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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Clarence Thomas cites discredited claim about Covid vaccines

Clarence Thomas cites discredited claim about Covid vaccines

“The Supreme Court’s credibility was already suffering. The more justices publish factual errors, the more it further tarnishes the court’s reputation.

Justice Thomas Attends Forum On His 30 Year Supreme Court Legacy

As a rule, when Supreme Court announces that it won’t hear a case, that’s not especially notable. After all, it’s what the justices include in their rulings that matters most.

There are, however, occasional exceptions.

Last summer, the state of New York created a Covid vaccine requirement for health care workers, prompting a lawsuit from a group of employees who raised religious objections. Lawyers for the state made the fairly obvious case that health care workers already had to be vaccinated against measles and rubella, and there were no religious exemptions, so the lawsuit lacked merit.

The plaintiffs nevertheless appealed their case to the Supreme Court, which announced this afternoon that it wouldn’t consider the matter. That wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was the dissent from three far-right justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch — who said the high court should’ve agreed to hear the case.

Writing for the dissenters, Thomas claimed:

“Petitioners are 16 healthcare workers who served New York communities throughout the COVID–19 pandemic. They object on religious grounds to all available COVID–19 vaccines because they were developed using cell lines derived from aborted children.”

That was needlessly inflammatory, and as an NBC News report explained, it’s also not true.

Pfizer and Moderna used fetal cell lines early in their Covid vaccine development to test the efficacy of their formulas, as other vaccines have in the past. The fetal tissue used in these processes came from elective abortions that happened decades ago. But the cells have since replicated many times, so none of the original tissue is involved in the making of modern vaccines. So it is not true that Covid vaccines are manufactured using fetal cell lines, nor do they contain any aborted cells. 

The NBC News report added that the vaccines “contain messenger RNA — genetic material that instructs our cells to make proteins, which then train the immune system to fight off the coronavirus. They also include fatty substances called lipids that help RNA cross our cell membranes, as well as salt, sugar, and a few substances that help stabilize the other ingredients.”

The vaccines do not, in other words, come from “aborted children.”

The Supreme Court’s standing as a credible and respected institution has already suffered greatly. The more justices publish factual errors, the more it further tarnishes the court’s reputation.“

A Black Man Is Paralyzed and New Haven Officers Are Investigated - The New York Times

A Black Man Is Paralyzed, and New Haven Police Are Investigated

"Randy Cox, 36, was being transported in a police van without a seatbelt when it came to a sudden stop on June 19. He is now in the hospital on a ventilator.

It was evening on June 19 when Randy Cox’s family got a phone call: Mr. Cox had been arrested by police officers in New Haven, Conn., and was on his way to booking.

The family was anxious but was told to wait.

The next phone call, hours later, was perplexing and frightening: Mr. Cox, 36, had fallen, was at the hospital and needed emergency surgery on his spine.

The full picture of what happened in those intervening hours came into sharp focus this week, when Mr. Cox’s family and his lawyers presented police video showing Mr. Cox slamming headfirst into the back of a police van after it came to a sudden halt and going limp. There were no seatbelts to restrain him. The impact shattered his spine and paralyzed him from the chest down, his family and lawyers said.

“You can’t even put it into words,” his older sister, LaToya Boomer, said Wednesday. “Mind-blowing.”

Mr. Cox, who is Black, remained hospitalized on Wednesday on a ventilator, with hardly any movement below his neck, his family and his lawyers said. After he was injured, the officers mocked Mr. Cox for being unable to sit up, a video shows.

It was the latest in a series of troubling encounters with the police in which Black people have been injured or killed — episodes that have fueled distrust of law enforcement and prompted widespread protests against bias and brutality in policing.

And it bears a striking resemblance to the case of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore man who died in 2015 after being forced to ride unrestrained in the back of a similar police transport.

“It induces me to tears,” said Jack O’Donnell, Mr. Cox’s lawyer of several years. The graphic video of his client's injury, Mr. O’Donnell said, was difficult for him to watch.

