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Wake Up To Politics - November 9, 2021

Wake Up To Politics: Who the Jan. 6 panel is targeting next
Wake Up To Politics - November 9, 2021

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, November 9, 2021. Election Day 2022 is 364 days away. Election Day 2024 is 1,092 days away.

January 6 panel steps up its investigation

The House committee investigating the January 6 attack issued a fresh round of subpoenas on Monday.

Six top advisers to former President Donald Trump received subpoenas, including his 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien, his senior adviser Jason Miller, his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and conservative lawyer John Eastman, who drafted a memo urging Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the Electoral College results during the January 6 certification.

“In the days before the January 6th attack, the former president’s closest allies and advisors drove a campaign of misinformation about the election and planned ways to stop the count of Electoral College votes,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the investigative committee’s chairman said in a statement. “The select committee needs to know every detail about their efforts to overturn the election, including who they were talking to in the White House and in Congress, what connections they had with rallies that escalated into a riot, and who paid for it all.”

The committee investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is stepping up its probe. (Blink O’Fanaye)

The January 6 panel has moved quickly in its probe of the Capitol riot, issuing 25 subpoenas and interviewing more than 150 people. The committee is also engaged in several high-stakes legal battles: Trump made another attempt on Monday night to prevent the National Archives from handing over documents to the panel; his request has already been rejected by a judge.

Lawmakers on the committee, and then the full House, have also voted to hold former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress; it is now up to the Justice Department to decide whether to pursue criminal charges against Bannon.

According to CNN, the DOJ — aware that their decision “will be dissected for years to come” — is in no rush to make a decision on charging Bannon, although the new subpoenas could add pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland to set an example of the consequences for those who refuse to cooperate with the investigation.

What else you should know

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) shared a digitally edited animated video on his official Twitter account on Monday that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). The video has sparked calls for Gosar, who was previously linked to a fundraiser hosted by a prominent white nationalist, to be removed from Twitter and even expelled from Congress.

Twitter has left the video up, but added a warning label to the tweet. Gosar’s staff has dismissed the criticism: “Everybody needs to relax,” his digital director said in a statement in response to the furor.

Federal Reserve governor Randal Quarles announced on Monday that he plans to resign around the end of this year, creating a second Fed vacancy for President Joe Biden to fill (with another one expected to open up in the coming months). In addition to those seats on the board, Biden is currently deciding whether to nominate Jay Powell for a second four-year term as Fed chair. According to Bloomberg, Biden interviewed both Powell and Fed governor Lael Brainard — who is seen as the top alternative for the post — in separate meetings on Thursday.

Biden has faced pressure from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) not to renominate Powell, a Trump appointee. If Biden does pick Powell — whose views on monetary policy have roughly aligned with his own — Brainard is likely to receive one of the two vice chair slots on the Fed board, one of which Quarles (another Trump appointee) is vacating.

Rep. Paul Gosar shared a violent video on Twitter, sparking calls for his expulsion from Congress. (Gage Skidmore)

Former President Donald Trump told Fox News in an interview that he will “probably” wait until after the 2022 midterms to announce whether he will make a comeback bid for the presidency in 2024. “I am certainly thinking about it and we’ll see,” Trump said. “I think a lot of people will be very happy, frankly, with the decision, and probably will announce that after the midterms.”

New reporting has continued to emerge about Trump since he left office in January: ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl released the first excerpt of his forthcoming book about Trump on Monday, which reported that Trump threatened to leave the Republican Party during a phone call with RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on his last day in the White House. “You lose forever without me,” Trump reportedly said. “I don’t care.” The former president backed down once the RNC threatened to take retaliatory actions that would have cost Trump millions of dollars, according to Karl.
More headlines to know:

  • “China builds mockups of U.S. Navy ships in area used for missile target practice” Reuters
  • “Countries’ climate pledges built on flawed data, Post investigation finds” Washington Post
  • “DOJ asks federal appeals court to lift temporary order blocking Covid-19 vaccine mandate” CNN
  • “Red states draw GOP-friendly maps as Dems despair” Axios

Policy Roundup: Education

On Tuesdays, Wake Up To Politics education contributor Kirsten Shaw Mettler writes in with a briefing on the week’s top education news.

