Saturday, September 30

Committee lets Trumpworld tell the Jan. 6 story

With an assist from Anthony Adragna

THE OPENING ACT — Everyone already knows how the Democrats and two GOP Trump critics on the Jan. 6 committee view the events of that day. Which is why the panel used their opening argument, the first public hearing, to highlight videos of Trump’s aides, family members and trusted confidantes telling the story of the coordinated effort to subvert the 2020 election.

“These aren’t partisan voices that are speaking out and saying we don’t like Donald Trump,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), one of dozens of Democratic lawmakers who sat in the audience for the hearing. “This is his own attorney general, the White House counsel, his daughter for Pete’s sake.”

Barr calls BS: “I made it clear that I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the President was bullshit,” Trump Attorney General William Barr said in a video of his deposition with the panel.

The multimedia-heavy strategy unfurled Thursday night by the panel is an attempt to avoid messaging pitfalls that other investigative efforts on Capitol Hill have encountered, where even explosive findings have failed to capture the attention of the public. As Kyle and Jordain write, the dependence on powerful visuals, from violent video and deposition footage to text messages blown up to fill a screen, is an extension of the strategy used in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, when previously unseen videos of the Jan. 6 violence stunned viewers.

Some of the hearing’s most powerful moments:

  • McCarthy’s team on the move: Included in the video footage was a clip from inside Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) office at 2:28 p.m. on Jan. 6, showing staffers running and scrambling to evacuate, backpacks swinging in the haste. 
  • Edwards on the front line: Footage of Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards knocked unconscious by the attackers while she defended the Capitol and once she regained consciousness, returning to the front line. 
  • “What I saw was just a war scene,” Edwards said. “There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood. I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos.”
  • The why: The hearing closed with videos of members of the Jan. 6 mob, about a half dozen who pleaded guilty to crimes for their actions that day. The montage runs through each one saying why they went to the Capitol: because Trump asked them to.
  • Kyle, Jordain and Nicholas have a full report on the first hearing and the laser focus on the careful planning that went into the attack. 
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Pardon, me? The panel revealed that Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, along with other GOP House members, sought pardons from the Trump administration after Jan. 6.

“Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6 to seek a presidential pardon,” Cheney said. “Multiple other Republican Congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.”

Interns gonna intern: There was enough interest in the hearing on Capitol Hill that staff huddled around laptops in hallways to watch and others lined up for a chance to catch a glimpse inside the hearing room. A group of interns asked our own Jordain, who was stationed just outside the hearing room doors, if they could “borrow” her press ticket to get into the hearing room. (She said no.) An outdoor watch party within view of the Capitol had a healthy turnout on a low-humidity night in Washington.

GOOD MORNING! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill, on this Friday, June 10, where the Capitol is still standing.

GUNS GROUP IS STILL TALKINGSens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) met again on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon and plan to meet today, albeit virtually. The soft deadline to have a framework by the end of this week was scrapped to allow talks to remain productive and not crush the delicate process. Cornyn said Thursday that “there is a possibility we will wrap up our remaining issues, but no guarantee.”

Where are the naysayers? Senate Republicans, even the most conservative, aren’t mounting a loud resistance to try and derail the negotiations. They may be bristling in private, they aren’t going on the offensive. Some are watching and waiting, others are open to hearing the proposals.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.): “We’re going to wait and see what kind of [plan] comes out of the discussions.”

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.): “I’m a gun owner and I use them a lot. And I think it hurts the Second Amendment over time if you don’t do the stuff [that] makes sense.”

Some see Cornyn, who was tapped by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to engage with Murphy, as a guard rail of sorts. One Republican senator, granted anonymity to speak candidly about the talks, said that “John Cornyn is not going to do anything that won’t go over with his base in Texas.”

