘may’ rather than ‘shall.’ That provision, he wrote, ‘means what it says: May means may.’ Chief Justice Roberts added that making removal mandatory would require ordering the president to negotiate with Mexico. Judges should not lightly interfere with the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, he wrote, in a holding welcomed by human rights lawyers. ‘For a court to insert itself in the diplomatic relationship between the United States and a foreign nation was clearly something the Supreme Court was rightfully uncomfortable with,’ said Robyn Barnard, a lawyer at Human Rights First. The decision was a victory for the Biden administration, which has faced multiple legal challenges and setbacks to its immigration policies. But it will have little practical impact on the number of people allowed to stay in the country to apply for asylum, because the administration has been sending very few to wait out their cases in Mexico. An emergency public health rule that has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic has had a far bigger effect, preventing many asylum seekers from staying in the United States to request protection.” See also, Supreme Court clears Biden to end Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy. The policy requires some asylum seekers who enter the country illegally, mainly from Central and South America, to return to Mexico while they await a hearing. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled for the Biden administration on a controversial immigration policy, saying it had the authority to reverse a Trump-era initiative that requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are reviewed in U.S. courts. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for himself and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, and the court’s three liberals, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Roberts said federal immigration law gives the executive discretion: He may return asylum seekers to Mexico, but is not required to do so. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett dissented.”

Biden, Chiding the Supreme Court, Endorses Ending the Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights. The president calls the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade ‘destabilizing’ and said Congress needs to act to codify it into law. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Jim Tankersley, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “President Biden on Thursday condemned what he called the ‘outrageous behavior’ of the Supreme Court in overturning Roe v. Wade and said for the first time that he supported ending the filibuster to protect a woman’s right to an abortion and a broader constitutional right to privacy. It was a striking assertion from a president who is steeped in the traditions of the Senate and has resisted calls from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party to scrap the longstanding Senate practice of requiring a 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. But in chiding the justices for a decision he called ‘destabilizing’ for the country, the president said it was time to push Congress to act. ‘We have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law, and the way to do that is to make sure the Congress votes to do that,’ Mr. Biden said. ‘And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, we provide an exception for this, or an exception to the filibuster for this action.’ It was only the second time Mr. Biden has urged Congress to scrap its rules on the filibuster. In January, he called on lawmakers to make an exception to pass legislation to add voting rights protections. Speaking at a news conference in Madrid at the end of a weeklong series of meetings with allies in Europe, Mr. Biden lamented the impact of the court’s decision on a woman’s right to have an abortion, calling Roe a ‘critical, critical piece.’ But he also sought to broaden his critique of the ruling, saying it threatened decades of court precedent guaranteeing other fundamental tenets of American life based on the idea of a right to privacy in the Constitution. With his comments, Mr. Biden forcefully joined the chorus of voices warning that the legality of gay marriage and the availability of legal contraception could be at risk if the court — now dominated by conservative justices — decide to expand their rulings to other areas of the law, as Justice Clarence Thomas suggested in a concurring opinion in the case.” See also, Biden calls for suspending filibuster rules to guarantee abortion rights. The president stakes out his strongest position so far on reproductive rights, but chances of change in the Senate remain slim. The Washington Post, Matt Viser and Ashley Parker, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “President Biden called for altering Senate filibuster rules to codify into law abortion rights and privacy protections, the most aggressive position he has staked out on reproductive rights and one that could reshape a roiling national debate ahead of the midterm elections. Biden, who previously has been reluctant to change the decades-old rules in institutions such as the Senate in service of Democratic priorities, is now taking a more combative approach after the Supreme Court’s decision last week to overturn Roe v. Wade. Biden’s comments on changing the filibuster came after Democrats had criticized what they saw as a lackluster response to a tectonic shift in abortion rights, and after many of the world leaders with whom he spent the past week had released statements critical of the Supreme Court’s decision. ‘I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law, and the way to do that is to make sure the Congress votes to do that,’ he said in Madrid at a news conference marking the end of a six-day foreign trip focused on the war in Ukraine. ‘And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights; it should be — we provide an exception for this.’ In some ways, Biden’s trip overseas crystallized the challenges he is facing back home, where inflation remains both a pocketbook and political issue, where a Republican minority has been able to thwart many Democratic priorities, and where the president’s approval ratings are at a record low.”

