Members on the panel have been preparing for weeks to move swiftly with an investigation examining key unanswered questions surrounding the breaching of the Capitol by a mob of former president Donald Trump’s supporters who echoed his false claims about the 2020 election while seeking to stop Congress’s efforts to certify its results and declare Joe Biden the next president.
- “I think it’s going to be quite informative and emotionally powerful,” Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.) told reporters on Monday.
- Watch the committee’s first meeting here — live coverage from The Post starts Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET.
Meanwhile, House Republican leaders have for months resisted efforts to investigate the most serious attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812, initially arguing any probe should include racial justice demonstrations in several cities last summer and then that Democrats’ only goal is to highlight Trump’s role to score political points with voters ahead of the midterm elections.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pulled his five nominees for the special committee last week after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) as too politically motivated to take the investigation seriously. Banks would have served as the panel’s ranking Republican had he been seated.
- On Monday night, House Republicans offered a privileged resolution on the floor in a last-ditch effort to seat all of McCarthy's picks for the Jan. 6 committee. The House voted 218-197 to defeat the move.
The format: Today’s hearing will feature four police officers — two from the U.S. Capitol Police squad and two from D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department — who are expected to testify about their experiences of both physical and verbal abuse on Jan. 6 as they tried to protect the Capitol.
To counter GOP complaints of partisanship, Democrats are elevating the role of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on the panel by allowing her to deliver an opening statement at the hearing along with Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel’s chairman. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), another Trump critic, is the other Republican on the panel.
- During a closed-door meeting last week, Schiff proposed to Pelosi and Cheney that having the Wyoming congresswoman speak after Thompson would present a “strong visual” for the committee’s goals and intentions as it embarks on a months-long process to investigate the insurrection, according to a person familiar with the conversation, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations.
- “Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are not only demonstrating their constitutional patriotism by serving on the committee to investigate in an objective way, but they’re also helping us to model, like what, what government should really be like, how, how it should work,” said Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the panel.
Thompson said he is prepared to lead a vigorous investigation in the months ahead. He told us in an interview that no final decisions on scheduling have been made but that members of the committee should be prepared to potentially cut their August recess short to conduct their investigation back in Washington.
- “We’ll follow the facts,” Thompson said. “I would say we need to have as much factual data from any and all individuals implicated. And so that goes from the top down — it could be leadership in the House, it could be members of Congress, it could be financiers of the people who came to Washington on that day. It could be people who paid for the printing of material, people who paid for robocalls to go out, inviting people to come to Washington to help ‘stop the steal.’ All of that is a part of the review.”
Now and then: Committee appointees have been eying evidentiary gaps that include outstanding document requests from various agencies and departments, along with subpoenas that have not been complied with. As for brewing concerns about the committee’s ability to enforce congressional subpoenas, Schiff told reporters that the Biden administration could help where the Trump administration did not during recent congressional inquiries.
- “In theory, when Congress issues a subpoena and someone ignores that subpoena, and is in contempt of that subpoena, it can be pursued by the Justice Department,” Schiff explained to reporters during a briefing on Monday. “Over the last four years, the department obviously was not willing to enforce any congressional subpoenas — that was the result of having one of the president’s chief enablers as the attorney general under Bill Barr.”
Objectives: Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), who started her career working at the Pentagon after 9/11 in special operations and counterterrorism under President George W. Bush, listed a number of other objectives for the investigation, including gathering a better understanding of the ideology driving the violent extremism demonstrated by the mob — what Murphy referred to as a “kind of new American radicalism.”
- “You might not be able to apply your typical countering-violent-extremism approaches to these people,” said Murphy. “The people who showed up on January — how were they motivated? How did they pay for their travel and their equipment? How are they organized? Are they still driven to trying to change political outcomes through political violence? You know, I think that we have to better understand this.”
- “A lot of authoritarian countries were democracies before the autocrat took over,” Murphy said in an interview, stressing the need to strengthen the resilience of U.S. institutions against bad actors. “When you work on these issues overseas, one commonality between successful coups is that there was inevitably an unsuccessful coup first.”
SAD BREAKING NEWS OVERNIGHT: “Former senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), the onetime chairman of two Senate panels crucial to domestic policy, died Monday after suffering serious injuries in a bicycle accident. He was 77,” our colleague Paul Kane writes. “Enzi was riding his bicycle near his home in Gillette, Wyo., when he was injured Friday and flown to UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colo.”
- “Enzi 'passed away peacefully today surrounded by his family,' a statement posted to his Twitter account late Monday said. His family said they plan to share details about a ‘celebration of a life well-lived’ at a later time.”
- “The genial, low-key conservative was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 after serving as mayor of Gillette and a member of the Wyoming legislature. He decided not to seek a fifth term in 2020. Enzi’s gentle manner earned him respect and friendship as he chaired two committees: Budget and Health Education Labor Pensions.”
- “You never saw the incendiary part of Congress from him where everybody makes a speech to piss off the other side and get a response from the other side,” Michael Von Flatern, a longtime Gillette lawmaker who served as Enzi’s pilot on his U.S. Senate campaigns, previously told the Casper Star-Tribune.“His philosophy was to not say anything unless you can say something good. So that’s what he did.”
