Here are some of the legal news stories making headlines this week:
The January 6th Committee recently held three public hearings.
- At the first hearing, last Thursday, the Committee outlined the arguments blaming former President Donald Trump for inciting the attack. They played pre-taped testimony from Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and former Attorney General Bill Barr, they explained the involvement of extremist groups in the insurrection, and they presented new video footage from the day. At the hearing, Committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, speaking to the Republicans in Congress who still support Trump, said, “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
- During Monday’s hearing, the Committee focused on the “Big Lie” — Trump’s election fraud claims. Through testimony by Barr, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, and others, the Committee sought to demonstrate that Trump knew he lost the 2020 presidential election, but he tried to overturn the results anyway. Barr testified that Trump had “become detached from reality.” “I felt that after the election he didn’t seem to be listening,” Barr continued.
- Thursday’s hearing centered on the pressure that Trump, attorney John Eastman, and others, put on former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results during the January 6th Electoral College certification vote. Former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann testified that he did not support Eastman’s plans to throw out the electoral votes from multiple states, including Georgia. Herschmann said that he told Eastman, “Are you out of your f***ing mind…I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth from now on: ‘orderly transition.’”
- The Committee had been planning to hold another hearing this Wednesday, but they postponed it due to “technical issues.” Next week, the Committee plans to hold hearings on Tuesday and Thursday.
A group of bipartisan senators has agreed on the framework of a gun control bill.
- The proposal includes enhanced background checks for gun buyers under 21 years old, resources for states to enact red flag laws to restrict individuals who are deemed “dangerous” from obtaining firearms, and funding for mental health services in schools. The plan does not include universal background checks, a ban on semi-automatic weapons, or a ban on individuals under 21 years old from buying assault rifles — measures that many activists have promoted in the wake of the recent mass shootings.
- If this bill passes, it would become the most significant gun control legislation in decades. Despite the overwhelming support, some have said that the proposal does not go far enough. For example, Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) tweeted, “This deal can save lives, but it grants credence to the GOP’s deranged focus on turning schools into fortresses. With tremendous frustration, I will vote yes if this makes it back to the House, and then I’ll continue to fight to get weapons of war off our streets.”
- Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) led the discussions that resulted in this deal. According to Murphy, at least ten Republicans are on board with this proposal (enough to overcome a Senate filibuster), including Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Mitt Romney of Utah.
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