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[10 websites that pay you daily]The Daily 202: Nineteen Republicans didn’t even vote on forming a Jan. 6 committee

2021-08-08

  That was the number of Republican lawmakers who didn’t even vote on whether to empanel a handpicked group of their colleagues to examine the worst attack on the federal legislature since 1814, which left more than 100 Capitol Police officers injured and interrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

  As of 11:45 a.m. Eastern time today, none had issued a statement on their official websites explaining to their constituents why they were absent, when being in the chamber for an important vote (or at least voting by proxy) is a fairly basic House-member responsibility.

  Many readers on Twitter were quick to brand the absentees “cowards,” but that’s wrong. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) — who recently blamed the riot on federal agents who “egged on” the crowd and once approvingly read into the House record a column comparing Barack Obama to Hitler – certainly isn’t afraid to court controversy.

  The headlines understandably?didn’t?focus on the no-shows.?

  My colleague Karoun Demirjian zeroed in on the near-lockstep Republican opposition to creating the committee – just two GOP lawmakers, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois joined all of the Democrats in voting yes.

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  “The 220-to-190 nearly party-line vote stands in contrast to a vote in May, when 35?House Republicans joined Democrats to back the creation of an independent commission to examine the root causes of the attack. While that group of House Republicans was willing to embrace an outside panel of experts evenly weighted between GOP and Democratic appointees, most were wary of a select committee that would be firmly in the control of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked participants.”

  … “The vote Wednesday was the latest example of how Republicans have rallied against scrutinizing an attack they once strongly condemned. Any investigation into the Jan. 6 attack would probably focus on the role played by Trump in inspiring the crowd that came to Washington that day in support of his falsehoods about the election being stolen.”

  Over at the New York Times, Luke Broadwater reported:

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  “The panel, established at the behest of Speaker Nancy Pelosi after Senate Republicans blocked the formation of a bipartisan independent commission to scrutinize the assault, will investigate what?its organizing resolution?calls ‘the facts, circumstances and causes relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack.

  The 13-member panel, which has subpoena power, will have eight members named by the majority party and five with input from Republicans, and is meant to examine President Donald J. Trump’s role in inspiring the riot. While the measure creating it does not mention him, it charges the committee with looking at the law enforcement and government response to the storming of the Capitol and ‘the influencing factors that fomented such an attack on American representative democracy while engaged in a constitutional process.’”

  At the Associated Press, Mary Clare Jalonick and Kevin Freking reported:

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  “GOP leaders have declined to say whether Republicans will even participate. In a memo to all House Republicans late Tuesday, No. 2 House Republican Scalise urged his members to vote against the resolution, saying the committee ‘is likely to pursue a partisan agenda.’

  Many Republicans have made clear that they want to move on from the Jan. 6 attack. And some have gone further, including Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, who suggested that video of the rioters looked like a ‘tourist visit.’ Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona insisted that a Trump supporter named Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed that day while trying to break into the House chamber, was ‘executed.’ Others have defended rioters charged with federal crimes.”

  Admittedly,?it’s?not like there was any great mystery about where the no-shows stood.

  None of the 19 voted yes to creating an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the attack. And it’s certainly possible they figured the outcome wasn’t in doubt.

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  Some of the 19 were nearly 2,000 miles away on the Texas-Mexico border with former president Donald Trump, whose role in encouraging the Jan. 6 rioters is sure to get a probing look from the committee, my colleague Felicia Sonmez reported.

  That group included Reps. Darrell Issa (Calif.), Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), Billy Long (Mo.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Jim Banks (Ind.), Chip Roy (Tex.), Ronny Jackson (Tex.), John Rose (Tenn.), and Brian Babin (Tex.).

  (Rose issued a statement on the visit, which did not mention the vote in Washington.)

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  Interestingly, Babin, Boebert, Cawthorn and Long all voted no by proxy – after formally filing the required paperwork on Monday or Tuesday, apparently in anticipation of Wednesday’s vote. As of June 25, according to the Brookings Institution, only Democrats had named proxies.

  Search-and-rescue efforts at the site of the condominium collapse in Surfside, Fla., were paused just after 2 a.m. this morning because of “structural concerns” about the standing portion of Champlain Towers South.“The pause is ongoing, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said authorities are doing ‘everything we can to ensure that the safety of our first responders is paramount and to continue our search-and-rescue operation as soon as it’s safe to do so,’” Paulina Firozi and Lateshia Beachum report. “Miami-?Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said there were concerns about the stability of the building. Those concerns included a ‘large column hanging from the structure that could fall and cause damage to the support columns’ in the garage area, and ‘slight movement’ in concrete floor slabs that could ‘cause additional failure of the building.’ … Cominsky said he does not have a time frame as to when search operations will continue.”