In an interview Wednesday, New Haven’s mayor, Justin Elicker, said that what happened to Mr. Cox was “terrible,” and vowed that the city would handle the investigation transparently and quickly. Hours after Mr. Cox was injured, he said, the city had notified state authorities and the state police, who began their own investigation.

“It’s very important to us to respond to this quickly, decisively and openly,” Mayor Elicker said.

All the police officers involved in the episode — one sergeant and four officers — have been placed on paid leave while the department conducts its investigation, Mr. Elicker said.

Mr. Cox had spent most of June 19 at a neighborhood block party when police responded to the area following a weapons complaint, said Mr. O’Donnell and the police. Officers confronted Mr. Cox, found a weapon, they later said, and arrested him.

Mr. Cox was first placed in the back of a squad car that had seatbelts, Mr. O’Donnell said. But officers soon called for a larger van. The van, commonly used to transport suspects, did not have seatbelts in the bay of the vehicle, he said.

In police footage, which had been published by news outlets, Mr. Cox can be seen sitting unrestrained in the back of the van. He kicks against the front of the transport area several times. Then he slams violently headfirst into the back end: The van had stopped suddenly. Mr. Cox’s limp body lies motionless as he whimpers for help.

Randy Cox was paralyzed from the waist down after being thrown in a police van when it stopped suddenly.
New Haven Police Department

“I’m stopping, I’m going to check you out,” the driver, identified as Officer Diaz in the video, can be heard yelling.

Officer Diaz stops the vehicle to check on Mr. Cox, who says that he can’t move. The officer then radios for medical assistance and continues to the detention facility. After the van arrives, officers can be seen ridiculing and chiding Mr. Cox for his posture and his failure to sit up.

“If you’ve got to drag me, do what you’ve got to do,” Mr. Cox tells officers, who then drag him by his feet out of the van.

At one point, one officer suggests that he may be drunk. Mr. Cox pleads that he can’t feel anything and is unable to move. Finally, officers drag him out and drape him over a wheelchair. Later, they drag him by his handcuffed, limp arms into a holding cell.

Mr. Cox underwent surgery to fuse several broken vertebrae, his sister said.

New Haven City policy does not require officers to restrain those who have been arrested in the back of police transport vans, but it does require officers to immediately call an ambulance or medical personnel to the scene if a passenger becomes physically ill or injured.

In an email to city residents last week, Mayor Elicker said the van’s abrupt stop appeared to have occurred when the police officer who was driving braked to avoid an accident.

“This isn’t a proud moment for me or the Police Department. We’re all disheartened by what happened,” Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson, who is expected to take over as the department’s next chief, said at a community meeting this week. “I want justice for Randy as well. We are going to work hard to make changes.”

While the officers did not appear to have injured Mr. Cox maliciously, Mayor Elicker said, their behavior “showed a level of callousness that is deeply concerning.”

Mr. Cox remains in the hospital, largely unable to move. Mr. O’Donnell said doctors are “hopeful, but not optimistic” that he will fully recover.

“He was able to talk at first when he first got to the hospital, but his oxygen and breathing wasn’t good,” said his sister, Ms. Boomer. He can respond to “yes” or “no” questions, she said, and has been able to show slight signs of movement in his left arm.

Mr. Cox has been charged with weapons possession in relation to the incident and has a court date scheduled for July 21, Mr. O’Donnell said.

Kirsten Noyes contributed research."

A Black Man Is Paralyzed and New Haven Officers Are Investigated - The New York Times

Why were Democrats caught flat-footed by the end of Roe v Wade? | Jill Filipovic | The Guardian

Why were Democrats caught flat-footed by the end of Roe v Wade? | Jill Filipovic

"With Roe v Wade overturned by the US supreme court and American women now living in a nation where our most fundamental rights are dependent on the state in which we reside, a lot of us are looking around and asking, “how did we get here?”

There is much blame to go around, and the bulk of it rests on the shoulders of the right-wing anti-abortion movement that sprung out of the white supremacist movement that fought to maintain Jim Crow and school segregation. The racist, misogynist Religious Right gained tremendous power within the Republican party; the Republican party proved itself willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get their way; and as a result, Americans are now living in an undemocratic nation of reactionary minority rule.

