US braces for House committee’s primetime January 6 hearings – live | US politics

Michigan police officer charged with second-degree murder in shooting of Patrick Lyoya

A police officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan is facing second-degree murder charges for the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya, a Black man who was shot in the back of the head while on the ground.

From The New York Times:

Christopher Becker, the Kent County prosecuting attorney, said the officer, Christopher Schurr, acted unreasonably when he shot Mr. Lyoya, 26, while wrestling with the motorist, who had run away. The officer told Mr. Lyoya he pulled him over for having license plates that did not match his car.

“Patrick Lyoya immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to pursue the American dream and provide a better and safer life for himself and his family,” Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family, said in a statement when the videos were released. “Instead, what found him was a fatal bullet to the back of the head, delivered by an officer of the Grand Rapids Police Department.”

Lyoya’s father described the the killing as an “execution.” Footage of the altercation was caught on Becker’s body camera.

An unintended consequence of the recent congressional push for gun control legislation is that a bill to boost domestic semiconductor production has been put on the back burner, Bloomberg reports.

The proposed legislation would spend $52 billion to spur domestic manufacturing of the vital computer chips that ran short globally during the pandemic, exacerbating supply chain issues in the United States and driving up inflation. It would also contain provisions to help American businesses compete against China.

But with senators so focused on a bipartisan agreement to better regulate guns following recent mass shootings, and with midterms in which Democrats could lose control of one or both chambers of Congress growing nearer, Bloomberg reports that lawmakers are finding little time or use for the talks:

Supporters say that without passage, the US will fall further behind other countries in making the components of everything from fighter jets to vacuum cleaners, putting it at the mercy of overseas supply chains.

Frustration with the Biden administration looms large on Capitol Hill and among business lobbyists who have pushed for the measure. Senators and other people close to the negotiations said the White House has not pressed hard enough on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in her chamber to finish the legislation.

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, a Democrat who faces a tough re-election contest, said he’d like the White House to get more involved, especially with the House.

Republican supporters of the bill, too, have been puzzled by the White House’s strategy, saying Biden’s team hadn’t pushed House Democrats more forcefully and let months go by without throwing their weight behind what was supposed to be a top priority.

Despite earlier optimism from the chamber’s top Democrat, it does not look like senators will reach a compromise on gun control today.

As CNN’s Manu Raju reports:

After a meeting in Sen. Simema’s basement hideaway, Sen. John Cornyn told a group of us there’s no deal yet on guns.

”We’re meeting again tomorrow and I hope to resolve remaining differences,” Cornyn said.

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 9, 2022

That talks are taking so long may mean something, Politico’s Burgess Everett notes:

Nina Lakhani

Biden has started his day in Los Angeles with a speech to business leaders, where he encouraged them to focus on sustainability in the face of intensifying climate change. One state away in Arizona, The Guardian’s Nina Lakhani reports officials fear heat deaths as temperatures in the largest city Phoenix are expected to top 110F in the coming days:

A dangerous heatwave is due to scorch large swaths of Arizona for the rest of the week, triggering the first extreme heat warning of the year as temperatures in Phoenix are forecast to top 113F (45C) on three consecutive days.

Day and nighttime temperatures are expected to reach 7F to 10F (4C to 6C) above normal for this time of the year, which could drive a surge in medical emergencies and deaths as people struggle to stay cool amid soaring energy prices and rising homelessness.

Extreme heat is America’s leading weather-related killer, and Phoenix, in Maricopa county, is the deadliest city.

Hugo Lowell

The January 6 commission will in its hearing tonight try to show that the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers militia groups worked together on attacking the Capitol, the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports.

The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack is expected at its first hearing on Thursday evening to connect the far-right Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers militia groups in the same seditious conspiracy, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The move by the panel and chief investigative counsel Tim Heaphy would likely be one of the major revelations that comes from the hearing, which is expected to focus on the militia groups and how they made plans to storm the Capitol, the sources said.

Top members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers have been charged separately by the justice department with seditious conspiracy, but the select committee’s intention to show that their efforts were connected would escalate the gravity of the plans to attack the Capitol.

Lowell also spoke to MSNBC’s Katie Phang about what his reporting revealed:

NEW: “The January 6th committee is expected to tie in the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys militia groups together in the same seditious conspiracy,” @hugolowell tells @KatiePhang.

More to come from Katie’s interview with Hugo to preview tonight’s first public 1/6 hearing.

