A bevy of Republican officials and figures in Donald Trump’s extended sphere of supplication reached out to the White House to try to persuade the president to take a firm stance against the violence. Most didn’t reach Trump directly, but even those who did clearly didn’t have much of an effect. In one widely reported example, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) implored Trump to demand that the rioters stand down, prompting Trump reportedly to reply, “I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”

McCarthy, at direct risk from the violence, was understandably infuriated. New reporting from the New York Times reveals just how angry he was — and how, for one final time in Trump’s presidency, frustration with Trump was dampened by enthusiasm from the president’s base.

From the first weeks after Trump declared his candidacy in 2015, the Republican establishment went through a repeating pattern. Frustration at Trump’s comments or behavior, an assumption that it would damage him politically, perhaps even irreparably — only to learn that Republican voters didn’t care and sided with Trump….

Jeanne reading, Camille Pissarro, 1899

Jeanne reading, Camille Pissarro, 1899

The best way to track the evolution is by walking through what was said publicly and privately, a day at a time — and comparing it with what public polling showed about the views of the Republican voting base.

In the weeks before Jan. 6, support for Trump was already softening among Republican voters. YouGov, conducting weekly polling for the Economist, measured Trump’s favorability (a metric evaluating Trump personally, not his presidency) as slipping slightly. In the weeks before the election, three-quarters of Republicans viewed him very favorably, a figure that dropped to two-thirds immediately before the riot. We’d seen this before; when Republicans lost the House in 2018, Trump — the guy who pledged that the GOP would get tired of winning — saw his approval ratings slip. Perhaps the same effect was at play here, or perhaps Trump’s refusal to submit to reality was beginning to fatigue his supporters. It’s hard to know.

Then Jan. 6 happened, and Trump took a hit among Republicans. But that was it.

Read more of Bump’s analysis at the WaPo.

At Politico, Kyle Cheney and Betsy Woodruff Swan write about the January 6 committee’s investigation in Trump’s last ditch efforts to put pressure on Mike Pence to overturn the election: Jan. 6 panel piecing together details of final Trump-Pence call.

Congressional investigators entering the last stage of their probe are gathering new evidence about a crucial moment on the Jan. 6 timeline: the final, fateful phone call between Donald Trump and Mike Pence before a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol.

They’ve had a lot of success on that front — court records and Jan. 6 select committee documents reveal that the panel has obtained significant details about that call. In recent weeks, they’ve learned even more from several high-profile witnesses who were in the Oval Office while Trump berated Pence for refusing to overturn the election.

Yet one crucial gap remains. Top Pence aides say the former vice president was in his residence when the call came in. He then left the room and was out of earshot for 15 to 20 minutes. Those aides told the select committee that Pence never disclosed to them the contents of the conversation. More importantly, Pence’s aides say he never revealed how he replied to Trump’s intense last-minute pressure.


Seated Closer to the Light, Black Girl Reading, by Irina-Sztukowski

That gap of information looms as the House panel works to finalize a minute-by-minute account of Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, when he pushed Pence to prevent the transfer of power to Biden. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) has remained publicly undecided about whether to seek testimony from Pence himself, noting that Pence’s closest advisers have cooperated fulsomely. But investigators must also confront whether Pence’s side of that conversation — for which no Pence advisers were present — is significant enough to ask him to fill in the blanks.

It’s unlikely the committee will attempt to force Pence to testify. There are imposing legal obstacles for subpoenaing a former vice president, and the panel considers Pence a witness, not a target of their probe. Whether they ask for his voluntary help is another question.

An hour after the call, Pence would publicly declare what he’d privately told Trump for weeks: He would not assert unprecedented power to overturn the election.

Mike Lee is finally talking about his efforts to help Trump prove the existence of election fraud in the 2020 election following the failure of his efforts to overturn Biden’s victory on January 6. Deseret News: ‘I was not there to do his bidding’: Sen. Mike Lee breaks his silence about White House text messages.

Sen. Mike Lee says the text messages he sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows after the 2020 election don’t signal advocacy for overturning the results in favor of Donald Trump.

In his first interview since CNN last week revealed dozens of his texts to Meadows, the Utah Republican told the Deseret News on Wednesday his only goal was to figure out Congress’ role in a presidential election and sort through theories the Trump campaign pursued to challenge the outcome.

Lee said he has known Meadows for a long time and characterized his texts from Nov. 7, 2020, to Jan. 4, 2021, as having a level of informality that would be reserved for a friend.

“He knows that when I said things like ‘Tell me what we ought to be saying,’ what I was just trying to figure out was ‘What is your message?’ He knows me well enough to know that that doesn’t mean I will do your bidding, whatever it is,” Lee said in a 45-minute phone interview.

“Conversations I had with him at the time on the phone and in person, he knew that. He knew I was not there to do his bidding,” Lee said of his conversations with Meadows.

Lee said his texts to Meadows are being used out of context for “political motives” and were “leaked” during an important period of time in his reelection campaign. The messages were obtained by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and reviewed by CNN.

Sounds like ass covering to me.


Woman Reading on the Bench, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

One more from The Guardian: January 6 ‘was a coup organized by the president’, says Jamie Raskin. Raskin suggests that public hearings are coming soon.

Donald Trump attempted a coup on 6 January 2021 as he tried to salvage his doomed presidency, and that will be a central focus of forthcoming public hearings of the special House panel investigating events surrounding the insurrection at the US Capitol, the congressman Jamie Raskin has said.

Raskin is a prominent Democrat on the committee and also led the House efforts when Trump was impeached for a historic second time, in 2021, accused of inciting the storming of the US Capitol by his extremist supporters who were trying to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

“This was a coup organized by the president against the vice-president and against the Congress in order to overturn the 2020 presidential election,” Raskin said in an interview with the Guardian, Reuters news agency and the Climate One radio program.

Public hearings by the bipartisan special committee investigating January 6 and related actions by Trump and his White House team and other allies, chaired by the Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, are expected next month.

“We’re going to tell the whole story of everything that happened. There was a violent insurrection and an attempted coup and we were saved by Mike Pence’s refusal to go along with that plan,” said Raskin.

So big things are happening in the committee and DOJ. Now if Congressional Democrats would start speaking out and calling out their GOP colleagues, we might have a chance to save democracy in 2022 and 2024,

What else is happening? What stories have caught your interest today?