But the Democratic party hasn’t done enough to help itself, its supporters, and women more broadly.

There are a great many points where Democrats could have kept the country on the rails. Chief among them is in the aftermath of the 2000 election, when Al Gore won the popular vote, but the supreme court, along partisan lines, installed George W Bush as president. If the reverse had happened – if our arcane Electoral College system had put a Democratic loser in office over a Republican who won more votes – rest assured that the Republican party would have gotten rid of that undemocratic institution as soon as it had the chance.

Democrats, though, did nothing – even though “one person, one vote” is likely how most Americans believe our system works, and is an easy advocacy line. When Obama took office, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. In the states, Democrats controlled more legislatures than Republicans did; more states had a Democratic trifecta (Democratic governors plus both state legislative bodies) than a Republican one. There was a brief moment here to get a lot done in the name of both democracy and women’s rights: get rid of the undemocratic Electoral College; codify Roe; rescind the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal Medicaid dollars from funding abortions for poor women, and the Helms Amendment, which bars US funding from paying for abortions for women overseas. Advocates asked the Obama administration to do all of that; they did none.

If there is one moment that portended all of what we’re seeing today, it was Bush v. Gore in 2001. Democrats had a chance to correct it. They had a base that was livid about what had happened, and a country primed to accept a “one person, one vote” rule for elections. And despite a huge win in 2008, they did absolutely nothing to prevent such an undemocratic result from happening again.

Two years after Obama’s big win, Republicans swept the midterms in what remains one of the most significant shifts in American political power in the last century. It wasn’t just standard Republican candidates who won – it was Tea Party enthusiasts, right-wing extremists, conspiracy nuts, hardcore misogynists and unrepentant racists, all of whom set the state for Trump’s rise and his eventual party takeover. Once in power, they focused on restricting abortion rights, passing hundreds of laws and imposing a smorgasbord of new restrictions.

They have controlled both chambers of the legislature in more than half of US states ever since.

Once in power, Republicans focused on keeping themselves there, democracy be damned. They scaled up efforts to restrict voting rights, carefully calibrating their laws to decrease Democratic turnout – that is, to make it harder for people of color to vote. They used whatever power they had to deliver for their constituents – not stuff like healthcare or poverty alleviation that people might actually need, but the culture war stuff that satisfied a punitive desire to screw over perceived enemies.

Democrats, on the other hand, made endless compromises.

When supreme court justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016, Barack Obama was still the president, and he had the right to appoint a judge to fill Scalia’s seat. The Republican Party, though, had control of the Senate and blocked him, claiming that, because it was an election year, the American people had the right to pick the president who would pick the next Supreme Court judge. They did not apply this same rule to themselves just four years later, when Trump was in the same position – he appointed Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And while some Democrats complained, they certainly did not play hardball; Sen. Dianne Feinstein even applauded Barrett’s speedy and illegitimate confirmation hearings.

And Donald Trump, of course, lost the popular vote; millions more American voted for Hillary Clinton. But, thanks to an Electoral College system kept in place despite its long-apparent flaws, the majority lost in 2016. We all know what happened next.

In early May, a draft of the supreme court opinion to overturn Roe leaked to the press. It was a shock, but not a total surprise – supreme court watchers and reproductive rights advocates had been warning that this particular court was ready and willing to overturn Roe, and that they might use the Dobbs case to do it.

But even with that heads up, the day the Dobbs opinion was published, Democrats seemed to be caught flat-footed. Democrats offered poems and made fundraising pleas. They asked us to vote – even though we did, in huge numbers, in 2016 and 2018 and 2020; even though three million more Americans voted for the Democratic nominee in 2016 than the Republican one.

Only a small handful of Democrats, led most notably by Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, suggested anything even remotely resembling an innovative response. And even they seemed to be coming up with it on the fly.