— The Katie Phang Show (@katiephangshow) June 9, 2022

The day so far

Thanks for sticking with us through a morning packed with news, as Washington prepares for new revelations from the January 6 committee this evening. Later this afternoon, President Joe Biden is scheduled to address the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

Here’s what’s happened in the day so far:

  • Senators may be nearing a deal on gun control legislation demanded in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, the top Senate Democrat said, though he acknowledged the legislation was unlikely to contain all the provisions his party is demanding.
  • NBC News reported that a bipartisan Senate deal may be near to fix legal loopholes that could exploited by a political candidate to steal an election.
  • The FBI arrested a Michigan Republican candidate for the party’s gubernatorial nomination. While it is unclear what the charges are, Ryan Kelley was in Washington on January 6, 2021 and local media reports that there are signs he may have taken part in storming the capitol.
  • The average price of a gallon of gas is nearing $5 a gallon, a symbolic threshold it has never before passed. The nationwide spike is likely to only worsen Biden’s approval ratings, which a recent poll found had hit an all-time low.

US average gas price nearing $5 a gallon

In a sign of the ongoing inflation threat, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is closing to surpassing $5 a gallon in the United States, an all-time high that poses implications for the wider economy and may worsen Biden’s low approval.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average price of a gallon of regular gas is today at $4.97, though GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan say it has already passed the symbolic threshold.

BREAKING: According to GasBuddy, the national average has reached $5 per gallon.

— Patrick De Haan ⛽️📊 (@GasBuddyGuy) June 9, 2022

“People are still fueling up, despite these high prices,” AAA spokesman Andrew Gross said earlier this week. “At some point, drivers may change their daily driving habits or lifestyle due to these high prices, but we are not there yet.”

The gas price spike is attributable to the US economy’s overall recovery from the pandemic downturn in 2020 as people returned to driving and traveling nationwide, but it grew markedly worse earlier this year when Russia invaded Ukraine and western nations imposed sanctions that roiled global oil markets.

Rightly or wrongly, many Americans see gas prices as a proxy for the wider economy’s health, and as they hit new heights, Biden is increasingly being blamed for the spike.

Tomorrow may be a pretty rough day for the White House. Any damning revelations that come out of the January 6 committee could be overshadowed by the latest inflation numbers from the Labor Department, which will be released at 8:30am eastern time.

The May consumer price index data may very well indicate that the worst bout of inflation the US economy has seen since the 1980s isn’t ending anytime soon, nor will its potently negative effects on the president’s support. In fact, his approval is now at an all-time low, according to Morning Consult/Politico data released yesterday.

The list of factors fueling inflation is lengthy, and ranges from the war in Ukraine’s economic ripple effects to the Biden administration’s own policies to the Federal Reserve’s decisions to keep rates low throughout last year, which were beyond the White House’s control. One thing’s for certain: the Republican opposition will no doubt seize on tomorrow’s data — whatever it shows — to argue Biden is a poor steward of the world’s largest economy.

Ahead of its release, the White House has tweeted a video highlighting Biden’s efforts to lower ocean shipping costs, which are part of the wider global supply chains snarls and indeed a factor in America’s inflation problem.

One of the reasons prices have gone up is because a handful of companies who control the market have raised shipping prices by as much as 1,000%. It’s outrageous — and I’m calling on Congress to crack down on them.

— President Biden (@POTUS) June 9, 2022

Whether voters will listen is another matter.

Justice Department to probe Louisiana State Police: AP

Oliver Laughland

Oliver Laughland

The US Department of Justice has announced a federal civil rights investigation into the Louisiana State Police following a raft of brutality cases and the fatal beating of a Black motorist, Ronald Greene, in 2019.

Greene, an unarmed 49-year-old, was arrested by six white officers with body camera footage of the incident, obtained years later by the Associated Press, revealing he had been punched, tasered and placed in a chokehold and later dragged face down in handcuffs and left prone for over nine minutes.

Police initially claimed Greene had died from injuries sustained after crashing his car into a tree, and a local coroner’s report later determined the death to be accidental. It was not until a federal criminal investigation into the incident began that the finding was challenged by re-examining the autopsy.

The incident is currently being investigated in the Louisiana state legislature, which is examining an alleged cover-up instigated by senior members of the state police. Greene’s death is one of a number of recent brutality cases, uncovered by the Associated Press, which found at least a dozen cases in the past decade where troopers or their superiors are alleged to have concealed evidence of brutality or blocked investigations.

