Aftermath of the Trump Administration, July 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!


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Friday, 1 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukraine says missile strikes in Odessa area leave more than 20 dead, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Andrew Jeong, Amy Cheng, Julian Duplain, Karina Tsui, David L. Stern, and Meryl Kornfield, Friday, 1 July 2022: “In Ukraine’s Odessa region, Russian strikes killed at least 21 people and injured 38 at an apartment building and a recreation center, Ukrainian officials said Friday. While the Kremlin denied hitting civilians, Ukrainian officials said at least one child was killed and others wounded. Rescuers are still searching for victims under the rubble. Video posted to Telegram on Friday, and verified by The Washington Post, shows the aftermath of the strikes. ‘Everything was blown apart,’ a witness said in a Telegram video. War crimes prosecutors collected evidence at the scene. A Russian prosecutor on Friday accused WNBA star Brittney Griner of transporting a ‘significant amount’ of cannabis oil, according to Russian media reports on her trial, where she faces 10 years in prison if convicted.

  • Ukrainian officials say the new tranche of Western materiel is already making a difference on the battlefield.
  • The United States will provide $820 million in security assistance to Ukraine, the Pentagon said Friday, focusing on weapons and equipment urgently needed for the battle in the east.
  • Russia more than doubled the rate of its missile strikes in the last two weeks, according to a Ukrainian general.
  • Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov reportedly has been arrested in Russia, accused of possible evasion of service in the army, according to Fontanka, a news outlet based in St. Petersburg.

Russia-Ukraine War: Death Toll Rises to 21 in Missile Strikes Near Odesa. Ukrainians accused Russia of retaliation for driving Russian forces from Snake Island, a strategic blow, but the attack was of a piece with similar apparently random strikes on residential areas. The New York Times, Friday, 1 July 2022:

  • ‘This was an act of revenge.’ Rescuers comb rubble for victims in a seaside town where Russian missiles struck.

  • Brittney Griner, now a wartime bargaining chip, goes on trial in Russia.

  • Advanced rocket launchers sent by the U.S. are making a difference on the battlefield, officials say.

  • A Polish tennis player is using her stardom to support Ukraine.

  • At a boarding school in Ukraine, displaced children long for home.
  • Russia detains its own Olympic goalie, who had signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • Mariupol’s drama company prepares to perform again.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (July 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 1 July 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian missiles hit residential areas near Odesakilling at least 21 people. Fierce fighting has continued in the area, in southern Ukraine, for weeks. The European Union flag was hoisted in the Ukrainian Parliament in a symbolic and highly emotional moment for the country’s lawmakers, who stood and applauded. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Ukraine on gaining candidate status last week, launching a potentially lengthy process for the country to join the bloc. Inflation in 19 countries that use the euro hit a new record high of 8.6% in June. The war in Ukraine has helped drive up energy and food prices, and the Eurostat statistics agency estimated energy prices are almost 42% higher than last year. The trial for WNBA star Brittney Griner began in Russiawith prosecutors unsealing details about her case. She’s detained on drug smuggling charges over alleged cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage. Her next hearing is slated for July 7. UNESCO declared borsch cooking an endangered Ukrainian heritage ‘in need of urgent safeguarding’ because of Russia’s invasion. Ukraine’s culture minister declared victory ‘in the war for borsch,’ as Russia also lays claim to the hearty beet soup.”

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, July 2022:

New York Moves to Enshrine Abortion Rights in State Constitution. The Equal Rights Amendment prohibits discrimination against anyone based on race, ethnicity, national origin, disability or sex–specifically sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and pregnancy. The New York Times, Grace Ashford, Friday, 1 July 2022: “The New York State Legislature on Friday passed a measure that, if fully enacted, would enshrine in the State Constitution the right to seek an abortion and access contraception. The measure — the Equal Rights Amendment — places New York at the forefront of legal efforts to protect reproductive rights after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last week, ending long-established abortion protections. But the amendment’s reach is far broader. It prohibits the government from discriminating against anyone based on a list of qualifications including race, ethnicity, national origin, disability or sex — specifically noting sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and pregnancy on the list of protected conditions. Democrats in Albany described the amendment as a crucial defense of those protected classes and a shield against potential government incursions on contraception, consensual sexual relations and same-sex marriage. ‘We can no longer afford to play a risk game because the right not only is going to take everything to court, they’re starting to control all the courts,’ said Senator Liz Krueger, the architect of the amendment. ‘So it’s just more and more important to enshrine things in state constitutions as well as state laws.'”

Democracy advocates raise alarm after Supreme Court takes election case. The decision to consider ‘independent legislature theory’ concerns voting rights advocates who say state lawmakers could twist the election laws to favor their party. The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz and Isaac Stanley-Becker, Friday, 1 July 2022: “Voting rights advocates expressed alarm Friday, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court said it will consider a conservative legal theory giving state legislatures virtually unchecked power over federal elections, warning that it could erode basic tenets of American democracy. The idea, known as the ‘independent legislature theory,’ represents to some theorists a literal reading of the Constitution. But in its most far-reaching interpretation, it could cut governors and state courts out of the decision-making process on election laws while giving state lawmakers free rein to change rules to favor their own party. The impact could extend to presidential elections in 2024 and beyond, experts say, making it easier for a legislature to disregard the will of its state’s citizens. This immense power would go to legislative bodies that are themselves undemocratic, many advocates say, because they have been gerrymandered to create partisan districts, virtually ensuring the party-in-power’s candidates cannot be beaten. Republicans control both legislative chambers in 30 states and have been at the forefront of pushing the theory.” See also, A Transformative Term at the Most Conservative Supreme Court in Nearly a Century. The blockbuster decisions–on abortion, guns, religion, and climate–told part of the story. But the court’s abrupt rightward shift ran through its entire docket. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 1 July 2022: “The Supreme Court moved relentlessly to the right in its first full term with a six-justice conservative majority, issuing far-reaching decisions that will transform American life. It eliminated the constitutional right to abortionrecognized a Second Amendment right to carry guns outside the home, made it harder to address climate change and expanded the role of religion in public life. But those blockbusters, significant though they were, only began to tell the story of the conservative juggernaut the court has become. By one standard measurement used by political scientists, the term that ended on Thursday was the most conservative since 1931. ‘The data provide stunning confirmation of the Republican-conservative takeover of the Supreme Court,’ said Lee Epstein, a law professor and political scientist at the University of Southern California who oversees the Supreme Court Database.”

Trump Eyes Early 2024 Announcement as January 6 Scrutiny Intensifies. Donald Trump has accelerated his campaign planning, hoping a White house bid will blunt a series of damaging revelations. Some Republicans are worried. The New York Times, Michael C. Bender, Reid J. Epstein, and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 1 July 2022: “Republicans are bracing for Donald J. Trump to announce an unusually early bid for the White House, a move designed in part to shield the former president from a stream of damaging revelations emerging from investigations into his attempts to cling to power after losing the 2020 election. While many Republicans would welcome Mr. Trump’s entry into the race, his move would also exacerbate persistent divisions over whether the former president is the party’s best hope to win back the White House. The party is also divided over whether his candidacy would be an unnecessary distraction from midterm elections or even a direct threat to democracy. Mr. Trump has long hinted at a third consecutive White House bid and has campaigned for much of the past year. He has accelerated his planning in recent weeks just as a pair of investigations have intensified and congressional testimony has revealed new details about Mr. Trump’s indifference to the threat of violence on Jan. 6 and his refusal to act to stop an insurrection. Mr. Trump has also watched as some of his preferred candidates have lost recent primary elections, raising hopes among his potential Republican competitors that voters may be drifting from a politician long thought to have an iron grip on the party. Rather than humble Mr. Trump, the developments have emboldened him to try to reassert himself as the head of the party, eclipse damaging headlines and steal attention from potential rivals, including Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a rising favorite of donors and voters. Republicans close to Mr. Trump have said he believes a formal announcement would bolster his claims that the investigations are politically motivated. Mr. Trump would enter the race as the clear front-runner, with an approval rating among Republicans around 80 percent, but there are signs that a growing number of the party’s voters are exploring other options.”


Saturday, 2 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Kyiv disputes Russia’s claim that it has ‘completely surrounded’ Lysychansk, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Ellen Francis, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, Julian Duplain, and Marisa Iati, Saturday, 2 July 2022: “The Ukrainian national guard disputed a Russian politician’s claim Saturday that Moscow’s forces had ‘completely surrounded’ Lysychansk, a bombarded Ukrainian city that is key to Russia’s efforts to capture the Donbas region. The dueling claims about Lysychansk, in the Luhansk province, follow missile strikes that killed at least 21 people near the Black Sea port of Odessa on Friday and hit the southern city of Mykolaiv, where the mayor reported more explosions early Saturday. While the Kremlin denied targeting civilians, Kyiv said a 12-year-old boy was killed in the strike near Odessa that hit an apartment block and a recreation center. Ukraine also called on Turkey to detain a Russian-flagged cargo ship, loaded with stolen Ukrainian grain, that it said had sailed from the Russian-controlled Berdyansk port bound for Turkey’s Black Sea coast. Millions of metric tons of grain await export from Ukraine, as Russia blockades shipping lanes and poorer countries bear the brunt of shortages and rising prices

  • U.S. officials say Ukraine is dispersing weapons delivered by its Western allies around the country to avoid losses as the Russian military targets arms depots.
  • The death toll rose to 21 in the Russian airstrike that hit a shopping mall Monday in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk.
  • Moscow-backed separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine have charged British nationals Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill with fighting as mercenaries for Ukrainian forces, according to Russian state media.
  • Russian media suggested that arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in Illinois, may be exchanged for detained WNBA star Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

Russia-Ukraine War: Civilian Death Toll Rises as Russians Rely on Older Weapons. The battle for the eastern city of Lysychansk reaches a pivotal point. While Russia continues to make gains in the east, Ukraine tries to take back lost territory in the south. The New York Times, Saturday, 2 July 2022:

  • Russian strikes with older Soviet weapons pushed up the civilian death toll in recent weeks, Ukraine says.

  • The fight for the last city in Luhansk under Ukrainian control reaches a pivotal point.

  • Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko plays tennis to raise money for her war-torn country.

  • Two more British men are charged with ‘mercenary activities’ in occupied Ukraine.

  • As Russia inches forward in the east, Ukraine tries to chip away at its positions in the south.

  • Ukraine accuses Russia of dropping white phosphorus on Snake Island after its retreat.

  • Ukrainian students are hopeful and defiant as they graduate amid war.

Spurred by the Supreme Court, a Nation Divides Along a Red-Blue Axis. On abortion, climate change, guns, and much more, two Americas–one liberal, one conservative–are moving in opposite directions. The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman, Saturday, 2 July 2022: “Pressed by Supreme Court decisions diminishing rights that liberals hold dear and expanding those cherished by conservatives, the United States appears to be drifting apart into separate nations, with diametrically opposed social, environmental and health policies. Call these the Disunited States. The most immediate breaking point is on abortion, as about half the country will soon limit or ban the procedure while the other half expands or reinforces access to reproductive rights. But the ideological fault lines extend far beyond that one topic, to climate change, gun control and L.G.B.T.Q. and voting rights. On each of those issues, the country’s Northeast and West Coast are moving in the opposite direction from its midsection and Southeast — with a few exceptions, like the islands of liberalism in Illinois and Colorado, and New Hampshire’s streak of conservatism. Even where public opinion is more mixed, like in Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas, the Republican grip on state legislatures has ensured that policies in those states conform with those of the reddest states in the union, rather than strike a middle ground. The tearing at the seams has been accelerated by the six-vote conservative majority in the Supreme Court, which has embraced a muscular states-rights federalism. In the past 10 days the court has erased the constitutional right to an abortionnarrowed the federal government’s ability to regulate climate-warming pollution and blocked liberal states and cities from barring most of their citizens from carrying concealed guns outside of their homes. ‘They’ve produced this Balkanized house divided, and we’re only beginning to see how bad that will be,’ said David Blight, a Yale historian who specializes in the era of American history that led to the Civil War.”

The Long Path to Reclaim Abortion Rights. The Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe, far from settling the matter, instead has launched court and political battles across the states likely to go on for years. The New York Times, Kate Zernike, Saturday, 2 July 2022: “Attempting to recover from their staggering loss in the Supreme Court, abortion rights groups have mounted a multilevel legal and political attack aimed at blocking and reversing abortion bans in courts and at ballot boxes across the country. In the week since the court overturned Roe v. Wade, litigators for abortion rights groups have rolled out a wave of lawsuits in nearly a dozen states to hold off bans triggered by the court’s decision, with the promise of more suits to come. They are aiming to prove that provisions in state constitutions establish a right to abortion that the Supreme Court’s decision said did not exist in the U.S. Constitution. Advocates of abortion rights are also working to defeat ballot initiatives that would strip away a constitutional right to abortion, and to pass those that would establish one, in states where abortion access is contingent on who controls the governor’s mansion or the state house. And after years of complaints that Democrats neglected state and local elections, Democratic-aligned groups are campaigning to reverse slim Republican majorities in some state legislatures, and to elect abortion rights supporters to positions from county commissioner to state supreme court justices that can have influence over the enforcement of abortion restrictions.”


Sunday, 3 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukrainian forces withdraw from the eastern city of Lysychansk–their final foothold in the Luhansk region–in a crucial loss that gives Moscow access to capture much of the rest of eastern Ukraine, The Washington Post, Paulina Villegas, Bryan Pietsch, Victoria Bisset, Annabelle Timsit, and James Bikales, Sunday, 3 July 2022: “The Ukrainian military said continued defense of the city would have fatal consequences, given the Russian troops’ ‘advantage’ in ‘artillery, aviation, ammunition and personnel.’ President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed in his nightly address that Ukraine would return to Lysychansk. Moscow announced earlier in the day that Russian forces had captured Lysychansk and, therefore, ‘completely liberated’ Luhansk. Ukrainian officials, however, said the battle for the broader Donbas region of eastern Ukraine was not over yet.

  • Russia on Sunday shelled several cities in the Donetsk region, which neighbors Luhansk. In the town of Slovyansk, six people were killed and 20 wounded, officials said.
  • Ukrainian officials are expected to present recovery plans at the two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference beginning Monday in Lugano, Switzerland. Zelensky called his country’s reconstruction ‘the largest economic project of our time in Europe.’
  • Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Saturday expressed shock at the destruction in Ukraine during his first visit to the country. He was taken to Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin, where Russian forces were accused of deliberately killing civilians and other war crimes.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukrainian Withdrawal From the Key City of Lysychansk Allows Russia to Refocus. With Russia’s military in control of large parts of the Donbas in the east, it can now push further south and west, ensuring that the next phase of the battle will be just as bloody as the last. The New York Times, Sunday, 3 July 2022:

  • Russia appears to be taking steps toward two industrial cities.

  • Ukraine’s military says it has withdrawn from the city of Lysychansk, a key target for Russia in the east.

  • Four killed after explosions in a Russian city near the Ukraine border.

  • ‘A knife to the heart’: Those who call Lysychansk home adjust to a new reality.

  • Australia’s new prime minister promises increased aid during visit to Ukraine.

  • The eastern city of Lysychansk is a big prize for Putin.

  • Ukraine strikes a base in the Russian-controlled city of Melitopol, an official says.

Representative Liz Cheney says multiple criminal referrals of Trump are possible. She adds that the Republican Party cannot survive with Trump as the 2024 presidential nominee. The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Sunday, 3 July 2022: “The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection could make multiple criminal referrals of former president Donald Trump over his role in the U.S. Capitol attack, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the committee’s vice chair, said in an interview that aired Sunday. ‘The Justice Department doesn’t have to wait for the committee to make a criminal referral,’ Cheney said on ABC’s ‘This Week.’ ‘And there could be more than one criminal referral.’ Cheney emphasized that the committee’s aims were not political, but also that the Justice Department should not refrain from prosecuting Trump out of concerns about political optics if the evidence warrants criminal prosecution. ‘I think it’s a much graver constitutional threat if a president can engage in these kinds of activities, and the majority of the president’s party looks away, or we as a country decide we’re not actually going to take our constitutional obligations seriously,’ Cheney said. Cheney went on to express grave concerns about the idea of Trump running as the GOP presidential nominee for a third time. ‘I think there’s no question, I mean, a man as dangerous as Donald Trump can absolutely never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again,’ Cheney said. The Republican Party, she said, could not survive if Trump were its 2024 presidential nominee. ‘Millions of people, millions of Republicans have been betrayed by Donald Trump. And that is a really painful thing for people to recognize and to admit, but it’s absolutely the case,’ Cheney said. ‘And they’ve been betrayed by him, by “the big lie,” and by what he continues to do and say to tear apart our country and tear apart our party.’ The interview was Cheney’s first since the Jan. 6 committee began holding public hearings, and it was taped days after Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, gave bombshell testimony about Trump’s actions — and inaction — on the day of the Capitol attack.”

New Insights Into Trump’s State of Mind on January 6 Chip Away at Doubts. Former President Donald J. Trump has weathered scandals by keeping his intentions under wraps, but recent testimony paints a stark portrait of a man willing to do almost anything to hang onto power. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Saturday, 3 July 2022: “He was not speaking metaphorically. It was not an offhand comment. President Donald J. Trump had every intention of joining a mob of supporters he knew to be armed and dangerous as it marched to the Capitol. And there had even been talk of marching into the House chamber himself to disrupt Congress from ratifying his election defeat. For a year and a half, Mr. Trump has been shielded by obfuscations and mischaracterizations, benefiting from uncertainty about what he was thinking on Jan. 6, 2021. If he truly believed the election had been stolen, if he genuinely expected the gathering at the Capitol would be a peaceful protest, the argument went, then could he be held accountable, much less indicted, for the mayhem that ensued? But for a man who famously avoids leaving emails or other trails of evidence of his unspoken motives, any doubts about what was really going through Mr. Trump’s mind on that day of violence seemed to have been eviscerated by testimony presented in recent weeks by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack — especially the dramatic appearance last week of a 26-year-old former White House aide who offered a chilling portrait of a president willing to do almost anything to hang onto power. More than perhaps any insider account that has emerged, the recollections of the aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, demolished the fiction of a president who had nothing to do with what happened. Each revelation was stunning on its own: Mr. Trump knew that weapons were in the crowd as he exhorted supporters to ‘fight like hell,’ and even tried to stop anyone from disarming them. He was so determined to join the mob at the Capitol that he lashed out at his Secret Service detail for refusing to take him. And he was so nonchalant about the bedlam he had unleashed that he suggested Vice President Mike Pence might deserve to be executed for refusing to overturn the election. But when added together, the various disclosures have produced the clearest picture yet of an unprecedented attempt to subvert the traditional American democratic process, with a sitting president who had lost at the ballot box planning to march with an armed crowd to the Capitol to block the transfer of power, brushing aside manifold concerns about the potential for violence along the way.”

The Supreme Court’s Conservatives Have Asserted Their Power. But what if their big and fast moves, eviscerating some constitutional rights and inflating others, are bound for collision? The New Yorker, Jeannie Suk Gersen, Sunday, 3 July 2022: “The lasting depredations of the Trump Presidency were brought into sharp focus by last week’s testimony before the House Select Committee investigating the events of January 6th, which left an indelible portrait of Donald Trump as a food-throwing despot willing to encourage an armed mob to march to the Capitol. And, in addition to an attempted coup, we have him to thank for 2022’s becoming the turning point of the Supreme Court’s conservative revolution. In a single week in late June, the conservative Justices asserted their recently consolidated power by expanding gun rights, demolishing the right to abortion, blowing a hole in the wall between church and state, and curtailing the ability to combat climate change. The Court is not behaving as an institution invested in social stability, let alone in the importance of its own role in safeguarding that stability. But what if its big and fast moves, eviscerating some constitutional rights and inflating others, are bound for collision? As people harmed by one aspect of its agenda look to other aspects of it to protect them, the Court may not be altogether pleased with where that process leads. Shortly before the Court, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overruled Roe v. Wade, a synagogue filed suit in a Florida court, challenging, under the Florida constitution, the state’s new law criminalizing pre-viability abortions. Among the plaintiff’s claims is that the abortion ban violates the right of Jews ‘to freedom of religion in the most intimate decisions of their lives.’ The suit states that Jewish law stipulates that life begins at birth, not before, and ‘requires the mother to abort the pregnancy’ if there is a risk to her ‘health or emotional well being.’ Thus, the plaintiff argues, the abortion ban infringes on Jewish free exercise of religion. Many post-Dobbs lawsuits can also now be expected to assert that abortion bans violate state constitutions, which may be more protective of individual rights than the federal Constitution is.”


Monday, 4 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukraine unveils $750 billion recovery plan as Russia sets sights on Donetsk, The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Victoria Bisset, Annabelle Timsit, Sammy Westfall, and James Bikales, Monday, 4 July 2022: “Ukraine on Monday urged the international community to support a $750 billion plan to rebuild the country, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calling his nation’s reconstruction ‘the greatest contribution to the maintenance of global peace.’ The plan was unveiled at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, where European leaders met to discuss efforts to help Kyiv. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told conference participants that reconstruction should be funded with assets seized from Russian officials and oligarchs. But even as Ukraine looked to its postwar future, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory Monday in the eastern region of Luhansk, where Moscow captured a key stronghold from Kyiv over the weekend. Russian forces were setting their sights on neighboring Donetsk, a regional official said Monday.

  • Britain unveiled a major aid package — including an additional $525 million in World Bank loan guarantees — at the conference.
  • Pope Francis suggested in an interview Monday that he may visit Ukraine and Russia to advocate for an end to the war.
  • Russia shelled several cities in the Donetsk region. In Slovyansk, six people were killed and 20 wounded, officials said Sunday.
  • Turkish authorities have detained a Russian-flagged cargo ship loaded with stolen Ukrainian grain, Ukraine’s ambassador in Ankara said.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia’s Grinding Approach Brings Gains in the East, But as Moscow Focuses Farther Inside Ukraine It Is Unclear How Long Its Forces Can Sustain the Taxing Assault. Women’s National Basketball Association Star Brittney Griner Writes Letter to Biden From Russian Prison. The New York Times, Monday, 4 July 2022:

  • Brittney Griner to Biden: ‘I’m terrified I might be here forever.’

  • With incremental advances and withering artillery, Russia is seeing success.

  • As the war grinds on, world leaders discuss the cost of rebuilding Ukraine.

  • Amid mounting losses, defiant Ukrainians have little appetite for compromise.

  • Orchestras rethink the ‘1812 Overture,’ a remembrance of Russia’s defeat of Napoleon’s army.

  • Investigating war crimes in Ukraine, as the war rages on, poses formidable challenges.

  • A spate of arrests suggests the Kremlin is further clamping down on dissent.


Tuesday, 5 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukraine faces shelling in the east, and NATO signs accession protocols for Finland and Sweden, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, Amar Nadhir, Karina Tsui, and Sammy Westfall, Tuesday, 5 July 2022: “Members of the NATO military alliance took a major step Tuesday in their bid to welcome Sweden and Finland to the fold. Delegations gathered in Brussels to sign ‘accession protocols,’ after which NATO members must ratify the two Nordic countries’ accession to complete their formal joining of the bloc. ‘This is truly a historic moment for Finland, for Sweden, for NATO — and for our shared security,’ Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. He said the alliance’s growth from 30 members to 32 would make nations stronger and safer. The signing ceremony follows a decision last week during a NATO summit in Madrid to admit Sweden and Finland, after some wrangling to allay bloc member Turkey’s objections. The alliance’s enlargement is likely to prove a major irritation to Moscow, which has cited the specter of NATO expansion as justification for the invasion of Ukraine. Russian state media reported that work is underway to ensure the security of Russia’s borders.

  • In an initial vote Tuesday, Russia’s parliament passed measures to shore up its wartime economy, allowing the government to force business to provide goods to the military and make workers put in overtime.
  • Russia fired missiles at a market and residential area in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, damaging several houses and destroying one, amid intense shelling in the country’s east, officials said. At least two people were killed and seven injured.
  • The conflict in Ukraine has revived debate about possibilities for the use of international law to punish a crime for which the International Criminal Court lacks jurisdiction: the crime of war itself.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia Intensifies Shelling in the East, Signaling Its Next Offensive. With one province in the Donbas region under their control, Russian forces have ramped up the shelling of cities in the other province, Donetsk. The New York Times, Tuesday, 5 July 2022:

  • Russia turns its attention to Donetsk Province as it prepares for the next major offensive of the war.

  • Rockets strike main market and nearby homes in Sloviansk, as Russian forces grind forward.

  • Ukraine’s allies sign accord to help the war-ravaged country rebuild.

  • Brittney Griner’s wife says the White House is not doing enough to secure the basketball star’s release.

  • Ukraine says it used a U.S.-supplied rocket launcher to strike 40 miles behind Russian lines.

  • Senate Armed Services Committee chair says the multiple-rocket launcher system provided by the U.S. is crucial to Ukraine’s campaign.

  • A Ukrainian becomes the second woman ever to win the Fields Medal, the prestigious mathematics prize.

Fulton County grand jury subpoenas Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina) and Trump campaign lawyers, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tamar Hallerman, Tuesday, 5 July 2022: “The Fulton County special grand jury investigating potential criminal interference in Georgia’s 2020 elections has subpoenaed key members of former President Donald Trump’s legal team, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, according to copies obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In addition to Giuliani, those being summoned include John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis, all of whom advised the Trump campaign on strategies for overturning Democrat Joe Biden’s wins in Georgia and other swing states. The grand jury also subpoenaed U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of Trump’s top allies, along with attorney and podcast host Jacki Pick Deason. The subpoenas were filed July 5 and signed by Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who is overseeing the special grand jury. They noted that all seven people were ‘a necessary and material witness’ to the investigation.” See also, 7 Trump Allies Subpoenaed in Georgia Criminal Investigation. Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, John Eastman, and several others in the former president’s orbit were subpoenaed in the election meddling inquiry. The New York Times, Danny Hakim, Tuesday, 5 July 2022: “Seven advisers and allies of Donald J. Trump, including Rudolph W. Giuliani and Senator Lindsey Graham, were subpoenaed on Tuesday in the ongoing criminal investigation in Georgia of election interference by Mr. Trump and his associates. The move was the latest sign that the inquiry has entangled a number of prominent members of Mr. Trump’s orbit, and may cloud the future for the former president. The subpoenas underscore the breadth of the investigation by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, which encompasses most of Atlanta. She is weighing a range of charges, according to legal filings, including racketeering and conspiracy, and her inquiry has encompassed witnesses from beyond the state. The latest round of subpoenas was reported earlier by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Fulton County investigation is one of several inquiries into efforts by Mr. Trump and his team to overturn the election, but it is the one that appears to put them in the greatest immediate legal jeopardy. A House committee continues to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. And there is an intensifying investigation by the Justice Department into a scheme to create slates of fake presidential electors in 2020.” See also, Georgia grand jury subpoenas South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and Trump legal team. The subpoenas, which arise from an investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, relate to Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The Washington Post, Matthew Brown, Tuesday, 5 July 2022: “As part of an ongoing investigation into Donald Trump’s potential criminal interference in the 2020 presidential election, several of the former president’s closest advisers — including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — are being subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in Georgia’s Fulton County, according to court filings obtained by The Washington Post. The subpoenas, which were approved July 5 by the judge presiding over the grand jury, summon senior members of Trump’s legal team, including Giuliani, Kenneth Chesebro, John EastmanJenna Ellis and Cleta Mitchell, all of whom are believed to have knowledge of Trump’s attempts to tamper with the election process in battleground states such as Georgia, according to the documents. The conservative pundit Jacki Pick Deason was also subpoenaed…. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched an investigation into Trump’s potential election interference in Georgia in February 2021 after The Washington Post reported Trump had called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) on Jan. 2, 2021, and urged him to ‘find 11,780 votes’ to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the state. This spring, Willis requested that a grand jury aid the investigation, arguing that it would be able to issue subpoenas to individuals of interest who had otherwise refused to cooperate. The latest subpoenas — which were first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution — are the most significant step yet taken to target Trump’s inner circle that allegedly worked to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia and beyond. The revelations also shed light on the broader scope and direction of the investigation.”

January 6 House Committee Hearings to Resume Next Week With Focus on Domestic Extremists. Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, has said he plans to show ties between Donald J. Trump and militias that helped orchestrate the Capitol attack. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 5 July 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol plans to hold a hearing next Tuesday to reveal its findings about the connections between former President Donald J. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election and the domestic violent extremist groups that helped to organize the siege on Congress. The panel announced that the session would take place on July 12 at 10 a.m. It is expected to be led by Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, and Representative Stephanie Murphy, Democrat of Florida, who plan to chart the rise of the right-wing domestic violent extremist groups that attacked the Capitol and how Mr. Trump amassed and inspired the mob. The panel also plans to detail known links and conversations between political actors close to Mr. Trump and extremists.”


Wednesday, 6 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia’s offensive gains pace in Donetsk; focus shifts to Slovyansk, The Washington Post, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, Adela Suliman, Jennifer Hassan, Karina Tsui, and Sammy Westfall, Wednesday, 6 July 2022: “After sweeping through Luhansk, Russian forces are gaining ground in the neighboring Donetsk region. Both are part of the industrial Donbas heartland of eastern Ukraine that Moscow is seeking to control. Donetsk’s regional governor is urging the area’s 350,000 residents to evacuate as Russia intensifies its bombardment campaign, telling reporters Tuesday: ‘The destiny of the whole country will be decided by the Donetsk region.’ Russian forces are about 10 miles north of the strategic city of Slovyansk in Donetsk, making it likely to be the next key battleground, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry. Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said the recently captured cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk are still reeling, with thousands of civilians now living under Russia occupation. ‘Overall, over 300,000 people have left the Luhansk region’ since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, he said Wednesday. He vowed: ‘We will return. We will rebuild everything.’

  • The French government plans to nationalize its nuclear giant EDF amid an energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Latvia’s Defense Ministry has proposed a return of mandatory military service for young men, citing the Russian threat as among the motivating factors.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading to Indonesia for a gathering of Group of 20 foreign ministers this week that will focus on food and energy security. A traditional one-on-one meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is not on the agenda, according to the State Department.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia’s War Forces Ukrainians From Their Homes in Historic Numbers. More than 6.27 million people are estimated to be displaced inside Ukraine, posing a challenge that will loom long after the war. Most are from the east, as Moscow’s forces train their artillery on Donetsk Province. The New York Times, Wednesday, 6 July 2022:

  • The plight of the displaced looms as one of Ukraine’s greatest challenges.

  • Food insecurity and hunger afflicted 2.3 billion people in 2021, and the war will add more, the U.N. says.

  • Russian war bloggers see ‘a complete defeat’ for Ukraine in Luhansk, but some are skeptical.

  • President Biden calls Cherelle Griner to speak about her wife’s detention in Russia.

  • Europe, facing energy shortages as Russia cuts gas shipments, moves to bail out providers.

  • With the war constraining energy supplies, Europe embraces some gas and nuclear projects as ‘green.’

  • The U.S. intelligence chief laid out three scenarios in Ukraine. Here’s a look at each.

  • A team of Ukrainian medics navigates life and death on the battlefield.

January 6 House Committee Secures Deal for Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to Be Interviewed. Cipollone pushed back on President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and was in the West Wing to witness his actions on January 6, 2021. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 6 July 2022: “Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel to President Donald J. Trump who repeatedly fought Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, has reached a deal to be interviewed by Friday before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, according to people familiar with the inquiry. The agreement was a breakthrough for the panel, which has pressed for weeks for Mr. Cipollone to cooperate — and issued a subpoena to him last week — believing he could provide crucial testimony. Mr. Cipollone was a witness to pivotal moments in Mr. Trump’s push to invalidate the election results, including discussions about seizing voting machines and sending false letters to state officials about election fraud. He was also in the West Wing on Jan. 6, 2021, as Mr. Trump reacted to the violence at the Capitol, when his supporters attacked the building in his name.” See also, Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone to testify before the January 6 House committee. The agreement to provide testimony on Friday follows a subpoena last week by the committee. The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Wednesday, 6 July 2022: “Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone will testify Friday morning after receiving a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, according to people familiar with the matter. It’s unclear what limits there may be on his closed-door testimony, which is scheduled for about half a day, according to one person familiar with the matter. The session will be videotaped, but there will be some limits on what he will testify to regarding direct conversations with former president Donald Trump. Cipollone had been reluctant to testify to the committee, citing presidential privilege, but he has been regularly mentioned in the hearings and is key to a number of episodes being plumbed by the committee. The individuals spoke about the committee’s plans on the condition of anonymity to describe private deliberations. News of the plan was earlier reported by the New York Times.”

