DoJ reportedly preparing court fight to get Trump insiders to testify – as it happened | US politics

Federal prosecutors ready for executive privilege fight

Prosecutors at the justice department are gearing up for a courtroom battle to force the testimony of Donald Trump’s former White House officials, as they pursue their criminal inquiry into his insurrection, a report published Friday by CNN says.

The former president is expected to try to invoke executive privilege to prevent his closest associates telling what they know about his conduct and actions following his 2020 election defeat, and efforts to prevent Joe Biden taking office, according to the network.

But the department, which has taken a much more aggressive stance in recent weeks, is readying for that fight, CNN says, “the clearest sign yet” that the inquiry has become more narrowly focused on Trump’s conversations and interactions.

Attorney general Merrick Garland.
Attorney general Merrick Garland. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

This week attorney general Merrick Garland promised “justice without fear or favor” for anyone caught up in insurrection efforts and would not rule out charging Trump criminally if that’s where the evidence led.

He told NBC’s Lester Holt:

We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for events surrounding January 6, or any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable.

That’s what we do. We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.

CNN’s story suggests that prosecutors are acutely aware that Trumpworld insiders who are initially reluctant to testify will be more inclined to do so with a judge’s order compelling it.

The network also says Trump’s attempt to maintain secrecy came up over recent federal grand jury testimony of two of former vice-president Mike Pence’s aides, Marc Short and Greg Jacob.

Questioning reportedly skirted around issues likely to be covered by executive privilege, with prosecutors having an expectation they could return to those subjects at a later date, CNN’s sources said.

The development is set to add more legal pressure on Trump following the announcement of an evidence-sharing “partnership” between the justice department and the parallel House January 6 inquiry, in which transcripts of testimony from at least 20 witnesses are passing to Garland’s investigation.

Key events

Closing summary

We’re closing the blog now at the end of a momentous week in US politics, with the landmark climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act set to become a big win for Joe Biden ahead of the midterm elections.

Here’s what else we followed:

  • The US will not allow any further Russian annexation in Ukraine to go “unchallenged or unpunished”, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, following secretary of state Antony Blinken’s conversation with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier in which he pressed his Kremlin counterpart over negotiations to release jailed Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
  • Justice department prosecutors are readying for a likely court fight to get testimony from Donald Trump’s former White House officials over his illegitimate actions to overturn his 2020 election defeat. CNN reports they are preparing arguments if Trump invokes executive privilege to prevent those close to his Oval Office revealing what they know.
  • Text messages of two of Trump’s chief homeland security officials, Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, are missing for “a key period” surrounding the January 6 insurrection, the Washington Post reported.
  • Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer had secret basement meetings in the Capitol building as they negotiated the Inflation Reduction Act, the AP said. The size and scope of the climate concessions Manchin, the rebel West Virginia Democrat, agreed to surprised the Senate majority leader.
  • The treasury department has imposed sanctions on two Russian individuals and four entities that support the Kremlin’s “global malign influence and election interference operations”. They “attempted to destabilize the US and its allies and partners, including Ukraine,” the department said.
  • Nancy Pelosi said it was “sick” that children are learning to use assault weapons, amid a surge of deadly gun violence and mass shootings in the US. The House speaker announced a vote in the chamber this afternoon on gun controls, including an assault weapons ban.

Joe Biden has nominated a lawyer who represented the Mississippi clinic at the heart of the supreme court’s decision to overturn abortion rights last month to become a federal appeals court judge, Reuters reports.

Julie Rikelman, an abortion rights lawyer with the center for reproductive rights, was picked to serve on the Boston-based first circuit court of appeals, one of nine new judicial nominees announced by the president today.

Rikelman argued for the Jackson women’s health organization – Mississippi’s only abortion clinic – in challenging a Republican-backed law that banned the procedure after 15 weeks.

Republicans are likely to oppose her elevation in the equally divided Senate.

Report: Russia requested murderer’s release for Griner and Whelan

Russian government officials asked that Vadim Krasikov, a spy and former army colonel convicted of murder in Germany last year, be added to the proposed prisoner swap for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, CNN reports.