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  Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was tapped to be on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. “Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) will chair the select committee that will probe the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, and Cheney will serve as a member,” Felicia Sonmez and Marianna Sotomayor report. “Cheney has been outspoken in her criticism of former president Donald Trump and was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him for ‘incitement of insurrection.’”

  The other members of the committee are:

  Chair Zoe Lofgren: Chair of Committee on House AdministrationChair Adam Schiff: Chair of House Permanent Select Committee on IntelligenceRep. Pete Aguilar, House Administration and Appropriations CommitteesRep. Stephanie Murphy, Armed Services CommitteeRep. Jamie Raskin, Oversight and Judiciary CommitteesRep. Elaine Luria, Navy veteran, Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees

  Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg surrendered this morning. Weisselberg surrendered “after prosecutors secured grand jury indictments against him and the former president’s family company, which declared the move an effort to harm Trump,” Shayna Jacobs, David Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey and Jonathan O’Connell report. “Charges against Weisselberg and the Trump Organization are expected to be unsealed later in the day in New York State Supreme Court, several people familiar with the developments said. On Wednesday, people familiar with the case said the charges were related to allegations of unpaid taxes on benefits for Trump Organization executives. …

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  “Weisselberg arrived at the Manhattan criminal courthouse through an employee entrance at about 6:20 a.m., according to journalists who saw him arrive. His attorney, Mary E. Mulligan, confirmed the surrender in a text to The Post. ‘Mr. Weisselberg intends to plead not guilty and he will fight these charges in court,’ Mulligan said in a statement. … The Trump Organization, in a statement, lauded Weisselberg as ‘a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather who has worked at the Trump Organization for 48 years.’ ‘He is now being used by the Manhattan District Attorney as a pawn in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former President,’ [the statement said]. … Trump, in an interview Wednesday night from Texas — where he appeared at a presidential-style event with Fox News host Sean Hannity — lumped the New York investigations with other past probes that he has insisted have been politically motivated. ‘All nonsense,’ he said. ‘New York radical-left prosecutors come after me — you gotta fight.’”

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  “Ahead of Canada’s national day, more unmarked graves found, more churches burned,” by Michael E. Miller: “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday denounced a recent spate of vandalism and suspicious fires at churches, many located on Indigenous land, but stopped short of canceling Canada Day celebrations after the recent discoveries of over a thousand unmarked graves across at least three former church-run schools for Indigenous children. … Wednesday saw the announcement of another discovery of unmarked graves at a former school for Indigenous children — at least the third such find since late May. The Lower Kootenay Band, part of the Ktunaxa First Nation, said ground-penetrating radar had revealed 182 human remains in unmarked graves — some as shallow as three feet — at St. Eugene’s Mission School in British Columbia. The school was run by a Catholic group until it closed in the 1970s.”“San Jose to require gun owners to carry liability insurance,” by the AP: “San Jose officials have passed the first law in the nation that requires gun owners to carry liability insurance and pay a fee to cover taxpayers’ costs associated with gun violence. The new law was unanimously approved by the City Council on Tuesday, a month after a disgruntled San Jose rail yard employee fatally shot nine of his co-workers and then himself at the rail yard.”“In surprise veto, DeSantis rejects bipartisan push to expunge minors’ criminal records,” by the Miami Herald’s Ana Ceballos: “The veto came as a shock to many lawmakers, who supported the measure. The proposal, they said, moved through the legislative process with little to no opposition and it was an approach that would have allowed minors with past run-ins with the law to face fewer barriers to employment, housing and education. … The bill would have allowed about 27,000 minors to request that their arrest records be expunged following the successful completion of a diversion program for any offense, including felonies.”President Biden is visiting Surfside, Fla., today as 145 remain missing.?“Biden, joined by his wife, Jill Biden, plans to meet with first responders, local officials and families affected by the catastrophe that struck a week ago, claiming the lives of at least 18 people and leaving 145 missing as of Wednesday night,” Sean Sullivan reports.“The president’s visit will bring him face to face with Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a frequent Biden critic and potential future rival for the presidency. Biden will receive a command briefing from DeSantis and other officials Thursday morning, the White House said. In the afternoon, the president will deliver remarks.”The majority of the condo’s board quit in 2019 as squabbling residents dragged out plans for repairs.“The president of the board of the Florida condominium that collapsed last week resigned in 2019, partly in frustration over what she saw as the sluggish response to an engineer’s report that identified major structural damage the previous year,” Beth Reinhard, Tik Root, Brady Dennis and Jon Swaine report. “Despite increasingly dire warnings from the board, many condo owners balked at paying for the extensive improvements, which ballooned in price from about $9 million to more than $15 million over the past three years as the building continued to deteriorate, records show.”“‘It took a lot of time to get the ball rolling, and of course there was sticker shock. Nobody truly believed the building was in imminent danger,’ [said] Max Friedman, a former board member who left the board before the 2018 report.”Surfside mayor said residents in the collapsed tower’s sister building have the option to temporarily relocate.?“We want to assure you that Town officials and Town staff are committed to your safety. Part of that commitment to safety involves investigating what occurred at Champlain Towers South and ensuring similar conditions are not repeated on similar properties, most notably your building, the Champlain Towers North,” Mayor Charles Burkett said in a letter.“He noted that officials are coordinating with the condo’s board regarding the investigation and said he has urged the board to hire an independent structural engineer to ‘perform an assessment of the building’s structure.’ He said the board is ‘giving this immediate attention,’” Paulina Firozi and Rebecca Tan report.