Former F.B.I. Director James Comey and His Deputy Andrew McCabe, Who Infuriated Trump, Both Faced Intensive I.R.S. Audits. Comey and McCabe, both of whom former President Trump wanted prosecuted, were selected for a rare audit program that the tax agency says is random. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Wednesday, 6 July 2022: “Among tax lawyers, the most invasive type of random audit carried out by the I.R.S. is known, only partly jokingly, as ‘an autopsy without the benefit of death.’ The odds of being selected for that audit in any given year are tiny — out of nearly 153 million individual returns filed for 2017, for example, the I.R.S. targeted about 5,000, or roughly one out of 30,600. One of the few who received a bureaucratic letter with the news that his 2017 return would be under intensive scrutiny was James B. Comey, who had been fired as F.B.I. director that year by President Donald J. Trump. Furious over what he saw as Mr. Comey’s lack of loyalty and his pursuit of the Russia investigation, Mr. Trump had continued to rail against him even after his dismissal, accusing him of treason, calling for his prosecution and publicly complaining about the money Mr. Comey received for a book after his dismissal. Mr. Comey was informed of the audit in 2019. Two years later, the I.R.S., still under the leadership of a Trump appointee after President Biden took office, picked about 8,000 returns for the same type of audit Mr. Comey had undergone from the 154 million individual returns filed in 2019, or about one in 19,250. Among those who were chosen to have their 2019 returns scrutinized was the man who had been Mr. Comey’s deputy at the bureau: Andrew G. McCabe, who served several months as acting F.B.I. director after Mr. Comey’s firing. Mr. McCabe was later dismissed by the Trump Justice Department after its watchdog accused him of misleading internal F.B.I. investigators. Like Mr. Comey, he had come to be perceived as an enemy by Mr. Trump, who assailed him, accused him of treason and raised questions about his finances long after pushing for his dismissal and prosecution, a pattern that continued even after Mr. Trump lost the 2020 election and began trying to overturn the results. Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe — whose spouses were also audited because both couples filed joint returns — provided the letters initiating their audits to The New York Times. Mr. Comey provided The Times with a privacy release allowing the I.R.S. to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request about his case. Neither man knew that the other had been audited until they were told by a reporter for The Times.”

Lawyers for Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican-South Carolina, said they’ll challenge a subpoena demanding that he testify before a special grand jury in Georgia hearing evidence in a probe of possible 2020 election interference by former President Donald Trump and others. NBC News, Dareh Gregorian and Julie Tsirkin, Wednesday, 6 July 2022: “In a statement, Graham’s attorneys Bart Daniel and Matt Austin said the subpoena, in which the grand jury hearing evidence in the Fulton County district attorney’s investigation seeks his testimony, is ‘all politics.’… Graham was one of a number of Trump allies the special grand jury subpoenaed Tuesday. The grand jury was impaneled this year to assist District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation into whether there were any ‘coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections’ in Georgia. Willis dismissed Graham lawyers’ allegation that her investigation was motivated by politics, telling NBC News on Wednesday that he ‘doesn’t understand the seriousness of what we’re doing.’ She also said the public should expect additional subpoenas of Trump associates and indicated that she wouldn’t rule out subpoenaing the former president himself. Among the incidents Willis has said she’s investigating is a post-election phone call Graham made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in November 2020. Raffensperger has said Graham pressed him about whether he had the power to reject certain absentee ballots, which Raffensperger interpreted as a suggestion to toss out legally cast votes. The subpoena said Graham ‘made at least two telephone calls’ to Raffensperger and his staff. ‘During the telephone calls, [Graham] questioned Secretary Raffensperger and his staff about reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump. [Graham] also made reference to allegations of widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 election in Georgia, consistent with public statements made by known affiliates of the Trump Campaign,’ the subpoena said.”

Real Estate Firm Tied to Trump Inquiry Fined for Contempt of Court. The firm, Cushman & Wakefield, was ordered to pay $10,000 a day until it complies with a subpoena. It appraised several Trump properties that are at the center of the New York attorney General’s investigation. The New York Times, Matthew Haag and Ben Protess, Wednesday, 6 July 2022: “A New York state judge on Tuesday held one of the world’s largest real estate firms — which appraised several of former President Donald J. Trump’s properties — in contempt of court in connection with a civil investigation into whether he falsely inflated the value of his assets. The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, said the firm, Cushman & Wakefield, had failed to comply with subpoenas from the New York attorney general’s office in its investigation into Mr. Trump and his family business. He ordered the firm to pay a $10,000 daily fine starting on Thursday until it provided the requested documents to the attorney general, Letitia James. Justice Engoron, who separately held Mr. Trump in contempt in April, chastised the firm for failing to respond to the court’s requests before a deadline earlier this month. “Cushman & Wakefield has only itself to blame if it chose to treat the looming deadlines cavalierly,” Justice Engoron wrote in an order late Tuesday.”

California and six other Western states have less than 60 days to pull off a seemingly impossible feat: Cut a multi-way deal to dramatically reduce their consumption of water from the dangerously low Colorado River. If they don’t, the federal government will do it for them  Politico, Lara Korte, Wednesday, 6 July 2022: “A federal Bureau of Reclamation ultimatum last month, prompted by an extreme climate-change-induced drop in water levels at the nation’s largest reservoirs, reopens years of complicated agreements and political feuds among the communities whose livelihoods depend on the river. The deadline represents a crucial moment for the arid Southwest, which must now swiftly reckon with a problem that has been decades in the making. Despite the oppressive dryness that has plagued the region for more than 20 years, California has, in large part, avoided reductions to its usage of the Colorado River. But now that reservoir levels have fallen drastically, the Golden State may be forced to use less water, a prospect that would only further strain a state that is already asking residents in some regions to stop watering lawns and take shorter showers.”


Thursday, 7 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: On his way out, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledges British support to Zelensky; missile strike hits Kharkiv, The Washington Post, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Annabelle Timsit, Andrew Jeong, Amy Cheng, Robyn Dixon, Timothy Bella, and Reis Thebault, Thursday, 7 July 2022: “As British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party on Thursday, he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ‘to reiterate the United Kingdom’s steadfast support’ to Ukraine in its war with Russia, according to Downing Street. Johnson ‘thanked President Zelensky for everything he’s doing to stick up for freedom,’ the prime minister’s office said in a statement. The two leaders forged a strong bond in the months following Russia’s invasion, as Johnson championed weapons transfers to Ukraine and visited the country multiple times. In a statement, Zelensky said he was grateful for Johnson’s ‘decisive and uncompromising help.’ Meanwhile, a Russian missile strike on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, killed at least three and injured another five, according to a top regional official. Kharkiv, just 25 miles from the Russian border, has faced a relentless barrage of rockets since the war’s first days.

  • WNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to carrying cannabis oil on the second day of a trial in Moscow that could see her sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to reporters inside the court.
  • Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who have urged Washington to accelerate the pace of weapons deliveries to Kyiv, met with Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital Thursday.
  • Some 828 million people were affected by hunger last year, and the war in Ukraine is likely to make matters worse, the World Health Organization said in a new report.

Russia-Ukraine War: Analysts Say Russian Strikes in Donetsk Are Just a Prelude to Coming Assault. At least seven civilians were killed in the last 24 hours by Russian attacks in the Donbas region in the east, Ukrainian officials said on Thursday, as Putin’s forces lay the groundwork for an onslaught. The New York Times, Thursday, 7 July 2022:

  • Russian strikes kill civilians in Donetsk, officials say, but a fuller assault may be yet to come.

  • Russian artillery falls on Kramatorsk, an already devastated city now in the line of assault.

  • At G20 summit, Beijing’s support for Russia will likely be focus of a meeting between U.S. and China.

  • Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug charges in Russia.

  • In the United States, frustration grows over Brittney Griner’s ‘intolerable’ detention.

  • Ukraine says a Russian ship carrying stolen grain has left Turkey.

  • Ukraine retreated from an eastern city in ‘moment of vulnerability,’ a former defense minister says.

  • U.S. senators in Kyiv say they will push to send more arms to Ukraine.

Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) Asks Inspector General to Review Audits of Comey and McCabe. The agency said its commissioner asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration to look into the audits after The Times raised questions about them. The New York Times, Michael Schmidt and Glenn Thrush, Thursday, 7 July 2022: “The I.R.S. said on Thursday that its commissioner, Charles P. Rettig, had asked the inspector general who oversees tax matters to investigate how James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe — both perceived enemies of former President Donald J. Trump — came to be faced with rare, exhaustive audits that the agency says are supposed to be random. The I.R.S. has referred the matter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for review,’ the agency said in a written statement, adding that Mr. Rettig had ‘personally reached out’ to the inspector general’s office after learning about the audits. The disclosure from the I.R.S. came a day after The New York Times reported that Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe had been the subjects of audits that target just several thousand Americans a year and are highly invasive. In response to the story, Democrats also called for an inspector general’s investigation. They raised questions about whether Mr. Trump — who has a long history of trying to use the federal government for his political means — had played a role in ordering the audits. Both audits were conducted during a time when Mr. Rettig, who was appointed by Mr. Trump in 2018 to a term that is scheduled to expire in November, was running the agency. ‘Donald Trump has no respect for the rule of law,’ said the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, ‘so if he tried to subject his political enemies to additional I.R.S. scrutiny, that would surprise no one. We need to understand what happened here because it raises serious concerns.'”

Senate Democrats reach an agreement to raise taxes on some high earners. The money would be used to pay for Medicare to try to keep the federal health care program from going bankrupt, said one source familiar with the proposal. NBC News, Sahil Kapur and Frank Thorp V, Thursday, 7 July 2022: “Senate Democrats have reached an agreement to raise taxes on some high earners who they say are abusing a loophole to slash their tax bills, two sources familiar with the discussions said. The lawmakers, the sources said, plan to close the tax break for those earning more than $400,000 a year, requiring them to pay 3.8% in taxes on certain income from pass-through businesses, in what is effectively a slimmed-down package after the Build Back Better Act stalled last year. They project that closing the tax loophole would raise about $200 billion over a decade, a source said, which would be used to pay for Medicare through 2031 in an effort to keep the federal health care program from going bankrupt. Without congressional intervention, the program’s hospital insurance trust fund is poised to begin running out of money by 2028.” See also, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and other Senate Democrats reach agreement on key economic package, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Mariana Alfaro, Thursday, 7 July 2022: “Senate Democrats, who are seeking to retool their long-stalled economic package, have reached an agreement with Sen. Joe Machin III (D-W.Va.), a key holdout, on tax provisions intended to keep Medicare solvent. The development is a key step to reviving legislation that could pass without Republican votes after negotiations broke down last year on the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act.” See also, Democrats Propose Raising Taxes on Some High Earners to Bolster Medicare. The draft plan, which is expected to be unveiled in the coming days, is part of talks over how to salvage pieces of President Biden’s domestic agenda. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Margot Sanger-Katz, and Jim Tankersley, Thursday, 7 July 2022: “Senate Democrats will push to raise taxes on some high-earning Americans and steer the money to improving the solvency of Medicare, according to officials briefed on the plan, as they cobble together a modest version of President Biden’s stalled tax and spending package. The proposal is projected to raise $203 billion over a decade by imposing an additional 3.8 percent tax on income earned from owning a piece of what is known as a pass-through business, such as a law firm or medical practice. The money that would be generated by the change is estimated to be enough to extend the solvency of the Medicare trust fund that pays for hospital care — currently set to begin running out of money in 2028 — until 2031. It is the most recent agreement to emerge from private negotiations between Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, and Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a conservative-leaning Democrat who has demanded that his party rein in its sweeping ambitions for a domestic policy plan.”


Friday, 8 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Russia to end grain export blockade as Russia continues to shell eastern Ukraine, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Victoria Bisset, Andrew Jeong, Amy Cheng, Adela Suliman, and Praveena Somasundaram, Friday, 8 July 2022: “At the Group of 20 meeting on Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Russia to end its blockade of Ukrainian grain exports, while Russian forces continue to shell the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, the region’s governor said Friday. Hours after the G-20 session, where Russia’s foreign minister accused Western diplomats of ‘rabid Russophobia,’ the Pentagon announced a new shipment of four multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine as part of a $400 million package that also included additional ammunition and other supplies. Russia appears to control all of the Luhansk province, after late last month seizing the city of Severodonetsk, which is facing a ‘humanitarian disaster,’ according to Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai.

  • Moscow is continuing to crack down on dissenting voices, with a municipal lawmaker jailed for seven years on Friday after describing Russia’s war against Ukraine as a war, which is forbidden.
  • Moscow’s chief rabbi, who left Russia over his opposition to the war, has stepped down after almost three decades, saying he does not want to endanger the city’s Jewish community.
  • Blinken said he would not relent until ‘wrongfully detained’ WNBA star Brittney Griner is freed from Russian detention. She pleaded guilty to carrying cannabis oil during a trial in Moscow on Thursday.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia Continues Shelling in Ukraine’s East as War Divides G20. Russian forces shelled Bakhmut, a town in Donetsk Province, as Moscow’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, left a Group of 20 meeting in Bali early. Mr. Lavrov also blamed Washington for a breakdown in diplomacy. The New York Times, Friday, 8 July 2022:

  • There is no sign of a Russian ‘pause’ for one Ukrainian town under fire.

  • The G20 meeting ends with no communiqué, as Russia’s foreign minister leaves under criticism.

  • The U.S. will send another $400 million in military supplies to Ukraine, an official says.

  • A divided Ukrainian city waits in the cross hairs of a Russian assault.

  • The U.S. identified 18 Russian ‘filtration camps’ for Ukrainians, a diplomat says.

  • Russia sentences a lawmaker to seven years in prison for denouncing the war.

  • Wimbledon banned Russian players, but a player born and raised in Russia could win the women’s singles title.

  • What happens next for Brittney Griner?

Under Pressure, Biden Issues Executive Order on Abortion. After the Supreme Court’s ruling, some of the president’s supporters have wanted him to push harder to protect abortion access. But details about what his new order will do remain unclear. The New York Times, Friday, 8 July 2022: “Under pressure to do more to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, President Biden issued an executive order on Friday designed to ensure access to abortion medication and emergency contraception while preparing for legal fights to come. But the order is vague about how the president hopes to accomplish those goals, leaving the details largely to Xavier Becerra, his secretary of health and human services, who has said the administration has ‘no magic bullet’ that can restore access to abortion. And Mr. Biden’s order stops far short of demands from abortion rights advocates, who have criticized him for failing to move quickly to take action after the court’s decision two weeks ago. Speaking to reporters at the White House before signing the document, Mr. Biden condemned the court’s decision as ‘terrible, extreme and, I think, so totally wrongheaded.’ The order would help protect some access to reproductive services, he said, but the only real way to protect access was to elect more lawmakers who support those services. ‘For God’s sake, there’s an election in November. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote,’ the president said, noting that the court’s majority in the decision ‘practically dares’ women to assert their political power to put in place laws that restore abortion rights. ‘Consider the challenge accepted, court.'” See also, Impassioned Biden signs order on abortion access, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Zeke Miller, and Chris Megerian, Friday, 8 July 2022: “President Joe Biden on Friday condemned the ‘extreme’ Supreme Court majority that ended a constitutional right to abortion and delivered an impassioned plea for Americans upset by the decision to “vote, vote, vote vote” in November. Under mounting pressure from fellow Democrats to be more forceful in response to the ruling, he signed an executive order to try to protect access to the procedure. The actions Biden outlined are intended to head off some potential penalties that women seeking abortion may face after the ruling, but his order cannot restore access to abortion in the more than a dozen states where strict limits or total bans have gone into effect. About a dozen more states are set to impose additional restrictions. Biden acknowledged the limitations facing his office, saying it would require an act of Congress to restore nationwide access to the way it was before the June 24 decision. ‘The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law,’ Biden said. ‘The challenge is go out and vote. For God’s sake there is an election in November!'” See also, A new executive order aims to preserve abortion access, but its reach is limited, NPR, Juliana Kim, Friday, 8 July 2022: “President Biden signed an executive order Friday that takes incremental steps to preserve abortion access — but he underscored that it would take political change to restore the rights removed when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. At least nine states have banned abortion so far — including Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. A dozen more states are expected to prohibit or restrict the procedure in the coming weeks. ‘I’m asking the Justice Department, much like they did in the Civil Rights era, to do everything in their power to protect these women seeking to invoke their rights,’ Biden said at the White House on Friday. The executive order pledges to ensure the safety of abortion patients and providers, including setting up mobile clinics near the borders of states restricting abortion access. It also seeks to convene private, pro bono lawyers to offer support to people crossing state lines to get an abortion. Another part of the order directs the secretary of Health and Human Services to issue a report in the next 30 days outlining additional actions to protect medication abortion, expand access on emergency contraception and IUDs, and increase public education around reproductive rights. The Biden administration is also calling on the Federal Trade Commission — an independent body — to consider taking steps to protect the privacy of people who are looking for information about abortion services.”

Wisconsin Supreme Court Prohibits the Use of Most Drop Boxes for Voting. The ruling by the court, which has a narrow conservative majority, comes as Republicans have tried to limit voting access in the state’s cities. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Friday, 8 July 2022: “The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday prohibited the use of most drop boxes for voters returning absentee ballots, giving the state’s Republicans a major victory in their efforts to limit voting access in urban areas. The 4-to-3 ruling by the court’s conservative majority will take effect in time for Wisconsin’s primary elections next month, although its true impact most likely will not be felt until the November general election. Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, and Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, both face what are expected to be very close re-election bids. The court adopted a literal interpretation of state law, finding that returning an absentee ballot to a municipal clerk ‘does not mean nor has it been historically understood to mean delivery to an unattended ballot drop box,’ Justice Rebecca G. Bradley wrote for the majority. State law allows absentee ballots to be returned in the mail; ‘ballot drop boxes, however, are not mailboxes,’ Justice Bradley wrote. Wisconsin Republicans and their conservative allies on the state’s Supreme Court have taken a range of steps since the 2020 election to try to limit the influence of voters over the state’s government.”


Saturday, 9 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticizes China’s ‘alignment’ with Russia, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Andrew Jeong, Victoria Bisset, Julian Duplain, and Kim Bellware, Saturday, 9 July 2022: “Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday criticized China’s ‘alignment’ with Russia, following talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. Blinken accused China of regurgitating Russian propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine, and questioned how any country could be neutral in the face of Moscow’s aggression. The meeting was Blinken’s first face-to-face engagement with Wang since October. The Group of 20 summit ended Friday without a traditional communique, or even a group photo, in a sign of the deep divisions among the world’s largest economies caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Western diplomats condemned Moscow’s blockade of millions of tons of grain held in Ukrainian ports, the catalyst for rising global food prices. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who walked out of Friday’s G-20 sessions twice, accused his Western counterparts of ‘rabid Russophobia.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that further Western sanctions could be ‘catastrophic’ for global energy markets and consumers. ‘Sanctions restrictions on Russia cause much more damage to those countries that impose them,’ he told a meeting of Russia’s oil and gas leaders Friday.

  • During a visit to the CIA headquarters Friday, Biden praised the agency for its work enabling the United States to ‘forewarn the world what Vladimir Putin was planning in Ukraine.’
  • The first Ukrainian soldiers have arrived in the U.K. for what Defense Minister Ben Wallace called an ‘ambitious new training program’ that is eventually expected to prepare 10,000 recruits for front-line combat.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sacked more than a dozen foreign envoys, including Kyiv’s often-abrasive ambassador to Germany.

Russia-Ukraine War: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Tells China: ‘It’s Pretty Hard to Be Neutral’ on Ukraine. Blinken met with China’s foreign minister for five hours in Indonesia after a G20 meeting. In southern Ukraine, fighting intensified amid expectations of a possible offensive to retake occupied territory. The New York Times, Saturday, 9 July 2022:

  • Ukrainian officials suggest that a southern counteroffensive may start soon.

  • Ukraine dismisses its ambassador to Germany after controversial remarks.

  • Behind Russia’s ‘pause’ are signs of a troubled effort to regroup.

  • The U.S. and its allies face a test of endurance in Ukraine as weariness grows.

  • Elena Rybakina won at Wimbledon. Will Russia try to politicize her win?

  • War ruins the musician Ivan Dorn’s effort to reconcile Russia and Ukraine.

  • The arrest of an American in Russia last August resembles the case of Brittney Griner.

January 6 House Committee Questions Pat Cipollone, the Former White House Counsel for President Trump, on Pardons and Trump’s Election Claims. Cipollone appeared before the House committee investigating the Capitol attack for roughly eight hours on Friday. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 9 July 2022: “Pat A. Cipollone, who served as White House counsel for President Donald J. Trump, was asked detailed questions on Friday about pardons, false election fraud claims and the former president’s pressure campaign against Vice President Mike Pence, according to three people familiar with his testimony before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The panel did not press him to either corroborate or contradict some specific details of explosive testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide who captivated the country late last month with her account of an out-of-control president willing to embrace violence and stop at nothing to stay in power, the people said. During a roughly eight-hour interview conducted behind closed doors in the O’Neill House Office Building, the panel covered some of the same ground it did during an informal interview with Mr. Cipollone in April. In the session on Friday, which took place only after Mr. Cipollone was served with a subpoena, investigators focused mainly on Mr. Cipollone’s views on the events of Jan. 6 and generally did not ask about his views of other witnesses’ accounts. Mr. Cipollone, who fought against the most extreme plans to overturn the 2020 election but has long held that his direct conversations with Mr. Trump are protected by executive privilege and attorney-client privilege, invoked certain privileges in declining to answer some of the committee’s questions.”


Sunday, 10 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Strike on apartment complex in eastern Ukraine kills 15 and traps more under rubble, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Bryan Pietsch, Julian Duplain, Jennifer Hassan, Annabelle Chapman, and Kim Bellware, Sunday, 10 July 2022: “Nearly 24 hours after Russian rockets razed an apartment complex in eastern Ukraine, emergency workers were feverishly searching the rubble for survivors of the attack, which killed at least 15 people, the latest instance of mass casualty in a war that has already claimed thousands of civilian lives. The toll probably will rise, Ukrainian officials said, with more than 20 people believed to be trapped beneath the wreckage in the town of Chasiv Yar. Rescuers pulled six survivors from the debris pile, the most recent emerging after almost one full day of digging. ‘There are 15 names in the list of the dead and, unfortunately, this is not the final number,’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late Sunday, adding that the strike shows how Russia ‘kills absolutely deliberately.’ The attack occurred near the front line in Ukraine’s Donetsk province, one half of the Donbas region, and it underscored the intensifying fight for ground there after Russia captured nearly all of neighboring Luhansk. At the same time, Ukrainian authorities appear to be preparing for intense fighting in the south as they seek to recapture territory from Moscow. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk urged residents of the Russian-held Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions to evacuate, saying Ukrainian forces were set to ‘de-occupy’ the area.

  • Ukraine on Sunday criticized Canada’s decision to send a turbine to help Germany get gas from Russia.
  • Kharkiv province is probably a target for annexation by Russia, according to analysts from the Institute for the Study of War, citing Moscow’s declaration of the area as an ‘inalienable’ part of Russia.
  • Police in the southern city of Kherson said they had opened criminal proceedings against Russia over accusations that Russian forces ‘continue to purposefully destroy crops.’

Russia-Ukraine War: A Deadly Strike in Eastern Ukraine Signals Russia’s Wider Ambitions. After seizing control of Luhansk Province, the Russian military has turned its attention to the neighboring province of Donetsk. At least 15 people were killed when rockets struck an apartment complex in the village of Chasiv Yar. The New York Times, Sunday, 10 July 2022:

  • A Russian attack kills at least 15 as the war intensifies in Donetsk Province.

  • After more than 20 hours in the rubble, a survivor emerges.

  • Russia strikes Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, amid signs it aims to annex parts of the region.

  • Brittney Griner is honored by her fellow players at the W.N.B.A. All-Star Game.

  • The war could have you paying more for hummus.

  • Canada will return a sanctioned Nord Stream 1 turbine to ease Germany’s gas crisis.

  • ‘Like parallel realities’: Rituals of life and death blur in a vibrant Ukrainian city.

January 6 House committee hearing to focus on Trump’s ‘siren call’ to violent extremists, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang and Olivier Knox, Sunday, 10 July 2022: “On Dec. 19, 2020, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter one of his many baseless claims about the presidential election, alleging that it was ‘statistically impossible’ for him to have lost to Joe Biden and alerting his supporters to a Washington protest in the coming weeks. ‘Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,’ Trump tweeted then. ‘Be there, will be wild!’ That tweet would serve as an invitation to far-right militant groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers as well as other violent extremists who were part of the pro-Trump mob that overran the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to block the certification of Biden’s electoral college win, members of the House select committee investigating the insurrection said Sunday. The effect of that tweet — as well as other messages from Trump and his allies — will be explored this week as the committee resumes its public hearings. Tuesday’s session will focus on Trump’s connections to those far-right and political extremist groups. ‘People are going to hear the story of that tweet, and then the explosive effect it had in Trumpworld, and specifically among the domestic violent extremist groups, the most dangerous political extremists in the country at that point,’ Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) said on CBS News’s ‘Face the Nation.’ Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), who is scheduled to lead Tuesday’s hearing with Raskin, said on NBC News’s ‘Meet the Press’ that the Dec. 19 tweet was a ‘siren call’ to those groups that Jan. 6 would be a ‘last stand’ to keep Trump in power. Trump had already mounted a broad and ongoing pressure campaign — on Vice President Mike Pence, the Justice Department and state election officials — to help overturn the election results, she added, and his tweet amounted to a call for those violent groups to provide ‘additional support’ leading up to Jan. 6.”

Steve Bannon, former chief strategist to Donald Trump, initiates talks with January 6 House committee on testifying over Capitol attack. Bannon’s cooperation could provide unique insight into inner-workings of Trump’s push to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Sunday, 10 July 2022: “Steve Bannon, the onetime strategist to Donald Trump who was involved in the former president’s efforts to invalidate his defeat in the 2020 election, has opened discussions with the House January 6 select committee about testifying to the inquiry into the Capitol attack. The move by Bannon gives the select committee a prime opportunity to gain insight into the inner-workings of Trump’s unlawful push to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win even as it amounts to a final gambit days before he goes to trial for contempt of Congress. Bannon signalled in an email to the select committee, first obtained by the Guardian, that he was prepared to initiate discussions about a time and place for an interview, after Trump said in a letter he would waive executive privilege if he reached an agreement to testify.” See also, Steve Bannon, Former Trump Campaign Manager and White House Adviser, Facing Jail and Fines, Agrees to Testify to January 6 House Committee. Bannon’s abrupt about-face came after Trump authorized him to talk to investigators. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 10 July 2022: “With his criminal trial for contempt of Congress approaching, Stephen K. Bannon, an ally of former President Donald J. Trump’s who was involved in his plans to overturn the 2020 election, has informed the House committee investigating the Capitol attack that he is now willing to testify, according to two letters obtained by The New York Times. His decision is a remarkable about-face for Mr. Bannon, who until Saturday had been among the most obstinate and defiant of the committee’s potential witnesses. He had promised to turn the criminal case against him into the ‘misdemeanor from hell’ for the Justice Department. But with the possibility of two years in jail and large fines looming on the horizon, Mr. Bannon has been authorized to testify by Mr. Trump, his lawyer told the committee late on Saturday in a letter, which was reported earlier by The Guardian.”


Monday, 11 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: White House says Iran may provide Russia with hundreds of drones, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Jennifer Hassan, Bryan Pietsch, and Reis Thebault, Monday, 11 July 2022: “The United States said Monday that it has intelligence indicating Iran may soon supply Russia with hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles, including ‘weapons-capable’ drones, to use in its war with Ukraine, a move that would underscore the growing cooperation between two American adversaries. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Iran could provide ‘up to several hundred’ drones ‘on an expedited timeline,’ but he added that it was unclear whether any of the devices had already been delivered. Citing U.S. information, Sullivan said Iran is prepared to train Russian forces to use the UAVs and could begin doing so as soon as this month. ‘This is just one example of how Russia is looking to countries like Iran’ to help replenish its military capabilities, Sullivan told reporters at a White House briefing, saying the arrangement shows how Russia’s war strategy is ‘coming at a cost to the sustainment of its own weapons.’ Sullivan did not take questions after disclosing the intelligence, and the White House’s decision to do so comes as President Biden prepares to travel to the Middle East this week, where U.S. officials have been disappointed by what they see as a lack of support for the Western campaign to isolate Russia.

  • In Ukraine, Russian airstrikes in the east and north early Monday killed 21 people and injured at least 28, officials from those regions said.
  • European countries are on edge after the flow of gas from Russia into Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline stopped Monday for a 10-day scheduled maintenance period.
  • Ukraine is readying a force of 1 million with Western weapons to attempt to retake southern territory from Russian troops, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told Britain’s Times newspaper.
  • The Uber Files: A trove of documents obtained by the Guardian and shared with The Washington Post as well as other newsrooms and nonprofits reveal that Uber viewed Russia as among the company’s most important foreign markets — but failed to gain a foothold there.

Russia-Ukraine War: No Respite for Ukrainian Civilians Despite Pause in Russia’s Advance. Missiles struck at least 10 urban centers in Donetsk Province, where Russia is shifting its focus. In one apartment block the death toll rose to 30. Russia is seeking surveillance drones from Iran, Biden’s national security adviser said. The New York Times, Monday, 11 July 2022:

  • A hail of Russian strikes brings terror to Ukraine’s east.

  • Russia is seeking surveillance drones from Iran, a top Biden aide says.

  • Putin extends a fast-track Russian citizenship process to all Ukrainians.

  • Russia hits a civilian neighborhood and residents scramble to douse flames.

  • Germany is on edge as a crucial Russian gas pipeline is taken offline for repairs.

  • Latvia reinstates military conscription amid alarm over Russian aggression.

  • Russia’s replacement for McDonald’s says it’ll be out of fries for months.

Russia-Ukraine war: A weekly recap and look ahead (July 11), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 11 July 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a roundup of key developments from the past week and a look ahead.

What to watch this week:

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend the opening of a Donetsk embassy in Moscow, representing the Russian-backed, self-proclaimed independent region that Ukraine and other countries refuse to recognize. Russia continues its push to capture Donetsk, after already taking over the other large part of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, Luhansk.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is scheduled to brief the European Parliament’s defense and foreign affairs committees on Wednesday.

WNBA star Brittney Griner’s next court hearing is set to take place in Moscow on Thursday. She has admitted to bringing cannabis into Russia, but said she’d packed in a hurry and did not intend to break the law.

Russia may be planning to annex Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, going beyond its stated aims of capturing regions such as Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, U.S. security analysts said.

Ukraine’s government asked civilians to evacuate Russian-occupied Kherson as Ukrainian forces prepared a counterattack there.