Brittney Griner.
Brittney Griner. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

“Multiple sources” familiar with the situation told the network that Russia communicated the request to the US earlier this month through an informal backchannel used by the spy agency, known as the FSB.

The request was problematic because Krasikov remains in German custody, the sources said, and because the request was not communicated formally the US government did not view it as a legitimate counter to its initial offer of arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Secretary of state Antony Blinken spoke with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier today and pressed for the release of Griner and Whelan, whom the US considers “wrongfully detained”. It is not certain if Russia’s reported request over Krasikov featured in the conversation.

Sam Levine

We promised you news of the Biden administration’s changing position on Covid-19 boosters as the Omicron variant BA.5 continues to grip the nation. Here’s my colleague Sam Levine’s report:

Instead of expanding eligibility for a fourth Covid-19 booster shot now, the Biden administration will push this fall to get Americans to take another booster vaccination that is predicted to better protect against the Omicron BA.5 subvariant of the coronavirus.

Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna are expected to start rolling out the reformulated boosters, which are expected to be authorized for anyone 12 and older, in September.

The decision comes amid a surge in cases of the virus across the US – and Biden himself recently recovered from an infection.

Some of the administration’s top health experts, including presidential adviser Anthony Fauci and White House Covid coordinator Ashish Jha, had advocated for expanding eligibility for a second dose of the current booster because of the latest spread.

But public health officials worried that administering two different booster shots so close together could blunt their effectiveness.

“You can’t get a vaccine shot August 1 and get another vaccine shot September 15 and expect the second shot to do anything,” Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, told the New York Times.

“You’ve got so much antibody around, if you get another dose, it won’t do anything.”

The decision means that adults over 50 and those who are immunocompromised remain the only ones authorized for a second booster, ie their fourth shot since the vaccine began being administered widely in 2021. Fewer than a third of people 50 and older who are eligible have gotten one, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Read the full story:

A third candidate in a week has dropped out of the Wisconsin Democratic Senate primary, leaving Mandela Barnes, the state’s lieutenant governor, a clear favorite to challenge Republican incumbent Ron Johnson in November.

Mandela Barnes.
Mandela Barnes. Photograph: Mike De Sisti/AP

Wisconsin treasurer Sarah Godlewski’s withdrawal followed those of former state assemblyman Tom Nelson on Monday and Barnes’ top rival, Alex Lasry, two days later.

Democrats are hopeful of seizing Johnson’s seat in the fall in a state Joe Biden won narrowly in the 2020 presidential election, reversing Donald Trump’s victory there in 2016.

Johsnon was quick to comment on Godlewski’s announcement.

“Showing their lack of respect for voters and the democratic process, the power brokers of the Democrat party have now cleared the field for their most radical left candidate,” Johnson tweeted.

Barnes, 35, would be the first Black senator from Wisconsin if elected.

White House: Russian annexation in Ukraine ‘won’t go unpunished’

The US will not allow any further Russian annexation in Ukraine to go “unchallenged or unpunished,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has said at an afternoon briefing.

She is answering reporters’ questions about secretary of state Antony Blinken’s conversation with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier, in which he pressed his Kremlin counterpart over negotiations to release jailed Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

Karine Jean-Pierre addresses reporters at the White House on Friday.
Karine Jean-Pierre addresses reporters at the White House on Friday. Photograph: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

Blinken “thought it was it was important to make clear where we and our global partners stand on several key issues,” Jean-Pierre said:

He spoke about the importance of Russia allowing ships to depart Odessa and to adhere to their grain deals. He also emphasized how Russia’s plan to annex parts of Ukraine by force, which we warned about from here at the podium, would be a gross violation of the UN charter and we would not allow it to go unchallenged or unpunished.

We are under no illusions that Moscow is prepared to engage meaningfully and constructively yet, so Secretary Blinken made clear that this was not about a return to business as usual.

Joe Biden has “no plans” to call Russian president Vladimir Putin over that or any other issue, Jean-Pierre said.

As for Griner and Whelan, she added:

What the president is doing, the secretary and his national security team, is to make sure we keep our promise and [are] doing everything that we can in bringing home US nationals that are wrongfully detained.