Back in the Senate, the Republican leader Mitch McConnell has renewed his attack on Democrats for creating what he says is an atmosphere that encourages people to threaten supreme court justices, following yesterday’s arrest of an armed man near conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh’s house.

“Two years ago, the Senate Democratic leader stood on the steps of the supreme court and threatened two justices by name. ‘You will pay the price,’ he shouted. ‘You won’t know what hit you,’” McConnell said on the Senate floor, adding that House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton also contributed to the tension.

McConnell accused the Biden administration of failing to take the threat to justices seriously, particularly after the leak of a draft opinion indicating conservatives were poised to end nationwide abortion access by overturning Roe v Wade. “Look, everybody saw where this climate might lead to,” he said.

The meat of his attack concerns a bipartisan bill passed by the senate that would beef up security for the justices and their families, but which hasn’t passed the House.

“I understand Democrats want to stage a big spectacle this week about what they claim is their opposition to political violence,” McConnell said in a veiled reference to the imminent start of the January 6 hearings. “But in reality, they’re going out of their way to block concrete steps to prevent political violence.”

FBI arrests Republican Michigan governor candidate who attended January 6 rally

The FBI has taken into custody Ryan Kelley, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in Michigan who attended the rallies preceding the January 6 attack on the capitol and may have taken part in the assault.

The Detroit News reported that Kelley, who is one of five candidates running for the party’s gubernatorial nomination, was arrested at his home in Allendale, near the city of Grand Rapids. Federal agents are also searching his home, but it wasn’t immediately clear what he was being charged with.

Kelley was in Washington for the rally with Donald Trump that preceded the attack on the capitol, and Michigan’s Democratic Party has released footage that appears to show Kelley encouraging people to storm the building.

Earlier this year, Kelley in a speech told a crowd to unplug voting machines if “you see something you don’t like happening with the machine,” according to The Detroit News.

Elections have consequences, and NBC News is reporting that one of the effects of the recent victories of Republicans who did not endorse Donald Trump’s “big lie” concerning the 2020 election is that senators may be nearing a deal on tweaking existing laws to stop future presidential candidates from trying to steal the vote.

Two sources familiar with the group’s work said it is close to a deal, having settled on a series of new provisions and working through options on one major unresolved issue.

“We’ve made a lot of major decisions,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a leader of the group, said in an interview before the meeting. “We’ve resolved a lot of issues, but we have some more work to do, which I hope we’ll finish up this week.”

The areas of consensus, Collins said, include amending the Electoral Count Act to restrain the vice president’s role, raising the congressional threshold for objecting to electoral votes, overhauling the transition process and protecting election officials from threats.

The group is trying to close loopholes in the electoral system in a flurry of activity among members and staffers in recent weeks to reach consensus on a cause that lawmakers in both parties see as urgent. It was the first face-to-face meeting of members since April. The negotiations were sparked in part by President Donald Trump’s unsuccessful effort to exploit gaps in the law to stay in power even though he lost the 2020 election.

Why the sudden momentum? Here’s NBC explanation:

Some pro-reform Republicans have privately indicated that the cause is helped by the recent primary victories of Republican lawmakers who voted to certify President Joe Biden’s victory, as well as the victories of top state officials in Georgia who defied Trump’s efforts to change the result and defeated his preferred candidates to unseat them.

The most notable triumph of a candidate who refused to endorse the “big lie” took place last month in Georgia, where Republican voters endorsed Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state who refused to embrace Trump’s lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

The leaders of more than 220 top American companies are calling on the Senate to pass gun control legislation, Axio reports.

However, the petition signed by the CEOs of companies like Unilever, Levi Strauss, Bloomberg, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Lululemon as well as sports teams like the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Eagles doesn’t endorse any specific policy, and is a revised version of a letter first released in 2019, though with about 50 percent more signatories this time.

“The gun violence epidemic represents a public health crisis that continues to devastate communities — especially Black and Brown communities — and harm our national economy. All of this points to a clear need for action: the Senate must take urgent action to pass bold gun safety legislation as soon as possible in order to avoid more death and injury,” the letter reads.

Yesterday, the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed their own measure yesterday raising the age limit to buy a semi-automatic rifle and banning the sale of magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds, but it’s unlikely to win the Senate’s approval.

Schumer says ‘good progress’ being made on bipartisan gun deal

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer sounded optimistic about the prospects of a bipartisan gun deal in a speech Thursday, saying “good progress” is being made by negotiators from both parties on a bill that can pass the chamber.