What happened last week:

July 4: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed that Russia had taken control of Lysychansk, the last city in the eastern Luhansk region that had been under Ukrainian control. He vowed Ukraine would retake the city. July 5: Global leaders and international organizations met in Lugano, Switzerland, to chart a way forward in supporting Ukraine’s recovery. Billed as ‘the international kick-off for the recovery process in Ukraine,’ the meeting adopted principles to aid the country in rebuilding from the war with Russia. Britain will host next year’s Ukraine Recovery Conference. July 6: Russia and the U.S. trolled each other over the address of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Russian authorities renamed the street as ‘Donetsk People’s Republic Square.’ The U.S. Embassy responded by displaying geo-coordinates as its address on its homepage, while sticking to the previous Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok street address on its other webpages. July 7: Ukraine reinstalled the national flag on Snake Island after regaining control of the Black Sea island from Russian forces. Snake Island became a legendary symbol early in the war when Ukrainian troops there reportedly defied a Russian warship’s demand to surrender. And Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges in a Moscow court last Thursday. The U.S. basketball star also wrote a letter to President Biden asking for help. She was arrested in February just as Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine. The Biden administration says she is wrongfully detained and is working to get her home. July 8: The Biden administration announced a $400 million military aid package for Ukraine, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, which Ukrainian officials say make a difference on the battlefield. The lightweight HIMARS mount on a truck and can reach targets up to 180 miles away. July 9: America’s top diplomat told his Chinese counterpart the Biden administration is deeply concerned about Beijing’s alignment with Moscow. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected China’s claim that it’s neutral over the Russia-Ukraine war and said Beijing’s stance further complicates U.S.-Chinese ties. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed the U.S. for the countries’ tensions and accused it of ‘China-phobia.’ July 10: A Russian rocket attack on Sunday killed at least 30 people in an apartment building in Chasiv Yar, a town in Donetsk.”

January 6 House Committee Hearings: Cassidy Hutchinson Testimony Jolts Justice Department to Discuss Trump’s Conduct More Openly, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Glenn Thrush, Monday, 11 July 2022: “For the past year and a half, the Justice Department has approached former President Donald J. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results with a follow-the-evidence strategy that to critics appeared to border on paralysis — and that limited discussions of his role, even inside the department. Then came Cassidy Hutchinson. The electrifying public testimony delivered last month to the House Jan. 6 panel by Ms. Hutchinson, a former White House aide who was witness to many key moments, jolted top Justice Department officials into discussing the topic of Mr. Trump more directly, at times in the presence of Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. In conversations at the department the day after Ms. Hutchinson’s appearance, some of which included Ms. Monaco, officials talked about the pressure that the testimony created to scrutinize Mr. Trump’s potential criminal culpability and whether he intended to break the law. Ms. Hutchinson’s disclosures seemed to have opened a path to broaching the most sensitive topic of all: Mr. Trump’s own actions ahead of the attack.”

Biden administration says hospitals must provide abortions in emergencies. The Department of Health and Human Services said a federal law from 1985 allows women who face medical emergencies to get abortions, regardless of new state bans. NBC News, Lauren Egan, Monday, 11 July 2022: “The Biden administration said Monday that federal law allows women access to abortion in emergencies, even in states that banned the procedure after last month’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The Department of Health and Human Services said that in cases of health emergencies, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act — a 1985 law that ensures access to emergency care regardless of a person’s ability to pay — takes priority over state laws banning abortion. ‘Under the law, no matter where you live, women have the right to emergency care — including abortion care,’ Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement Monday. ‘Today, in no uncertain terms, we are reinforcing that we expect providers to continue offering these services, and that federal law preempts state abortion bans when needed for emergency care.'”


Tuesday, 12 July 2022:


January 6 House Committee Hearings, Day 7 Recap: Trump Planned March to Capitol, January 6 Committee Says. The panel obtained a draft tweet saying supporters should go to the capitol after his speech on January 6. It also presented evidence that the former president wanted the march to seem spontaneous. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “President Donald J. Trump attempted to make the Jan. 6, 2021, march on the Capitol appear spontaneous even as he and his team intentionally assembled and galvanized a violence-prone mob to disrupt certification of his electoral defeat, the House committee investigating the attack showed on Tuesday. ‘POTUS is going to have us march there/the Capitol,’ Kylie Jane Kremer, an organizer of the ‘Save America’ rally on Jan. 6, wrote in a Jan. 4 text shown by the panel on Tuesday as it detailed Mr. Trump’s efforts to gather his backers in Washington for a final, last-ditch effort to overturn his loss. Ms. Kremer added that Mr. Trump was ‘going to just call for it unexpectedly.’ Mr. Trump weighed announcing the move, according to documents obtained from the National Archives, which provided the investigators with a draft tweet that said: ‘I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!’ The tweet was never sent. But it was the latest evidence presented by the committee of how Mr. Trump undertook a public and private effort to channel angry supporters, including right-wing extremists, toward the Capitol, where Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers were gathered to confirm Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the president-elect.” See also, Trump hid plan for Capitol march on day he marked as ‘wild,’ House select committee says. New evidence and testimony showed the president’s tweet promoting a protest on January 6 united extremist groups and led to calls for violence. The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Jacqueline Alemany, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “Donald Trump scrawled the words on Twitter that motivated right-wing extremists to seek blood on Jan. 6, 2021, and kept secret a plan to direct his supporters to the Capitol that day, according to evidence and testimony presented Tuesday at the seventh hearing of the House select committee investigating the pro-Trump riot. The tweet came at 1:42 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2020, after an hours-long meeting with outside advisers about seizing voting machines that a White House adviser described in real time as ‘unhinged.’ ‘Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,’ wrote the president. ‘Be there, will be wild!’ The message marked a turning point in Trump’s efforts to stay in power and, in the telling of Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), ‘would galvanize his followers, unleash a political firestorm and change the course of our history as a country.’ Notably, the committee member said, the president’s move to advertise a protest on Jan. 6 caused the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, two right-wing extremist groups that have not historically worked together, to join hands and coordinate their planning, including with maps of D.C. that pinpointed the location of police. The tweet also illustrated, said committee members, Trump’s pattern of escalating efforts to thwart the peaceful transfer of power at every moment when he had an opportunity to dial them down. That tendency, they argued, reflected his disregard for the advice of his lawyers. A clip of new testimony from White House counsel Pat Cipollone showed he was among those pushing back on baseless conspiracy theories launched by pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, demanding during an extended encounter in the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, ‘Where is the evidence?’ And the same impulse has continued to shape Trump’s behavior, claimed Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the committee’s vice chair, who said the former president had recently tried to call a witness in the panel’s investigation. She said the committee had notified the Justice Department of the episode, promising, ‘We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously.’ As she has throughout this summer’s hearings, Cheney insisted on Trump’s ultimate responsibility for instigating an insurrection that was built on a lie. ‘President Trump is a 76-year-old man,’ she said. ‘He is not an impressionable child. Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices. [He cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind.]'” See also, Unhinged’: The White House meeting that preceded Trump’s ‘will be wild’ tweet, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “Late on a Friday night about six weeks after Donald Trump lost his reelection, a fistfight nearly broke out in the White House between the president’s fired national security adviser and a top White House aide. A motley crew of unofficial Trump advisers had talked their way into the Oval Office and an audience with the president of the United States to argue the election had been stolen by shadowy foreign powers — perhaps remotely via Nest thermostats. For hours, the group tried to persuade Trump to take extraordinary, potentially illegal action to ignore the election results and try to stay in power. And for hours, some of Trump’s actual White House advisers tried to persuade him that those ideas were, in the words of one lawyer who participated, ‘nuts.’ There was shouting, insults and profanity, former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann testified to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Herschmann said he nearly came to blows with Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser who was part of the Trump’s group of impromptu visitors. ‘Flynn screamed at me that I was a quitter and everything. … At a certain point I had it with him,’ Herschmann recalled in taped testimony that played at a Tuesday hearing. ‘So, I yelled back: Either come over, or sit your effing ass back down.'” See also, Tears, Screaming, and Insults: Inside an ‘Unhinged’ Meeting to Keep Trump in Power. Even by the standards of the Trump White House, a meeting on December 18, 2020, that was highlighted Tuesday by the January 6 committee was extreme. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “The meeting lasted for more than six hours, past midnight, and devolved into shouting that could be heard outside the room. Participants hurled insults and nearly came to blows. Some people left in tears. Even by the standards of the Trump White House, where people screamed at one another and President Donald J. Trump screamed at them, the Dec. 18, 2020, meeting became known as an ‘unhinged’ event — and an inflection point in Mr. Trump’s desperate efforts to remain in power after he had lost the election. Details of the meeting have been reported before, including by The New York Times and Axios, but at a public hearing on Tuesday of the Jan. 6 committee, participants in the mayhem offered a series of jolting new details of the meeting between Mr. Trump and rival factions of advisers.” See also, Ex-Oath Keeper outlines dark worldview behind U.S. Capitol attack. The select committee testimony underscored how Donald Trump’s rhetoric about ‘fighting’ political opponents was received as an order to mobilize. The Washington Post, Hannah Allam, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “With his face tattoos and rocker-style denim jacket, Jason Van Tatenhove stood out among the buttoned-up Capitol Hill crowd at Tuesday’s select committee hearing examining the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Van Tatenhove spent years as the senior spokesman and a close aide to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who faces seditious conspiracy charges in connection with the violence. The ex-insider was perhaps a risky witness choice, having left the group around 2018 and apparently possessing no unique insights into its actions in the run-up to the assault. Instead, Van Tatenhove’s role was to lay out the apocalyptic worldview that underpins far-right movements such as the Oath Keepers, which he said dreamed of and trained for the kind of high-profile uprising that unfolded in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency. His grim warnings about the potential for future violence also underlined the House committee’s central theme that Jan. 6 was not a single event, but part of an extremist agenda to weaken public trust in democratic institutions and make political violence more palatable. ‘I think we’ve gotten exceedingly lucky that more bloodshed did not happen because the potential has been there from the start,’ Van Tatenhove told lawmakers. Tuesday’s hearing revealed little new intelligence about the key extremist movements involved in the Capitol attack, but it did underscore how Trump’s rhetoric about ‘fighting’ political opponents on a ‘wild’ day instantly was received as an order to mobilize. Van Tatenhove spoke alongside another witness, Jan. 6 rioter Stephen Ayres, who testified that he and other Trump supporters acted directly in response to the president’s tweets. Members of the committee described Trump’s posts as a call to action for his millions of followers, even ‘a call to arms.'” See also, 5 takeaways from the January 6 hearing on extremism and Trump, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Tuesday, 12 July 2022. See also, January 6 House committee hearings live updates: January 6 rioter Stephen Ayres and former Oath Keepers spokesman Jason Van Tatenhove testify in seventh hearing, NPR, Ximena Bustillo and Rachel Treisman, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “The committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack held its seventh public hearing Tuesday, focusing on the role right-wing extremist groups – such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers – played in planning the deadly siege. The committee connected the dots between these groups and the effort to overturn the 2020 election – and argued that a tweet from former President Donald Trump spurred some in those groups to organize around Jan. 6, 2021.” See also, January 6 House committee shows evidence of coordination between far-right groups and Trump allies, NPR, Barbara Sprunt, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “The House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol tried to make the case Tuesday that far-right groups and the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election are inextricably linked, detailing the mobilization of extremist groups after then-President Trump sent a tweet on Dec. 19, 2020, calling for supporters to protest in D.C. on Jan. 6. Near the end of the committee’s seventh hearing investigating the insurrection, Vice Chair Liz Cheney revealed Trump had attempted to contact a witness who had not yet appeared in its public hearings. She said that person did not take the call and instead alerted their lawyer, who informed the committee. The committee plans to hold its eighth hearing on Thursday, July 21, at 8 p.m., a source familiar with the planning but not authorized to speak publicly before the committee’s official announcement told NPR. The committee has said that hearing will focus on Trump’s inaction to stop the attack on the Capitol.” See also, The meeting that changed history and 3 other takeaways from the January 6 House committee hearing, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, published on Wednesday, 13 July 2022: “The Justice Department has an active investigation into Jan. 6 and has been following the committee hearings’ revelations closely. But regardless of whether Trump is convicted of a crime, Van Tatenhove sees an arguably bigger threat. ‘I do fear for this next election cycle,’ he said, ‘because who knows what that might bring — if a president that’s willing to try to … whip up a civil war among his followers, using lies and deceit and snake oil and regardless of the human impact, what else is he going to do if he gets elected again?’ See also, Four takeaways from Day 7 of the House committee investigating the January 6 riot, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “The seventh public hearing by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot focused on how Donald J. Trump and his allies turned their efforts toward summoning a mob of his supporters to Washington to protest the certification of the election after they had exhausted all legal avenues. Relying on testimony from Trump aides, right-wing media commentators and militia members, the committee demonstrated how Mr. Trump’s public statements led his supporters to believe the election had actually been stolen and storm the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification.”

Rudy Giuliani Called Trump Lawyers ‘a Bunch of Pussies’ in ‘Screaming’ White House Meeting, Vice, Cameron Joseph, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “Rudy Giuliani called then-President Donald Trump’s senior White House lawyers ‘a bunch of pussies’ in the middle of a chaotic and furious late-night White House meeting, according to testimony to the House January 6 Select Committee—and those lawyers just barely managed to keep Trump from taking drastically anti-democratic steps. Trump huddled on Dec. 18, 2020, with Giuliani, QAnon-affiliated former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell, and former CEO Patrick Byrne to discuss appointing Powell as special counsel to investigate the election, and consider Flynn’s calls to use the National Guard to seize voting machines in various states. When Trump’s saner advisers got wind of the unscheduled meeting, they rushed to intervene. It quickly devolved into a furious fight that Trump White House staff described as ‘screaming’ and ‘unhinged.'”

Leaked Audio: Before Election Day, Steve Bannon Said Trump Planned to Falsely Claim Victory, Mother Jones, Dan Friedman, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “On the evening of October 31, 2020, Steve Bannon told a group of associates that President Donald Trump had a plan to declare victory on election night—even if he was losing. Trump knew that the slow counting of Democratic-leaning mail-in ballots meant the returns would show early leads for him in key states. His ‘strategy’ was to use this fact to assert that he had won, while claiming that the inevitable shifts in vote totals toward Joe Biden must be the result of fraud, Bannon explained. ‘What Trump’s gonna do is just declare victory. Right? He’s gonna declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s a winner,’ Bannon, laughing, told the group, according to audio of the meeting obtained by Mother Jones. ‘He’s just gonna say he’s a winner.'”

War in Ukraine: Putin to visit Iran; Russia and Ukraine to discuss Black Sea ‘grain corridor,’ The Washington Post, Amy Cheng, Annabelle Timsit, Andrew Jeong, Praveena Somasundaram, Ellen Francis, Karina Tsui, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 12 July 2022: “Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Tehran next week to discuss deepening economic ties with Iran, according to the Kremlin. Iran plans to provide Russia with ‘up to several hundred’ drones to be used in the war in Ukraine, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday. The move indicates Moscow is running out of precision weapons, according to U.S.-based military analysts, who added that closer cooperation between two U.S. adversaries is likely to encourage the West to step up military assistance to Kyiv. The death toll continues to rise from Russian strikes in eastern and northern Ukraine. At least 41 people were killed in Chasiv Yar, a city in the eastern Donetsk region, when a Russian missile hit a residential complex over the weekend, according to officials. Three others were also killed Monday in Kharkiv when Russian airstrikes damaged a shopping center and residences.

  • Turkey’s defense minister said Tuesday that military delegations from Ukraine, Russia and Turkey would meet in Istanbul for talks aimed at restarting grain shipments from Ukrainian ports blockaded by Russia.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized Canada for carving out an exemption to Russian sanctions by agreeing to allow a gas turbine used in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that had been undergoing repairs in Canada to be returned to Germany.
  • A former Olympic official told the Guardian that a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes in global sporting events due to Russia’s invasion could continue, preventing those athletes from competing in qualifying events for the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia Reaches Out to Iran for Help in Countering West. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia will visit Tehran next week, along with the leader of Turkey. But competition in oil markets reflects a complicated new landscape. The New York Times, Tuesday, 12 July 2022:

  • Tricky diplomatic terrain awaits as Russian leader travels to Tehran.

  • The invasion of Ukraine and sanctions have changed the dynamic between Iran and Russia.

  • In a frontline town, the City Council ‘is not working,’ and the few who venture out don’t stray far.

  • The European Space Agency cuts ties with Russia on its Mars mission.

  • Jockeying in oil markets may strain Russia’s relations with Venezuela — and Iran.

  • Ukraine says its forces hit a Russian ammunition depot in the Kherson region.

  • Stress on workers at an occupied nuclear plant elevates risks, experts say.


Wednesday, 13 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.N. Secretary General António Gutteres says Russia-Ukraine grain talks are ‘extremely encouraging’ but no final deal is reached, The Washington Post, Andrew Jeong, Amy Cheng, Adela Suliman, Jennifer Hassan, Karina Tsui, and Bryan Pietsch, Wednesday, 13 July 2022: “Delegations from Ukraine and Russia met in Turkey on Wednesday along with United Nations diplomats to discuss restarting grain shipments from Ukraine’s blockaded Black Sea ports. The impasse has become a focal point of the war and has contributed to a global food crisis. The talks amounted to ‘a critical step forward,’ U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said Wednesday. ‘More technical work will now be needed to materialize today’s progress. But the momentum is clear.’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also expressed optimism in his nightly address:The Ukrainian delegation informed me that there is some progress. We will agree on the details with the UN Secretary General in the coming days.’ On the battlefield, Ukrainian officials said they deployed advanced U.S. rocket launchers to strike a Russian ammunition depot in the occupied southern region of Kherson. Zelensky appeared to taunt Russia in an address earlier this week as Kyiv celebrated the strike, saying that Russian soldiers are ‘truly afraid’ of the arsenal.

  • Russia has deported 900,000 to 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens from occupied regions of Ukraine in a systemic ‘filtration’ operation, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday, in a loud condemnation of Moscow and affirmation of claims that Ukrainian officials have levied for weeks.
  • The euro and the U.S. dollar are exchanging at a nearly 1-to-1 rate for the first time in nearly two decades, partly due to global disruptions set off by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia values its relationship with fellow oil juggernaut Saudi Arabia and hopes that President Biden’s trip to Israel and the kingdom this week would not be used to foster anti-Russian sentiment.

Russia-Ukraine War: U.S. Accuses Russia of Hundreds of Thousands of Deportations. A statement from Secretary of State Blinken called the deportations a war crime. The Ukrainian military said newly supplied weapons, like U.S. HIMARS rocket launchers, deepened its reach against Russian invaders. The New York Times, Wednesday, 13 July 2022:

  • The U.S. accuses Russia of war crimes, alleging hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian deportations.

  • Ukraine is using weapons from the West to strike deep within Russian-controlled areas.

  • Officials work to negotiate a solution to free up Ukrainian grain.

  • Differing views of a Ukrainian nationalist’s role in the Holocaust expose divisions over the past.

  • A Russian opposition politician is facing possible jail time over his criticism of the war.

  • Reconstruction is far down the road for a devastated Ukrainian town, and much of the country.

  • A U.N. survey finds that some Ukrainian refugees are already planning their return.

January 6 House Committee Will Turn Over Evidence on Fake Electors to the Justice Department. The department has asked the House committee investigating the Capitol attack to share transcripts regarding the false electors scheme, the only topic it has broached with the panel. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 13 July 2022: “The Justice Department has asked the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol for evidence it has accumulated about the scheme by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to put forward false slates of pro-Trump electors in battleground states won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2020. Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, disclosed the request to reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, and a person familiar with the panel’s work said discussions with the Justice Department about the false elector scheme were ongoing. Those talks suggest that the department is sharpening its focus on that aspect of Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, one with a direct line to the former president. Mr. Thompson said the committee was working with federal prosecutors to allow them to review the transcripts of interviews the panel has done with people who served as so-called alternate electors for Mr. Trump. Mr. Thompson said the Justice Department’s investigation into ‘fraudulent electors’ was the only specific topic the agency had broached with the committee.”

Who is Patrick Byrne, former Overstock CEO and election denier? The Washington Post, Eugene Scott, Wednesday, 13 July 2022: “With a career-ending affair with a Russian agent, attacks on a professional nemesis he named ‘the Sith Lord’ and constant references to a ‘deep state,’ Patrick Byrne often pushed conspiracy theories and found himself ensnared in controversy — long before the former chief executive of online retailer Overstock promoted Donald Trump’s baseless claims of a rigged election. Byrne, one of corporate America’s most vocal proponents of the former president’s falsehoods about the 2020 election, will be the latest figure from Trump’s orbit to meet with House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The longtime cryptocurrency advocate is scheduled to meet privately with the committee on Friday. Byrne’s involvement in efforts to overturn the election were revealed Tuesday during the committee’s hearing. The former furniture industry executive joined lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, as well as former national security adviser Michael Flynn, in the Oval Office on Dec. 18, 2020, days after the electoral college certified that Joe Biden had won the presidential election. While many of Trump’s legal advisers had accepted that he had lost the election, Byrne and others were pushing an idea that the president could use the National Guard to seize voting machines. Byrne’s Oval Office access appeared to agitate those staffers hoping to redirect Trump’s attention away from conspiracy theories.”


Thursday, 14 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukrainian officials said more than 20 people were killed, including three children, and at least 71 were hospitalized after Russian cruise missiles struck a crowded business center in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, far from the front lines. President Volodymyr Zelensky called the attack ‘an open act of terrorism’ against a target with no military value. The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, Jennifer Hassan, Bryan Pietsch, Andrew Jeong, Karina Tsui, and Claire Parker, Thursday, 14 July 2022: “In photos sent to The Washington Post by Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, who said they were taken at the scene, a bloodied child can be seen lying next to a severed adult foot, her legs at an unnatural angle. In another photo, charred remains, barely recognizable as human, lie splayed in the dirt. American WNBA star Brittney Griner appeared in a Moscow court Thursday in the third hearing of her trial on drug charges, which could result in a 10-year prison sentence unless U.S. and Russian officials can agree on a prisoner swap.

  • More than 40 countries, including the United States and those in the European Union, agreed Thursday to work together to assist investigations into alleged war crimes in Ukraine and pledged $20 million to the International Criminal Court.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Thursday for the establishment of a special tribunal to try Russia for its war of ‘aggression.’
  • Some progress was reported during a meeting between Ukrainian and Russian delegations and U.N. diplomats in Turkey to break an impasse over grain shipments from Ukraine’s blockaded Black Sea ports. The talks amounted to ‘a critical step forward,’ U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russian Strike on Central Ukrainian City Kills at Least 23. The attack in Vinnytsia is the latest to hit a civilian target without an apparent military aim. The W.N.B.A. star Brittney Griner returned to a Russian court after pleading guilty to drug charges. The New York Times, Thursday, 14 July 2022:

  • A strike on the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia kills at least 23 people, officials say.

  • The deadly Russian missile strike adds urgency to an international conference on war crimes in Ukraine.

  • Macron warns of ‘likely risk’ France will be cut off from Russian natural gas.

  • Long ties to Russia stir suspicions about Ukraine’s Orthodox Church, and its priests.

  • Witnesses testify in Brittney Griner’s defense as her drug trial continues in Russia.

  • A sudden blast in Vinnytsia, and a shattered sense of normalcy: ‘I had no time to get scared.’

  • A Donetsk town is becoming a war zone, despite Russia’s ‘pause’ in operations.

  • ‘Putin’s war must be a strategic failure,’ Biden says in Israel.

First on CNN: Sources say Trump tried to call a member of the White House support staff talking with January 6 House select committee, CNN Politics, Ryan Nobles, Dana Bash, Annie Grayer, and Zachary Cohen, Thursday, 14 July 2022: “Former President Donald Trump tried to call a member of the White House support staff who was talking to the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. The support staffer was not someone who routinely communicated with the former President and was concerned about the contact, according to the sources, and informed their attorney. The call was made after former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified publicly to the committee. The White House staffer was in a position to corroborate part of what Hutchinson had said under oath, according to the sources. CNN was told the position of the witness Trump tried to call, but not the person’s name. Details about the witness Trump tried to contact have not been previously reported.” See also, Former president Donald Trump attempted to call a member of the White House support staff who has been in talks with the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 14 July 2022: “Former president Donald Trump attempted to call a member of the White House support staff who has been in talks with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, according to people with knowledge of the attempt at contact. Trump’s call was to a member of his support staff who worked with former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson in some capacity and can corroborate aspects of her testimony, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. The attempt at contact was considered unusual because this staffer had not spoken with the former president for some time. The call from Trump to the staffer, who is still in public service, was revealed Tuesday by committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) at the end of the committee’s seventh hearing. ‘After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation,’ Cheney said. ‘A witness you have not yet seen in these hearings. That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call.’ ‘Their lawyer alerted us and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice,’ Cheney added, without identifying the witness. CNN first reported the role of the staffer. A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

Secret Service Deleted January 6 Text Messages After Oversight Officials Requested Them. A letter given to the January 6 committee says the erasure took place shortly after oversight officials requested the agency’s electronic communications. The Intercept, Ken Klipperstein, Thursday, 14 July 2022: “The secret service erased text messages from January 5 and January 6, 2021, according to a letter given to the January 6 committee and reviewed by The Intercept. The letter was originally sent by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General to the House and Senate homeland security committees. Though the Secret Service maintains that the text messages were lost as a result of a ‘device-replacement program,’ the letter says the erasure took place shortly after oversight officials requested the agency’s electronic communications. The Secret Service did not respond to a request for comment from The Intercept. In a statement to the Washington Post, Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi disputed the timeline, saying that some electronic communications had been deleted in January, while the Inspector General made its request in February. The Secret Service has emerged as a key player in the explosive congressional hearings on former President Donald Trump’s role in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to prevent the 2020 election results from being certified. That day, then-Vice President Mike Pence was at the Capitol to certify the results. When rioters entered the building, the Secret Service tried to whisk Pence away from the scene.”

First on CNN: DC police officer in Trump January 6 motorcade corroborated details of heated Secret Service exchange to the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel and Annie Grayer, Thursday, 14 July 2022: “A Washington, DC, police officer has corroborated to the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, details regarding a heated exchange former President Donald Trump had with his Secret Service detail when he was told he could not go to the US Capitol after his rally, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN. The officer with the Metropolitan Police Department was in the motorcade with the Secret Service for Trump on January 6 and recounted what was seen to committee investigators, according to the source.”

Texas Sues Biden Administration Over Access to Emergency Medical Abortions. Recent administrative guidance to hospitals said doctors could perform abortions in emergency situations if complications posed a threat to the health or life of the mother. The New York Times, J. David Goodman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Thursday, 14 July 2022: “Days after the Biden administration moved to ensure access to abortion in certain emergency situations, Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas on Thursday filed a lawsuit challenging the federal guidance, saying it would ‘force abortions’ in hospitals in the state. The suit was an opening salvo in what is likely to be a protracted legal tug of war between the administration and states like Texas that have swiftly taken steps to ban abortion in almost all cases in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The suit, which names Mr. Biden’s health secretary, Xavier Becerra, as its lead defendant, grows out of guidance issued on Monday by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The agency has instructed hospitals that, even in states where abortion is illegal, federal law requires doctors to perform abortions for pregnant women who show up in their emergency departments if they believe it is ‘the stabilizing treatment necessary’ to resolve an emergency medical condition.”

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin Pulls Plug on Climate and Tax Talks, Shrinking Biden’s Domestic Agenda. Manchin’s decision dealt a crushing blow to Biden’s domestic agenda, effectively ruling out action on anything beyond prescription drug pricing and health care subsidies. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Lisa Friedman, Thursday, 14 July 2022: “Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, pulled the plug on Thursday on negotiations to salvage key pieces of President Biden’s agenda, informing his party’s leaders that he would not support funding for climate or energy programs or raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations. The decision by Mr. Manchin, a conservative-leaning Democrat whose opposition has effectively stalled Mr. Biden’s economic package in the evenly divided Senate, dealt a devastating blow to his party’s efforts to enact a broad social safety net, climate and tax package. In recent months, Democrats had slashed their ambitions for such a plan to win over Mr. Manchin, hoping that he would agree to support even a fraction of the sweeping initiative they once envisioned. His abrupt shift appeared to dash those aspirations. In a meeting on Thursday with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, Mr. Manchin said he would support a package that would include a negotiated plan aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs and an extension of expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies set to lapse at the end of the year. The shift capped off weeks of painstaking negotiations to cobble together a package that could win Mr. Manchin’s support. It came seven months after the West Virginian abruptly walked away from talks and rejected a far larger plan.”


Friday, 15 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russian missiles hit two universities in the southern city of Mykolaiv; Russian forces advance on Siversk in eastern Ukraine, The Washington Post, Dalton Bennett, Andrew Jeong, Victoria Bisset, Kelsey Ables, Ellen Francis, and Claire Parker, Friday, 15 July 2022: “Russian missiles struck two university complexes Friday morning in the southern city of Mykolaiv, heavily damaging nearby shops and buildings and injuring at least four people, the regional governor said. Washington Post reporters heard explosions in the city starting around 7:30 a.m. local time. An official investigating possible war crimes could be seen examining a crater caused by one of the weapons, which the governor identified as S-300 surface-to-air missiles. President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced Russia as a ‘terrorist state’ after a missile attack on civilian targets in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia left at least 23 dead Thursday. Searching continues for dozens of people still missing. Russia, which has denied causing civilian casualties throughout the war despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, claimed Friday that the Vinnytsia strike targeted a meeting between Ukrainian officials and foreign arms dealers. Vinnytsia was in mourning Friday. Residents and soldiers placed teddy bears and flowers near the site of the strikes.

  • Ukrainian forces have retaken 44 settlements in the Kherson region as they continue a steady counteroffensive in the country’s south, the acting head of the region’s military administration said Thursday.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen on Friday denounced the Russian invasion in a closed-door meeting of the Group of 20 nations that was attended by a senior Kremlin official.
  • The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe released a second report that contains evidence that Russian forces have committed rapes, torture and executions during the ongoing invasion.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia, Undaunted by Furor Over a 4-Year-Old’s Death, Strikes More Civilian Centers in Ukraine. Attacks on Dnipro, one of Ukraine’s most populous cities, and Mykolaiv, a strategically located southern city, came a day after Ukrainian officials confirmed that a Russian strike killed the child, Liza Dmytriyeva, and 22 others. The New York Times, Friday, 15 July 2022:

  • Russian strikes on Dnipro and Mykolaiv continue a campaign against civilian centers.

  • A 4-year-old girl happily pushed a stroller. Soon after, she was dead.

  • Russia and the U.S. find a way to cooperate in space.

  • Brittney Griner’s lawyers say she had a prescription for the drug she mistakenly carried into Russia.

  • Pro-Russia separatists say a British man has died in their custody.

  • The many parties involved complicate war crimes investigations.

  • The war in Ukraine is the true culture war.

House Passes Two Bills Seeking to Ensure Access to Abortion. Neither piece of legislation has the votes to advance in the Senate, but Democrats intend them to draw clear lines on the issue for the midterm elections. The New York Times, Annie Karni, Friday, 15 July 2022: “The House on Friday passed two bills aiming at ensuring access to abortion in the post-Roe era, as Democrats seek to draw clear distinctions with Republicans on the issue heading into the midterm election campaign. One measure, which passed mainly along party lines, 222 to 205, would protect the right to travel across state lines for abortion services, with three Republicans joining Democrats in support of the measure. A second measure, a version of which passed the House last year, would explicitly give health care providers the right to provide abortion services and their patients the right to obtain them, invalidating a variety of state restrictions that were enacted in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision reversing Roe v. Wade and ending the constitutional right to abortion. That second measure, the Women’s Health Protection Act, passed 219 to 210, also mainly along party lines, with one Democrat, Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas, voting with Republicans. Neither bill has the votes to advance in the Senate. But Democrats cheered as the bills passed, putting both sides on record heading into the midterms on an issue that has only grown more divisive politically.”