The unfortunate reality is that there is no immediate perfect solution for the problem at hand. The supreme court has struck down basic rights for women, giving conservative states enormous control over women’s bodies. Even a federal law codifying Roe is vulnerable to Republican takeover, and tricky to pass given the current make-up of Congress and the fact that the slim Democratic majority in the senate includes conservative Democrats Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema.

But that doesn’t mean there is nothing Democrats can do. Joe Biden, for example, could make securing abortion rights for as many women as possible his number-one priority; he could rescind federal amendments that limit abortion access; he could give permission for clinics to open on federal lands; he could go to the mat for medication abortion availability; he could be clear that he will expand the court and end the filibuster.

Instead, he’s setting off on a national tour to remind Americans that they think he’s to blame for inflation.

Voting for Democrats matters. One problem that Democrats are currently facing is that they simply don’t have enough of a majority to get done what their base wants, and they have two feckless narcissists with Ds next their names who are hampering the party’s agenda. The midterms matter; more Democrats in office means more opportunities to pass laws that protect women and human rights more generally.

But that doesn’t mean Democrats powerless now, or that they have any right to pin the blame on voters. At the very least, Democrats should take a look at what has happened since 2001, and recognize the situation for the emergency that it is. Most of the conservative judges on the court – most of the judges who just overturned Roe v. Wade – were appointed by presidents who initially lost the popular vote but took office anyway. This has happened twice in just 20 years.

Abortion rights and democracy go hand in a hand. A nation is not democratic if half of its population do not have basic rights, let alone equal rights. As the US faces a series of crises of democracy, from an attempted coup to a hostile takeover by a reactionary minority to an unprecedented rollback of civil rights, there is a straight line that runs from Bush v Gore to Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health.

Democrats can’t fix the past. But the least they can do is learn from it – and change course accordingly.

  • Jill Filipovic is the author of the The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness"

Why were Democrats caught flat-footed by the end of Roe v Wade? | Jill Filipovic | The Guardian

Anti-abortion lawmakers seek to block patients from crossing state lines - The Washington Post

Antiabortion lawmakers want to block patients from crossing state lines

"Some advocacy groups and their allies are crafting legislative language that could be adopted in Republican-led state capitals.

Antiabortion supporters celebrate outside the Supreme Court after it issued a ruling that overturns Roe v. Wade, on June 24. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post) 
Antiabortion supporters celebrate outside the Supreme Court after it issued a ruling that overturns Roe v. Wade, on June 24. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post) 

Several national antiabortion groups and their allies in Republican-led state legislatures are advancing plans to stop people in states where abortion is banned from seeking the procedure elsewhere, according to people involved in the discussions.

The idea has gained momentum in some corners of the antiabortion movement in the days since the Supreme Court struck down its 49-year-old precedent protecting abortion rights nationwide, triggering abortion bans across much of the Southeast and Midwest.

The Thomas More Society, a conservative legal organization, is drafting model legislation for state lawmakers that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a resident of a state that has banned abortion from terminating a pregnancy outside of that state. The draft language will borrow from the novel legal strategy behind a Texas abortion ban enacted last year in which private citizens were empowered to enforce the law through civil litigation.

The subject was much discussed at two national antiabortion conferences last weekend, with several lawmakers interested in introducing these kinds of bills in their own states.

The National Association of Christian Lawmakers, an antiabortion organization led by Republican state legislators, has begun working with the authors of the Texas abortion ban to explore model legislation that would restrict people from crossing state lines for abortions, said Texas state representative Tom Oliverson (R), the charter chair of the group’s national legislative council.

“Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society. “It’s not a free abortion card when you drive across the state line.”

The Biden Justice Department has already warned states that it would fight such laws, saying they violate the right to interstate commerce.

In relying on private citizens to enforce civil litigation, rather than attempting to impose a state-enforced ban on receiving abortions across state lines, such a law is more difficult to challenge in court because abortion rights groups don’t have a clear person to sue.

Like the Texas abortion ban, the proposal itself could have a chilling effect, where doctors in surrounding states stop performing abortions before courts have an opportunity to intervene, worried that they may face lawsuits if they violate the law.

Not every antiabortion group is on board with the idea.

Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life, noted that people access medical procedures across state lines all the time.

