1/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued subpoenas to six former Trump advisers “tied to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election,” including two who were involved in plans at the Willard hotel “command center” to overturn the election the day before the attack on the Capitol. Those subpoenaed to provide testimony and documents include John Eastman, who outlined a legal strategy to deny Biden the presidency, former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who led efforts to investigate voting fraud in key states, Michael Flynn, Jason Miller, Bill Stepien, and Angela McCallum. The 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,” Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement. The committee is demanding records and testimony from witnesses between late November and mid-December. (CNN / ABC News / Washington Post / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNBC / USA Today)
2/ The House passed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to improve the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports, and Internet connections, which Biden hailed as a “monumental step forward for the nation.” After a months-long standoff between progressive and moderate Democrats, the funding package passed on a 228-to-206 vote: 13 Republicans joined 215 Democrats in support, while six progressive Democrats voted against the measure. Progressives had insisted that they could not back the measure without a vote on the $1.75 trillion social safety net and climate bill, which a half-dozen moderate-to-conservative Democrats refused to support without an official cost estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which could take a week or more. Progressives ultimately accepted a written commitment from moderates that they would pass the social safety net and climate package when it comes up for a vote in mid-November, provided the spending plan does not add to the deficit. Democrats are now aiming to vote on the safety net bill before Thanksgiving. “Finally, infrastructure week,” Biden told reporters. “I’m so happy to say that: infrastructure week.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / Bloomberg / NBC News)
3/ A federal court blocked the Biden administration’s mandate that millions of workers get vaccinated against Covid-19 or be tested weekly. Earlier in the week, the Biden administration set a Jan. 4 deadline for companies with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations or implement weekly testing of workers. A three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said that the suit filed by several Republican-led states, companies, and conservative religious groups “give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.” The Biden administration, meanwhile, is “prepared to defend” the vaccine rules for large companies, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, said. “The president and the administration wouldn’t have put these requirements in place if they didn’t think that they were appropriate and necessary.” (Politico / CNN / New York Times)
4/ Ted Cruz accused Sesame Street’s Big Bird of “government propaganda” after the Muppet tweeted he had been vaccinated against Covid-19. Big Bird, who has been on TV since 1969, is officially 6 years old and became eligible for the vaccine after the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. “I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy,” Big Bird wrote on Twitter. Nevertheless, Cruz and other Republicans persist, accusing the Muppet of “brainwashing children” and calling the yellow anthropomorphic bird’s comment “evil.” (NPR / Business Insider / NBC News)
5/ The Justice Department indicted a Ukrainian national and a Russian national for alleged involvement in a ransomware attack on an American company. Yaroslav Vasinskyi and Yevgeniy Polyanin were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, among other charges, for deploying ransomware known as REvil over the Fourth of July weekend on U.S. software firm Kaseya, which affected about 1,500 businesses. Vasinskyi was arrested in Poland last month, while Polyanin remains at large. The Justice Department also said it had seized $6.1 million in ransom payments. European Union law enforcement, meanwhile, said authorities in Romania and South Korea had arrested five people in connection with REvil. (CNN / USA Today / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
6/ Trump said he will “probably” wait until after the 2022 midterm elections to announce whether he will run for president 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.” As for a potential running mate, Trump said “there are a lot of great people in the Republican Party,” calling Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “a good man.” Trump, meanwhile, has continued to hold campaign-style rallies and send fundraising emails, telling voters “We’re going to take America back.” Meanwhile, on his final day as president, Trump told the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee he was leaving the GOP and creating his own political party and that he didn’t care if the move would destroy the Republican Party, saying “I’m done. I’m starting my own party. You lose forever without me. I don’t care.” (Politico / Fox News / NBC News / ABC News)
poll/ 38% of voters approve of the job Biden is doing as president – a new low – while 59% disapprove. 46% say Biden has done a worse job as president than they expected, and 64% say they don’t want Biden to run for a second term in 2024. (USA Today)
poll/ 58% of Americans say Biden isn’t paying attention to the nation’s most important problems. 36% say the economy is the most pressing problem facing the country, while 20% say the coronavirus pandemic is the nation’s top problem, followed by immigration (14%) and climate change (11%). (CNN)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.