January 6 House select committee subpoenas Secret Service for missing records, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Maria Sacchetti, Friday, 15 July 2022: “The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol issued a subpoena to the U.S. Secret Service on Friday requesting records after a government watchdog accused the agency of erasing texts from Jan. 5 and 6 after his office requested them. Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), in a letter transmitting notice of the subpoena, wrote that the panel sought relevant text messages and reports issued in any way related to the attack on the Capitol. ‘The Select Committee has been informed that the USSS erased text messages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021 as part of a “device-replacement program.” In a statement issued July 14, 2022, the USSS stated that it “began to reset its mobile phones to factory settings as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration. In that process, data resident on some phones was lost.” However, according to that USSS statement, “none of the texts [the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General] was seeking had been lost in the migration,”’ Thompson wrote.” See also, January 6 House committee subpoenas Secret Service amid text message controversy. It’s the first time the select committee has publicly announced the subpoena of an Executive Branch agency. Politico, Nicholas Wu and Kyle Cheney, Friday, 15 July 2022: “The Jan. 6 select committee has subpoenaed the Secret Service following a string of conflicts with the agency and revelations that a large swath of text messages sent by agents on the day of the Capitol attack have been erased. The move marks the first time the select committee has publicly announced the subpoena of an Executive Branch agency and comes the same day the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general privately briefed committee members on the discovery of the missing text messages.”

January 6 House Select Committee to Dissect Trump’s 187 Minutes of Inaction During Riot. The House committee investigating the attack announced it would hold its next hearing on Thursday in prime time. It was not clear whether it would be the summer finale, as once expected. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Friday, 15 July 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is planning to return to prime time on Thursday for what could be the finale of its summer hearing schedule: a session focused on former President Donald J. Trump’s 187 minutes of inaction as a mob of his supporters assaulted Congress. The hearing, scheduled for 8 p.m. on July 21, is expected to give a detailed account of how Mr. Trump resisted multiple entreaties from staffers, lawyers and even his own family to call off the attack, which raged for hours in the early afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021. Representatives Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia, and Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, are expected to play leading roles in the hearing.”

Trump campaign operative who delivered January 6 false elector lists is identified. Mike Roman passed the names to a House Republican aide in a bid to get them to then-Vice President Mike Pence, people familiar with the episode told POLITICO. Politico, Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu, Friday, 15 July 2022: “A little-known Donald Trump campaign operative delivered lists of false electors to Capitol Hill in a bid to get them to Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6, 2021, according to two people familiar with the episode. Mike Roman, then Trump’s 2020 director of Election Day operations, delivered those false elector certificates — signed by pro-Trump activists in Michigan and Wisconsin — to Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R-Pa.) chief of staff at the time, both people told POLITICO. Kelly was a Trump ally in the effort to overturn the 2020 election, and his then-top aide received the documents from Roman before deputizing a colleague to disseminate copies on Capitol Hill, according to both people.”

Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis sends ‘target’ letters to Trump allies in Georgia investigation, Yahoo, Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman, Friday, 15 July 2022: “In the latest sign that she is moving rapidly in her investigation into Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney Fani Willis has sent so-called target letters to prominent Georgia Republicans informing them they could be indicted for their role in a scheme to appoint alternate electors pledged to the former president despite Joe Biden’s victory in the state, according to legal sources familiar with the matter. The move by Willis, a Democrat, could have major political implications in a crucial battleground state with high-profile races for governor and the U.S. Senate this fall. Among the recipients of the target letters, the sources said, are GOP state Sen. Burt Jones, Gov. Brian Kemp’s running mate for lieutenant governor; David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party; and state Sen. Brandon Beach.” See also, Georgia Prosecutor Fani T. Willis Warns Georgia Officials They may Face Charges in Trump Inquiry. The investigation could prove to be one of the most perilous legal problems facing the former president and his allies. The New York Times, Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim, Friday, 15 July 2022: “The breadth, speed and seriousness of the criminal investigation into election meddling by former President Donald J. Trump and his associates in Georgia were underscored on Friday by the revelation that two pro-Trump state senators and the chair of the state Republican Party were sent letters by an Atlanta prosecutor informing them they could be indicted, according to a person familiar with the inquiry. The Fulton County prosecutor, Fani T. Willis, is also weighing whether to subpoena Mr. Trump himself and seek his testimony before a grand jury, just days after she subpoenaed seven of his advisers, including Rudolph W. Giuliani and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, in an investigation into efforts to overturn Mr. Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia. The special grand jury is looking into a range of potentially criminal acts, including the selection of a slate of pro-Trump electors in the weeks after the election and Mr. Trump’s now-famous call to Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, asking him to ‘find’ nearly 12,000 votes that would reverse his loss there. The letters to David Shafer, the Georgia Republican Party chair, and State Senators Burt Jones and Brandon Beach were first reported by Yahoo News. Neither the men nor their lawyers could be reached for comment on Friday.”

Four Ways the United States Can Still Fight Climate Change. With Biden’s most potent tools to fight climate change stripped by all 50 Republican senators, Democratic senator Joe Manchin, and the courts, the administration will now have to rely on Smaller, less powerful actions. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Friday, 15 July 2022: “With the largest and most powerful tools that President Biden had hoped to use to fight climate change now stripped away, the White House is assembling smaller, less potent policies that could still help the nation reduce its planet-warming pollution, though not at the levels that Mr. Biden once promised. The evident death in the Senate of Democrats’ climate change legislation, which was to have been the centerpiece of Mr. Biden’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, comes just weeks after the Supreme Court handed down a decision that sharply limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the nation’s second-largest source of greenhouse gases. Legal scholars say that the justices’ decision will, in turn, set a precedent that could limit the federal government’s authority to enact future climate regulations on other major sources of heat-trapping emissions, including cars and trucks…. Here are a few ways the federal and state leaders might still reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Regulate cars and trucks…. Control pollution from power plants…. Focus on methane…. Rally action at the state level.”


Saturday, 16 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russian defense minister orders forces to intensify attacks across Ukraine, The Washington Post, Kelsey Ables, Andrew Jeong, Adela Suliman, Ellen Francis, Robyn Dixon, Marisa Iati, and Praveena Somasundaram, Saturday, 16 July 2022: “Russia’s defense minister on Saturday ordered his forces to intensify attacks ‘in all operational sectors’ of Ukraine, days after President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia had not ‘started in earnest yet’ its efforts as the war approaches its five-month mark. Up to 150 civilians have died because of Russian airstrikes in the past two weeks, the Pentagon estimates. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told his country to be on alert for airstrikes as Russia has stepped up attacks beyond the front lines. About 70 percent of Russian strikes have targeted nonmilitary infrastructure, said a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. On Saturday, regional governors said Russian missile strikes in Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk killed five people, and four others were hospitalized. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Saturday that the United States had intelligence that Russian officials visited an airfield in Iran twice recently to examine drones they are considering acquiring for the war. The White House released satellite imagery it said showed ‘attack-capable’ unmanned aerial vehicles in flight while a Russian delegation transport plane was at the airfield. Iran had dismissed as ‘baseless’ accusations Friday that it was planning to supply Russia with hundreds of drones.

  • A U.S. Air Force veteran living in Ukraine has been detained by pro-Russian separatists, his brother said, becoming at least the third American to be captured in Ukraine since the war began.
  • Russia has sentenced prominent opposition activist Andrei Pivovarov to four years in prison for leading what the court held to be an outlawed and ‘undesirable’ political organization.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia Signals a More Aggressive Phase of Combat. The Russian defense minister directed his troops to ‘further intensify’ military action across Ukraine as skirmishes have escalated in the Donetsk region. G20 finance ministers failed to reach a deal to cap the price of Russian oil. The New York Times, Saturday, 16 July 2022:

  • Russia’s defense minister calls on troops to step up military action.

  • The rash of fighting in Donetsk Province counters the notion of a military ‘pause.’

  • A heat wave in Europe threatens crops at a time when the grain from Ukraine remains blocked.

  • ‘Autocracies are toasting and democracies are weaker’: Europe is being tested by Russia’s autocratic resolve.

  • More accounts of abuses in so-called Russian filtration camps in new report add to international concern.

  • G20 finance ministers fail to reach an agreement to cap the price of Russian oil.

  • ‘Sometimes I am crying in the room,’ says a Ukrainian high jumper, a world championship contender.

Little-Known Lawyer William J. Olson Pitched Trump on Extreme Plans to Subvert 2020 Election. The role of Olson in advising the president in late 2020, which has not previously been disclosed, shows how fringe figures were influencing him at a critical time. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater, Saturday, 16 July 2022: “Around 5 in the afternoon on Christmas Day in 2020, as many Americans were celebrating with family, President Donald J. Trump was at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., on the phone with a little-known conservative lawyer who was encouraging his attempts to overturn the election, according to a memo the lawyer later wrote documenting the call. The lawyer, William J. Olson, was promoting several extreme ideas to the president. Mr. Olson later conceded that part of his plan could be regarded as tantamount to declaring ‘martial law’ and that another aspect could invite comparisons with Watergate. The plan included tampering with the Justice Department and firing the acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, according to the Dec. 28 memo by Mr. Olson, titled ‘Preserving Constitutional Order.’ ‘Our little band of lawyers is working on a memorandum that explains exactly what you can do,’ Mr. Olson wrote in his memo, obtained by The New York Times, which he marked ‘privileged and confidential’ and sent to the president. ‘The media will call this martial law,’ he wrote, adding that ‘that is fake news.’ The document highlights the previously unreported role of Mr. Olson in advising Mr. Trump as the president was increasingly turning to extreme, far-right figures outside the White House to pursue options that many of his official advisers had told him were impossible or unlawful, in an effort to cling to power. The involvement of a person like Mr. Olson, who now represents the conspiracy theorist and MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell, underscores how the system that would normally insulate a president from rogue actors operating outside of official channels had broken down within weeks after the 2020 election.”

Justice Department Steps Up January 6 Investigation of Those in Trump’s Orbit. The Department of Justice commits more resources to pursue evidence of criminal involvement as House hearings reveal activities of Trump and his circle before and during Capitol attack. The Wall Street Journal, Sadie Gurman, Aruna Viswanatha, and Alexa Corse, Saturday, 16 July 2022: “The Justice Department is adding prosecutors and resources to its investigation into the actions of former President Donald Trump’s allies to overturn the 2020 election, according to people familiar with the matter, as the related congressional hearings have turbocharged interest in Mr. Trump’s own role in that effort. A Justice Department team focusing on elements of the investigation beyond the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has in recent weeks been given more personnel, office space and an expanded mandate, the people said. Prosecutors have charged around 850 people in connection with the Jan. 6 violence, including more than a dozen members of right-wing groups charged with engaging in a seditious conspiracy against the U.S.”


Sunday, 17 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dismisses head of Ukrainian Security Service and top prosecutor; Russian missiles hit Mykolaiv, The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Julian Duplain, Annabelle Timsit, Brittany Shammas, Isabelle Khurshudyan, and Preveena Somasundaram, Sunday, 17 July 2022: “In his government’s most high-level shake-up during the war with Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed Ivan Bakanov, head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). Bakanov’s SBU, the domestic intelligence and security agency, had come under criticism since the start of the war after three former officials were charged with treason in late March. Zelensky also fired Iryna Venediktova, the nation’s prosecutor general, who had been investigating war crimes. As of Sunday, Ukraine had registered 651 criminal proceedings against employees across several high-level offices for allegedly collaborating with Russians or working against the nation’s goals, Zelensky said in his nightly address shortly after announcing the dismissals. Such officials will be held accountable, he said. Earlier Sunday, Russian missiles hit industrial areas of Mykolaiv — which is emerging as a major focus for Russia as it seeks to push toward Odessa from eastern areas under its control — in the second such attack there in three days. Russia also appears set to resume its ground offensive in southern and eastern Ukraine, following what analysts called a pause for troops to regroup. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told troops on Saturday to intensify attacks ‘in all operational sectors’ of Ukraine, while Ukrainian officials said there was shelling ‘along the entire front line.’

  • 50,000 Russian soldiers have either died or been injured in Ukraine — resulting in a significant loss of land combat effectiveness, said Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, chief of the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces.
  • A Ukrainian cargo plane carrying mines crashed in northern Greece, killing all eight Ukrainian crew members onboard. Amid speculation that the shipment might be bound for Ukraine, Serbia’s defense minister said the mines were being sent to Bangladesh.
  • Fighting is ongoing in the Luhansk region, where the governor said two towns were still in Ukrainian control. Russia claimed control of the entire region this month.

Russia-Ukraine War: Zelensky Fires Two Top Law Enforcement Officials. In Vinnytsia, loved ones laid to rest a 4-year-old with Down syndrome who died in a Russian strike last week. The embattled city of Mykolaiv was hit with another ‘massive’ attack, officials said. The New York Times, Sunday, 17 July 2022:

  • Russia hits Mykolaiv with another ‘massive’ attack, officials say.

  • ‘It’s tense’: Under constant fire, Ukrainian soldiers dismiss any suggestion that they cede land.

  • Family members mourn a 4-year-old girl killed in a Russian missile attack.

  • A series of deadly strikes on civilian targets across Ukraine leaves officials urging people to heed air raid sirens.

  • A young woman’s wartime task: persuading people to leave their homes.

  • Biden’s goal in the Mideast: Countering China and Russia.

  • Ukraine says it controls two villages in Luhansk, denying Russia total control of the region.

Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger says the January 6 House select committee has ‘filled in the blanks’ on Trump’s January 6 activities, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Sunday, 17 July 2022: “President Donald Trump did ‘nothing’ to stop the riot at the Capitol as it was unfolding on Jan. 6, 2021, and new witnesses will fill in the gaps in Trump’s activities that day when the House select committee investigating the attack holds its next hearing, members of the bipartisan panel said Sunday. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who is scheduled to lead the prime-time hearing on Thursday, said the session ‘is going to open people’s eyes in a big way’ as they examine Trump’s actions in detail over the hours the Capitol was overrun by a mob seeking to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral college win. ‘We have filled in the blanks,’ Kinzinger said on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday. Trump ‘didn’t do very much but gleefully watch television during this time frame.’ Kinzinger, one of two GOP members of the bipartisan panel who has come under regular attacks from Trump for his role on the committee, implored his fellow Republicans to watch the next hearing with an open mind and ask themselves: ‘Is this the kind of strong leader you really think you deserve?'” See also, Transcript: Representative Adam Kinzinger on ‘Face the Nation,’ July 17, 2022, CBS News, Sunday, 17 July 2022.

Trump Tells Team He Needs to Be President Again to Save Himself from Criminal Probes. The former president is planning to run for the White House–and away from the law, Rolling Stone, Asawin Suebsaeng & Adam Rawnsley, Sunday, 17 July 2022: “When Donald Trump formally declares his 2024 candidacy, he won’t just be running for another term in the White House. He’ll be running away from legal troubles, possible criminal charges, and even the specter of prison time. In recent months, Trump has made clear to associates that the legal protections of occupying the Oval Office are front-of-mind for him, four people with knowledge of the situation tell Rolling Stone. Trump has ‘spoken about how when you are the president of the United States, it is tough for politically motivated prosecutors to get to you,’ says one of the sources, who has discussed the issue with Trump this summer. ‘He says when [not if] he is president again, a new Republican administration will put a stop to the [Justice Department] investigation that he views as the Biden administration working to hit him with criminal charges — or even put him and his people in prison.'”

AP finds no major problems with ballot drop boxes in 2020, AP News, Anthony Izaguirre and Christina A. Cassidy, Sunday, 17 July 2022: “The expanded use of drop boxes for mailed ballots during the 2020 election did not lead to any widespread problems, according to an Associated Press survey of state election officials across the U.S. that revealed no cases of fraud, vandalism or theft that could have affected the results. The findings from both Republican- and Democratic-controlled states run contrary to claims made by former President Donald Trump and his allies who have intensely criticized their use and falsely claimed they were a target for fraud. Drop boxes are considered by many election officials to be safe and secure, and have been used to varying degrees by states across the political spectrum. Yet conspiracy theories and efforts by Republicans to eliminate or restrict them since the 2020 election persist. This month, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s conservative majority ruled that drop boxes are not allowed under state law and can no longer be widely used. Drop boxes also are a focal point of the film ‘2,000 Mules,’ which used a flawed analysis of cellphone location data and ballot drop box surveillance footage to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election. In response to the legislation and conspiracy theories surrounding drop boxes, the AP sent a survey in May to the top elections office in each state seeking information about whether the boxes were tied to fraudulent votes or stolen ballots, or whether the boxes and the ballots they contained were damaged.”


Monday, 18 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warns of ‘traitors’ amid high-level shakeup, The Washington Post, Julian Duplain, David Walker, Jennifer Hassan, and Adam Taylor, Monday, 18 July 2022: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky removed the country’s top prosecutor and the head of the country’s security services, a childhood friend of the president, in the biggest shake-up in Ukraine’s government since Russia invaded. Here is the latest.

  • Zelensky said hundreds of criminal investigations for suspected ‘treason and collaboration activities’ are underway, amid concerns about current and former Ukrainian officials working with the Russian side. Security chief Ivan Bakanov and prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova have been suspended, the deputy head of the presidential office clarified Monday,
  • A new security chief was appointed Monday, with Zelensky naming Vasyl Maliuk to take over on a temporary basis.
  • Private military group key to Russian attacks: Moscow has ‘almost certainly’ hired the Wagner Group for recent fighting in eastern Ukraine, including the capture of Lysychansk, the last city in the Luhansk region to fall under Russian control, Britain’s Defense Ministry said.

Russia-Ukraine War: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey Will Meet With President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Iran. The Turkish leader is mediating between Putin and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Zelensky said hundreds of treason investigations have been opened into employees of the nation’s law enforcement agencies. The New York Times, Monday, 18 July 2022:

  • When Putin visits Iran, he will meet with Turkey’s leader, a middleman in Ukraine diplomacy.

  • Zelensky’s decision to replace two top officials spotlights a shadow war over security networks.

  • U.S. aid chief criticizes China’s ‘absence’ in a food crisis stoked by Russia’s invasion.

  • Russia’s main independent TV network gets relaunched in Europe.

  • Russia fines Google for failing to remove news it calls ‘fake.’

  • E.U. bans Russian gold and reimburses countries for weapons sent to Ukraine.

  • A family reunites in Bucha, and comes to grips with war’s traumas.

Russia-Ukraine war: A weekly recap and look ahead (July 18), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 18 July 2022:

As the week begins, here’s a roundup of key developments from the past week and a look ahead.

What to watch this week:

On Monday, European Union foreign ministers meet in Brussels to discuss continued financial and military support for Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit Iran on Tuesday. He’s expected to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as Iran’s leaders. A subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee will focus Wednesday on ‘accountability for atrocity crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.’

What happened last week:

July 11: On the same day that Russian forces attacked Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Russian President Vladimir Putin expanded fast-track Russian citizenship to all Ukrainians.  July 12: The Ukrainian military reported that it destroyed a Russian ammunition depot in southern Ukraine in a rocket strike. Russia said the massive blast occurred when a mineral fertilizer storage facility exploded. July 13: Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations met in Istanbul to try and hammer out an agreement to resume Ukrainian grain exports across the Black Sea. July 14: Russian missiles struck Vinnytsia, in central Ukraine, killing more than 20 people and wounding more than 100. On the same day, at a meeting at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, 45 countries pledged to cooperate in investigating possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine. July 15: A separatist official announced the death of British citizen Paul Ureydetained in April by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine who accused him of being a mercenary. Urey died on July 10, the Donetsk official said. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Urey was ‘undertaking humanitarian work.’ July 16: Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered the Russian military to ‘further intensify the actions of units in all operational areas,’ the defense ministry said. July 17: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fired two senior officials, the state security chief and prosecutor general, alleging collaboration with Russian forces and treason by their employees.”

Georgia Representative Jody Hice Subpoenaed in an Ongoing Criminal Investigation by Prosecutors in Georgia Into Election Interference by Donald J. Trump and His Allies, The New York Times, Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim, Monday, 18 July 2022: “It is unclear what kind of information prosecutors are seeking, but Mr. Hice, a Republican, has been one of the most conspicuous proponents of false claims that Mr. Trump was the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Mr. Hice, whose district is east of Atlanta, is seeking to challenge the subpoena in federal court, arguing in a new legal filing that his status as a congressman gives him special protections from state proceedings. He has been a stalwart ally of Mr. Trump and led a January 2021 challenge in the House of Representatives to the certification of Georgia’s electors. Earlier this year, he lost a Trump-backed primary challenge to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who has had a fractious relationship with the former president. The subpoena, included in the court filing, demands Mr. Hice’s presence on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. before the special grand jury in a downtown Atlanta courtroom.”

Pulitzer board rejects Trump’s challenge to stories in The Washington Post and The New York Times. After a complaint from the former president, the board took the unusual step of reviewing the stories–and deciding they were indeed worthy of their prizes. The Washington Post, Paul Farhi, Monday, 18 July 2022: “The board that administers the Pulitzer Prizes rejected former president Donald Trump’s request to rescind the 2018 prizes awarded to The Washington Post and the New York Times for their reporting about his campaign and administration’s connections to Russia election interference. Trump challenged the awards on three occasions, including last year, arguing that the articles were based on ‘false reporting of a non-existent link between the Kremlin and the Trump Campaign.’ He called the stories ‘no more than a politically motivated farce which attempted to spin a false narrative that my campaign supposedly colluded with Russia despite a complete lack of evidence underpinning this allegation.’ The Pulitzer board rejected that claim on Monday after undertaking the journalistic equivalent of a state election recount. In an unusual move, it authorized two independent reviews of the articles submitted by the newspapers — and essentially recertified the results. ‘The separate reviews converged in their conclusions: that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes,’ it said in a statement. Trump has long chafed at any suggestion that his surprising electoral victory in 2016 was aided by the Russian government, or that his campaign had acted in concert with Russian operatives seeking his election over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He repeatedly called investigative efforts — including by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — a ‘witch hunt,’ and the focus on it as ‘Russia, Russia, Russia.’ Teams of reporters at The Post and Times produced substantial evidence of connections in the 10 prizewinning articles that each submitted for Pulitzer consideration.”


Tuesday, 19 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: White House again warns that Putin is planning to annex Ukrainian territory; Russia and Ukraine undertake more diplomatic outreach, The Washington Post, David Walker, Grace Moon, Claire Parker, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “As the White House reiterated warnings that Moscow is planning to annex Ukrainian territory, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Iran and Ukraine’s first lady traveled to Washington. Here’s the latest on the war and the diplomatic outreach on opposite sides of the world.

  • The White House again warned that Russia is planning to annex large swaths of Ukraine, much of which it has taken during its five-month war. Moscow is rolling out ‘an annexation playbook,’ National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday, that includes installing ‘illegitimate proxy officials’ and sham referendums. The plan is focused on the Donbas region, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, Kirby said. U.S. and Ukrainian officials have previously issued similar warnings.
  • Putin arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for a rare foreign visit, a sign of deepening ties between Russia and Iran as both countries struggle under Western sanctions. Putin met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader. He also met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran, raising hopes that the premiers could make more progress on ending Russia’s blockade on grain shipments from Ukrainian ports. The trip comes after President Biden visited Israel and Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rivals. Despite Putin’s talk of growing cooperation between Russia and Iran, U.S. officials said they have not yet seen evidence that Tehran has provided armed drones to Moscow for its war in Ukraine, a possibility they’ve warned about for weeks.
  • Speaking to reporters in Tehran, Putin again sought to cast the Ukrainian government as the biggest obstacle to peace, accusing Kyiv of being unwilling to meet the terms of a preliminary agreement he said was reached in March. Ukrainian officials, however, have said they would not give up territory in exchange for a cease-fire deal. Western diplomats say negotiations remain stalled and that if Russia was sincere about ending its war, it could simply withdraw its troops.
  • Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, is on a high-profile trip to Washington. She met first lady Jill Biden at the White House on Tuesday afternoon and will address Congress on Wednesday. Zelenska, who says her family has been ‘torn apart’ by the war, also discussed her country’s dire humanitarian situation with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday continued his purge of the country’s security services, the SBU, announcing the dismissal of one of the agency’s deputy directors. The latest firing comes after Zelensky removed the SBU’s head and Ukraine’s prosecutor general, two of its highest-profile law enforcement officials. Zelensky said they failed to root out ‘treason and collaboration activities’ in their departments.

Russia-Ukraine War: U.S. Warns That Russia Plans to Annex Captured Territory in Ukraine. A White House official said Russia was using a playbook it established in Crimea eight years ago. The war in Ukraine has also brought Russia and Iran far closer. The New York Times, Tuesday, 19 July 2022:

  • Russia plans to annex territory it controls in Ukraine, a U.S. official says.

  • Iran’s supreme leader gives Putin a strong endorsement of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

  • Russian fighter jet strikes homes in Sloviansk as Moscow’s offensive in Donetsk advances.

  • A Mariupol teen wrapped in the Ukrainian flag has become a symbol of resistance.

  • Ukraine’s first lady meets with Jill Biden (and receives flowers from President Biden).

  • The highest-ranked Russian in women’s tennis calls the war ‘a full-blown nightmare.’

  • Long-range artillery supplied by the United States has started to alter Ukraine’s battlefield dynamics.

  • Intelligence agencies say Russia is a threat to the 2022 midterm elections.

House Moves to Protect Same-Sex Marriage From Supreme Court Reversal. The legislation, which garnered some Republican support, would recognize same-sex marriages at the federal level. It faces an uncertain path in the Senate. The New York Times, Stephanie Lai, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “The House on Tuesday passed a bill that would recognize same-sex marriages at the federal level, with a bipartisan coalition supporting a measure that addresses growing concerns that a conservative Supreme Court could nullify marriage equality. Forty-seven Republicans joined Democrats in backing the bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify the federal protections for same-sex couples that were put in place in 2015, when the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges established same-sex marriage as a right under the 14th Amendment. It is a direct answer to Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in last month’s ruling that overturned federal abortion rights, in which he wrote that Obergefell and similar cases should be reconsidered. The support among House Republicans, although far from a majority, was remarkable in a party that for decades has made social conservatism a litmus test, and it suggested the beginnings of a shift in Congress that mirrors a broader acceptance of same-sex marriage as settled law. The party’s leaders split on the bill. The top two Republicans, Representatives Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, voted no. But the No. 3 Republican, Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, joined Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the G.O.P. campaign committee chairman, to vote in favor. Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming also voted for the bill. Still, more than three quarters of the party opposed the bill, which passed in a vote of 267 to 157. The measure faces an uncertain path in the evenly divided Senate, where it was not clear if it could draw the support of the 10 Republicans needed to move it forward. But Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, declined on Tuesday to state a position on the bill.” See also, House passes protection for same-sex and interracial marriages with bipartisan support, The Washington Post, Marianna Sotomayor, Leigh Ann Caldwell, and Paul Kane, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “A bill that would federally protect same-sex marriages sailed through the House on Tuesday with bipartisan support, a historic moment that marks a capstone to the nation’s quarter-century evolution on LGBTQ rights and a response to fears that an emboldened Supreme Court was poised to take away hard-won civil rights. Forty-seven Republicans joined all Democrats in support of the Respect for Marriage Act that also would protect interracial marriage and repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer (Minn.) were among those who voted in support, a signal that at least a portion of the party believes marriage equality is settled law.”

Prosecutors in Atlanta Have Informed 16 Trump Supporters Who Formed an Alternate Slate of 2020 Presidential Electors From Georgia That They Could Face Charges in an Ongoing Criminal Investigation Into Election Interference, Underscoring the Risk of Criminal Charges That Donald J. Trump and Many of His Allies May Be Facing in the State, The New York Times, Danny Hakim, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “The revelations were included in court filings released on Tuesday in an investigation being led by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County. They showed that while much attention has been focused on the House hearings in Washington into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and the extent to which the Justice Department will investigate, it is a local prosecutor in Atlanta who may put Mr. Trump and his circle of allies in the most immediate legal peril. ‘This is a sign of a dramatic acceleration of her work,’ said Norman Eisen, who served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the first Trump impeachment. He added that prosecutors typically work their way ‘up the food chain, so usually the first wave of target letters is not the last.’ A special grand jury is looking into a range of potential issues, including the creation of a slate of 16 pro-Trump electors in the weeks after the election in an attempt to circumvent President Biden’s victory in the state. The district attorney is seeking testimony from a number of Mr. Trump’s lawyers and allies, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has emerged as a central figure in the case, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, whose lawyers agreed on Tuesday to have their objections heard in a court in Georgia instead of South Carolina or Washington. Some legal observers have argued that Mr. Trump’s actions put him at risk of being indicted on charges of violating relatively straightforward Georgia criminal statutes, including criminal solicitation to commit election fraud — most notably his postelection phone calls to Georgia officials like Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state, whom he pressured ‘to find 11,780 votes,’ enough to reverse the election results. A 114-page Brookings Institution analysis of the case, co-authored by Mr. Eisen, found Mr. Trump ‘at substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes.'” See also, False Georgia electors are deemed targets of District Attorney criminal probe. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis indicated the determination while fending off an effort by one of those targets to disqualify her from leading the grand jury investigation. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “The 16 Republicans who falsely signed certificates claiming to be Georgia’s valid presidential electors have been deemed criminal ‘targets’ by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. Willis indicated this determination in a court filing on Tuesday fending off a legal effort by one of those targets, Burt Jones, to disqualify her from leading the grand jury investigation. Jones, who is running to become Georgia’s lieutenant governor, had contended that Willis’ actions were politically motivated, citing her political support for Jones’ opponent. But Willis said that Jones couldn’t show he was targeted over politics — and that, in fact, she had treated all 16 of the false Republican electors equally.”

Sources say Secret Service turned over just one text message to January 6 House Select Committee. The House committee wants all communications from the day before and the day of the Capitol attack, but the agency indicates such messages are lost. The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “The Secret Service turned over just one text message to the House January 6 committee on Tuesday, in response to a subpoena compelling the production of all communications from the day before and the day of the US Capitol attack, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The Secret Service told the panel the single text was the only message responsive to the subpoena, the sources said, and while the agency vowed to conduct a forensic search for any other text or phone records, it indicated such messages were likely to prove irrecoverable. House investigators also learned that the texts were seemingly lost as part of an agency-wide reset of phones on 27 January 2021, the sources said – 11 days after Congress first requested the communications and two days after agents were reminded to back up their phones. The disclosures were worse than the committee had anticipated, the sources said. The panel had hoped to receive more than a single text and was dismayed to learn that the messages were lost even after they had been requested for congressional investigations. It marked a damaging day for the Secret Service, which is required to preserve records like any other executive branch agency, and now finds itself in the crosshairs of the select committee examining its response with respect to the Capitol attack.” See also, The U.S. Secret Service has determined it has no new texts to provide Congress relevant to its January 6 investigation and that any other texts its agents exchanged around the time of the 2021 attack on the Capitol were purged, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “Also, the National Archives on Tuesday sought more information on ‘the potential unauthorized deletion’ of agency text messages. The U.S. government’s chief record-keeper asked the Secret Service to report back to the Archives within 30 days about the deletion of any records, including describing what was purged and the circumstances of how the documentation was lost. The law enforcement agency, whose agents have been embroiled in the Jan. 6 investigation because of their role shadowing and planning President Donald Trump’s movements that day, is expected to share this conclusion with the Jan. 6 committee in response to its Friday subpoena for texts and other records. The agency, which made this determination after reviewing its communication databases over the past four days, will provide thousands of records, but nearly all of them have been shared previously with an agency watchdog and congressional committees, the senior official said. None is expected to shed new light on the key matters the committee is probing, including whether Trump attacked a Secret Service agent, an account a senior White House aide described to the Jan. 6 committee.” See also, Secret Service Says Some Missing January 6 Texts Are Unlikely to Be Recovered. The House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol had subpoenaed text messages from the agents’ phones and other materials. The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “The Secret Service said it may not be able to recover a batch of erased text messages from phones used by its agents around the time of the attack on the Capitol last year, a development that comes amid intensified scrutiny over lapses in the agency’s accounting of its actions during the riots. The Secret Service informed the House Jan. 6 committee that it was still attempting a forensic search for the phone records on Tuesday morning, when it delivered not the missing text messages the panel was seeking but ‘thousands of pages of documents’ and other records related to decisions made on Jan. 6, according to the agency’s spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi. Later, in an interview, Mr. Guglielmi said the phone records were probably not recoverable. The committee had subpoenaed the missing text messages and other material from the Secret Service after it was told by the inspector general for the service’s parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, that the agency was unable to produce some text messages from its agents’ phones from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021.” See also, The National Archives is looking into reports that the Secret Service deleted texts, NPR, Washington Desk, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “Reports that the Secret Service deleted text messages related to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack have caught the attention of the chief records officer of the U.S. Government. That officer, Laurence Brewer, said in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday that the National Archives and Records Administration ‘has become aware of the potential unauthorized deletion of United States Secret Service (Secret Service) text messages’ that were dated Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021. If the department determines any messages were improperly deleted, then Homeland Security must send the National Archives a report describing the messages as well as why they were deleted and how the agency attempted to salvage them, Brewer wrote. The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, who is looking into the Capitol insurrection, has notified Congress that after requesting records of texts for the day before and the day after the attack he learned that ‘many of these texts were erased as part of a device-replacement program.’ That has raised serious questions of whether the Secret Service, which protects the president, has destroyed federal records or the Department of Homeland Security obstructed oversight.”

