Don't say the January 6 committee never gave you anything. Last night's hearing—the eighth of its kind, the second aired in prime time, and the last one until September—was focused on former President Donald Trump's actions as the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol was taking place. But its most memorable moment revolved around Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who infamously raised a fist in solidarity as he walked by the MAGA mob early in the day.
It was a different story for Hawley a few hours later. In newly disclosed footage, Hawley can be seen running to flee rioters in the building.
The footage elicited laughter from people in the hearing room yesterday and has quickly become a meme online. See, for instance, this thread of "Josh Hawley running away to a variety of soundtracks":
Josh Hawley running away to a variety of soundtracks.
— Mallory Nees (@The_Mal_Gallery) July 22, 2022
Sowing Reaping pic.twitter.com/2TT804jQYe
— Carolyn B. Maloney (@RepMaloney) July 22, 2022
The meat of last night's hearing concerned White House officials' attempts to persuade Trump to act during the riot and the former president's reticence to do so. Instead, Trump hung out in the presidential dining room watching footage of the riot on TV, former White House officials said. Trump "told Mark Meadows that the rioters were doing what they should be doing and the rioters understood they were doing what President Trump wanted them to do," Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R–Ill.) summed things up.
Trump never reached out to the Department of Defense or any law enforcement bodies—to the chagrin of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. "You're the commander in chief—you've got an assault going on the Capitol of the United States of America and there's nothing? No call? Nothing? Zero?" said Milley in audio from his deposition.
???????? #PrinciplesFirst alert:
Sarah Matthews (R): "January 6…was one of the darkest days in our nation's history and Pres. Trump was treating it as a celebratory occasion."
Thank you for speaking truth, Sarah. The American people deserve to hear it. pic.twitter.com/9pERCp7XjS
— Principles First (@Principles_1st) July 22, 2022
The committee played video footage of Trump taping a statement the day after the riot. "But this election is now over. Congress has certified the results," Trump said in one outtake before stopping and saying, "I don't want to say the election is over. I just want to say Congress has certified the results without saying the election is over, OK?"
Rep. Liz Cheney (R–Wyo.) closed yesterday's hearing by pointing out that so much detail and criticism about Trump's handling of the events of January 6 came not from "witnesses who were his political enemies," but from "Donald Trump's own appointees, his own friends, his own campaign officials, people who worked for him for years, and his own family. They have come forward and they have told the American people the truth."
The committee also revealed that former Vice President Mike Pence had been stuck in his office for 13 minutes while folks tried to figure how to get him safely out of the building. In audio footage from Pence's Secret Service agents, you can hear them discussing how rioters are getting dangerously near. "If we lose any more time, we may lose the ability to leave," said one agent. "There are six officers between us and the people that are 5 to 10 feet away from me," said another.
NBC News has a detailed rundown of last night's hearing here.
The Senate's latest election reform attempt is pretty good, suggests Reason's Eric Boehm. And it could be the key to preventing another presidential attempt to overturn election results:
While a special House committee has been probing the scope of Trump's plots and the role the former president played in the ugly events of January 6, a bipartisan group of senators led by Susan Collins (R–Maine) and Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) has been working on a fix for the procedural issues Trump's team nearly exploited to overturn the election. This is less dramatic than what the January 6th Committee has been turning up, but it is probably the more important project for the future of American democracy.
The Senate's bill—dubbed the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022—would take aim at three procedural weaknesses in our system that Trump sought to exploit following the 2020 election.
"Whether it can pass remains unknown," notes Boehm. "The bill has nine Republican cosponsors; one shy of the 10 GOP votes that would be required (assuming all 50 Democrats in the Senate vote for the bill) to avoid the possibility of a filibuster."
The Fixing Our Regulatory Mayhem Upsetting Little Americans (FORMULA) Act passed in the Senate yesterday, after passing the House of Representatives earlier this month. The bill will temporarily lift tariffs on baby formula, halt stringent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling regulations that keep perfectly safe foreign formulas from passing regulatory muster here, and expand the types of products covered by the federal Women, Infants, and Children program, which only subsidizes certain brands of formula at present. The FORMULA Act now goes to President Joe Biden to sign.
Senate unanimously passed legislation to temporarily suspend tariffs on imported baby formula until the end of the year to address the ongoing baby formula shortage, by voice vote. The Formula Act now heads to the President for his signature. https://t.co/aRP9jImBDS pic.twitter.com/epW0mOGPEn
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) July 21, 2022
Clinics that try to steer women away from abortion are at the center of a Google results controversy. The partisan battle to control the internet is perfectly exemplified in a fight over Google search results for crisis pregnancy centers. Democrats have been pressuring Google to limit ads and other search results for these businesses. Now, Republicans are threatening to punish Google if they do. A group of 17 state Republican attorneys general told Google's CEO that they want to know how it handles search results for crisis pregnancy centers and may investigate the company for antitrust or religious freedom violations if they don't like what they're told.
As a lawyer, before throwing out non-specified "fraud," Gohmert might ask questions like "Whom did they pay?" "What were they promised?" "Are these people I trust when they tell me this?" But as a huckster hack politician spewing nonsense to create a bogeyman, perhaps he did not. https://t.co/jTmohHiKXv
— Jeff Roush (@JeffRoushPoetry) July 21, 2022
• Biden has COVID-19.
• Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D–N.Y.) doomed marijuana decriminalization bill is not a serious attempt to repeal pot prohibition, writes Reason's Jacob Sullum. The 296-page bill "would compound the barriers to successful legalization."
• Kat Rosenfield on feminism and beauty.
• End the two-party system, writes New America Foundation Senior Fellow Lee Drutman.
• "The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to reinstate the Biden administration's policy limiting immigration arrests, after a Texas district judge said the guidance to deportation officers violated federal laws," reports The Washington Post. "The court instead said it will hear the merits of the case in December. The practical result is that the administration will not be able to implement its strategy for the rest of the year."