At the White House
TO MANDATE OR NOT TO MANDATE: “Top Biden administration officials are weighing whether to recommend that states and communities with low vaccination rates reimpose mask mandates, particularly indoors, as part of discussions on how the administration can do more to slow the spread of the Delta variant,” Politico’s Erin Banco, Adam Cancryn and Anita Kumar report.
- “Top Biden health officials in recent days have also debated whether to encourage businesses, health care facilities and other institutions to require proof of covid-19 vaccination as a condition for returning to work, fearing the Delta strain will continue to cause case numbers to spike over the next several months.”
- But … “officials are split on the merits of issuing new federal guidelines, with some fearing they will be politicized and embolden new Republican attacks.”
- “This camp believes recommending proof of vaccination would raise the specter of ‘vaccine passports’ — an increasingly potent conservative talking point — and alienate and stigmatize portions of the country where individuals have chosen not to get the shot. And they fear calls to reimpose mask mandates will be futile.”
Taking matters into their own hands: “The push to mandate coronavirus vaccinations amid sharply rising caseloads nationwide accelerated on Monday, as the country’s most populous state and its largest city both announced that they would require hundreds of thousands of government workers to get inoculations or face weekly testing,” the New York Times’ Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Shawn Hubler and Jennifer Steinhauer write.
- “At the same time, the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to require such vaccinations, by announcing that all 115,000 of its front-line health care workers must receive a coronavirus inoculation in the next two months or face possible termination.”
- “Agency officials said the decision was driven by the determination to protect both workers and patients, noting that four unvaccinated employees recently died of covid-19 and that there was an outbreak among staff and unvaccinated trainees at a VA training center,” per our Post colleague Dan Diamond.
- “The actions by Gov. Gavin Newsom in California and Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York City reflected growing concern among many government officials that vaccine skepticism and the spread of the more contagious Delta variant could lead to a new wave of the pandemic,” Fitzsimmons, Hubler and Steinhauer write.
The numbers: According to Washington Post tracking, “confirmed coronavirus infections nationwide have quadrupled in July, from about 13,000 cases per day at the start of the month to more than 54,000 now,” Diamond writes.
“About 60 percent of all U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, with the rate of new immunizations slowing since mid-April, according to The Post’s tracking.”
Meanwhile, “the Biden administration will continue to restrict entry of Europeans and others into the United States, citing concerns that infected travelers may contribute to further spread of the contagious Delta variant across the country,” the New York Times’ Michael D. Shear reports.
THE TRILLION DOLLAR NEGOTIATION: “A key Republican senator grumbled publicly that Democrats were not being responsive enough. One aide anonymously described a litany of unresolved disagreements, while another privately put out a list of broken promises. And former president Donald Trump weighed in from afar, urging Republicans to walk away from the talks, lest they be played by Democrats as ‘weak fools and losers,’” the New York Times’ Emily Cochrane writes.
- “Nearly five weeks after Biden and a group of Republican and Democratic senators triumphantly announced that they had risen above the polarization gripping Washington to agree on a framework for an infrastructure deal, there was trouble in bipartisan paradise on Monday as their agreement appeared to teeter on the brink of collapse.”
- “With just two weeks left before a scheduled month-long August break, the efforts of the bipartisan group to translate their plan into a detailed bill had reached that most excruciating of stages: tantalizingly close to an agreement but with none in hand. And patience was wearing thin.”
- “The mood on Capitol Hill was grim, as private policy disagreements turned into public finger-pointing between the two parties. And a group that had been held up just days ago as the best chance for bipartisan success in a divided Congress was itself veering into dysfunction, with many senators tired of negotiating.”
“They hit serious roadblocks over was how much would be spent on public transit and water infrastructure and whether the new spending on roads, bridges, broadband and other projects would be required to meet federal wage requirements for workers,” AP News’ Lisa Mascaro, Alexandra Jaffe and Kevin Freking report. “They’re also at odds over drawing on covid-19 funds to help pay for it.”
- “With tensions spilling into public view in this way, the standoff threatened to cast a pall over the 10 Democrats and Republicans who have been laboring for months on the roughly $1 trillion outline to improve the nation’s basic systems,” per our colleagues Tony Romm, Seung Min Kim and Ian Duncan.
- “If the deal collapses, it would cause political headaches for the White House in particular, after Biden and his top aides invested considerable time and attention to working with Congress in pursuit of a bipartisan deal.”
IT’S BRITNEY, B--💅: “Britney Spears’ new attorney, Mathew Rosengart, has officially filed to remove and suspend her father, Jamie Spears, from the pop star’s conservatorship,” Variety’s Elizabeth Wagmeister and Shirley Halperin report.
“Less than two weeks ago, we pledged that after 13 years of the status quo, my firm and I would move aggressively and expeditiously to file a petition to suspend and remove James P. Spears,” Rosengart said outside the courthouse Monday. “It is now a matter of public record … We look forward to litigating the matter in court.”