Abortion Provider Prepares Defamation Suit Against Indiana Attorney General. The doctor in the case of a 10-year-old rape victim says the attorney general acted with ‘reckless disregard of the truth.’ The New York Times, Ava Sasani and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “An Indianapolis doctor who provided abortion care to a 10-year-old rape victim is preparing to sue Attorney General Todd Rokita of Indiana for defamation after he said he would investigate her actions in the case, according to a statement released on Tuesday by her lawyer. Dr. Caitlin Bernard earned the ire of conservative lawmakers and pundits after she told The Indianapolis Star about her patient, a 10-year-old girl who crossed state lines from Ohio to receive an abortion. Ohio is one of nearly a dozen states with abortion restrictions that do not make exceptions for rape or incest. The case drew national attention after President Biden mentioned it this month while signing an executive order in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Some on the right — including Mr. Rokita — initially doubted whether the story was true. That speculation was put to rest when Ohio authorities arrested a 27-year-old man and charged him in the rape of the child. Mr. Rokita said he would investigate whether Dr. Bernard reported the child’s abortion to the state. ‘We have this abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report,’ Mr. Rokita said in an appearance on Fox News after the suspect was charged last Wednesday. ‘We’re gathering the evidence as we speak, and we’re going to fight this to the end, including looking at her licensure. If she failed to report it in Indiana, it’s a crime for — to not report, to intentionally not report.’ Records obtained by The New York Times and other news outlets show that Dr. Bernard informed the state of the young patient’s abortion, as is required under Indiana law. In a tort claim notice sent on Tuesday to Mr. Rokita and filed with the City of Indianapolis, Dr. Bernard’s lawyer, Kathleen A. DeLaney, said a quick check of Indiana’s electronic licensing registry showed that Dr. Bernard’s license was ‘active with no disciplinary history.’ ‘Mr. Rokita either knew the statements were false or acted with reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the statements,’ the claim notice says. The claim is the first step in the process to potentially filing a defamation suit against Mr. Rokita. The notice that Ms. DeLaney filed on Tuesday triggers a 90-day investigative period for the state to settle the claim, after which a lawsuit can be filed, she said in the statement.” See also, Complaint filed by Lauren Robel, the former dean of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, says Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s comments endangered abortion provider Caitlin Bernard, The Washington Post, María Luisa Paúl and Kim Bellware, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “A misconduct complaint alleges Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita intended to ‘harass and intimidate’ doctors who perform abortions when he publicly cast doubts about whether an Indianapolis OB/GYN complied with state law after helping a 10-year-old rape victim terminate a pregnancy. The newly filed complaint against Indiana’s top prosecutor is expected to trigger a probe by the state’s Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission after Rokita, a Republican, claimed last week on Fox News that physician Caitlin Bernard had a ‘history of failing to report’ abortions in child-abuse cases and rapidly launched an investigation into her licensure. A record obtained by The Washington Post showed that Bernard, who administered the abortion medication to a girl forced to travel from her home state of Ohio for the service, reported the incident to relevant state agencies as required by Indiana law. Kathleen DeLaney, an attorney for Bernard, told The Post on Monday that Rokita’s actions have ‘touched a nerve’ in the legal community for what she called a blatant ethical violation. ‘As the highest-ranking lawyer in Indiana, Todd Rokita should be held to a high standard of legal conduct and ethical behavior, and both his comments and the continued presence of his baseless claims on his state-run website suggest that a disciplinary investigation is warranted,’ DeLaney said.”

This month, July 2022, Trump phoned Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to urge him to decertify Biden’s 2020 election win, CNBC, Dan Mangan, Tuesday, 19 July 2022: “Former President Donald Trump this month called Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and urged him to decertify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election win in that state, Vos said in a new interview Tuesday. ‘It’s very consistent. He makes his case, which I respect,’ Vos told WISN-TV 12 News in Milwaukee. ‘He would like us to do something different in Wisconsin. I explained that it’s not allowed under the Constitution,’ Vos said. ‘He has a different opinion.’ The Republican lawmaker said in the same interview that Trump on July 9 posted a message on Truth Social, his social media platform, calling on the Wisconsin legislature to ‘turn over the election to the actual winner,’ by recalling the state’s slate of 10 Electoral College delegates, who cast their votes for Biden. Vos has consistently said that his state’s legislature does not have the authority to rescind the votes of a slate of electors despite claims by some GOP lawmakers that it does.” See also, Trump called Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos ‘within the last week’ to overturn Wisconsin election results, The Washington Post, Timothy Bella and Patrick Marley, published on Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “Wisconsin’s Republican house speaker said Tuesday that former president Donald Trump called him ‘within the last week’ seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election that Joe Biden won. Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) told WISN in Milwaukee that he received a call from Trump after the state Supreme Court ruled on July 8 that most absentee ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin are illegal. The ruling addresses future elections, not the one Trump lost in 2020 by more than 20,000 votes in Wisconsin.” See also, Trump Urged Robin Vos, the Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, to Overturn His 2020 Defeat in Wisconsin. Trump phoned Vos on July 9 and pushed him to support a resolution to retract the state’s 10 electoral votes for President Biden. The New York Times, Michael C. Bender and Reid J. Epstein, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “Donald J. Trump called a top Republican in the State Legislature in Wisconsin in recent days to lobby for a measure that would overturn his 2020 loss in the state to President Biden, the latest signal that the former president remains undaunted by congressional and criminal investigations into his election meddling. Mr. Trump’s advisers said the former president saw an opening to press the Republican official, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, after a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling prohibited the use of most drop boxes for voters returning absentee ballots. Since drop boxes were used during the 2020 election, Mr. Trump argued, the state should be able to invalidate the results of that election. He pushed Mr. Vos to support a resolution that would retract the state’s 10 electoral votes cast for Mr. Biden. Mr. Trump’s advisers said the phone call took place on July 9 — the day after the court issued its opinion. There is no mechanism in Wisconsin law to rescind the state’s electoral votes, nor does the United States Constitution allow for a state’s presidential election to be overturned after Congress has accepted the results. Still, Mr. Trump has persisted. Mr. Vos has repeatedly told Mr. Trump and his allies that decertifying the former president’s loss would violate the state’s Constitution.”

14 key moments from the January 6 House select committee hearings–so far, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, Tuesday, 19 July 2022.

How ‘Stop the Steal’ Captured the American Right. The movement to reinstate President Trump has gone far beyond him–and now threatens the future of American elections. The New York Times, Charles Homans, Tuesday, 19 July 2022.


Wednesday, 20 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia expands territorial ambitions as U.S. weighs sending fighter jets to Kyiv, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Ellen Francis, Sean Fanning, Grace Moon, and Karina Tsui, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “Moscow has expanded its territorial ambitions in Ukraine, Russia’s foreign minister said Wednesday, in one of the most explicit signals yet that the Kremlin will attempt to seize land beyond the country’s eastern Donbas region. The proclamation followed a warning from the White House that Russia plans to annex swaths of Ukraine’s east and south. As Moscow broadened its war aims, U.S. officials weighed providing Ukraine with new fighter jets and the training necessary to operate them, a step that would deepen Western involvement in the war and fulfill persistent requests from Kyiv for more weapons.

  • E.U. countries on Wednesday approved their seventh round of sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine, according to two E.U. diplomats. The latest measures ban gold imports, list new individuals and entities, and seek to improve implementation of existing sanctions. But these sanctions do not take aim at natural gas imports from Russia, a major source of revenue for the Kremlin.
  • Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska addressed Congress on Wednesday, making a rare personal appeal to the United States to provide Ukraine with air defense systems. ‘I am asking for weapons — weapons that will not be used to wage a war on somebody else’s land but to protect one’s home,’ Zelenska said. Congress approved a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine in May, which included $20 billion in military aid.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russian state media that Moscow’s territorial goals extend beyond the eastern Donbas region. He said Russia will push its geographical objectives in the war farther if the West continues to supply long-range weapons to Kyiv.
  • But even as Russia telegraphed its growing territorial ambitions in Ukraine, the top-ranking U.S. military officer said the Donbas region is ‘not lost yet.’ Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, disclosed the assessment in a news briefing Wednesday, responding to a reporter’s question about the fate of Ukraine’s easternmost region, where Russia has so far concentrated much of its combat effort.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said there was some progress on grain exports after meeting in Tehran with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but he did not elaborate. U.N.-backed talks have sought to lift Russian blockades of Black Sea ports to get Ukrainian grain flowing again and ease a global food crisis.

Russia-Ukraine War: Kyiv Intensifies Attacks on Russian Positions in South. Russia’s foreign minister said his country’s territorial ambitions have expanded beyond Ukraine’s eastern provinces to parts of its south. In Brussels, the European Commission proposed rationing natural gas. The New York Times, Wednesday, 20 July 2022:

  • Ukraine steps up attacks on key Russian targets in the south.

  • Russia’s territorial aims in Ukraine have expanded, the foreign minister says.

  • The U.S. is sending more rocket launchers that Ukraine says are key to fighting Russia.

  • Ukraine’s first lady tells the U.S. Congress that ‘Russia is destroying our people.’

  • European nations are asked to cut their use of natural gas 15 percent until next spring.

  • The C.I.A. director says Putin believes the U.S. will forget about Ukraine.

  • International creditors give Ukraine more time to make debt repayments.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, the Secret Service watchdog agency, knew in February that texts had been purged, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “A watchdog agency learned in February that the Secret Service had purged nearly all cellphone texts from around the time of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, but chose not to alert Congress, according to three people briefed on the internal discussions. That watchdog agency, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, also prepared in October 2021 to issue a public alert that the Secret Service and other department divisions were stonewalling it on requests for records and texts surrounding the attack on the Capitol, but did not do so, the people briefed on the matter said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal investigations. The previously unreported revelation about the inspector general’s months-long delay in flagging the now-vanished Secret Service texts came from two whistleblowers who have worked with Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari, the people knowledgeable about the internal discussions said. In recent days, one former employee approached the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), an independent government-accountability group, and described the decision from Cuffari’s office not to promptly disclose that Secret Service records had been wiped from agency phones starting in January 2021. The group relayed the information to congressional staff, who independently corroborated the account with a second whistleblower. The congressional staff and two whistleblowers shared a concern that Cuffari’s office not alerting congressional investigators to the missing records reduced the chances of recovering critical pieces of evidence related to the Jan. 6 attack. The purged texts of Secret Service agents — some of whom planned President Donald Trump’s movements on Jan. 6 and shadowed Trump as he sought to overturn the election results — could shed light on what Trump was planning and saying. ‘It’s a dereliction of duty to keep the public and Congress in the dark for months,’ said POGO senior investigator Nick Schwellenbach. ‘Digital forensics experts could have been working to recover these lost texts a long time ago.'”

Bipartisan Senate Group Strikes Deal to Rewrite Electoral Count Act. The changes outlined by the senators are intended to prevent a repeat of the effort on January 6, 2021, to overturn the presidential election in Congress. The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “A bipartisan group of senators proposed new legislation on Wednesday to modernize the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act, working to overhaul a law that President Donald J. Trump tried to abuse on Jan. 6, 2021, to interfere with Congress’s certification of his election defeat. The legislation aims to guarantee a peaceful transition from one president to the next, after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol exposed how the current law could be manipulated to disrupt the process. One measure would make it more difficult for lawmakers to challenge a state’s electoral votes when Congress meets to count them. It would also clarify that the vice president has no discretion over the results, and it would set out the steps to begin a presidential transition. A second bill would increase penalties for threats and intimidation of election officials, seek to improve the Postal Service’s handling of mail-in ballots and renew for five years an independent federal agency that helps states administer and secure federal elections. While passage of the legislation cannot guarantee that a repeat of Jan. 6 will not occur in the future, its authors believe that a rewrite of the antiquated law, particularly the provisions related to the vice president’s role, could discourage such efforts and make it more difficult to disrupt the vote count.” See also, A bipartisan Senate group announces a deal on reforming the Electoral Count Act, NPR, Barbara Sprunt, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “After months of negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday announced two proposals related to election administration, including one to reform the Electoral Count Act, a widely criticized 1887 law that governs the process of casting and counting Electoral College votes and that came under fresh scrutiny following attempts to invalidate the presidential election results on Jan. 6, 2021. The plans were announced a day ahead of the House select committee’s final scheduled prime time hearing on its investigation into the Capitol insurrection.” See also, Trump wanted Pence to reject votes for Biden. A new bill would prevent that. The proposed legislation, titled the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Act, states that the role of the vice president in counting electoral votes is purely ceremonial. The Washington Post, Leigh Ann Caldwell, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “A bipartisan group of 16 senators on Wednesday released legislation that would clarify an 1887 law that President Donald Trump and his allies tried to use as part of their attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. The legislation, which comes after months of negotiations, would more clearly define the role of states, presidential electors and the vice president in a presidential election, in an effort to prevent the events of Jan. 6, 2021, from happening again. Although the senators said the work of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol did not influence their talks or impact the timing, the legislation was released as the committee has laid out evidence showing how Trump and his allies tried to exploit the vagueness of the 19th-century law, the Electoral Count Act. Trump pressured Vice President Mike Pence to reject votes for Joe Biden from certain states by recognizing informal slates of electors for Trump instead, but Pence disagreed that he had the legal authority to do so and worked to certify Biden as the winner of the election.” See also, Bipartisan group of senators cuts deal to change election laws in response to January 6 attack, CNN Politics, Manu Raju and Clare Foran, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal to make it harder to overturn a certified presidential election, marking the most significant response by Congress to former President Donald Trump’s relentless pressure campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The proposal still needs to be approved by both chambers and will need 60 votes in the Senate to break any filibuster attempt, meaning at least 10 Republicans would be needed to support any legislation. Announcement of the plan kicks off what is expected to be a challenging, months-long process to get the deal passed into law before the end of the year.”

New Findings Detail Trump Plan to Use Census for Partisan Gain. A new trove of memos and emails suggests that the plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census aimed to cause an undercount that would favor Republicans. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “A new stash of documents obtained by Congress has confirmed that the Trump administration pushed to add a citizenship question to the census to help Republicans win elections, not to protect people’s voting rights, a House committee report concluded on Wednesday. The report from the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the culmination of a yearslong investigation, detailed new findings based on drafts of internal memos and secret email communications between political appointees at the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, and counterparts in the Justice Department. The documents provided the most definitive evidence yet that the Trump administration aimed to exclude noncitizens from the count to influence congressional apportionment that would benefit the Republican Party, the report concluded, and that senior officials used a false pretext to build a legal case for asking all residents of the United States whether they were American citizens. Former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had said in congressional testimony that the government decided to add the question because it required more accurate data on citizenship to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But the Supreme Court in June 2019 ruled that the rationale ‘appears to have been contrived,’ and a week later the Trump administration abandoned its quest to ask about citizenship in the 2020 census. Still, a protracted fight between the House committee and former President Donald J. Trump over the release of a trove of documents that might shed light on the matter stretched to the end of his term. After Mr. Trump left office, the committee entered into an agreement with the Commerce and Justice Departments to obtain the previously withheld documents. ‘For years, the Trump administration delayed and obstructed the oversight committee’s investigation into the true reason for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, even after the Supreme Court ruled the administration’s efforts were illegal,’ said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, chairwoman of the committee.” See also, Previously unreleased internal communications indicate the Trump administration tried to add a citizenship question to the census with the goal of affecting congressional apportionment, according to a report issued Wednesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The Washington Post, Tara Bahrampour, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “The documents appear to contradict statements made under oath by then-Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who told the committee that the push for a citizenship question was unrelated to apportionment and the reason for adding it was to help enforce the Voting Rights Act. The nearly 500 documents include several drafts of an August 2017 memorandum prepared by a Commerce Department lawyer and political appointee, James Uthmeier, in which he initially warned that using a citizenship question for apportionment would probably be illegal and violate the constitution, the report said. In later drafts, Uthmeier and another political appointee, Earl Comstock, revised the draft to say there was ‘nothing illegal or unconstitutional about adding a citizenship question’ and claiming the Founding Fathers ‘intended the apportionment count to be based on legal inhabitants,’ the report said. In December 2017, the Justice Department sent a formal request to the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, asking it to add the question; in March 2018, Ross announced it would be added to the 2020 Census. ‘Today’s Committee memo pulls back the curtain on this shameful conduct and shows clearly how the Trump Administration secretly tried to manipulate the census for political gain while lying to the public and Congress about their goals,’ Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. The administration’s effort to add the question lasted two years. It was challenged by civil rights groups who blasted it as an effort to undercount Latinos and scare immigrant communities from participating in a survey that determines congressional apportionment and redistricting, as well as the disbursement of $1.5 trillion in federal funds annually.”

Rudy Giuliani Ordered to Testify in Georgia Criminal Investigation. After Giuliani failed to show for a hearing in Manhattan, a Georgia judge ordered him to testify as part of an investigation into election interference in the state. The New York Times, Danny Hakim and Richard Fausset, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “A Georgia judge ordered Rudolph W. Giuliani to testify in Atlanta next month in an ongoing criminal investigation into election interference by former President Donald J. Trump and his advisers and allies, according to court filings released on Wednesday. Some out-of-state witnesses in the case have gone to court to challenge subpoenas or other legal filings seeking to compel their testimony. But after Mr. Giuliani failed to show for a hearing last week in Manhattan, where the matter was to have been adjudicated, Judge Robert C. I. McBurney of the Superior Court of Fulton County ordered him to appear before a special grand jury in Atlanta on Aug. 9. Mr. Giuliani, who spearheaded efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power as his personal lawyer, has emerged as a central figure in the Georgia criminal investigation into efforts to overturn Mr. Trump’s 2020 electoral loss in the state. Fani T. Willis, the prosecutor in Fulton County leading the investigation, has indicated that she is considering conspiracy or racketeering charges, which could take in a broad spectrum of people engaged in multiple efforts to sway the election results.” See also, Judge orders Rudy Giuliani to testify before Fulton grand jury, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tamar Hallerman, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, is being ordered to appear in front of a Fulton County special grand jury next month after failing to attend a hearing in New York to challenge a recent subpoena. A court filing submitted Wednesday morning stated that Giuliani didn’t appear before New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber on July 13 to argue why the court shouldn’t honor the Georgia subpoena, technically known as a certificate of material witness. As a result, Farber ordered Giuliani to appear and testify before the Fulton grand jury beginning on Aug. 9, ‘and on any such other dates as this Court may order.’… Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Wednesday said she’s ‘grateful to the prosecutors and investigators in District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, who efficiently and effectively secured a New York court order compelling Mr. Giuliani, an important witness, to appear before the Fulton County Special Purpose Grand Jury. ‘”

House Select Committee finds Trump’s choices escalated tensions and set the U.S. on the path to the January 6 violent insurrection. Across seven hearings, the panel’s findings have illustrated how the president repeatedly escalated tensions following his election defeat. The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “Donald Trump had already been told by his campaign manager, his top campaign lawyer and his lead data analyst that he had lost the presidential election when he was visited by his attorney general on Dec. 1, 2020. William P. Barr was a steadfast Trump ally. But in the Oval Office that afternoon, he had no solace to offer the president. He told Trump that claims of 2020 voter fraud were ‘complete nonsense,’ ‘crazy stuff,’ ‘a grave disservice to the country,’ he later recounted. They were ‘bullshit.’ In an interview with the Associated Press that day, he offered the country the same conclusion, though in less profane terms: The Justice Department had found no evidence sufficient to overturn Joe Biden’s election win. Trump could have accepted what Barr later termed ‘reality.’ But inside the White House, the AP story was met with presidential fury. Sitting inside the ornate West Wing dining room, Trump threw his lunch, shattering a porcelain dish and leaving ketchup dripping down the wall. That account came from a White House aide who testified to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, which over seven public hearings this summer has laid out an elaborate case with a stark conclusion: It was Donald Trump himself who repeatedly set the nation on the path to violence in the weeks after he lost reelection.”

Former Trump White House aide Garrett Ziegler who met with January 6 House Select Committee attacks witnesses and law makers in profane and sexist rant, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen and Hannah Rabinowitz, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “A former Trump White House aide who met with the January 6 committee earlier this week went on a profane and sexist rant on a livestream after his testimony, where he railed against the lawmakers and attacked other witnesses, according to audio posted to his Telegram. The aide, Garrett Ziegler, met with the House panel on Tuesday. Lawmakers were likely interested in hearing from him because of his ties to one of the most shocking episodes of the 2020 election saga: A White House meeting where then-President Donald Trump’s outside allies tried to convince him to declare martial law and use the military to seize voting machines. In the 27-minute livestream, Ziegler used vulgar and misogynistic language to attack Cassidy Hutchinson and Alyssa Farah Griffin, two women who worked for the Trump White House but have since publicly broken from the former President and cooperated with the January 6 panel. He also accused the January 6 House select committee of being ‘anti-White,’ without any evidence. (The nine-member panel is led by Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, who is Black.) ‘They’re Bolsheviks,’ Ziegler said in the stream, referring to the far-left communists who led the Soviet Union, ‘so, they probably do hate the American founders and most White people in general. This is a Bolshevistic anti-White campaign. If you can’t see that, your eyes are freaking closed. And so, they see me as a young Christian who they can try to basically scare, right?'” See also, Trump White House aide Garrett Ziegler goes on sexist tirade and calls the January 6 House Select Committee ‘anti-White,’ The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, published on Thursday, 21 July 2022: “A Trump administration aide who met with the House Jan. 6 committee this week unleashed a 27-minute inflammatory tirade, calling the lawmakers’ investigation into the Capitol riot racist against White people and using sexist slurs to describe his former colleagues who also testified. Garrett Ziegler, a former aide to President Donald Trump’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, revealed on his Telegram page that he appeared Tuesday before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Hours later, Ziegler said without evidence that he was being targeted due to his race and posted a lengthy audio file calling the probe ‘a Bolshevistic anti-White campaign.’ ‘If you can’t see that, your eyes are freaking closed,’ Ziegler said. The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League noted that Ziegler’s words are ‘often used as a code for Jews.’ ‘They see me as a young Christian who they can try to basically scare, right? And so, today was just a lot of saying that I invoke my right to silence,’ Ziegler said, while insisting he is ‘the least-racist person that many of you have ever met, by the way. I have no bigotry.’ Ziegler also lashed out at former White House colleagues Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Alyssa Farah Griffin, an ex-White House communications director, who have both testified before the committee. He used sexist and offensive slang words to describe them and said they are ‘just terrible.'”

Biden vows to act on climate if Congress won’t. As heat waves rock the globe and Congress fails to act, Biden promises action in an impassioned speech. But he holds back on declaring an emergency in hopes of an 11th hour congressional deal. The Washington Post, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Tony Romm, and Anna Phillips, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “President Biden, facing pressure to take stronger action on climate change as temperatures climb around the world, called the climate crisis an ’emergency’ and a ‘clear and present danger’ Wednesday, vowing to use the power of the presidency to respond if Congress fails to act. Biden announced a plan to open large areas off the U.S. coast to wind farms, but he stopped short of formally declaring a climate emergency or laying out a fuller array of proposals. His climate package has suffered setbacks in Congress recently, but the White House continues to hold out hope for a last-minute deal before Biden moves ahead with a sweeping executive order. ‘Let me be clear: Climate change is an emergency,’ Biden said. ‘In the coming weeks, I’m going to use my power to turn these words into formal, official government actions. When it comes to fighting climate change, I will not take “no” for an answer.'” See also, Facing legislative failure, Biden announces incremental climate initiatives, NPR, Eric McDaniel, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “As President Biden’s climate ambitions continue to languish in the Senate, he traveled to the site of a former coal power plant in Massachusetts to announce new funding designed to help communities bear extreme heat, as well as tout the country’s developing offshore wind industry. ‘As president, I have the responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger. And that’s what climate change is about,’ Biden said. ‘It is literally — not figuratively — a clear and present danger.’ Biden announced $2.3 billion for the Federal Emergency Management’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities initiative, which supports projects in communities designed to reduce the risks posed by extreme weather events.” See also, Biden Announces Plans to Deal With Climate ‘Emergency.’ The president stopped short of declaring a national emergency and instead announced several steps aimed at dealing with the effects of climate change. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Lisa Friedman, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “President Biden said on Wednesday that he would expand existing federal programs to help Americans cope with the extreme heat wrought by climate change, even as he faces intensifying pressure to take aggressive action to cut the fossil fuel emissions that are dangerously warming the planet. The measures fell short of the types of executive action an increasing number of Democrats have called on Mr. Biden to take in the wake of last week’s decision by Sen. Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, to walk away from clean energy legislation in the Senate. That decision effectively doomed the centerpiece of Mr. Biden’s climate change agenda, leaving Democrats and Mr. Biden searching for other ways to achieve their goals. Mr. Manchin’s move followed a June decision by the Supreme Court to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate climate-warming pollution from power plants, dealing a blow to another tool that Mr. Biden had hoped to use. Speaking at a shuttered coal plant in Somerset, Mass., that is being converted into a facility to make wind power components, Mr. Biden insisted that even after the two cornerstones of his climate agenda had crashed and burned, he would use executive authority to rein in heat-trapping fossil fuels.”

Democratic Group Sues the Federal Election Commission Over Trump’s 2024 Hinting. American Bridge claims in a lawsuit that the F.E.C.’s inaction had given Donald J. Trump an unlawful advantage over any Democratic opponent in 2024. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 20 July 2022: “A Democratic super PAC filed a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, seeking to force officials to take action against Donald J. Trump for all but running for president in 2024 without having declared himself a candidate. The suit comes more than four months after the group, American Bridge, lodged a complaint with the F.E.C. against Mr. Trump. The complaint argues that he has been behaving like a 2024 presidential candidate while avoiding the oversight of the commission by not filing a statement of candidacy. For a year, Mr. Trump has held rallies across the country that are ostensibly for Republicans running in local, statewide and congressional races, but during which he talks about himself. He has also given several interviews in which he has sounded like a candidate. When Mr. Trump will make a formal announcement remains uncertain, but he has accelerated his campaign planning in hopes of blunting damaging revelations from investigations into his attempts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election. The group alleges in the lawsuit, filed in Washington, that the agency’s inaction has allowed Mr. Trump to have an advantage as a candidate without a formal campaign committee.”


Thursday, 21 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Turkey says Russia and Ukraine reach deal on blocked grain; E.U. raises interest rates to tackle inflation, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Grace Moon, Karina Tsui, and Reis Thebault, Thursday, 21 July 2022: “Ukraine’s stalled grain exports will soon resume, the Turkish president’s office said Thursday, announcing that a deal between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations will be signed Friday, a significant step toward addressing an increasingly dire global food shortage. And in a rare move, the European Union’s central bank raised its interest rates, the first time it has done so in 11 years, as it seeks to alleviate growing inflation concerns amid the war in Ukraine. The European Central Bank joins financial institutions across the world that have tried to increase borrowing costs enough to cool off inflation without triggering a painful economic slump.

  • The chief of Britain’s intelligence service said Thursday that Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine was likely to ‘run out of steam’ in the coming weeks, amid material and workforce shortages. ‘They will have to pause in some way,’ Richard Moore, the chief of MI6, said in remarks at the Aspen Security Forum. A pause by Russian forces would ‘give the Ukrainians the opportunity to strike back,’ Moore said, in rare public remarks by the serving head of British intelligence.
  • Russian state company Gazprom resumed gas flows to Germany on Thursday. The move eases European fears that a planned maintenance shutdown on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would become permanent. But wider concerns about the energy crisis remain high, and the European Union has asked countries to ration gas before winter.
  • CIA Director William J. Burns said there is no intelligence suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ill. After widespread speculation that the Russian leader is sick, possibly with cancer, Burns quipped that Putin remains ‘entirely too healthy.’ He estimated that 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in the war in Ukraine and as many as 45,000 wounded.

Russia-Ukraine War: Turkey Raises Hopes for a Grain Deal. The Turkish presidency said the pact would be signed on Friday, but Russia and Ukraine did not immediately confirm they had an agreement. If signed, a deal would help alleviate a global grain shortage. The New York Times, Thursday, 21 July 2022:

  • Turkey says a deal between Ukraine and Russia to unblock grain exports will be signed on Friday.

  • Ukraine makes the case that it can win, citing recent successes.

  • Russia seeks to shut down Jewish agency handling emigration to Israel.

  • Russia restarts gas shipments through pipeline, but keeps Germany guessing.

  • Putin is ‘entirely too healthy,’ the C.I.A. director says.

  • Britain’s spy chief says Russian forces are ‘running out of steam.’

  • An E.U. plan to ration natural gas meets with resistance from some member countries.

January 6 House Select Committee Presents Evidence of Trump’s Refusal to Stop the Riot. The committee painted a detailed picture of how, as officials rushed to respond to an attack on the United States government, the commander in chief chose for hours to do nothing. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 21 July 2022: “As a mob of his supporters assaulted the Capitol, former President Donald J. Trump sat in his dining room off the Oval Office, watching the violence on television and choosing to do nothing for hours to stop it, an array of former administration officials testified to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack in accounts laid out on Thursday. In a final public hearing of the summer and one of the most dramatic of the inquiry, the panel provided a panoramic account of how, even as the lives of law enforcement officers, members of Congress and his own vice president were under threat, Mr. Trump could not be moved to act until after it was clear that the riot had failed to disrupt Congress’s session to confirm his election defeat. Even then, the committee showed in never-before-seen footage from the White House, Mr. Trump privately refused to concede — ‘I don’t want to say the election’s over!’ he angrily told aides as he recorded a video message that had been scripted for him the day after the attack — or to condemn the assault on the Capitol as a crime. Calling on a cast of witnesses assembled to make it hard for viewers to dismiss as tools of a partisan witch hunt — top Trump aides, veterans and military leaders, loyal Republicans and even members of Mr. Trump’s own family — the committee established that the president willfully rejected their efforts to persuade him to mobilize a response to the deadliest attack on the Capitol in two centuries. ‘You’re the commander in chief. You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America, and there’s nothing?’ Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, told the panel. ‘No call? Nothing? Zero?’ It was a closing argument of sorts in the case the panel has built against Mr. Trump, one whose central assertion is that the former president was derelict in his duty for failing to do all that he could — or anything at all, for 187 minutes — to call off the assault carried out in his name.” See also, Five takeaways from the eighth hearing of the January 6 House Select Committee, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 21 July 2022.

New video shows Trump refused to say ‘the election’s over’ the day after the violent attack on the Capitol by his supporters, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Mariana Alfaro, Eugene Scott, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Patrick Marley, and John Wagner, Thursday, 21 July 2022: “President Donald Trump resisted pleas from senior aides to call off the mob attacking the Capitol in his name on Jan. 6, 2021, even as members of the security detail for Vice President Pence feared for their lives, the House select committee investigating the insurrection showed in its prime-time hearing Thursday. ‘The mob was accomplishing President Trump’s purpose, so of course he didn’t intervene,’ Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said. ‘President Trump did not fail to act… He chose not to act.’ Kinzinger and Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) — two military veterans — led the hearing and the questioning of two in-person witnesses: Sarah Matthews, Trump’s deputy White House press secretary, and Matthew Pottinger, a former National Security Council official. Both gave an inside look at Trump’s refusals to call off the mob, despite reported pleas to do so from numerous advisers, including his own daughter. Trump ‘did not want to include any sort of mention of peace’ in a tweet aides urged him to send to quell the violence, Matthews testified. The former president also hesitated to vilify the rioters and refused to say ‘the election’s over’ while taping remarks the day after the attack, newly released video showed. Promising additional hearings in September, committee members warned that a failure to hold Trump accountable would critically damage American democracy. ‘There was no ambiguity, no nuance: Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office, to ignore the ongoing violence against law enforcement, to threaten our constitutional order,’ committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said. ‘There is no way to excuse that behavior. It was indefensible.’