“I don’t think you can prevent that,” she said.

While some antiabortion groups aspire to push Congress to pass a national abortion ban, restricting movement across state lines would represent another step in limiting the number of abortions performed in the United States.

These kinds of bills could be proposed even before state legislatures reconvene for their regular 2023 legislative sessions, said Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert (R). His home state, he said, may soon address this issue in an already planned special session. Another Arkansas senator, he said, has expressed interest in introducing that legislation.

“Many of us have supported legislation to stop human trafficking,” said Rapert, president of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers. “So why is there a pass on people trafficking women in order to make money off of aborting their babies?”

In a television interview over the weekend, South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) left the door open to restricting out-of-state abortions in her state, where a trigger ban took effect as soon as Roe was overturned. The governor, who has called a special session to discuss abortion legislation, said the topic may be debated in South Dakota in the future.

Dale Bartscher, the executive director of South Dakota Right to Life, the leading antiabortion organization in South Dakota, said he was “very interested” in stopping South Dakota residents from accessing abortion in other states.

“I’ve heard that bantered about across the state of South Dakota,” he said, though he would not discuss the goal of the upcoming special session.

The idea to restrict out-of-state abortions surfaced earlier this year, when Missouri state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R), who is special counsel at the Thomas More Society, proposed legislation that relied on the Texas-style enforcement mechanism. While Coleman’s bill failed to pass in the 2022 legislative session, Coleman said she has heard from multiple lawmakers and antiabortion advocates in other states who are eager to pursue similar legislation.

The issue is particularly pertinent in Coleman’s home state of Missouri, which outlawed abortion with a trigger ban that took effect within an hour of the Supreme Court’s decision. As many as 14,000 people are expected to flood into southern Illinois this year, including thousands of Missouri residents, according to Planned Parenthood.

Several Democrat-led states have passed legislation this year to counteract laws that try to restrict movement across state lines.

Connecticut passed a law in April that offers broad protections from antiabortion laws that try to reach into other states. The measure would shield people from out-of-state summonses or subpoenas issued in cases related to abortion procedures that are legal in Connecticut. And it would prevent Connecticut authorities from adhering to another state’s request to investigate or punish anyone involved in facilitating a legal abortion in Connecticut.

“Legislators in [antiabortion] states have made clear that their intent is not only to ban abortion within their own state’s borders, but to ban it in states where it is expressly permitted,” Connecticut state Rep. Matt Blumenthal (D) said in an interview in April.

California passed a similar law Thursday, aiming to protect abortion providers and patients from civil suits.

Georgana Hanson of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts in Albany NY, responds to the Supreme Court striking down Roe v Wade by saying New Yorkers will fight hard in New York State to protect abortion rights and access. (Video: Erin Patrick O'Connor, Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post)

The Justice Department has already signaled its intention to fight against these kinds of laws in court.

In a statement Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe “does not eliminate the ability of states to keep abortion legal within their borders. And the Constitution continues to restrict states’ authority to ban reproductive services provided outside their borders.”

That declaration suggests that if a particular state did pass a law seeking to prevent women from traveling across state lines to receive an abortion, the Justice Department might file court papers opposing such a law. That strategy was ultimately unsuccessful in the Justice Department’s opposition to the Texas law limiting many abortions, but any new state law that involved interstate travel could raise additional legal questions for the courts.

Garland argued that the Constitution was unequivocal on the legality of crossing state lines for medical treatment.

“We recognize that traveling to obtain reproductive care may not be feasible in many circumstances. But under bedrock constitutional principles, women who reside in states that have banned access to comprehensive reproductive care must remain free to seek that care in states where it is legal,” Garland said, adding that the First Amendment safeguards anyone who offers information or counseling about “reproductive care that is available in other states.”

A Justice Department spokesman did not elaborate on the attorney general’s statement.

David Cohen, a Drexel University law professor who has studied these kinds of proposals, noted that Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh addressed interstate travel in a separate concurring opinion he wrote along with the ruling to overturn Roe, where he specified that people could not be prosecuted for out-of-state abortions.