The Major Supreme Court Decisions in 2022, The New York Times, Adam Liptak and Jason Kao, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The leak in May of a draft of the decision overruling Roe v. Wade seemed to expose new fault lines at the Supreme Court in the first full term in which it has been dominated by a 6-to-3 conservative supermajority, including three justices appointed by President Donald J. Trump. The court’s public approval ratings have been dropping, and its new configuration has raised questions about whether it is out of step with public opinion. According to a recent survey from researchers at Harvard, Stanford and the University of Texas, the public is closely divided on how the court should rule in several major cases. In many of them, though, respondents held starkly different views based on their partisan affiliations.”

War in Ukraine: Biden pledges $800 million in new weapons for Ukraine and says U.S. gas prices will remain high, The Washington Post, David Walker, Jennifer Hassan, Bryan Pietsch, Amy Cheng, Adam Taylor, and Lateshia Beachum, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “The United States plans to announce another $800 million in weapons aid for Ukraine in the coming days, President Biden said Thursday at the close of a NATO summit in Madrid. He also warned U.S. consumers that gas prices would remain high as a result of the war. Americans should prepare to pay a premium for gas for ‘as long as it takes to support Ukraine,’ Biden said at a news conference. Western sanctions on Russia have hurt the country’s energy sector and curbed the global supply of oil. ‘As long as it takes so Russia cannot, in fact, defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine. This is a critical, critical position for the world,’ Biden said. In a small but strategic win for Kyiv, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that its forces had withdrawn from Snake Island, a highly contested isle in the Black Sea, after a four-month-long occupation. Moscow framed the move as an effort to establish a humanitarian corridor for the export of agricultural products from Ukraine. But officials in the southern port city of Odessa said Russian troops had evacuated following missile and artillery strikes.

  • Finland and Sweden are expected to formally sign the NATO accession protocol on Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin still intends to capture most of Ukraine and the war is likely to grind on, top U.S. intelligence official Avril Haines said.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sweden and Finland on Thursday to meet their obligations to Turkey under an agreement signed at the NATO summit in Madrid, in order for the deal to be submitted to Turkey’s parliament for approval.

Russia-Ukraine War: NATO Summit Ends, Leaving Leaders to Sell Their Pledges Back Home. Western leaders departed the meeting with new commitments to a united front against Russian aggression, but they face the challenge of persuading their own people that it is worth the cost. The New York Times, Thursday, 30 July 2022:

  • Despite shows of unity, the war’s economic costs weigh on Western leaders.

  • Two missile strikes kill at least 21 near Odesa, Ukrainian officials say.

  • Ukraine drives Russian forces from Snake Island, a setback for Moscow.

  • Promising NATO support, Biden says the war won’t ‘end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine.’

  • NATO’s ‘transformative summit’ means higher costs to deter Russia.

  • The captors of 2 Americans in Ukraine want to negotiate their release, the mother of one of the men says.

  • Amnesty says Russia targeted a Mariupol theater, but gives a lower death toll estimate than previous counts.

  • At the G7 and NATO meetings, Biden and his allies fail to describe an endgame to the war.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 30), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukraine won back control over Snake Island, which Russia occupied in February. Ukrainian officials said Russian troops evacuated after Ukraine’s overnight bombardment. Russia said it left the island as a ‘goodwill gesture’ for Ukraine’s grain exports. The strategic outpost in the Black Sea is where Ukrainian soldiers famously refused to surrender to the Russian warship Moskva. President Biden said the U.S. would provide $800 million more in security assistance for Ukraine. Speaking at the close of a NATO summit, Biden said the war ‘will not end with Russia defeating Ukraine’ and that allies would support Ukraine ‘as long as it takes.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier said his country had no ‘problem’ with Finland and Sweden joining NATO but would have to respond if the alliance built up a military presence along its northern borders. Amnesty International said the Mariupol theater bombing was a clear war crimenew report by the human rights organization concluded that the attack ‘was almost certainly carried out by Russian fighter aircraft.’ Hundreds of civilians sheltered in the building during the March siege of the southern port city that Russian troops now occupy. The European Court of Human Rights told Russia to ensure two British captives don’t get the death penalty. In early June, a court in a Russian-backed separatist part of Ukraine sentenced Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin to death. Russia’s government, which pulled out of the European rights jurisdiction after invading Ukraine, said it no longer complies with the European court’s orders. Ukraine said it broke ties with Syria for recognizing the independence of eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions at Russia’s request. Ukraine’s foreign ministry said in recent years it had already ordered the closure of its and Syria’s embassies over crimes of the Syrian regime, which is friendly with the Kremlin. Kyiv said it will now also impose a trade embargo and other sanctions against Syria.”

