The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection said Thursday Donald Trump was at the center of a violent conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In a primetime hearing, the committee revealed Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, as well as Trump’s daughter Ivanka, thought there was no basis for Trump’s claims of election fraud. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson said January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup by Donald Trump, who supported the mob’s chants of “Hang Mike Pence.” Thompson compared the January 6 insurrection to the ransacking of Washington, D.C., by British forces more than two centuries ago.
Rep. Bennie Thompson: “But unlike in 1814, it was domestic enemies of the Constitution who stormed the Capitol and occupied the Capitol, who sought to thwart the will of the people to stop the transfer of power. And so they did so at the encouragement of the president of the United States, the president of the United States trying to stop the transfer of power, a precedent that had stood for 220 years.”
Committee Co-Chair Liz Cheney — one of just two Republicans on the panel — revealed multiple Republican lawmakers sought pardons from Trump after January 6. After headlines, we’ll spend the rest of the hour airing excerpts from Thursday’s historic hearing.
In Michigan, the FBI arrested Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley at his home Thursday morning over his role in the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Kelley faces charges including engaging in acts of physical violence, knowingly entering restricted grounds, property destruction and disorderly conduct. He’s among some 840 people charged over the insurrection so far.
In Maryland, an employee opened fire on his co-workers at a manufacturing plant in rural Washington County Thursday, killing three people and critically injuring a fourth person. Maryland State Police say the 42-year-old suspect then fled the scene but was later tracked down, wounded and arrested after an exchange of gunfire that left a state trooper injured. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been over 270 mass shootings across the United States so far this year.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is asking the U.S. and other allies for the rapid delivery of more heavy weaponry, saying it’s critical to the fight against Russia’s advance in the eastern Donbas region. Ukraine’s military claims its soldiers continue to hold ground in an industrial part of Severodonetsk while battling Russian troops street by street. Elsewhere, Ukraine says three civilians were killed and five wounded by Russian shells falling on the city of Kharkiv. Meanwhile, a court in Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine has sentenced two Britons and a Moroccan to death, accusing them of being “mercenaries” for Ukraine’s army.
In Brazil, blood has been found in a boat belonging to a suspect in the disappearance of British journalist Dom Phillips and the Brazilian researcher Bruno Araújo Pereira. Investigators say they’re sampling the blood to see if it came from one or both of the two men. The pair were reported missing on Sunday while working on a book project about conservation efforts in a remote part of the Amazon that has become a haven for illegal mining, fishing and international drug trafficking. Dom Phillips’s wife Alessandra Sampaio appealed in an emotional video for Brazilian authorities to intensify search efforts.
Alessandra Sampaio: “Why is that happening? I just don’t want him and Bruno to suffer. There in the jungle, there is a lot of cruelty. I’m heartbroken.”
Palestine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has handed over the results of its probe into the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court. Separate investigations by Al Jazeera, the Associated Press and CNN have all concluded that it was Israeli forces that shot and killed Abu Akleh on May 11 as she covered an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. This week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was confronted by journalist Abby Martin over the Biden administration’s continued support for Israel and Saudi Arabia after the killing of journalists, including Jamal Khashoggi and Shireen Abu Akleh.
Abby Martin: “Why is there no accountability for Israel or Saudi Arabia for murdering journalists? It is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist in Palestine.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “I deplore the loss of Shireen. She was a remarkable journalist, an American citizen, as you well know. And there, too, we are determined to follow the facts and get to the truth of what happened.”
Abby Martin: “The facts have been found, Secretary Blinken, with all due respect.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “No, they have not yet been” —
Abby Martin: “With all due respect, it is conclusive.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “No, I’m sorry, with respect, they have not yet been established. We’re looking for” —
Abby Martin: “Yes, it has.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “No, they’ve not. We are looking for an independent, credible investigation.”
Following Blinken’s remarks, the Biden administration said on Thursday that Israel should lead the investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing.
United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has met with China’s minister of national defense. The pair had a brief meeting scheduled on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, a gathering of world leaders and military officials in Singapore. The meeting comes amid tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan and North Korea, and as the Biden administration presses ahead with plans to arm Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog warns Iran has begun removing surveillance cameras from nuclear sites, setting back efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Thursday the move could leave inspectors unable to detect whether Iran is producing weapons-grade uranium.
Rafael Grossi: “What we are seeing is that — because of the decision that is being announced to us today, is a decrease of the visibility that the agency is going to have about what’s happening in Iran. And, of course, this is something I deplore.”
Grossi called on Iran to reverse what he said would be a “fatal blow” to talks aimed at restoring a deal to allow Iran to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes in exchange for relief from sanctions. Former President Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. Iran insists that any new deal must include sanctions relief and a commitment that the U.S. will not renege on its agreement a second time.
In Michigan, the Grand Rapids police officer who killed Patrick Lyoya has been charged with murder. Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker announced the charges on Thursday, more than two months after officer Christopher Schurr shot Lyoya, a 26-year-old Congolese refugee, in the back of the head during a traffic stop.
Christopher Becker: “Based on his investigation, based on everything he has provided to me, I’ve made the decision to charge Christopher Schurr with one count of second-degree murder. Second-degree murder is a felony offense. It is punishable by up to life in prison with the possibility of parole.”
Video of Lyoya’s killing shows officer Schurr wrestled him to the ground, kicked and hit him, attempted to electrocute him with a Taser and pinned him on his stomach, before pulling his pistol and firing a single round into Lyoya’s head at close range. After the indictment was announced, the Grand Rapids police chief recommended that officer Christopher Schurr be fired.
The Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into abuses by the Louisiana State Police after a series of violent arrests of Black men. The probe is focused on white officers with State Police Troop F, a notorious unit in northeastern Louisiana whose officers have mislabeled body-camera videos, turned off their cameras during arrests, and otherwise worked to hide evidence from investigators. In 2019, Ronald Greene, a Black man, died in the custody of Troop F officers who repeatedly choked and beat him and electrocuted him with a stun gun. Another Black man targeted by the white officers was punched, stunned and hoisted to his feet by his hair braids; another was beaten after he was handcuffed; and yet another was slammed 18 times with a flashlight.
The Wall Street Journal reports Abbott Laboratories was alerted to problems at one of its infant formula plants months earlier than previously known. The journal reports an Abbott employee filed a complaint of failing equipment in need of repair and potentially unsafe formula back in February 2021. That’s a full eight months before another complaint was filed by the same person in October 2021, and a full year before the plant was shut down in February 2022. Abbott recently restarted production of some of its infant formulas at its Sturgis, Michigan, plant.
The Massachusetts state Legislature voted Thursday to override Republican Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of a bill allowing undocumented people to obtain driver’s licenses. Beginning in July 2023, anyone showing a foreign passport or consular identification document and another form of ID can apply for a motor vehicle license in Massachusetts. Sixteen other states and the District of Columbia already have similar laws on the books.
In Texas, the chief of police for the Uvalde school district is defending officers against charges they failed to act as an 18-year-old gunman slaughtered 19 children and two teachers in May. Pete Arredondo told The Texas Tribune he spent more than an hour in the hallway of Robb Elementary School calling for tactical gear, a sniper and keys to get inside the locked classroom where the shooter had holed up. Meanwhile, The New York Times reports Uvalde police delayed entering the school even as they became aware that some children urgently needed medical treatment. The Times reports that one hour and 17 minutes passed before police finally entered the classroom; by then, 60 officers had assembled on scene. Bodycam footage reveals one officer — believed to be Chief Arredondo — said, “People are going to ask why we’re taking so long.”