But Kavanaugh’s concurrence does not address the civil enforcement strategy that is gaining traction among antiabortion groups, Cohen said.

“This is going to create state-against-state and state-against-federal chaos that we haven’t seen in this country in a long time.”

Chris Rowland contributed to this report."

Anti-abortion lawmakers seek to block patients from crossing state lines - The Washington Post

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Heated Debate Erupts Over What Happened Inside Trump’s Vehicle on Jan. 6

Heated Debate Erupts Over What Happened Inside Trump’s Vehicle on Jan. 6

“Explosive testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, has raised questions about President Donald J. Trump’s actions on the day of the Capitol riot.

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified that former President Donald J. Trump became enraged after his security detail refused to drive him to the Capitol on Jan. 6.Pete Marovich for The New York Times

Sign Up for On Politics, for Times subscribers only.  A Times reader’s guide to the political news in Washington and across the nation.

WASHINGTON — Soon after his speech on the Ellipse ended on Jan. 6, 2021, President Donald J. Trump stepped into the back of a black Suburban bearing the presidential seal.

What happened next has become a matter of intense debate after explosive testimony on Tuesday by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide who said Mr. Trump became enraged when his security detail refused to take him to the Capitol.

Speaking before the House committee investigating the attack, Ms. Hutchinson said she had been told by Anthony M. Ornato, a deputy White House chief of staff, that Mr. Trump tried to grab the wheel of his vehicle when he was told he could not go to the Capitol to join his supporters. Ms. Hutchinson also said Mr. Ornato told her the president “lunged” at his lead Secret Service agent, Robert Engel.

Ms. Hutchinson made clear in her public testimony that she did not have direct knowledge of the incident, but that Mr. Ornato recounted it to her with Mr. Engel present in the room. It remains unclear what, if anything, the committee did to corroborate it.

Secret Service officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, disputed her account.

But the officials did say Mr. Engel, Mr. Ornato and the driver of the Suburban are prepared to confirm to the committee another damning finding from Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony: that Mr. Trump demanded his agents bring him to the Capitol so he could join his supporters, even after they emphasized the dangerous scene playing out there.

The willingness of the agents to provide potentially critical details about the person they were protecting marks a rare turn for an agency that has historically prioritized the secrecy of presidents, even in the face of investigations.

On Wednesday, Jody Hunt, an attorney for Ms. Hutchinson, said his client “stands by all of the testimony she provided yesterday, under oath” and he challenged others who know of Mr. Trump’s actions during the ride to come forward to the committee.

“Those with knowledge of the episode also should testify under oath,” he said.

In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, committee member Representative Stephanie Murphy, Democrat of Florida, said Mr. Ornato “did not have as clear of memories from this period of time as I would say Ms. Hutchinson did.”

Asked if the panel had evidence to corroborate Ms. Hutchinson’s claims, Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the committee, said on Tuesday that Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony was itself “the evidence” he was aware of. “I’m not aware of anything that contradicts the account that she just gave,” he said. 

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said the committee did not contact the agency about Hutchinson’s account of Mr. Trump’s ride from the Ellipse to the White House before her testimony.

Mr. Ornato, who was the head of Mr. Trump’s Secret Service detail before being made deputy chief of staff, and Mr. Engel provided testimony to the committee before Ms. Hutchinson appeared, but they are willing to do so again, a Secret Service official said.

Mr. Trump’s allies are using the dispute over what happened in the presidential vehicle to call into question the credibility of Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony as a whole, which painted a portrait of a president who disregarded threats of violence from his own supporters, sympathized with those who wanted to “hang” the vice president and wanted to join the crowd that went on to attack on the Capitol.

The dispute also highlights Mr. Trump’s relationship with his Secret Service detail, which was unlike that of most previous presidents. Agents were seen as more overtly supportive and admiring of Mr. Trump than they had been under any other modern president, according to people who have spent time in the White House during multiple administrations, and Mr. Trump worked to build loyalty among them.

Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings

While other presidents came to favor the head of their detail and sometimes ensured they were promoted within the service, even at times appointing them as director of the agency, Mr. Trump sought to make his lead agent part of his personal political team. In naming Mr. Ornato deputy White House chief of staff, Mr. Trump raised eyebrows among traditionalists who saw that as inappropriate.

For generations, agents generally tried to maintain studious neutrality under Republican and Democratic presidents, determined to be seen as protectors of the office regardless of who occupied it. Agents were known to like certain presidents more than others — George H.W. Bush was often described as a favorite, while many were reportedly not fond of Bill Clinton and especially Hillary Clinton — but they always insisted they were not part of the political team.

The murky nexus between presidents and their protectors was pierced during the Clinton years when Ken Starr, the independent counsel, subpoenaed agents and uniformed officers to testify about the president’s relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky, the former White House intern. The Secret Service fought the subpoenas vigorously all the way up to the Supreme Court, maintaining that disclosure of what agents see and hear while protecting a president would shatter the bond of trust and prompt future chief executives to keep their guardians at an arm’s length, increasing the potential risk. But the justices rejected the argument, finding no law authorizing agents to resist legal orders to testify.

That precedent paved the way for the Jan. 6 committee to compel Mr. Trump’s agents to testify and set a precedent in case they eventually do return to the panel to discuss what happened in the vehicle on the day of the Capitol attack. That puts the service in an exceedingly uncomfortable position, whether the agents effectively come to the political defense of a president they had protected physically or provide information that could be damaging to him.

Peter Baker contributed reporting.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs is a White House correspondent covering a range of domestic and international issues in the Biden White House, including homeland security and extremism. He joined The Times in 2019 as the homeland security correspondent. @KannoYoungs

Maggie Haberman is a White House correspondent. She joined The Times in 2015 as a campaign correspondent and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on President Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia.” @maggieNYT

Hutchinson Testimony Exposes Tensions Between Parallel Jan. 6 Inquiries

Hutchinson Testimony Exposes Tensions Between Parallel Jan. 6 Inquiries

“That the House panel did not provide the Justice Department with transcripts of Cassidy Hutchinson’s interviews speaks to the panel’s reluctance to turn over evidence.

Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony sent shock waves through Washington, including the Justice Department, on Tuesday.
Doug Mills/The New York Times

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WASHINGTON — The explosive testimony of a former Trump White House aide on Tuesday may have increased the likelihood of new prosecutions stemming from the attack on the Capitol, but it also bared lingering conflicts between the Justice Department and congressional investigators.

The federal prosecutors working on the case watched the aide’s appearance before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot and were just as astonished by her account of former President Donald J. Trump’s increasingly desperate bid to hold on to power as other viewers. The panel did not provide them with videos or transcripts of her taped interviews with committee members beforehand, according to several officials, leaving them feeling blindsided.

The testimony from the aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, who worked for Mr. Trump’s final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, came at a critical moment in parallel investigations that will soon converge, and possibly collide, as the committee wraps up a public inquiry geared for maximum political effect and the department intensifies a high-stakes investigation aimed at securing airtight convictions.

Her revelations ramped up calls that the committee summon a former White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, who could verify some of her disclosures and who repeatedly resisted efforts to subvert the election. Late Wednesday, the panel said it had subpoenaed Mr. Cipollone after he refused to publicly testify.

Committee members have repeatedly suggested that Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has not moved fast enough to follow up their investigative leads. But for reasons that are not entirely clear — classic Washington bureaucratic territorialism, the department’s unwillingness to share information or the desire to stage-manage a successful public forum — members have resisted turning over hundreds of transcripts until they are done with their work.

Senior Justice Department officials say that has slowed their investigation. Ms. Hutchinson’s name has not yet appeared on subpoenas and other court documents related to their investigation into the effort to overturn the 2020 election, and she did not seem to be a primary witness before the hearings.

The committee and its supporters say its independence has allowed it to create an investigative road map for the department’s subsequent inquiries, even if members remain divided over whether to make an official criminal referral to Mr. Garland.

