The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Jan. 6 hearing implicates GOP senator amid tough reelection bid

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To view past editions of The Hill’s 12:30 Report, click here: https://bit.ly/30ARS1U

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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.

TALK OF THE MORNING

Ron Johnson and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:

“Conservative Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who faces a tough reelection race this year, finds himself embroiled in new controversy after the House Jan. 6 select committee revealed Tuesday that his staff attempted to hand a list of fake electors to then-Vice President Mike Pence.”

The big question: “how much [Johnson] knew of his staff’s effort to get Pence to recognize an alternate set of electors for Michigan and Wisconsin, two critical states that helped President Biden win the 2020 election.”

What is Johnson saying about it?: “Johnson on Wednesday declined to say whether he authorized his aide Sean Riley to hand the list of electors to Pence on Jan. 6, 2021, or whether he knew beforehand what his aide planned to do. He also declined to say whether he knew the contents of the envelope that was to be given to Pence’s staff.”

What we know, via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton 

HAPPY THURSDAY! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

🏛 In the Supreme Court 

A big win for gun rights

“The Supreme Court struck down a New York state law that made it difficult to obtain a handgun carry permit, marking the justices’ first major opinion on Second Amendment rights in more than a decade.”

The decision: 6-3, along ideological lines.

The broader implications of the ruling: “The … decision to invalidate New York’s law throws into question the legality of similar restrictions in more than a half dozen other states that give licensing officials wide discretion over concealed carry permitting.” Context from The Hill’s John Kruzel

Read the full text of the court ruling here.

Biden calls ruling deeply troubling, via The Hill’s Alex Gangitano

Interesting thread from Rick Hasen, professor of law and political science at University of California, Irvine: https://twitter.com/rickhasen/status/1539999322476929025

TIDBIT
Here’s a photo outside the Supreme Court this morning. It’s dreary and the fencing is in place. (Via CNBC’s Van Applegate)

Plus, a ruling on a North Carolina voter ID law:

“The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Republican lawmakers in North Carolina can intervene to defend the state’s voter ID law against legal challenges.”

Keep in mind about the verdict: “The 8-1 decision did not deal directly with the lawfulness of the voter law, but rather which government bodies can defend the law in court.” More on the ruling

💨 News this morning 

Juul e-cigarettes can’t be sold anymore:


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this morning that it is banning the sale of Juul e-cigarettes in an effort to prevent youth vaping.

From FDA Commissioner Robert Califf: “[Juul] played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping.”

From House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said Juul had: “used enticing flavors and slick marketing to get young people hooked on their products … I applaud FDA for following the science and taking this decisive stance to protect our nation’s public health by taking these dangerous products off the market.”

What this means for Juul e-cigarettes, via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan 

➤ ‘JUUL VAPE PENS COULD BE PULLED FROM US SHELVES. ALTRIA SHARES TUMBLE’:
Via CNN Business’s Jordan Valinsky

️ Jan. 6 hearings 

Happening at 3 p.m.

The committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot is holding its fifth hearing this afternoon.

Today’s theme: Former President Trump’s alleged pressure on the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 presidential election results

Who is testifying?: Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, his deputy Richard Donoghue and Steven Engel, who led the Office of Legal Counsel at the time

What to expect today, via The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch 

Here’s the livestream: It starts at 3 p.m. EDT

AFTER TODAY, WHEN IS THE NEXT HEARING?
Well, the committee announced Wednesday that it will postpone next week’s hearings — and will pick them back up in July.

Why? — From committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.): “We’ve taken in some additional information that’s going to require additional work. So rather than present hearings that have not been the quality of the hearings in the past we made a decision to just move into sometime in July.” What we know about the new information 

Trump is *fuming*

Via NBC’s Scott Wong and Peter Nicholas, “Republicans in Washington are betting that … voters are more worried about gas prices and inflation [than the televised Jan. 6 hearings.] But one man is paying attention: Donald Trump. And he’s not happy no one is defending him.”

Trump posted on his social media platform, Truth Social: “Such tremendous lies and innuendo took place Wednesday at the Unselect Committee on January 6th.” You will never get the truth when you have biased and hateful witnesses who are allowed to go on and on without even the slightest cross examination. Republicans should be allowed representation!!!”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pulled Republicans from the committee: “McCarthy’s strategy seems not only to have backfired. It’s also raising new questions about whether McCarthy will be able to secure the coveted speaker’s gavel should Republicans win control of the House…” How this could play out 

➤ ‘A YEAR LATER, SOME REPUBLICANS SECOND-GUESS BOYCOTTING THE JAN. 6 PANEL’
The New York Times’s Luke Broadwater writes, “The decision by Representative Kevin McCarthy not to appoint Republicans to the committee has given Democrats the chance to set out an uninterrupted narrative.” How so

 In Congress 

The next step for the bipartisan gun bill

Via CNN’s Clare Foran, Lauren Fox, Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett, “The Senate is poised to take a critical vote on Thursday to advance a major bipartisan gun safety bill toward final passage. The vote is expected to succeed with Republican support, putting the legislation on a path to pass the Senate as soon as this week.” Timing and what to expect 

What to expect when it reaches the House: “House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer tells [CNN’s Daniella Diaz] that if the Senate passes the gun bill today, the House will attempt to pass it today and send it to Biden’s desk. ‘We’ll try to do it today,’ he said.” (Tweet from CNN’s Manu Raju)

➤ SPOTTED IN THE SENATE BASEMENT:

Dr. Phil! Photo from HuffPost’s Igor Bobic 

Another photo from The Hill’s Rachel Frazin

🐶 Getting traction 

We love you, Trumpet!:


For the first time ever, a bloodhound has won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

AwHere’s a photo of Trumpet, the winning doggo. Look at that face!

The other finalists: “Trumpet beat a French bulldog, a German shepherd, a Maltese, an English setter, a Samoyed and a Lakeland terrier to take the trophy.”

From Trumpet’s handler: “I was shocked … [The competition was stiff] and sometimes I feel the bloodhound is a bit of an underdog.” The full story from The Associated Press’s Jennifer Peltz

🦠 Latest with COVID 

Oof, that’s a lot of people with long COVID

New Census data found that nearly 1 in 5 adults who have had COVID-19 are experiencing symptoms of long COVID. The survey results 

 BY THE NUMBERS 

Cases to date: 86.3 million

Death toll: 1,009,444

Current hospitalizations: 24,801

Shots administered: 592 million

Fully vaccinated: 66.8 percent of Americans

CDC data here.

🐥Notable tweets 

I don’t think was meant as a troll, but WHAT A GOOD TROLL:

@aperiplatypus tweeted, “I really don’t know what to say about my hotel room view.” Photos of the room in question 

353,000+ people seem to agree.

On tap 

The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.

All times Eastern.

📺What to watch 

  • 9 a.m.: Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted the annual Soldier Ride for wounded service members and veterans. Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff also attended. Livestream 

  • 12:45 p.m.: Harris convenes state attorneys general to discuss protecting reproductive health care access. Livestream 

  • 2:15 p.m.: The White House COVID-19 Response Team holds a briefing. Livestream 

  • 3:10 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gives a press briefing. Livestream

🍪 In lighter news 

Today is National Pecan Sandy Day.

*Channeling my inner Nicolas Cage*

Via ARLnow’s Brandi Bottalico, a man in Arlington, Va., developed a scavenger hunt for users to explore the Washington, D.C., monuments. The app just launched for the public a few weeks ago. The full story 

The app: Capital Clues

And because you read this far, here’s a stegosaurus who snuck into the dog rating system.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.