  “We have been resilient, we’ve had several challenges from weather, sorrow, pain, and I think the president coming will bring some unity here for our community,” said Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

  More than a dozen arrests in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot were announced or unsealed Wednesday.?The arrests revealed “charges against alleged supporters of extremist right-wing groups including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and ‘boogaloo boys’ movement, and individuals accused of attacking the property of news media,” Spencer S. Hsu and Rachel Weiner report. “The arrests ranked among the most made public in a single day and came as an alleged Oath Keepers member reached an unexpected plea deal with prosecutors in the largest conspiracy case brought against those accused of obstructing Congress as it met to confirm the 2020 election results.”A crew of online sleuths is helping the FBI’s Capitol manhunt.?“[Attorney General Merrick Garland has] said DOJ’s efforts were ‘not possible without the continued assistance of the American public.’ Much of that assistance has come from people who personally knew Capitol suspects, including family members, coworkers, neighbors, Facebook frenemies, and old classmates who tipped off the FBI about the actions of someone they knew in real life,” writes the HuffPost’s Ryan J. Reilly.“But there’s a whole other batch of Capitol defendants who ended up on the FBI’s radar thanks to the work of someone they’d never met: anonymous online sleuths who tracked down the digital breadcrumbs that Capitol suspects had often unknowingly sprinkled across the internet. They call themselves sedition hunters, and they have receipts.”The New York Times analyzed thousands of videos from the attack in a 40-minute visual depiction of the riot.?Some of the revelations in the video include the identification of at least eight locations where rioters breached and entered the Capitol, more than previously known.“The multiple breaches also revealed the Capitol’s vulnerability. Despite locked doors and, in certain places, thick windows, rioters without specialized equipment were able to break in instantly in some places.”“In the Senate, proceedings to certify the election results were halted almost immediately when a building-wide lockdown was called after the first breach by rioters. But we found that it took much longer for the House of Representatives to do the same. This delay appeared to have contributed to a rioter’s death. Instead of evacuating, members of the House sheltered in place and resumed their work even as rioters overran the building. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was rushed to safety, but Representative Jim McGovern took her place presiding over the session. He told us that Capitol building security staff had said it was safe to resume.”The Department of Homeland Security raised alarms over the potential for summer violence pegged to another false claim.?“A growing belief among some Donald Trump supporters that the former President will be reinstated in August, coupled with relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, has DHS officials concerned that online rhetoric and threats could translate into actual violence in the coming months as more people are out and in public places,” CNN’s Zachary Cohen and Geneva Sands report.“The August theory is essentially a recycled version of other false narratives pushed by Trump and his allies leading up to and after January 6, prompting familiar rhetoric from those who remain in denial about his 2020 election loss. But the concern is significant enough that DHS issued two warnings in the past week about the potential for violence this summer.”Biden’s spy chief Avril Haines said the CIA should have a role in combating domestic terrorism.?“This is an issue. It’s also true for malign influence. It’s impossible to really assess what the threat is in malign influence without looking at what is happening domestically,” she told Yahoo News’s Daniel Klaidman. “And it’s just increasingly true across the range of things as the line between what is domestic and international collapses. We talked about, frankly, in the context of the transition [of administrations], that this was a reality and that we needed to integrate our policy between the domestic and international. It is also true for our threat assessments and how we look at them.”“The challenge is — and I think here is what we appropriately can and should do, in my view — is to provide support to FBI and DHS as they are taking the lead for the U.S. government in approaching how to respond to those issues.”A secretly recorded video call features an Exxon lobbyist describing efforts to undercut climate action.?“During the call, Keith McCoy, a senior director of federal relations for Exxon Mobil, described how the oil and gas giant targeted a number of influential United States senators in an effort to weaken climate action in Biden’s flagship infrastructure plan. That plan now contains few of the ambitious ideas initially proposed by Mr. Biden to cut the burning of fossil fuels, the main driver of climate change,” the Times’s Hiroko Tabuchi reports. “Mr. McCoy also said on the recording that Exxon’s support for a tax on carbon dioxide was ‘a great talking point’ for the oil company, but that he believes the tax will never happen. He also said that the company has in the past aggressively fought climate science through ‘shadow groups.’”“The lobbyist’s remarks came after Exxon, one of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers, has in recent years said it backs the Paris climate accord’s goal of limiting global warming.”Excerpts from the conversation were aired by British broadcaster Channel 4. In them, McCoy “names 11 senators who he says are ‘crucial’ to ExxonMobil.” The list includes Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.). McCoy described Manchin as “the Kingmaker” in the Senate and said he spoke to his office on a weekly basis.The House took up a $715 billion transportation and water infrastructure bill.?The measure “would stake out the chamber’s position in a debate over how to rebuild the nation’s roads, transit networks, water pipes and sewers,” Ian Duncan and Michael Laris report.“The package would provide $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety programs, $109 billion for transit agencies and $95 billion for rail. It also includes $117 billion for drinking water programs and $51 billion for wastewater infrastructure.”“Much of the debate over infrastructure has played out between Biden and negotiators in the Senate, who outlined a bipartisan plan last week. Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said this week the spending envisioned in that bipartisan plan and the House bill were close enough that he saw the potential for an agreement.”House Republicans who opposed the coronavirus relief bill are seeing the aid flow to their local police departments.“As violent crime incidents have increased ahead of the summer, Democrats and Republicans are already trading accusations of responsibility for thinning police ranks,” NBC News’s Allan Smith reports. “As part of that effort, Democrats are highlighting communities in at least 10 districts represented by House Republicans considering or utilizing funds from the American Rescue Plan — specifically its $350 billion pot of money to help cash-strapped state and local governments — to bolster police departments. Without the money, Democrats argue, those departments would suffer.”“Meanwhile, Republicans point to cities controlled by Democrats that have lessened police funding as the reason.”

