Hello, OnPolitics readers.
News of the witnesses scheduled to testify at the next January 6 committee hearing kicks off a busy Tuesday in Washington. Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews, aides to former President Donald Trump, are expected to field questions from the panel at its prime-time Jan. 21 session.
Both Pottinger and Matthews resigned from their positions because of the attack on the Capitol. Matthews, who served as deputy press secretary, issued a statement on the day of the insurrection that said she was “honored” to serve in the Trump administration but was “disturbed” by that day’s events.
Matthews also said in prerecorded testimony that Trump poured “gasoline on the fire” when he called former Vice President Mike Pence a coward in a Jan. 6, 2021 tweet.
Pottinger, a former deputy national security adviser, resigned the night of the attack because of the delay in deploying the National Guard to back up local police. He also told the committee that Trump’s tweet about Pence forced his hand from him.
“One of my staff brought me a printout of a tweet by the president, and the tweet said something to the effect that Mike Pence, the vice president, didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done,” Pottinger said in a videotaped deposition played at the June 28 hearing. “I read that tweet and made a decision at that moment to resign.”
The next hearing is scheduled for Thursday at 8 pm
What witnesses have revealed about Jan. 6: While only a few dozen have testified, witnesses privy to the events surrounding the attack on the Capitol have given the Jan. 6 panel a comprehensive rundown of Trump’s efforts to hold onto power.
Committee chair comes down with COVID-19: Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who chairs the Jan. 6 panel, has announced he will isolate for several days after testing positive for Covid Monday. He has instructed the panel to move forward with the hearing, according to a post to Thompson’s Twitter account on Tuesday.
It’s Amy and Chelsea with today’s top stories out of Washington.
July primary elections are uniquely Maryland
The state of Maryland held its primary elections for governor, US Senate and House Tuesday — an unusual timeframe given it is the only state to schedule its election this month.
Democrats hope to unseat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who presides over the traditionally left-leaning state.
President Joe Biden Maryland carried more than 30 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election, and Hogan will leave office in January 2023 at the end of his term.
With the midterm elections less than four months away, the election proves to be another showdown between Democrats, more moderate Republicans and those who have attracted Trump’s favor.
The former president has endorsed Dan Cox, a Republican state representative who wanted Hogan impeached over the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, in the gubernatorial race. For his part, Hogan avoided courting Trump during his time in office and garnered support from Maryland Democrats.
The Maryland governor has backed Kelly Schulz, a former official within his administration, for the nomination.
There are 10 Democratic candidates running for Maryland governor, and flipping the seat from Republican to Democrat would bolster the current roster of 22 Democratic-led statehouses, which is crucial to Democrats’ promise to protect abortion access at the state-level since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Real quick: stories you’ll want to read
- What does it mean to be anti-abortion post-Roe? For decades, conservatives have called for an end to abortion. Now, Republicans are being forced to stake out specific positions on national abortion legislation in the wake of a post-Roe America.
- Ukraine First Lady meets with Jill Biden: Jill Biden met with Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska Tuesday ahead of a private meeting and a bilateral meeting with US officials. Zelenska is also expected to deliver remarks to Congress on Wednesday.
- Newsom calls out DeSantis: California Governor Gavin Newsom came to Washington to accept an award from the Education Commission of the States and, in his acceptance speech, called out Florida and Texas for banning books, cutting mental health spending and passing anti-LGBTQ legislation.
- Does Bannon think he’s ‘above the law’? Federal prosecutors began unveiling their case in the contempt trial of former White House strategist Steve Bannon Tuesday, asserting that the longtime Trump helped “decided he was above law” when he challenged a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee.
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Biden signs executive order on boosting engagement with families of hostages abroad
As pressure mounts for the Biden administration to get high-profile hostages in Russia back to the United States, President Joe Biden is signing an executive order Tuesday to help bring home Americans wrongfully detained abroad.
The order will allow the government to share more information with families of hostages and allow the administration to sanction those who are involved in wrongfully detaining Americans.
Who is a hostage in Russia? WNBA star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, a former Marine, are both detained in Russia. Griner was arrested on charges of possessing cannabis oil while returning to play for a Russian team. Whelan is serving a 16-year sentence on an espionage conviction.
How has communication been?Biden sent a letter to Griner earlier this month saying he will do all he can to get her home after the WNBA star hand-wrote her own letter to the president. Griner’s letter was relayed to Biden on July 4.
The Bring Our Families Home Campaign, a group for people who have family members detained abroad, has been critical of Biden’s lack of communication with hostages’ families.
“These families refuse to be involuntary players in a real-life version of the Hunger Games, but that is one of the predictable human costs of the White House’s decide-not-to-decide strategy when it comes to hostages and wrongful details,” the group wrote in a letter on July 6.
🔥 The United Kingdom crushed its record for highest temperature Tuesday at 40.2 Celsius, or 104.4 degrees Fahrenheit, as an intense heat wave broiled much of mainland Europe. Check out how Europeans are attempting to keep cool this scorching summer. –Amy and Chelsea
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism