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Capitol attack committee considers criminal contempt referral for Steve Bannon – as it happened

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Capitol attack committee considers criminal contempt referral for Steve Bannon – as it happened

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Politics recap

  • Donald Trump directed four of his former aides – Steve Bannon, former social media czar Dan Scavino, former defense department official Kash Patel and former chief of staff Mark Meadows – to ignore subpoenas from the House select committee tasked with investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol. He later sent a letter to the National Archives indicating that he wished to assert executive privilege over the documents in question, a power only the person in office can wield. That person, Joe Biden, has since said that he plans to waive that privilege for this set of documents.
  • Bannon, meanwhile, has informed the House committee that he will not be cooperating with their subpoena. Committee chair Bennie Thompson and vice chair Liz Cheney say they “will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral”.
  • In more Trump news, the House oversight committee revealed today that the Trump International Hotel Washington DC lost almost $74m during Trump’s presidency, even while he publicly claimed it was making tens of millions of dollars.
  • Joe Biden became the first president to issue a proclamation commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day on 11 October, but he also issued a proclamation commemorating Columbus Day on that same day. Still, it’s a significant boost in a nationwide movement to replace a federal holiday that Indigenous rights groups believe overlooks the violent history that followed the Italian explorer’s 1492 arrival in the Americas with one celebrating the contributions of Indigenous people.
  • The justice department announced Friday that it would not file federal charges against the white police officer who shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year.
  • Texas has asked the fifth circuit court of appeals to restore the state’s restrictive abortion ban after a judge temporarily blocked the law on Wednesday. The new law banned most abortions in the state and until this week had managed to withstand a wave of early challenges.

-Vivian Ho and Dani Anguiano

Updated

A new Senate report released Thursday offers alarming details on Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, pressed Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general, and top DoJ officials to pursue allegations of election fraud, according to the report.

My colleague Sam Levine on the key takeaways from the report:


Trump pressured the justice department to file a lawsuit in the supreme court seeking to invalidate the election results in six states

In late December, Trump asked the justice department to take the highly unusual step of filing an election lawsuit directly in the US Supreme Court. The suit would have asked the court to nullify Biden’s election victories in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada.

The solicitor general’s office (OSG) and the office of legal counsel (OLC) prepared memos explaining why the department could not file a lawsuit. “Among other hurdles, OSG explained that DOJ could not file an original supreme court action for the benefit of a political candidate,” the senate report says.

A plain-English memo from OLC was more blunt. “[T]here is no legal basis to bring this lawsuit.”

Texas asks court to reinstate abortion ban

Texas has asked the fifth circuit court of appeals to restore the state’s restrictive abortion ban after a judge temporarily blocked the law on Wednesday.

“There is no precedent for the district court’s injunction; it grossly and irreparably interferes with Texas state-court operations,” the state said in a filing.

The new law, signed by Republican governor Greg Abbott in May, banned most abortions in the state and until this week had managed to withstand a wave of early challenges. It bans the procedures once cardiac activity is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks, and makes no exceptions for rape or incest. The law also allows private citizens to sue anyone they suspect of “aiding or abetting” the procedure.

A supporter of reproductive rights holds a sign outside the Texas state capitol, 2 October.

A supporter of reproductive rights holds a sign outside the Texas state capitol, 2 October. Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

The judge who blocked the law earlier this week said it unlawfully prevented women “from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the constitution”. Local service providers have said that Texas clinics are in danger of closing while other states are struggling to keep up with a surge of new patients from Texas.

The Texas law, which has set up the biggest test of abortion rights in the US in decades, is part of a broader push by Republicans to restrict and ban abortion.

Senate Republicans sow disinformation after $480bn US debt ceiling deal

Top Republicans in the Senate are advancing a campaign of disinformation over the debt ceiling as they seek to distort the reasons for needing to raise the nation’s borrowing cap, after they dropped their blockade on averting a US debt default in a bipartisan manner.

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to allow the debt ceiling to be raised by $480bn through early December, which the treasury department estimates will be enough to allow the government to temporarily avert an unprecedented default on $28tn of debt obligations.

The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, announced the morning before its passage that he had reached a deal with the Republican Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, to clear the way for the vote on a short-term extension with GOP support.

The movement came after McConnell made a tactical retreat to back down from weeks of refusal to allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling by any measure other than through a complicated procedure known as reconciliation that would have required a party-line vote.

Hi everyone. Dani Anguiano taking over our US politics live blog for the rest of the day.