Ketanji Brown Jackson Becomes First Black Female Supreme Court Justice, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “Ketanji Brown Jackson took the judicial oath just after noon on Thursday, becoming the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice Jackson, 51, was confirmed in April, when the Senate voted 53 to 47 on her nomination. She is replacing Justice Stephen G. Breyer, 83, who stepped down with the conclusion of the court’s current term. Justice Jackson took both a constitutional oath, administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and a judicial oath, administered by Justice Breyer, making her the nation’s 116th justice and sixth woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. The brief swearing-in ceremony took place in the West Conference Room at the Supreme Court, before a small gathering of Judge Jackson’s family, including her two daughters. Her husband, Dr. Patrick G. Jackson, held the two Bibles on which she swore: a family Bible and a King James Version that is the property of the court.”

Justice Clarence Thomas cites debunked claim that Covid vaccines are made with cells from ‘aborted children.’ Thomas cited the claims in a dissent to the Supreme Court’s refusal to take up a challenge by health care workers who opposed New York’s vaccine mandate on religious grounds. NBC News, Adam Edelman and Aria Bendix, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “In a sharply worded dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas expressed support Thursday for a debunked claim that all Covid vaccines are made with cells from ‘aborted children.’ His dissent came in a decision by the Supreme Court to not take up a legal challenge by New York health care workers who opposed the state’s vaccine mandate on religious grounds. Thomas, citing the plaintiffs, wrote that the health care workers ‘object’ to the state’s vaccine mandate ‘on religious grounds to all available COVID–19 vaccines because they were developed using cell lines derived from aborted children.’ Pfizer and Moderna used fetal cell lines early in their Covid vaccine development to test the efficacy of their formulas, as other vaccines have in the past. The fetal tissue used in these processes came from elective abortions that happened decades ago. But the cells have since replicated many times, so none of the original tissue is involved in the making of modern vaccines. So it is not true that Covid vaccines are manufactured using fetal cell lines, nor do they contain any aborted cells. Rather, the vaccines contain messenger RNA — genetic material that instructs our cells to make proteins, which then train the immune system to fight off the coronavirus. They also include fatty substances called lipids that help RNA cross our cell membranes, as well as salt, sugar, and a few substances that help stabilize the other ingredients. In defending its vaccine mandate, lawyers for New York also noted that laboratory-grown stem cells, which derive from cells collected from a fetus nearly 50 years ago, were also used for testing the rubella vaccine.”

How Trump World pressures witnesses to deny his possible wrongdoing. Trump and his allies shower potential witnesses with flattery privately while publicly blasting those who dare cross him. The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Josh Dawsey, and Jacqueline Alemany, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “As rumors flew in the spring of 2018 that Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen was preparing to flip on his former boss and offer potentially damaging testimony to federal prosecutors, Cohen received an email. ‘You are loved,’ read the email, which indicated it was relaying comments from former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and was quoted in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s 2019 report. ‘Sleep well tonight … you have friends in high places.’ It was one of a number of times messages of cajoling support or bullying encouragement were delivered to potentially important Mueller witnesses. And it was strikingly similar to the communications Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said on Tuesday had been received by witnesses who have testified for the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Evidence across multiple state, federal and congressional investigations points to a similar pattern: Trump and his close allies privately shower potential witnesses with flattery and attention, extending vague assurances that staying loyal to Trump would be better than crossing him. Meanwhile, Trump publicly blasts those who offer testimony against him in bluntly personal terms, offering a clear example to others of the consequences of stepping out of line. ‘Donald Trump never changes his playbook,’ Cohen said in an interview. ‘He behaves like a mob boss, and these messages are fashioned in that style. Giving an order without giving the order. No fingerprints attached.’ A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. At Tuesday’s hearing, Cheney recounted that committee members have asked each witness connected to Trump’s administration or campaign whether they have been contacted by former colleagues or others who have ‘attempted to influence or impact their testimony.’ She described two responses that she said raised ‘significant concern.'”