  • Several witnesses told the committee over its investigation that Trump did not call the Defense, Justice or Homeland Security departments — or any other agency — to coordinate a response as the attack unfolded. Instead, Trump was calling GOP senators to urge them to object to the electoral vote count, Luria said.
  • The hearing also featured taped testimony from the committee’s interviews with other witnesses, including an unnamed White House security official who said members of Pence’s security detail started to fear for their own lives during the attack. ‘There were calls to say goodbye to family members and so forth,’ said the official, whose voice was disguised.
  • Pence was giving orders to the military to clear the Capitol and stop the violence, according to taped testimony from Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. ‘Get the military down here. Get the guard down here. Put down this situation!’ Pence said, Milley told the committee. Other legislative leaders also were begging Christopher Miller, the acting secretary of defense, to help. Milley said Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, called him to say they needed the ‘narrative’ that Trump was still in charge and making decisions. But Trump wasn’t giving any orders. Pence was.

January 6 House Select Committee shows Trump ‘chose not to act’ as mob terrorized the Capitol. The prime-time hearing of the January 6 committee revealed that the president resisted using the word ‘peace’ in a tweet even as his vice president’s Secret Service agents feared for their lives. The Washington Post, Amy Gardner and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 21 July 2022: “Eleven minutes after he returned to the White House from his speech on the Ellipse urging supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol, President Donald Trump learned that the Jan. 6, 2021, protest had turned violent, according to new details presented Thursday by the House committee investigating the attack that day. But instead of harnessing the power of the Oval Office by ordering military or police intervention or exhorting the rioters to go home, Trump continued to fan the flames of discord — and remained focused on trying to overturn the 2020 election, even as his aides implored him to stop the violence. He demanded a list of senators’ phone numbers to cajole them not to certify the forthcoming electoral college count. He resisted aides’ entreaties that he make a public statement condemning the insurrection. And at 2:24 p.m., the same moment members of his national security staff were learning how close rioters had come to Vice President Mike Pence, Trump tweeted that his second-in-command was a coward. Thursday’s hearing — the eighth in a series over the past six weeks — featured numerous revelations, including testimony that Trump resisted using the word ‘peace’ in a tweet as the Capitol was assaulted; that in the absence of action from the president, Pence was giving orders to the military to stop the attack; that the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, urged the president to tell rioters to leave; and that when Trump taped a message on Jan. 7 condemning the violence, he refused to say that the election was ‘over.’ The committee played harrowing audio from the radio exchanges between the Secret Service agents protecting Pence, who was at the Capitol as rioters sought him out and called for him to be hanged. Pence, as the presiding officer in the Senate, had refused Trump’s demands to reject the counting of the electoral college votes that day, arguing he was not empowered to do anything other than accept the votes of electors appointed by the states.” See also, 4 takeaways from the January 6 hearing on Trump’s actions–and inaction, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Thursday, 21 July 2022. See also, Trump didn’t act and didn’t want to, plus 4 other takeaways from the January 6 hearings, NPR, Demenico Montanaro, published on Friday, 22 July 2022.

First on CNN: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general tells Secret Service to stop investigating potentially missing texts due to ‘ongoing criminal investigation,’ CNN Politics, Whitney Wild and Jeremy Herb, Thursday, 21 July 2022: “The Department of Homeland Security inspector general has informed the Secret Service it is investigating what happened to January 6-related text messages that may have been deleted, describing it as an ‘ongoing criminal investigation’ and directing the agency to stop its internal investigations into the matter, according to a letter reviewed by CNN. ‘This is to notify you that the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has an ongoing investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the collection and preservation of evidence by the United States Secret Service as it relates to the events of January 6, 2021,’ DHS Deputy Inspector General Gladys Ayala wrote in a July 20 letter to Secret Service Director James Murray. The inspector general continued: ‘To ensure the integrity of our investigation, the USSS must not engage in any further investigative activities regarding the collection and preservation of the evidence referenced above. This includes immediately refraining from interviewing potential witnesses, collecting devices or taking any other action that would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.’ The letter adds to the growing tension between the Secret Service and the DHS inspector general over the potentially missing text messages, which are being sought by the House select committee as part of its investigation into former President Donald Trump’s actions and movements on January 6, 2021. Inspectors general in the federal government can refer the findings of their investigations to federal prosecutors.” See also, The Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security Directed the Secret Service to Halt Its Internal Search for Purged Texts Sent by Agents Around the Time of January 6 So That It Does Not ‘Interfere With an Ongoing Criminal Investigation,’ The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 21 July 2022: “‘To ensure the integrity of our investigation, the U.S.S.S. must not engage in any further investigative activities regarding the collection and preservation of the evidence referenced above,’ the Homeland Security Department’s deputy inspector general, Gladys Ayala, wrote to James M. Murray, the director of the Secret Service. ‘This includes immediately refraining from interviewing potential witnesses, collecting devices or taking any other action that would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.’ The mention of a potential criminal investigation into the deleted texts of Secret Service personnel sought by Congress and the inspector general suggested the growing seriousness of the scrutiny into the agency’s handling of records from around the time of the attack on the Capitol. The inspector general’s office cannot alone bring criminal charges but is required to refer the case to the Justice Department if it discovers criminality through an investigation. Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service, confirmed in an interview on Thursday that the inspector general had escalated its investigation to assess any criminality. News of the letter referring to the criminal investigation was reported earlier by CNN.”

House Passes Bill to Ensure Contraception Rights After Dobbs. The vote was mostly along party lines, with all but eight Republicans in opposition to a bill that aims to protect a right seen as newly at risk after the overturning of Row v. Wade. The New York Times, Annie Karni, Thursday, 21 July 2022: “The House on Thursday passed legislation to ensure access to contraception nationwide, moving over almost unanimous Republican opposition to protect a right that is regarded as newly under threat after the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. The measure is almost certain to fail in the evenly divided Senate, where most Republicans are also likely to be opposed. The vote was the latest election-year move by Democrats to draw a sharp distinction with Republicans on a social issue that has broad support. The measure passed 228 to 195, with eight Republicans joining Democrats in support. It would protect the right to purchase and use contraception without government restriction. The legislation drew only slightly more Republican support than two bills that the House passed last week, which aimed to ensure access to abortion in the post-Roe era; almost all Republicans were united in opposition. It was a far different result than just days earlier, when Democrats forced a vote on legislation to enact federal protections for same-sex marriages and drew the support of 47 Republicans — far more than expected. That vote reflected the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage in the United States, where polls show large majorities — including most Republicans — in support. Even more Americans, 92 percent, said they viewed contraception as ‘morally acceptable,’ according to a Gallup poll in May. But for many Republicans, the issue of contraception access is linked to abortion rights, a far more polarizing topic that is anathema to much of the party. Some Republicans said on Thursday that they supported contraception in practice but viewed Democrats’ bill as a gateway to allowing abortion. Anti-abortion groups encouraged lawmakers to oppose the measure, claiming that the bill’s definition of contraceptives could be interpreted to include pills that induce abortion.” See also, House passes protection for birth-control access; Senate support is unclear, The Washington Post, Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell, Thursday, 21 July 2022: “The House passed legislation largely along party lines Thursday that would federally protect an individual’s access to contraception and ensure health-care providers are not penalized for prescribing it, a response to the Supreme Court decision last month that reversed federal protections for abortion access. Eight Republicans voted with all Democrats — far fewer than the 47 Republicans who earlier this week joined Democrats in voting to federally protect same-sex and interracial marriage. The final vote on Thursday was 228 to 195. House Democrats this week have prioritized passing legislation that would federalize protections many Americans consider settled law, arguing that the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade signals that other personal freedoms are under attack by Republicans. The votes also serve as a final argument ahead of the midterms by Democrats, who are hoping to draw a sharp contrast with the GOP by painting the party as extreme on social issues that are broadly popular with voters. The support for marriage equality by House Republicans on Tuesday shook the Senate into action, spurring Democratic leaders to shift their tone and announce that they will consider that bill on the Senate floor soon. But it’s unclear whether the Senate will also bring up the contraception legislation.”


Friday, 22 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Grain deal signed in Turkey; U.S. to send Ukraine more artillery, The Washington Post, Julian Duplain, Grace Moon, Kareem Fahim, Robyn Dixon, and Claire Parker, Friday, 22 July 2022: “Russia and Ukraine signed a grain deal brokered by Turkey on Friday to allow exports of grain from blockaded Ukrainian ports. An estimated 22 million tons of grain have been stuck in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February, causing a serious global food shortage and rising prices.

  • Russian and Ukrainian ministers signed a historic agreement in Turkey on Friday afternoon local time to resume the export of Ukrainian grain. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu represented Russia, while Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov led Ukraine’s delegation. At the signing ceremony in Istanbul, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres hailed the agreement as ‘unprecedented’ between warring parties and a ‘beacon of hope’ on the Black Sea. He and Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan, who hosted the talks, voiced hope that the deal would be a step on the path toward a negotiated peace.
  • Ukraine did not sign an agreement directly with Russia, but only with Turkey and the United Nations, while Russia signed a parallel agreement. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said there would be no transport escort by Russian ships and pledged ‘an immediate military response’ in case of ‘provocations.’
  • American officials will focus on ensuring that Russia actually implements the agreement and allows the grain to leave blockaded Black Sea ports, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said. ‘Russia has weaponized food during this conflict,’ Price said at a Thursday news briefingSecretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement that, ‘The international community must now hold Russia accountable for this deal.’
  • It’s not a panacea. While humanitarian organizations and food security experts cautiously hailed the deal, they emphasized that it doesn’t solve the problem of Russian land attacks on Ukraine’s agricultural and coastal areas. Shipping companies may still fear sending vessels into Ukrainian ports, said David Laborde, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. And many of the factors underlying global food insecurity in the Middle East and North Africa, including conflict and climate change, remain.

Russia-Ukraine War: U.S. and Ukraine Wait to See if Russia Keeps Word. Biden administration officials and leaders in Ukraine expressed skepticism that Moscow would follow through on promises that could unblock more than 20 million tons of grain. Washington is sending another $270 million in military aid to Kyiv. The New York Times, Friday, 22 July 2022:

  • U.S. and Ukrainian officials say they’ll wait to see if Russia upholds its side of the grain plan.

  • A deal between Ukraine and Russia aims to ease the global food crisis.

  • Here’s how the grain deal between Ukraine and Russia will work.

  • ‘The deal should help us breathe’: Africa welcomes Russia-Ukraine grain deal.

  • The price of wheat falls on news of a deal to allow Ukrainian exports.

  • The Biden administration will send another $270 million in military aid to Ukraine.

  • Spouses of world leaders to join Ukraine’s first lady in a discussion on postwar lives.

Steve Bannon found guilty on both contempt of Congress charges. NPR, Carrie Johnson, Friday, 22 July 2022: “A federal jury has convicted former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon of two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for intentionally defying a subpoena related to the assault on the U.S. Capitol last year. Bannon put on no defense in the case, which featured testimony from just two government witnesses, including the deputy staff director of the House Select Committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021. The Justice Department told jurors the case was black and white – as simple as the words on the subpoena to Bannon last autumn. ‘The defendant chose allegiance to Donald Trump over compliance with the law,’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston said in closing arguments.” See also, Steve Bannon Found Guilty of Contempt in Case Related to Capitol Riot Inquiry. He is the first close aide to former President Donald Trump to be convicted as a result of one of the investigations into the January 6 attack. The New York Times, Aishvarya Kavi and Alan Feuer, Friday, 22 July 2022: “For weeks, Stephen K. Bannon, a former top adviser to President Donald J. Trump, delivered heated speeches about his pending trial, promising at one point to go ‘medieval’ on the prosecutors who had charged him with refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. But once in court, he decided not to testify or mount any other sort of defense, and on Friday, Mr. Bannon was convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress. The jury’s verdict, reached after less than three hours of deliberations, came one day after video of Mr. Bannon briefly appeared in a public hearing of the House committee he had snubbed. Investigators played a clip of him saying that Mr. Trump had planned to declare victory in the 2020 election, no matter what the results were.”

The January 6 House Select Committee After 8 Hearings: Where Will the Evidence Lead? The House committee has set out a comprehensive narrative of the effort to overturn the 2020 election. But it’s unclear if that will be enough to achieve its legal and political goals. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Michael S, Schmidt, Friday, 22 July 2022: “Comprehensive, compellingly scripted and packed with details, the eight hearings of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack have laid out a powerful account of President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The select committee assembled a mass of evidence and testimony — provided in large part by Mr. Trump’s aides and other Republicans — not only for the judgment of history but for the purpose of two more immediate and related goals that the panel’s leaders highlighted during the hearing on Thursday night. One, as Representative Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who is the panel’s vice chair, said explicitly, is to convince voters that Mr. Trump, who has made clear he is likely to run for president in 2024, should be disqualified from holding the office again. ‘Every American must consider this,’ Ms. Cheney said. ‘Can a president who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of Jan. 6 ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?’ The other goal, as the committee has been signaling for months, is to pressure the Justice Department to pursue a more urgent and aggressive investigation into whether Mr. Trump could be prosecuted for his actions.”

A radical plan for Trump’s second term, Axios, Jonathan Swan, Friday, 22 July 2022: “Former President Trump’s top allies are preparing to radically reshape the federal government if he is re-elected, purging potentially thousands of civil servants and filling career posts with loyalists to him and his ‘America First’ ideology, people involved in the discussions tell Axios. The impact could go well beyond typical conservative targets such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. Trump allies are working on plans that would potentially strip layers at the Justice Department — including the FBI, and reaching into national security, intelligence, the State Department and the Pentagon, sources close to the former president say. During his presidency, Trump often complained about what he called ‘the deep state.’ The heart of the plan is derived from an executive order known as ‘Schedule F,’ developed and refined in secret over most of the second half of Trump’s term and launched 13 days before the 2020 election. The reporting for this series draws on extensive interviews over a period of more than three months with more than two dozen people close to the former president, and others who have firsthand knowledge of the work underway to prepare for a potential second term. Most spoke on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive planning and avoid Trump’s ire.”


Saturday, 23 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Odessa strike ‘undermines’ grain deal, U.S. says; 2 Americans die in Donbas region, The Washington Post, Julian Duplain, Hari Raj, Abigail Hauslohner, Timothy Bella, and Praveena Somasundaram, Saturday, 23 July 2022: “Four Russian Kalibr missiles were fired at the port of Odessa, the Ukrainian military said, less than 24 hours after a deal was made to allow grain exports to resume. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the attack, which he said ‘undermines’ Russia’s commitment to the deal; Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesman described it as a ‘spit in the face’ of efforts to free an estimated 22 million tons of grain stuck in silos since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February.

  • Two Americans were killed in Donbas region, a State Department spokesperson told The Washington Post on Saturday. The State Department could not confirm whether the Americans, who have yet to be identified, were fighting for Ukraine. ‘We are in touch with the families and providing all possible consular assistance,’ the spokesperson said.
  • Two of the missiles in the attack hit the Odessa port, while two others were shot down by air defenses, Ukraine’s military said. There was no immediate response from Russia. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, who was at the signing of the deal in Istanbul on Friday, ‘unequivocally condemns’ the strikes on Odessa, a U.N. spokesperson said.
  • No one was killed or injured, and the missiles did not hit any grain silos, the Ukrainian military said, with the country’s infrastructure minister saying preparations for export shipments were continuing. The city’s mayor said on Facebook that the historic center of Odessa should be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List to protect it from attacks.
  • Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said ‘the Russians told us they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack.’ ‘The fact that such an incident occurred right after the agreement we made yesterday regarding the grain shipment really worried us,’ Akar said. ‘We are also disturbed by this.’
  • Ukraine accused Russia of ‘breaking its promises’ under the grain deal. The agreement includes Russian assurances not to attack merchant ships or port facilities involved in the initiative. President Volodymyr Zelensky said the attack showed that ‘no matter what Russia says and promises, it will find ways not to implement it.’ He later called the attack ‘a cynical one’ that would be another ‘blow’ to Russia’s diplomatic status on the world stage.

Russia-Ukraine War: West condemns Russia’s Strike on Odesa Port. A Ukrainian official said that Russian strikes had caused 10 explosions in Odesa on Saturday, one day after the warring sides agreed to a deal to help transport millions of tons of grain out of that port and others on the Black Sea. The New York Times, Saturday, 23 July 2022:

  • Missiles strike Odesa, hitting a critical port for global grain supplies.

  • Will the strikes on Odesa jeopardize the grain deal?

  • Russia and Ukraine trade attacks as fighting shifts to the south.

  • U.N. and Western officials condemn the missile strike on Odesa’s port.

  • Boats and a bridge: Control of waterways will be key in Ukraine’s looming counteroffensive.

  • The State Department says two Americans died recently in Donbas.

  • The Biden administration will send another $270 million in military aid to Ukraine.

First on CNN: Secret Service identified potential missing text messages on phones of 10 individuals, CNN Politics, Whitney Wild and Jeremy Herb, Saturday, 23 July 2022: “Secret Service investigators were scrutinizing the phones of 10 Secret Service personnel that contained metadata showing text messages were sent and received around January 6, 2021, but were not retained, two sources told CNN. The scrutiny came after the Department of Homeland Security inspector general asked for the text records last year of 24 individuals at the Secret Service who were involved in January 6, but only one text had been produced. After the issue spilled into public view this month, the inspector general launched a criminal investigation into the matter, and lawmakers demanded answers from the Secret Service to go back and find out what happened to the texts that may have been deleted. But the Secret Service’s internal investigation ground to a halt after a July 20 letter from the DHS inspector general informed the agency there was an ongoing criminal investigation, directing the Secret Service to stop its own probe. Investigators had been working to determine whether the content of the text messages sent by the 10 personnel contained relevant information that should have been preserved, the sources said. Among the 24 Secret Service personnel under scrutiny, 10 other Secret Service personnel had no text messages, and three had only personal records, according to the sources.”

In House Select Committee January 6 Hearings, Gender Divide Has Been a Strong Undercurrent. An investigation that has revealed grave threats to democracy, plotted and carried out mostly by men, has a heavily female cast of narrators who have paid a public price for speaking out. The New York Times, Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 23 July 2022: “Before Sarah Matthews, a former deputy White House press secretary, even opened her mouth to testify on Thursday before the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, the House Republican Conference attacked her on Twitter as a ‘liar’ and a ‘pawn’ of Democrats. The group did not mention the man seated beside her, Matthew Pottinger, the former deputy national security adviser, who was also there to issue a scathing indictment of President Donald J. Trump’s behavior on the day of the riot. Nor did Mr. Trump himself mention Mr. Pottinger when he lashed out hours later with a statement calling Ms. Matthews a fame-seeker who was ‘clearly lying.’ The contrast highlighted how, in a series of revelatory hearings that have focused on issues of democracy, the rule of law and the peaceful transfer of power, another, less-discussed theme has emerged: the gender dynamics that have been a potent undercurrent. In the course of exposing Mr. Trump’s elaborate effort to overturn the 2020 election, the House select committee has relied on the accounts of several women who came forward to publicly tell their stories. Their statements, and the attacks that ensued, laid bare how women often still pay a higher price than men for speaking up. Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman of the panel — a woman who herself has suffered heavy consequences for her insistence on publicly condemning Mr. Trump’s conduct — has been explicit about the role of gender in the proceedings. She has positioned herself as the champion of the women who have agreed to testify in public, comparing them favorably with the many men who have refused to do so.”

Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post dumps Trump, calling him ‘unworthy to be chief executive again,’ CNN Business, Brian Stelter, Saturday, 23 July 2022: “One of Donald Trump’s favorite newspapers — controlled by his media ally Rupert Murdoch — says Trump is ‘unworthy to be this country’s chief executive again.’ Those words, in this weekend’s New York Post, may be the tabloid’s strongest critique of Trump yet. It was published online on Friday evening, around the same time another Murdoch publication, the Wall Street Journal, also published an editorial harshly critiquing the former president. The Journal called him ‘The President Who Stood Still on Jan. 6′ and praised Vice President Mike Pence. ‘Character is revealed in a crisis, and Mr. Pence passed his Jan. 6 trial. Mr. Trump utterly failed his,’ the Journal editorial stated. Both newspapers have been noticeably more critical of Trump than Murdoch’s biggest megaphone of all, the Fox News Channel, though close viewers have also picked up on some signs that Fox might be souring on Trump. The right-wing network does not show his rallies any longer, for example. Potential 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, was a featured guest on Fox while Trump held a rally on Friday night. Both the Post and Journal have conservative editorial boards that are thought to reflect Murdoch’s views. Murdoch said last fall that conservatives must play an active role in the American political debate, ‘but that will not happen if President Trump stays focused on the past.’ If Murdoch was trying to give Trump advice, it didn’t work. Trump has continued to spread lies about the 2020 election and undermine the House’s investigation into the January 6 insurrection.”

Trump’s Revenge, Axios, Jonathan Swan, Saturday, 23 July 2022: “President Donald Trump was attending the National Prayer Breakfast, but showing no sign of grace. Lips pursed, face alternating between anger and frustration, he lashed out at enemies who had brought him to the doors of impeachment. He brandished the day’s newspapers, waving them above his head. The first headline: ‘ACQUITTED.’ The next: ‘Trump Acquitted.’ It was Feb. 6, 2020. Close aides believed Trump had crossed a psychological line during his Senate trial. He now wanted to get even; he wanted to fire every single last ‘snake’ inside his government. To activate the plan for revenge, Trump turned to a young take-no-prisoners loyalist with chutzpah: his former aide John McEntee. By the end of that year, Trump also had a second tool in his armory, a secret weapon with the innocuous title, ‘Schedule F.’ The intention of this obscure legal instrument was to empower the president to wipe out employment protections for tens of thousands of civil servants across the federal government. The mission for McEntee and the power of Schedule F dovetailed in the lead-up to the 2020 election as Trump planned (but lost) a second term and fumed over perceived foes. If former President Trump runs again in 2024 and wins back the White House, people close to him say, he would turn to both levers again. It is Schedule F, combined with the willpower of top lieutenants like McEntee, that could bring Trump closer to his dream of gutting the federal bureaucracy and installing thousands devoted to him or his ‘America First’ platform. The reporting for this series draws on extensive interviews over a period of more than three months, with more than two dozen people close to the former president and others who have firsthand knowledge of the work underway to prepare for a potential second term. Most spoke on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive planning and avoid Trump’s ire.”

On the Docket: Atlanta v. Trumpworld. Eighteen months into a criminal investigation of election interference by Donald J. Trump and his allies, Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis is beginning to show the broad contours of her inquiry. The New York Times, Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim, Saturday, 23 July 2022: “The criminal investigation into efforts by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to overturn his election loss in Georgia has begun to entangle, in one way or another, an expanding assemblage of characters: A United States senator. A congressman. A local Cadillac dealer. A high school economics teacher. The chairman of the state Republican Party. The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. Six lawyers aiding Mr. Trump, including a former New York City mayor. The former president himself. And a woman who has identified herself as a publicist for the rapper Kanye West. Fani T. Willis, the Atlanta area district attorney, has been leading the investigation since early last year. But it is only this month, with a flurry of subpoenas and target letters, as well as court documents that illuminate some of the closed proceedings of a special grand jury, that the inquiry’s sprawling contours have emerged. For legal experts, that sprawl is a sign that Ms. Willis is doing what she has indicated all along: building the framework for a broad case that could target multiple defendants with charges of conspiracy to commit election fraud, or racketeering-related charges for engaging in a coordinated scheme to undermine the election.”


Sunday, 24 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia blames West for global food crisis despite blockade on Ukrainian grain, The Washington Post, Victoria Bisset, Kendra Nichols, Annabelle Chapman, James Bikales, Paulina Villegas, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 24 July 2022: “The Kremlin’s top diplomat on Sunday sought to blame global food shortages and an escalating hunger crisis on the United States and its European allies, looking to deflect responsibility for the consequences of the Russian-launched war in Ukraine and trying to rally support for Moscow during a tour across Africa. In Egypt, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Western sanctions on Russia have upended international food markets, and he cast Russia as an ally of the continent. Yet anger has mounted over Moscow’s blockade of Ukrainian ports, which has prevented millions of tons of grain from being exported. Even after a breakthrough grain deal was signed, Russia struck a key Ukrainian port city, raising questions about its commitment to the agreement.

  • Russian officials claimed responsibility for Saturday’s missile attack on the port city of Odessa less than 24 hours after signing a key deal to release Ukrainian grain. Russia said only military targets were hit in Odessa, including a Ukrainian warship.
  • Despite the attack, Ukraine plans to push ahead with its preparations to resume grain exports, officials said. The missile strikes did not damage grain silos at the port, according to a military assessment, and staffers continued to lay the technical groundwork for the shipments. ‘We will not back down from our goal of unlocking sea ports,’ Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said in a statement.
  • The Russian strike on Odessa shows that resuming grain exports via the Black Sea will not be easy, an economic adviser to Ukraine’s president said Sunday. Oleh Ustenko, who estimated that 60 million tons of grain could be transported within eight to nine months if ports were immediately unblocked, said ‘yesterday’s strike shows that it definitely won’t work that way,’ according to Reuters.
  • Two Americans were killed in Donbas, a State Department spokesperson told The Washington Post, without providing details. A Ukrainian commander, Ruslan Miroshnichenko, on Sunday identified the men as Luke Lucyszyn and Bryan Young and said they were killed alongside Emile-Antoine Roy-Sirois of Canada and Edvard Selander Patrignani of Sweden near the town of Siversk in the Donetsk region on July 18.
  • Human Rights Watch found that Russian forces have tortured, unlawfully detained and forcibly disappeared civilians in the occupied areas of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. In a report published Friday, the organization documented instances of torture — including beatings and electroshocks — as well as arbitrary detention and unlawful confinement of civilians. Russian forces have turned the country’s south into an ‘abyss of fear and wild lawlessness,’ said Yulia Gorbunova, senior Ukraine researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Russia Ukraine War: Russia Seeks to Rally Support From African Allies. Russia’s top diplomat will visit four countries in Africa this week after a grain deal was brokered that could ease a global food shortage. But Russian strikes in Ukraine raised questions about the agreement’s viability. The New York Times, Sunday, 24 July 2022:

  • Russia’s top diplomat seeks to pin blame for hunger on the U.S. and its allies.

  • An American killed in Ukraine was moved to volunteer by his heritage, a friend says.

  • ‘An abyss of fear’: A report accuses Russia of further abuses against civilians.

  • Ukrainian medical workers have paid a steep toll in the war, the Health Ministry says.

  • Will the strikes on Odesa jeopardize the grain deal?

  • A rights activist becomes a soldier, and then a Russian hostage.

  • Despite aiding in the Ukraine grain deal, Turkey’s leader remains a headache for Biden.

Representative Liz Cheney says the January 6 House select committee is prepared to consider subpoena for Ginni Thomas. ‘We hope she’ll agree to come in voluntarily,’ Cheney said. Politico, Jesse Naranjo, Sunday, 24 July 2022: “Rep. Liz Cheney said Sunday the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol is prepared to consider subpoenaing Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, if she does not appear voluntarily. ‘The committee is engaged with her counsel,’ Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in an interview on CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ when asked if the panel planned to speak with her about efforts to overturn the 2020 election. ‘We hope she’ll agree to come in voluntarily. The committee is fully prepared to contemplate a subpoena if she does not.'”


Monday, 25 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukraine looks to retake occupied southern region; Russia cuts gas flows to Europe, The Washington Post, David Walker, Kendra Nichols, Grace Moon, Sammy Westfall, Loveday Morris, and Reis Thebault, Monday, 25 July 2022: “Ukrainian military leaders are increasingly focused on retaking Kherson, the southern region that has been under Russian control since the war’s early weeks, and Kyiv’s forces have begun laying the foundation for a major counteroffensive there, officials have said in recent days.

  • The Nord Stream 1 pipeline will pump about 33 million cubic meters — half its regular supply — beginning Wednesday, Russian energy giant Gazprom announced, citing issues with a turbine’s ‘technical condition.’ Germany’s Ministry for the Economy and Climate said it saw no technical reason for the reduction in gas flow, adding that it was ‘monitoring the situation very closely.’ German officials are worried about natural gas supplies for winter and have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of using gas as leverage against Western countries backing Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Gazprom’s move is the latest evidence that Russia is weaponizing energy, and he called on European Union leaders to impose stricter sanctions against the Kremlin. ‘This is an overt gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe,’ Zelensky said in his evening address on Monday.
  • The board of the European Investment Bank approved $1.625 billion of European Union financial assistance for Ukraine, of which about two-thirds will be immediately available. That urgent funding — consisting of ‘upfront disbursements under eight existing finance contracts’ — is for short-term needs, including repairs and municipal services.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in the Republic of Congo as part of a four-day tour to try to shore up African support for the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak on Twitter called Lavrov’s trip to Africa ‘the quintessence of sadism,’ adding, ‘You arrange an artificial hunger and then come to cheer people up.’

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Poised for Major Offensive Against Russian Forces. With its sights set on Kherson, a vital port city that fell to Putin’s forces in the first days of the war, the Ukrainian military is destroying Russian ammunition depots, hitting command posts, and targeting supply lines. The New York Times, Monday, 25 July 2022:

  • Kherson was the first city to fall to Moscow. Now Ukraine aims to get it back.

  • Ukraine presses on with a plan for much-needed grain shipments after a Russian attack.

  • Russia announces deeper cuts in natural gas flows to Germany.

  • Bryan Young, an American volunteer who died fighting in Ukraine, felt called to help.

  • A U.S. intelligence report finds that Russia’s use of ‘filtration centers’ to detain and deport Ukrainians has intensified.

  • Britain, the Eurovision runner-up to Ukraine, will host the song contest in 2023.

  • In a ruined suburb, those who stayed behind find comfort in being at home.

Russia-Ukraine war: A weekly recap and look ahead (July 25), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 25 July 2022:

What to watch this week:

WNBA star Brittney Griner’s trial will resume in Moscow on Tuesday. She has admitted to bringing cannabis into Russia, but said she didn’t intend to break the law. Also on Tuesday, European Union energy ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels on gas supply issues. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is visiting countries in Africa, including Ethiopia, Uganda, the Republic of Congo and Egypt, where he addressed Arab League leaders in Cairo. Russians will mark a national holiday honoring the country’s navy on Sunday.

What happened last week:

Monday, July 18: Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, began a trip to Washington, where she met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and first lady Jill Biden, and delivered remarks to U.S. lawmakers. Tuesday, July 19: Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Tehran, where he met with Iranian leaders and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Iran expressed support for Russia in the Ukraine war. It was Putin’s second trip outside Russia since his country invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Wednesday, July 20: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the U.S. will send four more long-range artillery systems, known as HIMARS, to Ukraine, as part of a U.S. military aid package. The U.S. has already sent 12 such systems. Thursday, July 21: Russia attacked Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, in one of its most crowded areas, the city’s mayor said. At least three people were killed and more than 20 injured. On the same day, Russia restarted natural gas flows to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline. Maintenance work had paused gas shipments for 10 days. Friday, July 22: In Istanbul, Russia and Ukraine finalized agreements with Turkey and the United Nations to unblock Ukraine’s seaports and resume exports of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea. The agreements also would help ‘Russian grain and fertilizer to reach global markets,’ the U.N. said. At the signing ceremony, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called the development ‘a beacon of hope … in a world that needs it more than ever.’ Also on Friday, Human Rights Watch released a report on ‘apparent war crimes’ committed by Russian forces in areas of southern Ukraine under their control. Saturday, July 23: Russian air strikes hit Odesa’s port, eliciting international condemnation and raising doubts about Russia’s commitment to the previous day’s agreements. ‘Russia breached its commitments,’ Blinken said. Sunday, July 24: Sunday marked five months since Russia invaded Ukraine. The Ukrainian Seaports Authority said it was working to resume shipping from seaports in Odesa and elsewhere.”