Republicans have identified education policy as a key electoral talking point. In light of Republican Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial win in Virginia last week, the GOP is expected to continue its focus on education policy as the midterms approach. Throughout his campaign, Youngkin emphasized “parental control” in schools as a key policy issue, advocating against including critical race theory and books on race in the K-12 curriculum.

Other Republican politicians have also been highlighting social issues that interact with education, including race, COVID-19 policies, gender identity, and sexuality. According to Ballotpedia, however, in school board races last week where social issues and COVID-19 response were major campaign issues, only about 28% of the winners were the conservative candidates.

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin emphasized education policy in his successful Virginia campaign. (World Economic Forum)

Debates over the intersection of academic freedom and politics are heating up in Florida. The University of Florida attempted to bar three political science professors from testifying against Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in a federal voting-rights case. The university has since reversed course, but the professors are now suing, claiming that their freedom of speech was being violated as the school attempted to protect its political interests.

The professors are calling on the university to add new policies that would further protect teachers’ ability to testify in relevant cases. As this case has escalated, more professors have come forward, accusing the University of Florida of limiting free speech and limiting professors’ ability to receive compensation for their political efforts.

More education policy headlines, via Kirsten:

  • Some school districts are considering keeping virtual options open to students, even as COVID-19 becomes more manageable.
  • The current U.S. labor shortages are impacting financial aid offices at colleges. This could create problems for the Biden administration, which announced plans last month to re-establish an Office of Enforcement to crack down on the handling of student loans. If schools are short staffed in their aid offices, it may be difficult for them to comply with this increased enforcement.


All times Eastern.
— President Joe Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing at 10:15 a.m. Later today, he will deliver remarks at two virtual events for the Democratic National Committee (DNC): a grassroots event at 4:40 p.m. and a fundraising reception at 5:45 p.m.

— Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff touched down in Paris, France, at 3:55 a.m. this morning. At 7:45 a.m., they toured the Institut Pasteur, a French biomedical research center, and met with American and French scientists working on global pandemic preparedness and responding to COVID-19.

The visit also had a personal connection for Harris: her mother, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan, worked with Institut Pasteur scientist to conduct breast cancer research in the 1980s. Harris is in Frane=ce to attend the annual Paris Peace Forum.  

— White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will hold a press briefing at 1 p.m.

Jean-Pierre is filling in for White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. Raimondo is among the Biden Cabinet members planning to fan out across the country to promote the just-passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.

— The House and Senate are on recess until November 15. Both chambers will briefly convene at 12 p.m. for pro forma sessions. (Pro forma sessions generally consist of one member gaveling the chamber in and then promptly gaveling it out. There is usually no legislative business conducted or any votes held.)

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a congressional delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. Pelosi will hold a press conference at 10:15 a.m. with other members of the delegation, which includes 21 House Democrats. Five House Republicans are also in Glasgow for the summit.

COURTS — The Supreme Court will hold oral arguments in United States v. Vaello-Madero and Ramirez v. Collier. The former case will consider the constitutionality of Congress excluding Puerto Ricans from receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits, which are provided to disabled people in the 50 states.

The latter case will consider whether Texas has violated convicted murderer John Ramirez’s constitutional rights by refusing to allow a pastor to pray aloud and lay hands on him while he is executed.

CAMPAIGN TRAIL — Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) will hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. to announce whether he plans to run for Senate in 2022. Republican leaders have been heavily recruiting him to challenge Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH); he has led in every public poll taken of the hypothetical match-up this year. If Sununu does challenge Hassan, and make the race in blue-leaning New Hampshire a competitive one, it would be a significant obstacles for Democratic hopes of maintaining the Senate majority next year.

— Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) will deliver remarks at a free speech awards presentation at the Nackey Loeb School of Communication in Manchester, New Hampshire, at 4 p.m.

Cheney’s visit to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state has sparked speculation about whether she is planning a White House bid in 2024; in interviews, the congresswoman has declined to rule out a run for the presidency.

Senate candidate Sean Parnell (R-PA) will give his second day of testimony today in a child custody hearing between him and his estranged wife, Laurie Snell. In her testimony last week, Snell accused Parnell — who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump in the race for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat — of abusing her and their children; Parnell denied the allegations upon taking the stand Monday.

According to Politico Playbook, the custody proceedings have sparked doubts in Trump’s orbit about whether the former president should have given his endorsement to the alleged domestic abuser.