RELATED: Cornyn calls Uvalde killer ‘ticking time bomb,’ sees progress on Senate gun deal“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe8013d0000″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe8013d0001″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>Cornyn calls Uvalde killer ‘ticking time bomb,’ sees progress on Senate gun deal, from Joe Morton at The Dallas Morning News

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ATF GLIDE PATH?Steven Dettelbach, Biden’s nominee to be the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, now has the backing of key moderate senators needed for confirmation. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Angus King (I-Maine) will all vote to confirm him. He’d be the second ATF director confirmed by the Senate ever. Marianne has more on what tipped the scales in Dettelbach’s favor and why these senators are behind him.

HOW DO YOU SAY ‘WELCOME WAGON’ IN FINNISH? — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is eyeing June 22 for a hearing on Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join NATO, the panel’s chairman said. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and his GOP counterpart, Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, are aiming for the full Senate to complete the accession process before the August recess, and holding the initial hearing on June 22 would put the chamber on track to meet that goal. However, several factors outside the Senate’s control could complicate that timeline, including Turkey’s hardening reservations about letting the two countries join. The panel is also still waiting for some paperwork from the White House. The committee, by voice, approved a resolution on Thursday calling for swift consideration and adoption of the defense treaty that would put the U.S.’s rubber-stamp on Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to the alliance, Andrew reports“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe8013f0000″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe8013f0001″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>Andrew reports.

Shelby’s seersucker saga… Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) was not wearing seersucker on Thursday. When reporters asked him why he didn’t join in on the Senate’s Seersucker Thursday tradition, he launched into an explanation, “the yankees brought the air conditioning down.”

He gave reporters — who were looking for appropriations updates — a history lesson on the cooling fabric. He said it was popular “in the deep south where I come from,” before AC caught on and said for him it was closely associated with wealthy cotton traders, “well to do buyers and sellers in New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah.”

Shelby said he used to have a seersucker suit. But when he really could have used one, before AC was everywhere, “I probably couldn’t afford one.”

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Happy birthday Don Young… Someone at Chuck Todd’s show has gotta be squirming. Yesterday the show reached out “,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe801410000″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe801410001″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”> the show reached out to the late Rep. Don Young’s (R-Alaska) communications director asking if the deceased congressman “has any availability to join Chuck tomorrow, Friday, June 10th in the 4pm EST hour.” (Thursday was both the former House Dean’s birthday and wedding anniversary, so I guess it’s nice folks were thinking of him?) Can’t wait to see who got booked for that slot this afternoon.

Put a pin in it… Talk about modernization! Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) shared that the House’s member pins have gotten an upgrade. Instead of a traditional pin that pokes holes in the wearer’s clothes, there’s now a sturdy magnet to attach the key identifier for members around Capitol Hill. No word yet on how this impacts women members who’d already macgyvered a solution: wearing the pin on a necklace chain to spare their blouses.


Congress targets Harvard, Yale and top universities with China-linked endowments, from Phelim Kine


David Ross is now manager of government affairs at the American Forest and Paper Association. He previously was a legislative assistant for Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.).


The House is out.

The Senate is out.


A quiet one.

THURSDAY’S WINNER:Kirtan Mehta correctly answered that the Cannon House Office building was suddenly closed to visitors after 5 p.m. in Sept. 1923 after raucous parties featuring corn whisky and hard cider, brawling and other debauchery. “Policemen Bar Entrance of Visitors at 5 P. M. on Account of Parties Staged During Recess of Congress. Refuse to Disclose Details of Orgies,” read a headline in The Washington Post“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe801450000″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe801450001″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>a headline in The Washington Post.

TODAY’S QUESTION: Who was “the man in the green hat” on Capitol Hill in the early 20th century?

The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answers to [email protected].“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”mailto:[email protected]”,”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe801450002″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe801450003″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>[email protected]

GET HUDDLEemailed to your phone“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe801450004″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe801450005″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>emailed to your phone each morning.

Follow Katherine on Twitter @ktullymcmanus“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe801450006″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-4dc0-d949-ad9d-6fe801450007″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>@ktullymcmanus

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