Trump Group Pays for January 6 Lawyers, Raising Concerns of Witness Pressure. The former president’s political organization and allies have paid for or promised to cover legal fees for witnesses, as the House inquiry suggests he is trying to influence testimony. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni, and Alan Feuer, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump’s political organization and his allies have paid for or promised to finance the legal fees of more than a dozen witnesses called in the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 attack, raising legal and ethical questions about whether the former president may be influencing testimony with a direct bearing on him. The arrangement drew new scrutiny this week after Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide in his White House, made an explosive appearance before the House panel, providing damning new details about Mr. Trump’s actions and statements on the day of the deadly riot. She did so after firing a lawyer who had been recommended to her by two of Mr. Trump’s former aides and paid for by his political action committee, and hiring new counsel. Under the representation of the new lawyer, Jody Hunt, Ms. Hutchinson sat for a fourth interview with the committee in which she divulged more revelations and agreed to come forward publicly to testify to them. It is not known whether Ms. Hutchinson’s change in counsel led directly to her willingness to appear at a televised hearing and provide a more detailed, wide-ranging account of what she witnessed, but some members of the panel believe that it played a role, according to two people familiar with the committee’s work. Mr. Trump claimed that Ms. Hutchinson’s new lawyer could have prompted her to make false statements. ‘Her story totally changed!’ he complained on his social media site, Truth Social. The episode raised questions about whether Mr. Trump and his allies may, implicitly or explicitly, be pressuring witnesses to hold back crucial information that might incriminate or cast a negative light on the former president. Mr. Trump and his advisers have been accused before of trying to influence witnesses in past investigations involving him. The committee is known to ask witnesses frequently during closed-door interviews whether anyone has tried to influence their testimony. Ms. Hutchinson has told the Jan. 6 committee that she was among the witnesses who have been contacted by people around Mr. Trump suggesting that they would be better off if they remained loyal to the former president. Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman of the panel, quoted two witnesses making such claims on Tuesday and suggested that the committee was looking into the possibility that the former president or his allies were trying to obstruct its inquiry, saying that, ‘most people know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns.’ Unlike witness tampering, which is a crime, there is nothing illegal about a third party covering legal fees for a witness.”

Opinion: Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony shatters any Trump defense of no criminal intent, The Washington Post, George T. Conway III and Randall D. Eliason, Thursday, 30 June 2022: “If Donald Trump is ever criminally charged for his efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election, the central issue will be his state of mind: Did Trump act with criminal intent? Or was he just innocently, though aggressively, pursuing all possible avenues of lawful recourse to remedy what he truly believed was a stolen election? His potential defense of lack of criminal intent was flimsy to begin with. After Tuesday’s devastating testimony from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, it lies in tatters. Proving Trump’s culpable state of mind just got a whole lot easier for prosecutors. With Hutchinson’s testimony, we now know that Trump was aware that some of his supporters were armed when he urged them to march on the Capitol and ‘fight.’ ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. … They can march to the Capitol from here,’ Hutchinson recalls Trump saying. Trump didn’t even care about the risk to his own vice president. According to Hutchinson, Mark Meadows, Trump’s final chief of staff, said Trump was not worried about the protesters’ chants of ‘Hang Mike Pence’ and thought ‘Mike deserves it.’ And she said Trump’s own White House counsel warned that if Trump were to go ahead with his own plans to lead the march on the Capitol, ‘we’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable.'”



Even though the Trump administration is no longer in office, I am continuing to post summaries of the daily political news and major stories relating to this tragic and dangerous period in US history. I will try to focus on the differences between the Trump administration and the Biden administration and on the ongoing toxic residual effects of the Trump administration and Republicans. I usually post throughout the day and let the news settle for a day or so before posting.

I created Muckraker Farm in 2014 as a place to post muckraking (investigative) journalism going back to the 19th century. Recently I have been able to make time to return to this original project. You can find these muckraking pieces under the Home Page link at the top of this site. Thanks for reading!