Top Pence Aides Testify to Grand Jury in January 6 Investigation. Marc Short, who was chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, and Greg Jacob, a lawyer for Mr. Pence, were subpoenaed in the Justice Department’s expanding criminal inquiry. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 25 July 2022: “Two top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence testified last week to a federal grand jury in Washington investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the highest-ranking officials of the Trump administration so far known to have cooperated with the Justice Department’s widening inquiry into the events leading up to the assault. The appearances before the grand jury of the men — Marc Short, who was Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, and Greg Jacob, who was his counsel — were the latest indication that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the events surrounding and preceding the riot is intensifying after weeks of growing questions about the urgency the department has put on examining former President Donald J. Trump’s potential criminal liability. The testimony of the two Pence aides marked the first time it has become publicly known that figures with firsthand knowledge of what took place inside the White House in the tumultuous days before the attack have cooperated with federal prosecutors. Both Mr. Short and Mr. Jacob played important roles in describing to a House select committee conducting a parallel investigation of the Capitol attack how Mr. Trump, working with allies like the lawyer John Eastman, mounted a campaign to pressure Mr. Pence into disrupting the normal counting of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021, as part of an effort to keep Mr. Trump in office. Mr. Short’s testimony was confirmed by two people familiar with it, as was Mr. Jacob’s. The Justice Department has at times appeared to be lagging behind the House select committee, which has spoken to more than 1,000 witnesses, including some from inside the Trump White House. Much of that testimony has been highlighted at a series of public hearings over the past two months.”

New evidence shows Trump toned down his condemnation of the deadly Capitol rioters, NPR, Claudia Grisales, Monday, 25 July 2022: “New evidence shared by the House Select Jan. 6 Committee shows then-President Donald Trump edited a speech that was aimed at strongly condemning the deadly attack on the Capitol last year. A document for a Jan. 7, 2021, Trump speech, titled ‘Remarks on National Healing,’ shows several key phrases crossed out that would have more strongly denounced the siege. It also shows suggested edits for added words. ‘It looks like a copy of a draft of the remarks for that day,’ Trump’s daughter and former senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump told a committee investigator during her recorded video interview. She said plans for the speech began the evening after the riot. The investigator asked her if she recognized the handwriting on the page, and she responded she did. ‘It looks like my father’s handwriting,’ she said. The evidence, shared via Twitter by committee member Elaine Luria, D-Va., only showed an excerpt of the speech remarks and not the full document. It adds new revelations from last Thursday’s hearing showing Trump in unedited outtakes refusing to say he lost the election or to condemn the attackers more strongly. From the excerpt shared on Monday, the Trump speech retained its portions referring to the siege as a ‘heinous attack’ and a false claim by Trump that he ‘immediately’ deployed military help to the siege. However, the document shows some minor and major edits. For example, the words ‘and sickened’ are struck from the sentence, ‘Like all Americans, I am outraged and sickened by the lawlessness, violence and mayhem.’ Larger edits show these sentences struck from the speech excerpt shared by the panel: ‘I am directing the Department of Justice to ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We must send a clear message — not with mercy but with JUSTICE. Legal consequences must be swift and firm.'” See also, New video shows Trump didn’t want to call for January 6 rioters’ prosecution,The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Monday, 25 July 2022: “President Donald Trump didn’t want to disavow the rioters who had stormed the U.S. Capitol in his name on Jan. 6, 2021, and he removed lines from prepared remarks the following day calling for their prosecution, according to new evidence released by a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) posted a video Monday on Twitter showing previously unpublicized testimony from several people close to Trump, centered on a speech he was supposed to give Jan. 7, 2021. ‘It took more than 24 hours for President Trump to address the nation again after his Rose Garden video on January 6th in which he affectionately told his followers to go home in peace,’ Luria tweeted. ‘There were more things he was unwilling to say.’… On the document were handwritten edits that Ivanka Trump identified as her father’s. He had apparently deleted any mention of the Justice Department prosecuting the rioters. Crossed out from the prepared remarks were these lines: ‘I am directing the Department of Justice to ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We must send a clear message — not with mercy but with JUSTICE. Legal consequences must be swift and firm.’ Also crossed out was this message to those who had committed the violence: ‘I want to be very clear: you do not represent me. You do not represent our movement.’ At the beginning of the document, Trump had apparently also crossed out that he was ‘sickened’ by the violence.”

Former Pence chief of staff Marc Short appeared before grand jury investigating the January 6 violent and deadly attack on the Capitol, ABC News, Katherine Faulders, Alexander Mallin, and John Santucci, Monday, 25 July 2022: “Marc Short, the former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, appeared before a federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Short confirmed to ABC News. Short, in an interview Monday night with ABC News’ Linsey Davis, said he was subpoenaed by a grand jury and complied with the subpoena, adding he ‘really can’t comment further than that’ upon the advice of his legal counsel. ABC News first reported early Monday that Short had appeared last week before the grand jury. Short was caught by an ABC News camera departing D.C. District Court on Friday alongside his attorney, Emmet Flood. Short is the highest-ranking Trump White House official known to have appeared before the grand jury.’I think that having the Capitol ransacked the way that it was, I think did present liability and danger,’ he told Davis in the interview. ‘And I think the Secret Service did a phenomenal job that day. I think that the bigger risk and despite the way perhaps it was characterized in the hearings last week, candidly, is that if the mob had gotten closer to the vice president, I do think there would have been a massacre in the Capitol that day.‘”

Sharp Contrasts With Other January 6 Inquiries Increase Pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland. The continued revelations from the House select committee and the rapid pace of the Georgia investigation have left the Justice Department on the defensive. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Monday, 25 July 2022: “In the last week, local prosecutors in Atlanta barreled ahead with their criminal investigation into the effort by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, targeting fake electors, issuing a subpoena to a member of Congress and winning a court battle forcing Rudolph W. Giuliani to testify to a grand jury. In Washington, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack unfurled its latest batch of damning disclosures about Mr. Trump at a prime-time hearing, and directly suggested that Mr. Trump needs to be prosecuted before he destroys the country’s democracy. But at the Justice Department, where the gears of justice always seem to move the slowest, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland was forced to rely on generalities about the American legal system, saying ‘no person is above the law in this country’ as he fended off increasing questions about why there has been so little public action to hold Mr. Trump and his allies accountable. ‘There is a lot of speculation about what the Justice Department is doing, what’s it not doing, what our theories are and what our theories aren’t, and there will continue to be that speculation,’ Mr. Garland said at a briefing with reporters on Wednesday as he appeared to grow slightly irritated. ‘That’s because a central tenet of the way in which the Justice Department investigates and a central tenet of the rule of law is that we do not do our investigations in public.’ The contrast between the public urgency and aggressiveness of the investigations being carried out by the Georgia prosecutors and the congressional committee on the one hand and the quiet, and apparently plodding and methodical approach being taken by the Justice Department on the other is so striking that it has become an issue for Mr. Garland — and is only growing more pronounced by the week.”

Subpoenas to Arizona fake-electors show breadth of the Department of Justice January 6 investigation. Requests for information from two state lawmakers were released under a state public records law. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Monday, 25 July 2022: “Grand jury subpoenas issued last month to two Arizona state lawmakers show the breadth of the criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington into efforts by supporters of Donald Trump to use ‘false electors’ to try to undo Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Copies of two subpoenas issued to Republican state senators from Arizona were released Monday via a public-records request, confirming what has been previously reported about the June demands for records related ‘to the signing or mailing of any document purporting to be a Certificate certifying Elector votes in favor of Donald J. Trump and/or Michael R. Pence.’ The subpoenas issued to Karen Fann, president of the Arizona Senate, and Sen. Kelly Townsend also seek communications ‘relating to any effort, plan, or attempt to serve as an Elector’ in favor of the then-president and then-vice president.”

Biden tears into Trump over violence against police hours before the ex-president returns to D.C. for a campaign-style speech. Trump is expected to give a speech with a law-and-order theme just 1.5 miles from the Capitol, the site of a fatal riot that the January House select committee says he instigated. NBC News, Jonathan Allen, Monday, 25 July 2022: “President Joe Biden slammed former President Donald Trump on Monday for lacking ‘the courage to act’ as police defending the U.S. Capitol suffered through ‘medieval hell’ on Jan. 6, 2021 — a rare and direct attack pre-empting Trump’s plan to deliver a law-and-order-themed speech Tuesday in the nation’s capital. The two men may be on a collision course for a rematch of their hard-fought 2020 election. Biden has said he will seek re-election, and Trump advisers say it is likely he will announce his own bid before November’s midterm elections. ‘You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-cop,’ Biden said. ‘You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-democracy. You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-American.'” See also, Biden Lashes Trump Over January 6, Saying He ‘Lacked the Courage to Act.’ In rare comments on the investigation unfolding in the House, President Biden said his predecessor sat in the comfort of the White House as his supporters stormed the Capitol. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 25 July 2022: “President Biden on Monday denounced former President Donald J. Trump’s refusal to decisively intervene to stop the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, declaring that his predecessor ‘lacked the courage to act’ and betrayed the police officers he claimed to support. Mr. Biden, who has largely avoided discussing the former president or the Jan. 6 investigation by a House select committee, weighed in during a statement to an organization representing Black law enforcement leaders. ‘The police were heroes that day,’ the president said in the videotaped remarks from the White House residence, where he is recovering from Covid-19. ‘Donald Trump lacked the courage to act. The brave women and men in blue all across this nation should never forget that. You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-cop. You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-democracy. You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-American.'”

2020 Election Deniers Seek Out Powerful Allies: County Sheriffs. Conservative activists are working to recruit the law enforcement officers to their cause. Several sheriffs have already clashed with election officials. The New York Times, Alexandra Berzon and Nick Corasaniti, Monday, 25 July 2022: “An influential network of conservative activists fixated on the idea that former President Donald J. Trump won the 2020 election is working to recruit county sheriffs to investigate elections based on the false notion that voter fraud is widespread. The push, which two right-wing sheriffs’ groups have already endorsed, seeks to lend law enforcement credibility to the false claims and has alarmed voting rights advocates. They warn that it could cause chaos in future elections and further weaken trust in an American voting system already battered by attacks from Mr. Trump and his allies.”


Tuesday, 26 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia again targets Black Sea region amid grain deal fears; European Union (E.U.) plans to ration gas, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Kendra Nichols, Annabelle Timsit, Adam Taylor, and Dan Lamothe, Tuesday, 26 July 2022: “Russia launched another rocket attack on Ukraine’s southern Black Sea region on Tuesday, local leaders said, hitting residential areas in Odessa and targeting port infrastructure in Mykolaiv, in ‘massive’ strikes that came just days after Moscow agreed to a deal that would allow blockaded grain stockpiles to leave the area’s ports. In the European Union, member states committed to reducing their natural gas consumption in an attempt to decrease their dependence on Russia, which has been restricting the flow of fuel to the bloc.

  • European energy ministers reached a deal Tuesday to preemptively reduce the bloc’s natural gas consumption, as Russia cultivates uncertainty around its gas deliveries to Europe ahead of winter. E.U. countries agreed to reduce their gas demand by 15 percent from August through March to allow for stockpiles to be buttressed — but the deal contains exemptions.
  • The latest strikes on the Odessa province left buildings and village blocks destroyed and smoldering, video of the aftermath shared by local Ukrainian military officials showed. More than a dozen missiles hit the resort town of Zatoka, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force said Tuesday. ‘Today, the occupiers hit the Odessa region again, firing missiles at ordinary houses again,’ President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address.
  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently approved the use of a U.S. military hospital in Germany for the treatment of injured Ukrainian soldiers, a defense official familiar with the arrangement told The Post. The Army facility in Landstuhl is the largest American military hospital outside of the continental United States and is roughly 800 miles west of Ukraine. It has not yet served Ukrainian troops, the official said.
  • Russia on Tuesday announced it would withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS) project after 2024. While Russian officials have discussed leaving the project since at least 2021, the announcement signaled the looming end of an era in one of the last remaining areas of cooperation between Russia and the United States. The U.S. State Department was ‘taken by surprise’ by the decision, according to a statement.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia Says It Will Quit the International Space Station at End of 2024. The withdrawal would end two decades of post-Cold War cooperation in space between the United States and Russia, which jointly built and operate the station. The European Union agreed to cut gas use to blunt Russia’s leverage. The New York Times, Tuesday, 27 July 2022:

  • Russia says it will pull out of the International Space Station.

  • E.U. agrees to reduce natural gas consumption by 15 percent.

  • Brittney Griner’s lawyers argue for leniency as she makes her case in a Russian court.

  • U.K. hits a British blogger with sanctions for pro-Russian propaganda.

  • Navigating mines and threatened by war, ships laden with grain are expected to leave Odesa soon.

  • The war has sent prices in Ukraine soaring.

‘Kind of Wild/Creative’: Emails Shed Light on Trump Fake Electors Plan. Previously undisclosed communications among Trump campaign aides and outside advisers provide new insight into their efforts to overturn the election in the weeks leading to January 6. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 26 July 2022: “Previously undisclosed emails provide an inside look at the increasingly desperate and often slapdash efforts by advisers to President Donald J. Trump to reverse his election defeat in the weeks before the Jan. 6 attack, including acknowledgments that a key element of their plan was of dubious legality and lived up to its billing as ‘fake.’ The dozens of emails among people connected to the Trump campaign, outside advisers and close associates of Mr. Trump show a particular focus on assembling lists of people who would claim — with no basis — to be Electoral College electors on his behalf in battleground states that he had lost. In emails reviewed by The New York Times and authenticated by people who had worked with the Trump campaign at the time, one lawyer involved in the detailed discussions repeatedly used the word ‘fake’ to refer to the so-called electors, who were intended to provide Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. Trump’s allies in Congress a rationale for derailing the congressional process of certifying the outcome. And lawyers working on the proposal made clear they knew that the pro-Trump electors they were putting forward might not hold up to legal scrutiny. ‘We would just be sending in “fake” electoral votes to Pence so that “someone” in Congress can make an objection when they start counting votes, and start arguing that the “fake” votes should be counted,’ Jack Wilenchik, a Phoenix-based lawyer who helped organize the pro-Trump electors in Arizona, wrote in a Dec. 8, 2020, email to Boris Epshteyn, a strategic adviser for the Trump campaign. In a follow-up email, Mr. Wilenchik wrote that ‘”alternative votes” is probably a better term than “fake” votes,’ adding a smiley face emoji.”

Justice Department is investigating Trump’s actions in January 6 criminal investigation. People familiar with the investigation said investigators are examining the former president’s conversations and have seized phone records of top aides. The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, and Spencer S. Hsu, Tuesday, 26 July 2022: “The Justice Department is investigating President Donald Trump’s actions as part of its criminal probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, according to four people familiar with the matter. Prosecutors who are questioning witnesses before a grand jury — including two top aides to Vice President Mike Pence — have asked in recent days about conversations with Trump, his lawyers, and others in his inner circle who sought to substitute Trump allies for certified electors from some states Joe Biden won, according to two people familiar with the matter. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. The prosecutors have asked hours of detailed questions about meetings Trump led in December 2020 and January 2021; his pressure campaign on Pence to overturn the election; and what instructions Trump gave his lawyers and advisers about fake electors and sending electors back to the states, the people said. Some of the questions focused directly on the extent of Trump’s involvement in the fake-elector effort led by his outside lawyers, including John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, these people said. In addition, Justice Department investigators in April received phone records of key officials and aides in the Trump administration, including his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, according to two people familiar with the matter. That effort is another indicator of how expansive the Jan. 6 probe had become, well before the high-profile, televised House hearings in June and July on the subject.” See also, Justice Department Is Asking Witnesses About Trump in Its January 6 Investigation. Federal prosecutors sought information about the former president’s role in the efforts to overturn the election as the inquiry accelerates. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush, Tuesday, 26 July 2022: “Federal prosecutors have directly asked witnesses in recent days about former President Donald J. Trump’s involvement in efforts to reverse his election loss, a person familiar with the testimony said on Tuesday, suggesting that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation has moved into a more aggressive and politically fraught phase. Mr. Trump’s personal role in elements of the push to overturn his loss in 2020 to Joseph R. Biden Jr. has long been established, both through his public actions and statements and evidence gathered by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. But the Justice Department has been largely silent about how and even whether it would weigh pursuing potential charges against Mr. Trump, and reluctant even to concede that his role was discussed in senior leadership meetings at the department. Asking questions about Mr. Trump in connection with the electors plot or the attack on the Capitol does not mean the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into him, a decision that would have immense political and legal ramifications. The department’s investigation into a central element of the push to keep Mr. Trump in office — the plan to name slates of electors pledged to Mr. Trump in battleground states won by Mr. Biden — now appears to be accelerating as prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington ask witnesses about Mr. Trump and members of his inner circle, including the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, the person familiar with the testimony said.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland calls Justice Department’s January 6 investigation the ‘most wide ranging investigation in its history.’ In an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, Garland suggested that the federal criminal investigation has moved far beyond the rioters who attacked the Capitol. NBC News, Ken Dilanian and Corky Siemaszko, Tuesday, 26 July 2022: “The Justice Department plans to prosecute anyone who was ‘criminally responsible for interfering with the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another,’ Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday, speaking more expansively than he has previously about a federal criminal investigation that appears to have moved far beyond the rioters who attacked the Capitol. In an exclusive interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, Garland said that the televised hearings by the House Jan. 6 committee highlighted ‘the truth of what happened…and what a risk it meant for our democracy.’ And he acknowledged that Justice Department investigators learned things from the congressional testimony. ‘Look, the Justice Department has been doing the most wide ranging investigation in its history,’ he said. ‘And the committee is doing an enormously wide ranging investigation as well. It is inevitable that there will be things that they find before we have found them. And it’s inevitable that there will be things we find that they haven’t found. That’s what happens when you have two wide ranging investigations going on at the same time.'”

Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller denies there were orders to have 10 thousand troops ready to deploy on January 6, CNN Politics, Annie Grayer, Tuesday, 26 July 2022: “Former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller told the House select committee investigating the Capitol Hill insurrection that former President Donald Trump never gave him a formal order to have 10,000 troops ready to be deployed to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, according to new video of Miller’s deposition released by the committee. ‘I was never given any direction or order or knew of any plans of that nature,’ Miller said in the video. Miller later said in the video definitively, ‘There was no direct, there was no order from the President.’… Trump has previously said that he requested National Guard troops be ready for January 6. He released a statement on June 9 that he ‘suggested & offered’ up to 20,000 National Guard troops be deployed to Washington, DC, ahead of January 6 claiming it was because he felt ‘that the crowd was going to be very large.’ The committee released Miller’s testimony after already revealing that Trump did not make calls to military personnel or law enforcement to intervene as the Capitol attack was unfolding. General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the committee that he never received a call from Trump as the attack was unfolding. Milley testified to the committee that he spoke to former Vice President Mike Pence ‘two or three’ times on January 6. Keith Kellogg, former national security adviser to Pence, also told the committee that Trump never asked for a law enforcement response.”

Key Democrats want Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general removed from Secret Service investigation, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti, Tuesday, 26 July 2022: “A pair of key congressional Democrats called on Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to step aside from his office’s investigation into the Secret Service on Tuesday, saying the Trump appointee knew earlier than has been reported that the agency deleted text messages from around the time of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), who heads the House committee that oversees inspectors general, and Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the Jan. 6 committee and the Homeland Security Committee, said the inspector general’s office admitted in congressional briefings that it became aware that agents’ text messages were erased in December 2021 — two months earlier than reported. But Cuffari did not report that to Congress until this month. The lawmakers said these and other omissions have broken their faith in Cuffari’s ability to lead the investigation, and they urged the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, an independent entity in the executive branch, to appoint another inspector general to handle the Secret Service probe.”

More than 840 suspects have been charged in the January 6 Capitol riot, The Washington Post, Aadit Tambe, Sahana Jayaraman, and Adrian Blanco, Tuesday, 26 July 2022: “The Washington Post analyzed court filings, case documents and other public information about those charged and sentenced as of July 18. The most common felony charges suspects face fall into three categories: interfering with police, obstruction of an official proceeding and trespassing. Defendants in the more than 500 ongoing cases together face almost a thousand felony counts.”


Wednesday, 27 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.S. made ‘substantial proposal’ for release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and and Paul Whelan, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Kendra Nichols, Claire Parker, Robyn Dixon, and Paulina Villegas, Wednesday, 27 July 2022: “Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said the United States had made a ‘substantial proposal’ to Russia to secure the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and jailed American Paul Whelan. ‘We’re very focused on getting Brittney and Paul home,’ and President Biden has approved the proposal, Blinken said Wednesday after Griner had taken the stand in her Moscow trial on drug charges.

  • Phoenix Mercury player Brittney Griner returned to a courtroom Wednesday to take the stand. She told the court that her rights were not read to her when she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February, and that translation offered to her during the Russian investigation was inadequate. At a news conference Wednesday, Blinken said he would discuss a proposal for her release in an upcoming meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a significant break from his past strategy of avoiding contact with senior Russian officials. Moscow said it had received no requests for a phone call between Blinken and Lavrov, according to state media.
  • President Biden directed his national security team to pursue ‘every avenue’ to bring Griner home safely, which ultimately led to the proposal made to Russia, NSC spokesman John Kirby said in a White House briefing Wednesday. He declined to share more details about the deal, he said, ‘to ensure that our own national security is preserved’ and to avoid endangering the negotiations and ‘encouraging hostage taking in the future.’
  • Griner’s lawyers in Moscow told The Washington Post on Wednesday that they had learned about the United States’ proposal for her release from the news and added that they are not participating in prisoner-swap discussions. A prisoner exchange is only possible after the court reaches a verdict. ‘In any case, we would be really happy if Brittney will be able to come home and we hope it will be soon,’ said Maria Blagovolina, of the Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin law firm, and Alexander Boikov of the Moscow Legal Center.
  • As Kyiv prepares for shipments from three ports, a center to monitor grain exports opened in Istanbul under the deal to release millions of tons of grain cut off by a Russian naval blockade. The joint coordination center brings together Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations to monitor the passage of merchant vessels from Ukraine and resolve any violations of the agreement. A Russian strike Saturday on the port of Odessa imperiled the deal, but preparations for the ‘first grain-laden ships to leave Ukrainian ports’ were continuing, Turkey’s defense minister said Wednesday at the center’s opening.

Russia-Ukraine War: Official Says U.S. Offers Prisoner Swap to Secure Griner’s Release. The U.S. has proposed exchanging a Russian arms dealer for two Americans detained in Russia: Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. The New York Times, Wednesday, 27 July 2022:

  • The U.S. offered a prisoner swap to free Brittney Griner and another American, an official says.

  • Who is Viktor Bout?

  • Brittney Griner describes her legal ordeal to a Russian court.

  • With Beijing and Washington at odds over Russia, China’s domestic issues hang over a Biden-Xi call.

  • The U.S. is quietly sharing its estimate of Russian war casualties: more than 75,000 killed or injured.

  • Britain’s power grid warns of a tight energy supply this winter.

  • Russia cuts the flow of natural gas to Germany yet again.

Senator Joe Manchin, in Reversal, Agrees to Quick Action on Climate and Tax Plan. The West Virginia Democrat, a holdout on his party’s domestic agenda, said the package would reduce inflation, a concern he had cited in rejecting it just weeks ago. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Jim Tankersley, and Lisa Friedman, Wednesday, 27 July 2022: “Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a key centrist Democrat, announced on Wednesday that he had agreed to include hundreds of billions of dollars for climate and energy programs and tax increases in a package to subsidize health care and lower the cost of prescription drugs, less than two weeks after abruptly upending hopes for such an agreement this summer. The package would set aside $369 billion for climate and energy proposals, the most ambitious climate action ever taken by Congress, and raise an estimated $451 billion in new tax revenue over a decade, while cutting federal spending on prescription drugs by $288 billion, according to a summary circulated Wednesday evening. The product of a deal announced by Mr. Manchin and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, it would reduce the federal deficit by about $300 billion, while seeking to push down the cost of health care, prescription medicines and electricity. The plan falls far short of the ambitious domestic policy and tax package President Biden proposed last year, but Democrats, looking toward midterm elections that are likely to be shaped by voters’ concerns about soaring costs, pitched it as a targeted attack on the rapid price increases that have socked American consumers in the wallet this year, with inflation running at a 40-year high. The announcement suggested that Democrats could move in the coming days to salvage a major piece of their domestic agenda, which only weeks ago appeared doomed given Mr. Manchin’s refusal to quickly sign on. Top Democrats released legislation on Wednesday evening, aiming for votes as early as next week.” See also, Senator Joe Manchin says he has reached deal with Senator Chuck Schumer on economic and climate bill. Democrats hope to advance the deal in the Senate as soon as next week. The Washington Post, Tony Romm, Jeff Stein, Rachel Roubein, and Maxine Joselow, Wednesday, 27 July 2022: “Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday reached a deal with Democratic leaders on a spending package that aims to lower health-care costs, combat climate change and reduce the federal deficit, marking a massive potential breakthrough for President Biden’s long-stalled economic agenda. The new agreement, brokered between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), opens the door for party lawmakers to try to advance the measure next week. It caps off months of fierce debate, delay and acrimony, a level of infighting that some Democrats saw as detrimental to their political fate ahead of this fall’s critical elections. Under the deal, Schumer secured Manchin’s support for roughly $433 billion in new spending, most of which is focused on climate change and clean energy production. It is the largest such investment in U.S. history, and a marked departure from Manchin’s position only days earlier. The Democrats coupled the spending with provisions that aim to lower health-care costs for Americans, chiefly by allowing Medicare to begin negotiating the price of select prescription drugs on behalf of seniors. To pay for the package, Manchin and Schumer also settled on a series of changes to tax law that would raise $739 billion over the next decade — enough to offset the cost of the bill while securing more than $300 billion for cutting the deficit, a priority for Manchin. Democrats sourced the funds from proposals including a new minimum tax on corporations and fresh investments in the Internal Revenue Service that will help it pursue tax cheats.”

The Georgia criminal investigation into Trump and his allies, explained, The Washington Post, Matthew Brown, Wednesday, 27 July 2022: “Days after news broke in January 2021 that President Donald Trump had tried to pressure the Georgia secretary of state to overturn the 2020 election results, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched a criminal investigation. Since then, the investigation appears to have dramatically broadened, and investigators have identified more than 100 people of interest as they probe what Trump or his allies did in the weeks after the election. In January, Willis asked a judge to convene a special grand jury that has broad investigative powers. In May, 26 people were chosen to serve.”

The Fake Electors Scheme, Explained. The plan to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election by creating slates of electors pledged to Donald Trump in states he had lost was expansive, long-running, and often confusing. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Katie Benner, Wednesday, 27 July 2022: “The brazen plan to create false slates of electors pledged to former President Donald J. Trump in seven swing states that were actually won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. was arguably the longest-running and most expansive of the multiple efforts by Mr. Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election. It was also one of the most confusing, involving a sprawling cast of pro-Trump lawyers, state Republican officials and White House aides in an effort that began before some states had even finished counting their ballots. It culminated in the campaign to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to use the false slates to subvert congressional certification of the outcome on Jan. 6, 2021 — and in the violent attack on the Capitol that unfolded as he refused to do so. The scheme had a vague historical precedent and was rooted, at least in theory, in a post-Reconstruction Era law designed to address how to handle disputed elections. But it was deemed illegal by Mr. Trump’s own White House Counsel’s Office. Even some of the lawyers who helped come up with the idea referred to it as fake and acknowledged that it was of dubious legality, according to a cache of email messages brought to light by The New York Times. The fake electors tactic caught the attention of state law enforcement officials around the beginning of this year, and soon became a focus of the inquiry being conducted by the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6. The plan has also figured prominently in an investigation that an Atlanta-area prosecutor is conducting into Mr. Trump’s alleged election meddling. And it is at the heart of the Justice Department’s own wide-ranging Jan. 6 inquiry. Here is a look at the plan: where it came from; how it was meant to work; the various inquiries it has now become a part of; and the ways in which it could serve to implicate Mr. Trump in criminal activity.”

Justice Department gets new warrant to search contents of Trump lawyer John Eastman’s phone. The development came in response to a legal effort by Eastman to block investigators in the January 6 probe from ‘rummaging’ through his files. Politico, Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, Wednesday, 27 July 2022: “The Justice Department revealed on Wednesday that it had obtained a new search warrant to access the contents of attorney John Eastman’s phone, which it seized from the pro-Trump lawyer last month before transporting it to a lab in Virginia. The development, filed in court via Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom, came in response to a legal effort by Eastman to block investigators from ‘rummaging’ through his files. The Justice Department had indicated that it would obtain a warrant that would limit investigators’ access to ‘evidence of specific federal crimes or specific types of material.'”

Senate Passes $280 Billion Industrial Policy Bill to Counter China. The bipartisan vote reflected a rare consensus in the otherwise polarized Congress in favor of investing federal resources into a broad industrial policy to counter China. The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 27 July 2022: “The Senate on Wednesday passed an expansive $280 billion bill aimed at building up America’s manufacturing and technological edge to counter China, embracing in an overwhelming bipartisan vote the most significant government intervention in industrial policy in decades. The legislation reflected a remarkable and rare consensus in a polarized Congress in favor of forging a long-term strategy to address the nation’s intensifying geopolitical rivalry with Beijing. The plan is centered around investing federal money into cutting-edge technologies and innovations to bolster the nation’s industrial, technological and military strength. The measure passed 64 to 33, with 17 Republicans voting in favor. The bipartisan support illustrated how commercial and military competition with Beijing — as well as the promise of thousands of new American jobs — has dramatically shifted longstanding party orthodoxies, generating agreement among Republicans who once had eschewed government intervention in the markets and Democrats who had resisted showering big companies with federal largess.”


Thursday, 28 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia noncommittal on Griner deal; safe passage for grain still being arranged, The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Sean Fanning, Adela Suliman, Adam Taylor, and Meryl Kornfield, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that no concrete result has been achieved in U.S.-Russian prisoner exchange negotiations after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States made a ‘substantial proposal’ to Moscow for the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and security consultant Paul Whelan. The U.N. aid chief, Martin Griffiths, said that Ukrainian grain shipments in the Black Sea could resume by Friday but that details were being arranged, Reuters reported.

  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed surprise Thursday at the United States’ break with the diplomatic silence that normally surrounds prisoner release negotiations, a day after Blinken said a ‘substantial proposal”’was made to Moscow to free Griner and Whelan, The Post reported.
  • Blinken’s announcement came hours after Griner took the stand Wednesday, telling a court in Moscow that her rights were not read to her when she was arrested in February. She also said she did not receive adequate translations when Russian authorities questioned her and required her to sign documents in Russian. Her trial on drug charges is set to resume next week.
  • Ukraine has intensified efforts to bomb Russian troops occupying areas of the country’s south, Reuters reports. Russian advances have slowed almost to a standstill.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Points to Added Urgency as Russia Reinforces Southern Front. Russian troops around the southern city of Kherson are increasingly isolated after Ukrainian strikes disrupted key resupply routes. On the diplomatic front, the U.S. offered to trade an imprisoned Russian arms dealer for Brittney Griner and another detained American. The New York Times, Thursday, 28 July 2022:

  • Ukraine pushes to retake ground in the south as Russia pours in reinforcements.

  • The Russian arms dealer at the center of a proposed swap for Brittney Griner has a notorious history.

  • There are no immediate signs of a speedy Brittney Griner deal in either Moscow or Washington.

  • Missile strikes in northern Ukraine add urgency to a debate over hitting targets in Russia.

  • In Kharkiv, powerful missiles hit central areas.

  • Russia’s media regulator moves to revoke the license of Novaya Gazeta, an independent news outlet.