“Yesterday, a bipartisan a group of Democrats and Republicans met again to continue working towards a bipartisan compromise. This morning, my colleague Senator Murphy reported that the group is making good progress and they hope to get something real done very soon,” Schumer said, referring to Senator Chris Murphy, the Democrats’ point man in the negotiations.

“As soon as the bipartisan group comes to agreement, I want to bring a measure to the floor for a vote as quickly as possible,” the majority leader said in a speech in the chamber.

It’s unclear what exactly the deal may contain, but the legislation is unlikely to contain all provisions that gun control advocates have called for. Democrats control the Senate by one vote, and the legislation will need at least some support from Republicans, who are far less inclined to limit gun access.

In a nod to that reality, Schumer said, “The overwhelming consensus of our caucus, of gun safety advocates and of the American people is that getting something real done on gun violence is worth pursuing, even if we cannot get everything that we know we need.”

As Ed Pilkington and Lauren Gambino report, the January 6 committee has gone to great lengths to grab the public’s attention in its hearings beginning tonight, hoping the strength of its evidence and its carefully managed presentation will counteract the enduring allure of Trump among many Americans:

The directors are hoping that the storyline will have all the elements of a TV smash hit: a King Lear figure ranting and raving as his power slips away from him, a glamorous couple struggling to rise above the fray, shady characters scheming sedition in hotel bedrooms, hordes of thugs in paramilitary gear chanting “hang him” as they march on the nation’s capitol.

When the US House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection opens its hearings on Thursday evening, it will do so in prime time and with primetime production values. The seven Democrats and two Republicans – shunned by their own party – who sit on the panel are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to seize the public’s attention.

They have brought onboard a former president of ABC News, James Goldston, a veteran of Good Morning America and other mass-market TV programmes, to tightly choreograph the six public hearings into movie-length episodes ranging from 90 minutes to two and a half hours. His task: to fulfill the prediction of one of the Democratic committee members, Jamie Raskin, that the hearings “will tell a story that will really blow the roof off the House”.

If the supreme court overturns Roe v Wade in the coming weeks, Florida could become a destination for women seeking abortions — even though a ban on the procedure past 15 weeks comes into effect on July 1. The 19th’s Shefali Luthra looks into the future of abortion in the state, which may not be as bright as it seems:

On 1 July, Florida will begin enforcing a law banning abortions for people past 15 weeks of pregnancy. The ban, which has no exceptions for rape or incest, has been framed by its backers as a “moderate” compromise. The vast majority of abortions take place within the first trimester, which ends at 12 weeks, they note. The law is less stringent than the six-week bans and total prohibitions being passed across the country in anticipation of the supreme court overturning Roe v Wade, which guaranteed the right to an abortion, later this summer.

Still, the 15-week ban, which has no medical rationale as a particular endpoint for access, represents a tremendous shift in Florida. The ripple effects could extend far outside of the state’s borders.

Currently, abortions are legal up until 24 weeks in the state, which has more than 60 clinics. If, as expected, Roe is overturned, Florida will become a critical access point. The state, particularly its northeastern region with its cluster of clinics, will offer the most viable option for finding a safe, legal abortion for places such as South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana – all of which are poised to ban abortions, either entirely or for patients beyond six weeks of pregnancy.

David Smith

David Smith

With much of the conversation dealing with gun control and the perception that his administration is hamstrung by Republicans and rebellious Democrats, my colleague David Smith reports that Biden’s appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” wasn’t that funny at all:

Our very special guest tonight is to aviator sunglasses what Tom Cruise is to aviator sunglasses,” quipped the late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel. “I’m proud to say I voted for him dozens of times. He is the reason we all got a cavity search tonight.

This was how Kimmel introduced Joe Biden for his first in-person interview with a late-night host since taking office as US president.

But any hopes that Biden, whose poll ratings are plunging, might have had that the comedian would invite him to show a lighter side to his personality were soon dashed. It was a night when there were not many laughs.

Once the president had sat down, Kimmel asked: “Do you mind if I ask you some serious questions?” He then dived straight in to demand why, after a flurry of mass shootings across America, nothing had been done since Biden entered the White House.

Nation braces for primetime January 6 hearings

Morning, everybody. Much of Washington is sleeping in this morning, ahead of the January 6 committee’s primetime presentation of new evidence into the assault on the Capitol beginning at 8pm Eastern time. The idea is to tell a story that, in the words of one of the committee’s members, “will really blow the roof off the House”. We’ll see if they succeed.

Here’s what else is on the agenda for today:

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