  Driven almost entirely by the views of Democrats, pride in being an American has ticked upward after hitting a historic low last year, according to a new Gallup survey. “Gallup found that among U.S. adults overall, 69 percent are either ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ proud to be Americans, up from 63 percent last year,” John Wagner reports. “In the latest survey, taken five months after Biden took office, 62 percent of Democrats said they are proud to be Americans. That’s up from 42 percent a year ago. Numbers among Republicans and independents are virtually unchanged from a year ago.”

  The conservative Center for Security Policy announced the formation of a its Middle East and North Africa program, which will be led by former deputy national security advisor for Middle Eastern and African Affairs Victoria Coates. “The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) program will both coordinate the Center’s established lines of regional study, including Iran, the U.S.-Israel alliance, and combatting global anti-Semitism, and explore new focus areas such as integrating American security and economic strategic interests in MENA to include Israel in the wake of the historic Abraham Accords as well as the role of the U.S. in regional energy cooperation,” the center said in a statement. During the Trump administration, Coates was hired as president of the government-funded Middle East Broadcasting Networks. She was fired by the Biden administration in January.

  Despite efforts focused on vaccinating young, hesitant and rural Americans, the United States is unlikely to reach the 70 percent mark until sometime around Aug. 10, according to a Washington Post projection based on current vaccination rates. Check out when 70 percent of adults in your state will have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

  Biden and the first lady are in Miami, Fla., where they’re meeting with first responders and rescue teams. At 12:30 p.m., they will meet with the families of the victims. At 3:50 p.m., the president will deliver remarks. The Bidens will return to D.C. in the evening.

  Vice President Harris will deliver remarks at a virtual Pride celebration event for the DNC today at 6:50 p.m. She is meeting with Cabinet officials and a group of governors to talk about this year’s fire season.

  “The Daily Show’s” Roy Wood Jr. wondered whether any Republicans really know what critical race theory is: