The Justice Department is using a grand jury in Washington to investigate efforts by former President Donald Trump and his inner circle to create false electors and pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, and Greg Jacob, the former vice president’s chief counsel, appeared before the grand jury in recent days where they were asked by federal prosecutors about conversations they had with Trump and his allies about efforts to create and submit false elector certificates from some states Joe Biden won, according to the person, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the investigation.
The nature of the questions posed to grand jury witnesses by prosecutors, earlier reported by the Washington Post, is one of the clearest signs to date the Justice Department’s investigation has expanded beyond those who attacked the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to focus on actions taken by Trump and his allies in the days and weeks after the 2020 election.
Criminally charging a former president would be unprecedented, but an investigation by the Jan. 6 congressional committee has laid out evidence for a number of potential charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the US. Read more from Chris Strohm, Billy House and Sabrina Willmer.
Happening on the Hill
- House lawmakers gather at 10 a.m. to vote on legislation to address heart health and telehealth.
- The Senate meets at 10 a.m. to vote on bills to boost US semiconductor manufacturing and expand benefits for veterans exposed to toxins.
As the Senate tees up a final set of votes on the $52 billion domestic semiconductor boosting legislation Wednesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters on Tuesday night that he would vote no due to concerns on mandatory spending. He added, however, that he and other congressional Republican leaders would not be pushing their members to vote against the measure, Daniel Flatley reports.
A group of donors was told by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that he doesn’t believe that there are enough votes in the Senate to pass a piece of antitrust legislation intended to pare back the power of the largest technology companies, according to people familiar with his remarks. Schumer was asked about the measure, the American Choice and Innovation Online Act (S. 2992), during a question and answer session at a fundraiser on Tuesday. Read more from Emily Birnbaum.
A Senate panel is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the nomination of the White House’s pick to lead the EPA’s air office, a key post responsible for shaping how the Biden administration tackles climate change. But the nominee, Joe Goffman, is expected to encounter strong resistance from Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, largely due to his role in crafting the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. Read more from Stephen Lee.
A Senate panel is playing catch-up with the House as it prepares to consider bills aimed at protecting kids’ privacy. The House Energy and Commerce Committee broke ground last week when it advanced comprehensive privacy legislation (H.R. 8152) after years of gridlock. The bill’s supporters weren’t able to get the measure on the floor schedule for this week—the last session before the House departs for the August recess—so a vote will likely have to wait until September. Maria Curi has more.
Senate Republicans are stepping up pressure for the chamber to quickly approve the bids of Finland and Sweden to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization before lawmakers depart for an August recess next week. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized the chamber’s slowness in scheduling a floor vote on the Nordic countries’ bid to join NATO after the Foreign Relations Committee last week gave a green light to the expansion. Read more from Nancy Ognanovich.
The leaders of two House panels responsible for oversight and Homeland Security are asking for a change at the top of the investigation of how Secret Service texts from Jan. 6 went missing. House Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), and Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who’s also leading the subcommittee investigating the insurrection, said that DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari ought to step aside. Jon Morgan and Ellen M. Gilmer have more.
IRS officials expressed confidence that audits of two former FBI leaders were not politically motivated, senators said Tuesday. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig “was pretty clear that there was no political interference,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said following the closed-door meeting between the Senate Finance Committee and IRS officials. Cardin added he’s still waiting on the conclusion of a probe of the matter before drawing a conclusion himself. Naomi Jagoda and Colin Wilhelm have more.
Lawmakers are working on legislation to expand the power of the federal regulator overseeing freight rail, with the measure already dividing shippers and railroads before it’s even introduced. US shippers have complained about challenges moving goods, with congestion and service issues slowing freight rail. The supply chain struggles have drawn concerns from the administration, and spurred lawmakers to sharpen oversight of railroads. Read more from Lillianna Byington.
A bill Tuesday to sanction China’s purchases of oil and other energy supplies from Russia was unveiled Tuesday by a trio of Senate Republicans led by Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in an effort to cut off funding for that country’s war against Ukraine, Anthony Di Paola reports.
Congress has shown little appetite for enacting the 15% worldwide minimum tax. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a swing voter in the 50-50 chamber — said this month he’s not prepared to go ahead with a legislative package that contained the measure. That now leaves the US at risk of forgoing billions of dollars of tax revenue from its own corporations. Laura Davison and Isabel Gottlieb have the details.
Elections, Politics & Probes
First elected a decade ago, Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) is one of a handful of lawmakers who became GOP targets thanks to redistricting. His once-safe district, which includes Flint and Saginaw, became more Republican with the addition of Midland. And as one of more than two dozen endangered incumbent Democrats, the House majority will be decided in his own backyard. Emily Wilkins has more.
Trump has put his clout on the line in Arizona’s Aug. 2 Republican primary. By picking favorites for the nominations for governor, US Senate, secretary of state, and attorney general, “he’s doubled, tripled, quadrupled down on Arizona,” said Phoenix-based pollster Paul Bentz, who has done work for groups across the political spectrum. Read more from Brenna Goth.
A gathering of conservatives in Texas next week will still feature Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban as a speaker, despite his recent comments which prompted a long-time ally to resign from his government and compare his comments to Nazism. In a speech last weekend to supporters in Romania, Orban railed against a “flood” of migrants being “forced” on Hungary. He said he wanted to prevent Hungary from becoming a “mixed-race” country. Read more from Mark Niquette and Jeff Green.
Women are once again breaking records this US election cycle, including a high of 133 Black women vying for spots in the US House of Representatives — a fourfold increase from 2016. Another 21 Black women are also running for the US Senate, where there are currently none serving. The data come from the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University, Ella Ceron reports.
Conservative states are trying to redefine what it means to be a person as they seek to impose new bans on abortion. Giving embryos and fetuses the same rights as people raises questions in virtually every area of law, ranging from minor traffic violations to criminal prosecutions. Read more from Lydia Wheeler.
Around the Administration
- Biden has no public events scheduled. At 3 p.m., White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will give a briefing.
Biden will speak with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday amid fresh tensions over Taiwan, according to people familiar with the matter. The first conversation between the two presidents since March will take place at a particularly difficult juncture for US-China ties: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) staff and security officials aren’t ruling outplans for her to visit Taiwan in early August. Read more from Jenny Leonard.
A booster campaign this fall could prevent 160,000 deaths, 1.7 million hospitalizations, and $109 billion in direct medical costs, the Commonwealth Fund found in an analysis. Their findings come as the White House warns there isn’t enough funding for another round of universal boosters, Jeannie Baumann reports. Read the report here.
The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the NLRB have penned a new interagency agreement that will allow them to share information and coordinate enforcement actions on labor and antitrust violations, Dan Papscun reports.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra defended his policy-making through advisory opinions and other agency documents as an exercise in transparency, responding to charges that he makes unilateral decisions without industry input. Read more from Evan Weinberger.
In a quiet courtroom in North Texas on Tuesday, the latest battle lines were drawn in another fight over the Affordable Care Act—this time over the preventive services mandate—that could threaten patients’ access to things like free or low-cost blood screenings for diabetes and cholesterol, vaccines for children and adults, pap smears, and tests for conditions like sexually transmitted diseases, and some forms of cancer, Janet Miranda reports.
- Groundbreaking drugs that prevent HIV infection may also be harder to get in the US if a prominent Texas attorney wins the suit that pits his clients’ religious beliefs against free nationwide access to the medicines. Erik Larson and Janet Miranda have more.
The International Space Station has been buzzing with US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts in recent days, but the top Russian space official said his country is pulling out of the International Space Station after 2024. Read more from Todd Shields.
Cancer and other diseases linked to two PFAS are costing society billions of dollars over patients’ lifetimes, an impact that policy makers should consider in decisions about how to manage the chemicals, physicians said in a study that was scheduled to be published Tuesday, but was delayed. Read more from Pat Rizzuto.
With assistance from Jeannie Baumann