“It’s fair to regard this series of most recent hearings as a slow-motion referral in plain view of conduct warranting, at minimum, criminal investigation and potential prosecution,” said David H. Laufman, a former federal prosecutor and senior Justice Department official. “They haven’t held back anything.”

At each of its hearings this month, the panel has presented evidence that members believe could be used to bolster a criminal investigation. The committee has provided new details about cases that could be built around a conspiracy to defraud the American people and Mr. Trump’s own donors, as well as plans to submit false slates of electors to the National Archives and obstruct an official proceeding of Congress.

At its hearing on Tuesday, the committee laid out how Mr. Trump had forewarning of violence, allowed a mob of his loyalists to attack the Capitol and, in fact, agreed with what they were doing.

A person familiar with the panel’s work said Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and vice chairwoman of the committee, took a leading role overseeing the team investigating Mr. Trump’s inner circle and was instrumental in organizing the surprise hearing featuring Ms. Hutchinson.

Over the past month, the committee has aired hours of testimony — none more significant than Ms. Hutchinson’s narrative of Mr. Trump’s actions on the day of the attack — that legal experts believe bolstered a potential criminal case against Mr. Trump for inciting the mob or attempting to obstruct the special session of Congress.

That, in turn, has escalated the already intense pressure on Mr. Garland and his top aides. The now familiar meme — exhorting Mr. Garland to do his “job” by indicting Mr. Trump — began to emerge on social media even before Ms. Hutchinson left the hearing room.

“We need some action from the D.O.J., and we need it now,” Representative Ruben Gallego, Democrat of Arizona, said in an interview. “We’re in a time crunch now. Every day these criminals walk free is one more day of them evading justice. As we get closer to the midterm elections, I fear not acting will only empower the complicit Republicans more if they take power.”

For their part, members of the committee have repeatedly and publicly called for Mr. Garland to do more, even as the panel has denied the Justice Department access to its transcripts. (A committee spokesman has said the panel is negotiating with the Justice Department and could turn over its transcripts as early as July when it finishes its public hearings.)

“I have yet to see any indication that the former president himself is under investigation,” Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and a member of the committee, said on “Meet The Press” on NBC recently, adding, “It’s not a difficult decision to investigate when there’s evidence before you.”

That followed a steady drumbeat of similar statements from members of the panel who have urged the Justice Department to investigate Mr. Trump and charge with contempt his allies who will not cooperate with the committee’s investigation.

Mr. Garland and his top advisers have repeatedly declined to comment on the details of their investigations, other than to say they will follow wherever the evidence leads them. His spokesman had no comment on Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony and what it meant for the Justice Department’s work.

In recent weeks, the panel has openly debated whether it should ratchet up additional pressure on the department by issuing a criminal referral at the end of its investigation.

After Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the committee’s chairman, indicated to reporters on Capitol Hill that the panel was unlikely to do so, other members, including Mr. Schiff and Ms. Cheney, quickly disputed that assertion.

“The January 6th Select Committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals,” Ms. Cheney wrote on Twitter this month. “We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time.”

Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings

The panel has also suggested Mr. Trump and unnamed people close to him were involved in inappropriately influencing witnesses.

Its members have suggested, for instance, that the former president may have swayed Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, when he refused to cooperate with the investigation.

On Tuesday, Ms. Cheney displayed what she said were two examples of unnamed Trump associates trying to influence witnesses. One witness was told to “protect” certain individuals to “stay in good graces in Trump World.” In the other instance, a witness was encouraged to remain “loyal.”

“Most people know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns,” Ms. Cheney said. “We will be discussing these issues as a committee and carefully considering our next steps.”

According to Punchbowl News, Ms. Hutchinson received such a warning. A person familiar with the committee’s investigation confirmed that account. Her lawyer did not respond to a message seeking comment.

The allegations were reminiscent of other questions that have emerged about Mr. Trump and his allies’ use of intimidation to stop witnesses from implicating Mr. Trump.

During the Russia investigation, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, dangled a pardon to Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

Mr. Trump later pardoned Mr. Flynn after he stopped cooperating with investigators. Mr. Trump himself had similar overtures made to his personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen.“