  • Ukraine’s harvest is underway, swelling its grain backlog and adding to farmers’ troubles.

  • Artifacts of war: Some Ukrainians are scouring battle zones for debris.

Seven Key Provisions in the Climate Deal. The $369 billion climate and tax bill would affect every aspect of U.S. energy production, with incentives for producers and consumers to move away from fossil fuels. The New York Times, Elena Shao, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “The climate and tax deal announced by Senate Democrats on Wednesday would pump hundreds of billions of dollars into programs designed to speed the country’s transition away from an economy based largely on fossil fuels and toward cleaner energy sources. The legislation, called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, is a far cry from the ambitious multi-trillion-dollar domestic policy and tax proposal that President Biden sought and that Democrats in Congress spent more than a year laboring to pass. What remains is a downsized but still significant package, born of compromise between Democratic Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York.” See also, Surprise Deal Would Be the Most Ambitious Climate Action Undertaken by U.S. The announcement Wednesday of an agreement in the Senate almost instantly reset the role of the United States in the global effort to fight climate change. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “The $369 billion climate and tax package forged in a surprise deal by Senate Democrats would be the most ambitious action ever taken by the United States to try to stop the planet from catastrophically overheating. The agreement, which Senate Democrats announced late Wednesday and hope to pass as early as next week, shocked even some who had been involved in the sputtering negotiations over climate legislation during the past year. The announcement of a deal, after many activists had given up hope, almost instantly reset the role of the United States in the global effort to fight climate change. And it was delivered by Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the holdout Democrat who had been reviled by environmentalists and some of his own colleagues after he said this month that he could not support a climate bill due to inflation concerns. ‘By a wide margin, this legislation will be the greatest pro-climate legislation that has ever been passed by Congress,’ Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader, said in announcing the deal with Mr. Manchin. The bill aims to tackle global warming by using billions of dollars in tax incentives to ramp up wind, solar, geothermal, battery and other clean energy industries over the next decade. Companies would receive financial incentives to keep open nuclear plants that might have closed, or to capture emissions from industrial facilities and bury them underground before they can warm the planet. Car buyers with incomes below a certain level would receive a $7,500 tax credit to purchase a new electric vehicle and $4,000 for a used one. Americans would receive rebates to install heat pumps and make their homes more energy-efficient.” See also, Senate deal could be most significant climate bill yet. The $369 billion deal could sharply reduce carbon pollution and lower Americans’ power bills. But climate experts said more needs to be done. The Washington Post, Anna Phillips, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “The $369 billion deal Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) forged Wednesday with Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) would transform how the country produces energy and upend the auto industry, even though it falls short of what the United States needs to do to meet its global warming pledge by the end of the decade. The agreement — which includes generous renewable energy and electric vehicle tax credits — could put the United States on track to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, according to the Rhodium Group, a research firm. President Biden has pledged to cut emissions at least in half by then. If enacted, it would send a powerful signal to international climate policymakers and give investors a decade’s worth of assurance that could speed the transition away from fossil fuels. The breakthrough defied the dynamic that has shaped environmental policy in the United States for two decades: Politicians have always postponed action on climate in favor of other issues they saw as higher priorities for voters. This time, as heat waves and floods pounded the United States and countries across the globe, Schumer and other Democrats refused to fold. ‘This package is not nibbling at the edges here in terms of clean energy and really transforming the American economy,’ said Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the chief author of the bill’s clean energy tax credits.” See also, What’s in the Charles Schumer-Joe Manchin Inflation Reduction Act, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Maxine Joselow, and Rachel Roubein, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “Major changes to the Affordable Care Act. The nation’s biggest-ever climate bill. The largest tax hike on corporations in decades. And dozens of lesser-known provisions that will affect millions of Americans. If enacted, the legislation released Wednesday night in a surprise agreement between Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) would represent one of the most consequential pieces of economic policy in recent U.S. history — though still far smaller than the $3 trillion the Biden administration initially sought.” See also, What’s in the “game changer” climate bill few saw coming. $369 billion new reasons to have renewed hope on climate change. Vox, Rebecca Leber, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “Democrats may be on the verge of passing historic climate legislation after all. The $369 billion of climate spending in the Inflation Reduction Act that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced on Wednesday includes funding for clean energy and electric vehicle tax breaks, domestic manufacturing of batteries and solar panels, and pollution reduction. If the bill’s policies work as intended, it would push American consumers and industry away from reliance on fossil fuels, penalize fossil fuel companies for excess emissions of methane, and inject needed funds into pollution cleanup. The bill would use tax credits to incentivize consumers to buy electric cars, electric HVAC systems, and other forms of cleaner technology that would lead to less emissions from cars and electricity generation, and includes incentives for companies to manufacture that technology in the United States. It also includes money for a host of other climate priorities, like investing in forest and coastal restoration and in resilient agriculture. If Democrats pass this bill, which they can do with a simple majority under Senate rules for reconciliation, it would be the single most important legislative step the US has ever taken to combat the climate crisis.”

Senate Republicans block bill to help veterans exposed to burn pits, The Washington Post, Eugene Scott and Mike DeBonis, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a bill to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits weeks after the measure initially sailed through the Senate with 84 votes, angering Democrats, veterans groups and comedian Jon Stewart, a leading proponent to aid the community. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, was particularly incensed by the turn of events. Tester, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), other lawmakers and Stewart on Thursday morning joined veterans outside the Capitol — who originally came to Washington to see the bill pass — to assail the GOP. ‘It just makes the gut punch that more devastating,’ Stewart said, given the number of veterans who came to Washington hoping the bill would pass. ‘Their constituents are dying.’… The bill would significantly change how the Department of Veterans Affairs cares for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances by compelling VA to presume that certain illnesses are linked to exposure to hazardous waste incineration, mostly focused on the issue of burn pits from recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That would remove the burden of proof from the injured veterans. Democrats accused Republicans of voting against the bill in retaliation for a deal announced earlier by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) that will allow Democrats to move ahead on an economic, health-care and climate package without Republican votes.” See also, Blindsided veterans erupt in fury after Senate Republicans tank toxic burn pit bill. The widely supported bipartisan measure, PACT Act, looked to expand medical coverage for millions of combatants exposed to toxic burn pits during their service. NBC News, Melissa Chan, Phil McCausland and Daniel Arkin, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “Blindsided veterans erupted in anger and indignation Thursday after Senate Republicans suddenly tanked a widely supported bipartisan measure that would have expanded medical coverage for millions of combatants exposed to toxic burn pits during their service. Supporters of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act — or PACT Act — overwhelmingly expected the House-passed bill to sail through to the president’s desk for signature. But in a move that shocked and confused veteran groups Wednesday night, 41 Senate Republicans blocked the bill’s passage, including 25 who had supported it a month ago. ‘We really expected yesterday to be a procedural vote that would go with easy passage,’ said Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a nonprofit veterans’ organization. ‘That was the absolute expectation.'” See also, Jon Stewart and Democrats rail against stalled burn pits legislation: ‘This is bullshit,’ CNN Politics, Kristin Wilson and Jessica Dean, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democrats and comedian and activist Jon Stewart railed against Senate Republicans who voted against legislation to help veterans suffering from ailments related to toxic burn pits, calling it a ‘gut punch’ to the veterans who had come to Capitol Hill to celebrate the legislation. ‘So ain’t this a bitch?’ Stewart said Thursday at a news conference on Capitol Hill. ‘America’s heroes, who fought our wars, outside sweating their asses off, with oxygen battling all kinds of ailments, while these motherf**kers sit in the air conditioning walled off from any of it? They don’t have to hear it. They don’t have to see it. They don’t have to understand that these are human beings. Did you get it yet?’ ‘And if this is America First, then America is f**ked,’ he said. Stewart, speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on ‘The Lead,’ said later of lawmakers, ‘I’m used to lies. I’m used to hypocrisy. I’m used to their cowardice. I’m not used to the cruelty, the casual cruelty … a bill they had fought for, for more than a decade.'” See also, The Senate passed a bill to help sick veterans. Then 25 Republicans reversed course. NPR, Rachel Treisman and Quil Lawrence, Friday, 29 July 2022: “Veterans and their loved ones gathered in Washington, D.C., on Thursday for what was supposed to be a long-awaited celebration. The Senate finally was poised to pass a bill that would provide health care and benefits for millions of veterans injured by exposure to toxins, from Agent Orange in Vietnam to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, in a surprise move, 25 Republican senators blocked the measure on Wednesday — even though they had voted in favor of it just one month earlier. Known as the PACT Act, the bill no longer would force generations of veterans to prove that their illness was caused by toxic exposures suffered in the military in order to get VA coverage. It had been hailed as the largest expansion of care in VA history, and was expected to cost $280 billion over a decade. Activists had spent a dozen years campaigning for such an expansion — a period during which they lost many of their own, including Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson, for whom the bill is named. He served near a burn pit during his deployments to Kosovo and Iraq with the Ohio National Guard, and died of a rare cancer in 2020. The bill — like many issues related to veterans’ health — had amassed deep bipartisan support, and easily passed the Senate by an 84-14 vote in June. But a technical error required another vote, and this time, more than two dozen Republicans switched sides. The final tally was 55-42 (with three senators abstaining), falling short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.”

January 6 texts missing for Trump Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) watchdog was alerted in February to unavailable records of top officials, but did nothing to alert or investigate. The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “Text messages for former President Donald Trump’s acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli are missing for a key period leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to four people briefed on the matter and internal emails. This discovery of missing records for the senior-most homeland security officials, which has not been previously reported, increases the volume of potential evidence that has vanished regarding the time around the Capitol attack. It comes as both congressional and criminal investigators at the Department of Justice seek to piece together an effort by the president and his allies to overturn the results of the election, which culminated in a pro-Trump rally that became a violent riot in the halls of Congress.”

January 6 House Select Committee expands interest into possible use of the 25th Amendment against Trump with Mnuchin and other Cabinet interviews, CNN Politics, Annie Grayer, Ryan Nobles, and Zachary Cohen, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “The House select committee investigating January 6 is zeroing in on former officials from Trump’s Cabinet for testimony and is particularly interested in learning more about conversations among officials about possibly invoking the 25th Amendment after the US Capitol attack. The panel has interviewed former President Donald Trump’s former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, sources tell CNN. Sources tell the CNN the committee is negotiating terms for a potential interview with former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. Given the classified nature of Ratcliffe’s former role, there are unique issues the two sides have to work out. The committee will also interview former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as soon as this week and is speaking with former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday.” See also, January 6 House Select Committee interviews ex-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as investigation expands into Trump Cabinet, ABC News, Katherine Faulders, John Santucci, and Luke Barr, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is working to secure testimony from a growing number of officials in former President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News. Trump’s former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who reportedly discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment as a vehicle to remove Trump from office with then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, recently sat with committee investigators for a transcribed interview, the sources said. ABC News previously reported that Pompeo is expected to speak with the committee in the coming days, though his interview is not officially scheduled.”

January 6 House Select Committee tees up 20 witness transcripts for the Department of Justice. The urgency of evidence-sharing between the select committee and Justice Department has appeared to escalate in recent weeks.  Politico, Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “The Jan. 6 select committee is preparing to produce 20 witness interview transcripts to the Justice Department amid prosecutors’ increasingly public investigation of efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election. ‘The Select committee intends to share 20 transcripts,’ a committee spokesperson said in a late-Thursday update on the panel’s engagement with the Justice Department. ‘We have no plans to share additional transcripts at this time.’ The statement confirms what the committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), told POLITICO earlier Thursday: that the panel has developed a framework to begin sharing transcripts and evidence with federal prosecutors. But the statement also makes clear that any initial cooperation will be limited and, for now, won’t amount to the production of all 1,000 witness interview transcripts that prosecutors have been seeking since April. The committee did not indicate which transcripts would be part of the initial tranche provided to the Justice Department.”

Exclusive: Prosecutors prepare for court battle to force former White House officials to testify about Trump’s January 6 conversations, CNN Politics, Evan Perez and Katelyn Polantz, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “Justice Department prosecutors are preparing to fight in court to force former White House officials to testify about then-President Donald Trump’s conversations and actions around January 6, according to people briefed on the matter. At issue are claims of executive privilege that prosecutors expect the former president to make in order to shield some information from the federal grand jury as the criminal investigation moves deeper into the ranks of White House officials who directly interacted with Trump. DOJ’s preemptive move is the clearest sign yet that federal investigators are homing in on Trump’s conduct as he tried to prevent the transfer of power to Joe Biden. An executive privilege court fight would immediately put the Justice Department’s investigation into a more aggressive stance than even the Mueller investigation — a major years-long criminal probe into Trump while he was President. He was not ultimately charged. Attorney General Merrick Garland has made clear in public remarks that Trump is not beyond the reach of the investigation because of his status as a former president.  He has also stressed they are taking care to ‘get this right.'”

2016 Campaign Looms Large as Justice Department Pursues January 6 Inquiry. Top officials at the department and the F.B.I. appear intent on avoiding any errors that could taint the current investigation or provide ammunition for a backlash. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “As the Justice Department investigation into the attack on the Capitol grinds ever closer to former President Donald J. Trump, it has prompted persistent — and cautionary — reminders of the backlash caused by inquiries into Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland is intent on avoiding even the slightest errors, which could taint the current investigation, provide Mr. Trump’s defenders with reasons to claim the inquiry was driven by animus, or undo his effort to rehabilitate the department’s reputation after the political warfare of the Trump years. Mr. Garland never seriously considered focusing on Mr. Trump from the outset, as investigators had done earlier with Mr. Trump and with Mrs. Clinton during her email investigation, people close to him say. As a result, his investigators have taken a more methodical approach, carefully climbing up the chain of personnel behind the 2020 plan to name fake slates of Trump electors in battleground states that had been won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. That has now led them to Mr. Trump and his innermost circle: Justice Department lawyers are questioning witnesses directly about the actions of Mr. Trump and top advisers like his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows.”

House passes bill to subsidize U.S.-made semiconductor chips in win for Biden, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang and Marianna Sotomayor, Thursday, 28 July 2022: “The House on Thursday voted to pass the $280 billion Chips and Science Act, a bill that would subsidize domestic semiconductor manufacturing and invest billions in science and technology innovation, in a bid to strengthen the United States’ competitiveness and self-reliance in what is seen as a keystone industry for economic and national security. The House passed the legislation on a 243-187 vote, with strong bipartisan support — despite a last-minute push by House GOP leaders to whip against the bill. Twenty-four Republicans defied the leadership and joined Democrats in backing the measure. President Biden hailed the outcome after securing bipartisan support last year for a major infrastructure bill and recently for a measure to reduce gun violence, overcoming election-year partisanship.”


Friday, 29 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Secretary of State Antony Blinken calls on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to accept ‘significant proposal’ to bring home Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, The Washington Post, Grace Moon, David Walker, Sean Fanning, Dalton Bennett, Adam Taylor, John Hudson, Lateshia Beachum, and Karen DeYoung, Friday, 29 July 2022: “Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday and pressed him to accept a U.S. proposal for the return of WNBA star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. The top U.S. diplomat, speaking to reporters at the State Department, offered no indication that the discussion was fruitful. ‘I raised exactly what I said I would raise with him — that is the significant proposal that has been on table for some weeks now that would lead to bringing home Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.’

  • Lavrov said earlier in the day that it would be ‘interesting’ to hear Blinken talk about a potential prisoner swap. Speaking at a news conference in Uzbekistan, Lavrov said that talks on prisoner exchanges had taken place since a Biden-Putin summit last year in Geneva. There is speculation that the United States is seeking to swap Whelan and Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in Illinois. Blinken has not confirmed that the United States is floating a prisoner exchange.
  • The White House dismissed as ‘not serious’ an informal counteroffer, made through intelligence channels several weeks ago by Russia’s FSB state security agency and reported by CNN, to include the release of another Russian, Vadim Krasikov. Krasikov was convicted last year of gunning down a Chechen opposition figure in Berlin in 2019 and is imprisoned in Germany. German authorities have said Krasikov was operating on behalf of the FSB. ‘Holding two wrongfully detained Americans hostage for the release of a Russian assassin in a third country’s custody is not a serious counter-offer,’ National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement.
  • Blinken will travel to South Africa, Congo and Rwanda next month with an itinerary that includes trade, human rights, food security and climate. Lavrov toured several countries on the continent this week to court favor and drag them into the war with Ukraine, according to a Washington Post analysis.
  • The first grain shipments from Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea are expected to begin shortly, after confirmation from the United Nations, Ukrainian authorities announced Friday. ‘We have solved all the technical questions and are waiting on confirmation today from the U.N. in regards to the corridor through which the vessels will sail on the Black Sea,’ Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said. More than 20 million tons of grain have been stuck in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February. In a rare trip outside Kyiv, Zelensky visited a Black Sea port Friday.

Russia-Ukraine War: Top U.S. and Russian Diplomats Discuss Possible Exchange for Griner and Whelan. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov spoke for the first time since the war began. Ukraine’s president visited the Odesa region, expressing hope that grain exports could begin soon. The New York Times, Friday, 29 July 2022:

  • Blinken speaks to Russia’s foreign minister for the first time since the war began.

  • Zelensky says he’s hopeful that grain will start moving from Ukraine’s ports soon.

  • In the deal to safely ship Ukraine’s grain, Russia is the wild card.

  • A strike kills dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war. Russia and Ukraine blame each other.

  • Lethal missile strikes in Kharkiv hit sites related to Ukraine’s military, a new pattern.

  • Exxon and Chevron report record profits on high oil and gas prices.

  • A rocket attack on a crowded bus stop killed five people, Ukrainian officials say.

The Department of Homeland Security’s chief watchdog Joseph Cuffari scrapped its investigative team’s effort to collect agency phones to try to recover deleted Secret Service texts this year, according to four people with knowledge of the decision and internal records reviewed by The Washington Post, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti and Carol D. Leonnig, Friday, 29 July 2022: “In early February, after learning that the Secret Service’s text messages had been erased as part of a migration to new devices, staff at Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari’s office planned to contact all DHS agencies offering to have data specialists help retrieve messages from their phones, according to two government whistleblowers who provided reports to Congress. But later that month, Cuffari’s office decided it would not collect or review any agency phones, according to three people briefed on the decision. The latest revelation comes as Democratic lawmakers have accused Cuffari’s office of failing to aggressively investigate the agency’s actions in response to the violent attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. Cuffari wrote a letter to the House and Senate Homeland Security committees this month saying the Secret Service’s text messages from the time of the attack had been ‘erased.’ But he did not immediately disclose that his office first discovered that deletion in December and failed to alert lawmakers or examine the phones. Nor did he alert Congress that other text messages were missing, including those of the two top Trump appointees running the Department of Homeland Security during the final days of the administration. Late Friday night, Cuffari’s spokesman issued a statement declining to comment on the new discovery.”

US announces new sanctions targeting Russian global influence and election interference operations, CNN Politics, Jennifer Hansler, Friday, 29 July 2022: “The Biden administration announced sanctions targeting Russia over its global ‘malign influence’ and election interference operations on Friday. In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the new tranche of sanctions ‘is separate and distinct from the broad range of measures the United States and its allies and partners continue to impose on Russia’s economy and financial system in response to its unlawful invasion of Ukraine.’ Friday’s sanctions hit ‘two individuals and four entities that support the Kremlin’s global malign influence operations and election interference activities,’ Blinken said, adding that they ‘played various roles in Russia’s attempts to manipulate the United States and our allies and partners, including Ukraine.’ One of the individuals sanctioned Friday is Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, a Russian national who was also charged Friday by the Department of Justice for allegedly ‘orchestrating a years-long foreign malign influence campaign that used various U.S. political groups to sow discord, spread pro-Russian propaganda, and interfere in elections within the United States.'” See also, Federal authorities in Florida charged Russian national Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov with U.S. political influence operation. Justice Department says Florida activist group was used to sow discord and spread pro-Russian propaganda. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Friday, 29 July 2022: “Federal authorities charged a Russian man Friday with a years-long malign influence campaign targeting American politics — alleging that he used American groups in Florida, Georgia and California to sow discord and push pro-Russia propaganda. Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, who lives in Moscow, worked for nearly eight years with Russian officials to fund and direct the U.S. groups, according to the indictment filed in Florida. The 24-page indictment does not name the groups but charges that Ionov also advised the campaigns of two unidentified political candidates in Florida. Ionov ‘allegedly orchestrated a brazen influence campaign, turning U.S. political groups and U.S. citizens into instruments of the Russian government,’ Matthew Olsen, head of the Justice Department’s national security division, said in a written statement.”

House Passes Assault Weapons Ban That Is Doomed in the Senate. Coming on the heels of a spate of mass shootings, the vote gave Democrats another opportunity to draw a sharp distinction with Republicans before the midterm elections. The New York Times, Annie Karni and Julian E. Barnes, Friday, 29 July 2022: “Responding to a string of mass shootings, a divided House passed a ban on assault weapons on Friday, moving over the near-unanimous opposition of Republicans to reinstate a prohibition that expired nearly two decades ago. Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the measure, which passed 217 to 213, as a ‘crucial step in our ongoing fight against the deadly epidemic of gun violence in our nation.’ Only two Republicans, Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Chris Jacobs of New York, joined Democrats in supporting the bill. Five Democrats voted against the measure: Representatives Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and Kurt Schrader of Oregon. The legislation would make it illegal to sell, manufacture, transfer, possess or import assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices. It stands no chance of passing in the evenly divided Senate, where such a sweeping gun control measure would not be able to win over the 10 Republicans it would need to overcome a filibuster. Still, the vote provided a way for Democrats to demonstrate to voters months before the midterm elections that they were trying to address the epidemic of gun violence in America. The action in the House came after a spate of mass shootings, including one in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman wielding an AR-15-style weapon killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers.”

Election deniers are running to control voting. Here’s how they’ve fared so far. NPR, Miles Parks, Friday, 29 July 2022: “Election officials and democracy experts are sounding the alarm, as Republicans who deny the 2020 election results have now moved closer to overseeing the voting process in five different states. Arizona could become No. 6 on Tuesday, when GOP voters there will decide in that state’s primary whether they want to nominate one of the two election deniers running for secretary of state. ‘These are the people who set the rules, who count the votes, and ultimately who are responsible for defending the will of the people,’ said Joanna Lydgate, the CEO of States United Action, a nonpartisan organization that has been tracking election-denying candidates running for governor, attorney general and secretary of state nationwide. States United shared its most recent findings exclusively with NPR ahead of their release. ‘In 2020, when we had a sitting president try to overturn an election, we saw all across the country state and local officials who stood up and who protected our freedom to vote,’ Lydgate said. ‘So if we want to see that happen again in the future we have to make sure that we are putting people in these positions who believe in free and fair elections.’ The duties of a state secretary of state vary, but in most cases, they are the state’s top voting official and have a key role in carrying out election laws. Across the country, numerous Republican candidates for these positions — and others with some role in election administration, like governor and attorney general — have embraced the lie that widespread fraud affected the 2020 election results. Of the 16 Republican secretary of state primaries that have been held so far this year, 12 featured at least one candidate who questioned the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s win in 2020, according to States United. And four of those candidates won spots in November’s general election: in Alabama, Indiana, Nevada and New Mexico. A fifth candidate, Kristina Karamo in Michigan, won a party vote to become the Republican nominee there during an endorsement convention in April. Should any of those candidates win in November and be elected a state election head, that could present two fundamental issues, says Rick Hasen, director of the Safeguarding Democracy Project at UCLA. ‘One: Are they going to administer elections fairly? And two: Even if they do, are others going to believe that they administer elections fairly?’ said Hasen, speaking with NPR’s 1A. ‘It really can lead to a massive decline in both experience on the ground and confidence that our elections are going to be fairly conducted.'”

Saturday, 30 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia accused of ‘deliberate mass murder’; Donetsk ordered to evacuate, The Washington Post, Hari Raj, David Walker, Dalton Bennett, and Praveena Somasundaram, Saturday, 30 July 2022: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of the ‘mass murder’ of Ukrainian prisoners of war in an occupied area of the eastern Donetsk region. On Saturday, he again called for recognition of Russia as a ‘terrorist state,’ particularly calling on the U.S. State Department. Grain shipments from Ukrainian ports could resume soon. Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

  • Donetsk is under a mandatory evacuation order, Zelensky said in his nightly address Saturday. He said the government would assist residents who have yet to evacuate from the region. Ukrainian Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said residents in the occupied region would have no heat in winter due to a lack of gas supply, according to Ukrainian state-owned broadcaster Ukrinform.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Saturday it had requested access to a prison in eastern Ukraine where more than 50 Ukrainian POWs are reported to have been killed. Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of attacking the facility in Olenivka, in a Russian occupied sector of the Donetsk region. Zelensky said his diplomats had sent data about the attack to the U.N.
  • Russia has invited experts from the ICRC and United Nations to investigate the Olenivka attack, to ensure the probe is ‘objective,’ the country’s Ministry of Defense said in a Telegram message on Saturday.
  • The Russian Embassy said soldiers of the Azov Regiment, part of the National Guard of Ukraine, deserved a ‘humiliating death,’ in a tweet on Saturday. Twitter flagged the post, saying it violated the platform’s rules, but kept the tweet accessible for the ‘public’s interest.’ Dozens of POWs from the Azov Regiment were killed Friday during a strike in Donbas, and Russia and Ukraine traded blame for the attack.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to accept a U.S. proposal for the return of WNBA star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan in a call on Friday. Blinken, addressing reporters at the State Department, did not indicate whether the discussion was fruitful. There is speculation that the U.S. is seeking to swap Whelan and Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in Illinois.
  • Grain shipments from Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea could restart very soon. Ukraine says it is ready to resume exporting grain as part of a U.N.-brokered deal, once the routes for vessels leaving its ports are confirmed. More than 20 million tons of grain have been stuck in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Seeks Inquiry Into Killing of Dozens at Russian Prison Camp. Ukraine dismissed as absurd claims by Russia that Kyiv’s forces had killed their own fighters at the prison, In Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, vessels are getting ready to transport their first grain shipments since the war began. The New York Times, Saturday, 30 July 2022:

  • A European official denounces ‘inhumane, barbaric acts’ as dozens of prisoners of war are killed.

  • Prisoners describe harsh treatment in the Russian camp where an explosion killed dozens.

  • Ukrainian officials compile evidence that they say shows Russia was behind prison camp blast.

  • Russia cuts off gas flow to Latvia.

  • The U.S. offer to swap a Russian arms dealer for Brittney Griner highlights uncomfortable choices.

  • As Ukraine defends in the east and south, a U.S. official says Russia’s war effort is failing.

  • Fear and fury: Families of Ukrainian prisoners of war worry for the fate of loved ones.

Hot mic captured Representative Matt Gaetz assuring Roger Stone that Trump would pardon him. Gaetz told longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone on eve of 2019 trial that he would not ‘do a day’ in prison. The Washington Post, Jon Swaine and Dalton Bennett, Saturday, 30 July 2022: “As Roger Stone prepared to stand trial in 2019, complaining he was under pressure from federal prosecutors to incriminate Donald Trump, a close ally of the president repeatedly assured Stone that ‘the boss’ would likely grant him clemency if he were convicted, a recording shows. At an event at a Trump property that October, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) predicted that Stone would be found guilty at his trial in Washington the following month but would not ‘do a day’ in prison. Gaetz was apparently unaware they were being recorded by documentary filmmakers following Stone, whom special counsel Robert S. Mueller III had charged with obstruction of a congressional investigation. ‘The boss still has a very favorable view of you,’ said Gaetz, stressing that the president had ‘said it directly.’ He also said, ‘I don’t think the big guy can let you go down for this.’ Gaetz at one point told Stone he was working on getting him a pardon but was hesitant to say more backstage at the event, in which speakers were being filmed for online broadcast. ‘Since there are many, many recording devices around right now, I do not feel in a position to speak freely about the work I’ve already done on that subject,’ Gaetz said. The lawmaker also told Stone during their conversation that Stone was mentioned ‘a lot’ in redacted portions of Mueller’s report, appearing to refer to portions that the Justice Department had shown to select members of Congress confidentially in a secure room. ‘They’re going to do you, because you’re not going to have a defense,’ Gaetz told Stone. The 25-minute recording was captured by a microphone that Stone was wearing on his lapel for a Danish film crew, which was making a feature-length documentary on the veteran Republican operative. The filmmakers allowed Washington Post reporters to review their footage in advance of the release of their film, ‘A Storm Foretold,’ which is expected later this year.”


Sunday, 31 July 2022:


War in Ukraine: ‘Brutal shellings’ rock port city of Mykolaiv and kill one of Ukraine’s richest businessmen, The Washington Post, Robyn Dixon, David Walker, Kendra Nichols, Praveena Somasundaram, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 31 July 2022: “The key Black Sea port of Mykolaiv suffered on Sunday ‘one of the most brutal shellings’ since the war began, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, as dozens of Russian rockets destroyed homes, schools and infrastructure. Among those killed in the city was one of Ukraine’s richest business executives, who founded an agriculture company that helped facilitate the country’s grain exports.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will soon deploy new hypersonic missiles in Ukraine. At the country’s annual Navy Day parade, he claimed that the Zircon missiles ‘have no equivalent in the world.’ Their development has been underway for years. Russia said earlier this year it had used a type of hypersonic missile — which fly at five times the speed of sound — against Ukraine.
  • Putin also signed a new naval doctrine outlining Russia’s determination to boost its naval strength in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, which border Ukraine. Among the perceived threats to Russia listed in the 55-page doctrine were the ‘advance’ of NATO military infrastructure to Russia’s borders.
  • A drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet headquarters, in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, sent a defiant message on Navy Day, an important military holiday. The attack forced the cancellation of celebrations in Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014. Ukraine denied responsibility for the attack, but said Russian military outposts in Crimea are legitimate targets.
  • Zelensky issued a mandatory evacuation order for civilians still living in the war-torn eastern region of Donetsk, saying many were refusing to leave. ‘There are hundreds of thousands of people, tens of thousands of children … many people refuse to leave … but it really needs to be done,’ he said in his nightly address. Russian forces have seized large areas of Donetsk but observers say its offensive has slowed.
  • The agriculture magnate Oleksiy Vadatursky was killed along with his wife in Mykolaiv on Sunday, regional governor Vitaliy Kim said. Vadatursky owned the Nibulon agricultural company, which has built storage facilities for grain. Zelensky said Vadatursky’s death was ‘a great loss for all of Ukraine.’

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Urges Mass Evacuation of Eastern Ukraine; Grain Tycoon Killed in Bombardment. Zelensky asked civilians to leave eastern Ukraine, where there is a near complete absence of electricity and gas supply. One of the country’s richest business leaders was among the dead on a night of heavy shelling in the city of Mykolaiv. The New York Times, Sunday, 31 July 2022:

  • The more people leave Donetsk now, Zelensky says, ‘the fewer people the Russian Army will have time to kill.’

  • A mother of six is intent on staying in her Donetsk home.

  • One of Ukraine’s richest businessmen is killed in the port city of Mykolaiv.

  • The Red Cross says it still doesn’t have access to the prison camp where dozens of Ukrainians died.

  • A former Kremlin adviser is hospitalized in Europe.

  • Russia says a drone attack hit the Crimean base of its Black Sea Fleet.

  • Tensions are flaring on the border between Kosovo and Serbia as Western nations focus on Ukraine.

According to internal communications reviewed by Rolling Stone, Trump’s team is ‘quietly’ planning for criminal charges as they wait for the Justice Department to make its move, Rolling Stone, Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley, Sunday, 31 July 2022: “Donald Trump’s lawyers are preemptively preparing a legal defense against criminal charges from the Justice Department, as the former president’s lawyers are increasingly anxious that their client will be prosecuted for his role in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Members of the ex-president’s legal team have already begun brainstorming strategy and potential defenses, according to three people familiar with the matter and written communications reviewed by Rolling Stone. Trump himself has been briefed on potential legal defenses on at least two occasions this summer, two of the sources say. That effort intensified after former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s June testimony before the House committee investigating Jan. 6.”





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!