The justice department announced Friday that it would not file federal charges against the white police officer who shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year. That officer, Rusten Sheskey, was not charged by local prosecutors in the incident and returned to duty earlier this year.

“After a careful and thorough review, a team of experienced federal prosecutors determined that insufficient evidence exists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the KPD officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes,” the justice department said in a press release.

Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times as officers tried to arrest him on an outstanding warrant. He has not been able to walk since, but said he expects to do so soon. The shooting, which occurred just months after George Floyd was killed by police in Minnesota, sparked several nights of chaotic protests. During one of those protests, Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois teen, shot three people, killing two.

Today so far

  • Donald Trump directed four of his former aides – Steve Bannon, former social media czar Dan Scavino, former defense department official Kash Patel and former chief of staff Mark Meadows – to ignore subpoenas from the House select committee tasked with investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol. He later sent a letter to the National Archives indicating that he wished to assert executive privilege over the documents in question, a power only the person in office can wield. That person, Joe Biden, has since said that he plans to waive that privilege for this set of documents.
  • Bannon, meanwhile, has full-on informed the House committee that he will not be cooperating with their subpoena. Committee chair Bennie Thompson and vice chair Liz Cheney say they “will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral”.
  • In more Trump news, the House oversight committee revealed today that the Trump International Hotel Washington DC lost almost $74m during Trump’s presidency, even while he publicly claimed it was making tens of millions of dollars.
  • Joe Biden became the first president to issue a proclamation commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day on 11 October, but he also issued a proclamation commemorating Columbus Day on that same day. Still, it’s a significant boost in a nationwide movement to replace a federal holiday that Indigenous rights groups believe overlooks the violent history that followed the Italian explorer’s 1492 arrival in the Americas with one celebrating the contributions of Native Americans.

Updated

Donald Trump has issued a lengthy statement regarding the records sought by the House select committee investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol and his failed efforts to withhold them by asserting executive privilege, a power only the person currently in office can wield and in this case has decided to waive.

He claims he sent a letter to the National Archives in defense of the office of the presidency and the constitution, among other things. He said the investigation into the attack of the US Capitol was about “using the power of the government to silence ‘Trump’ and our Make American Great Again movement” – no explanation why Trump is in quotations.

“My administration, and the great patriots who worked on behalf of the American people, will not be intimidated,” he wrote.

Updated

Biden issues proclamation commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Joe Biden became the first president today to issue a proclamation commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, boosting efforts to shift the focus of the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus – whose arrival in the Americas led to the deaths of countless Indigenous people – to a celebration of Native Americans and their contributions.

“On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, our nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the federal government’s trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations,” Biden said.

For decades, Indigenous rights groups have maintained that the federal holiday of Columbus Day overlooks the colonialism, enslavement, discrimination and land grabs that followed the Italian explorer’s 1492 arrival in the Americas.

More and more cities have begun recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Columbus Day in recent years.

“For generations, general policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace native people and eradicate native cultures,” the proclamation states. “Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”

Biden also issued a separate proclamation commemorating Columbus Day – one that also declares 11 October Columbus Day as well as Indigenous Peoples’ Day – but that proclamation makes a point to acknowledge “the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on tribal nations and Indigenous communities”.

“It is a measure of our greatness as a nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past – that we face them honestly, we bring them to the light, and we do all we can to address them,” the proclamation reads.

Updated

“These are unique and extraordinary circumstances,” White House counsel Dana Remus wrote in a letter to David Ferriero, archivist of the United States, regarding the records sought by the House select committee investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.

Donald Trump, in a two-page letter to the National Archives, indicated on Friday that he wanted to assert executive privilege over 45 documents identified by the National Archives as responsive to the committee’s request.

“Should the committee persist in seeking other privileged information, I will take all necessary and appropriate steps to defend the Office of the Presidency,” Trump wrote.

However, only the person currently in office can declare executive privilege – and Trump is not currently in office. “After my consultations with the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, President Biden has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified as to any of the documents,” Remus wrote in a letter obtained by the Guardian.

She noted – and White House press secretary Jen Psaki later confirmed at the press briefing – that privilege may be evaluated on a “case-by-case basis”, and some future material may still be protected.

David Smith
(@SmithInAmerica)

Psaki: “This was a uniquely dark day in our democracy. A day that we need to get to the bottom of.”

October 8, 2021

Updated

White House press secretary Jen Psaki is at the podium for the press briefing, talking about Joe Biden and his decision to waive executive privilege for the first set of documents produced at the request of the House committee investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.

CSPAN
(@cspan)

.@PressSec on release of January 6th documents: “As a part of this process, the president has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not warranted for the first set of documents from the Trump White House that have been provided to us by the National Archives.” pic.twitter.com/jRgVfjJjBO

October 8, 2021

David Smith
(@SmithInAmerica)

Psaki on 6 January insurrection: “What this committee is investigating is not the normal course of government business… This committee is investigating a dark day in our democracy… That context is important here too.”

October 8, 2021

Sixteen Democratic senators sent a letter to homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and secretary of state Antony Blinken denouncing the US treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum seekers at the border.

Chuck Schumer
(@SenSchumer)

I’m standing with @SenateDems again against mistreatment of Haitian asylum seekers and to urge action for long-term stability in Haiti

The admin must work with a broad range of leaders to find a Haitian-led solution to this crisis and must rescind the awful Trump Title 42 policy pic.twitter.com/1vLkPrket5

October 8, 2021

“Ensuring the integrity of US borders is of utmost importance, and is not incompatible with the fundamental duty to respect the dignity, humanity, and rights of all individuals seeking entry to the United States,” the letter states. “We reiterate our call for the Biden administration to act swiftly in appointing a new special envoy for Haiti, and to work with our international partners throughout the region to find immediate solutions that places the protection needs of Haitian migrants and the long-term stability of Haiti at the core of our approach.”

This comes after Daniel Foote, the former special envoy for Haiti, testified before the House foreign affairs committee about his abrupt resignation in September over what he called the Biden administration’s “inhumane” mass deportation of Haitian migrants and asylum seekers.

He resigned shortly after shocking photos were published showing US border patrol agents on horseback using their reins on desperate Haitian refugees by the banks of the Rio Grande.

Biden waives executive privilege on first set of 6 January documents

Joe Biden has waived executive privilege on the first set of documents produced at the request of the House committee investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.

Mike Memoli
(@mikememoli)

NEWS: Biden has waived executive privilege on initial set of documents produced at request of Jan 6 Select Cmte.

Trump legal team sought to block some, but Biden WH counsel says in letter to National Archives obtained by NBC: “These are unique and extraordinary circumstances.”

October 8, 2021

Let us recap: Donald Trump had directed Bannon and three other former aides – former social media czar Dan Scavino, former defense department official Kash Patel and former chief of staff Mark Meadows – to ignore subpoenas from the House committee, claiming that the material that investigators were seeking is covered by executive privilege.

But only the person currently in office can declare executive privilege – and Trump is not currently in office.

Joe Biden is now speaking about restoring protections to three national monuments: Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument off the coast in New England.

Protections for all three of these monuments were stripped or scaled down under the Trump administration. “The protection of public lands must not become a pendulum that swings back and forth depending on who is in public office,” Biden said. “It’s not a partisan issue.”

Interior secretary Deb Haaland – the first Native American interior secretary in US history – teared up speaking about the importance of these protections.

Aaron Rupar
(@atrupar)

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland gets emotional speaking about measures the administration is taking to restore protections for national monuments pic.twitter.com/3wBxmpbF4j

October 8, 2021

“Thank you, Mr President, for the profound action you are taking today to permanently protect the homelands of our ancestors,” she said.

“Our songs, our languages and our cultures are strong, and many people from many Indian tribes have sung and spoken in unison to protect this sacred place.”

Updated

House committee investigating Capitol attack to consider criminal referral for Bannon

Earlier, Steve Bannon informed the House committee investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol that he will not be cooperating with their subpoena to provide related documents.

Committee chairman Bennie Thompson and vice chair Liz Cheney just released a statement saying they now “will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral”.

Kyle Cheney
(@kyledcheney)

NEWS: Jan. 6 committee will “swiftly consider” whether to advance a criminal referral due to Bannon’s noncompliance with a subpoena.

Meadows and Kash Patel are engaging with the committee >>> pic.twitter.com/8lIQMaffGN

October 8, 2021

Donald Trump had directed Bannon and three other former aides – former social media czar Dan Scavino, former defense department official Kash Patel and former chief of staff Mark Meadows – to ignore the subpoena, claiming that the material that the committee is seeking from the four is covered by executive privilege.

Thompson and Cheney said Meadows and Patel are “engaging” with the committee.

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Capitol attack committee considers criminal contempt referral for Steve Bannon – as it happened