This is top of [Biden’s] mind, this is a priority. We are doing everything we can to bring Paul home, to bring Britney home.

Information House Jan 6 committee is getting from Republican witnesses “is good and sound” – Mulvaney

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s former acting chief of staff, testified on Thursday before the House select committee investigating the insurrection on January 6, 2021, and the-then US president’s role in inciting it. And on Friday, Mulvaney spoke about it.

Mick Mulvaney (left) and Donald Trump at a working lunch in Washington in 2019.
Mick Mulvaney (left) and Donald Trump at a working lunch in Washington in 2019. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

He was asked questions by “four or five” lawyers for the committee, who interviewed him for about 2.5 hours behind closed doors, he told CNN on Friday morning.

He said they were courteous and there was “no animosity”. he said the questions were “designed to find out stuff that might make President Trump look bad” and pointed out there was no-one there asking “the other side of the questions” [note: it is a bipartisan committee co-chaired by Republican Liz Cheney] “that might have made President Trump look good”, but he added that that was “fine” and it was not a fight, it was a free-flowing discussion.

“I would have given the exact same answers, obviously, if there had been folks there from the other side of the political spectrum, so it just reaffirms in my mind that the committee is politically-biased, there is no question about that, the structure is politically biased.

“But the information that you are getting is from Republicans, like myself, who are testifying – you are not under oath but you still can’t lie to Congress anyway, that’s still a crime, and I think the information they are getting is good and sound information.”

Mulvaney said the lawyers were at the meeting in person while some members of the committee, who are all members of Congress, attended remotely, and Cheney questioned him.

He also acknowledged that the separate Department of Justice investigation into events surrounding January 6 last year, when supporters of Trump stormed the US Capitol to try to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory over him, was now “moving closer and closer to the [Trump] White House”. CNN reported that federal prosecutors want to force Trump officials to testify.

“They are starting to talk to people inside the Trump orbit as opposed to just the rioters themselves, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers,” he said.

Interim summary

It’s lunchtime, so time to take stock of where we’re at today in US politics:

  • Justice department prosecutors are readying for a likely court fight to get testimony from Donald Trump’s former White House officials over his illegitimate actions to overturn his 2020 election defeat. CNN reports they are preparing arguments if Trump invokes executive privilege to prevent those close to his Oval Office revealing what they know.
  • Text messages of two of Trump’s chief homeland security officials, Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, are missing for “a key period” surrounding the January 6 insurrection, the Washington Post reported.
  • Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer had secret basement meetings in the Capitol building as they negotiated the Inflation Reduction Act, the AP said. The size and scope of the climate concessions Manchin, the rebel West Virginia Democrat, agreed to surprised the Senate majority leader.
  • The treasury department has imposed sanctions on two Russian individuals and four entities that support the Kremlin’s “global malign influence and election interference operations”. They “attempted to destabilize the US and its allies and partners, including Ukraine,” the department said.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he pressed Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to accept a US proposal for the release of detained Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. Blinken said he had a “frank and direct” conversation with Lavrov earlier today.
  • Nancy Pelosi said it was “sick” that children are learning to use assault weapons, amid a surge of deadly gun violence and mass shootings in the US. The House speaker announced a vote in the chamber this afternoon on gun controls, including an assault weapons ban.

Please stick with us. There’s more to come this afternoon, including White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s daily briefing.

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday he pressed Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to accept a US proposal for the release of detained Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

Blinken said he had a “frank and direct” conversation with Lavrov earlier on Friday, and told his counterpart that Russia must fulfill commitments it made as part of deal on the export of grain from Ukraine, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, and that the world would not accept Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory.

Blinken and Lavrov spoke on the phone a few hours after Lavrov indicated some interest in Blinken’s offer.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee in Washington earlier today.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee in Washington earlier today. Photograph: Tom Brenner/AP

Griner’s trial resumes in Moscow on Monday.

This combination of pictures created on July 28, 2022 shows, L to R, Russian Viktor Bout, Russian arms dealer who could be swapped by the US for American WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, a former US Marine accused of espionage and arrested in Russia.
This combination of pictures created on July 28, 2022 shows, L to R, Russian Viktor Bout, Russian arms dealer who could be swapped by the US for American WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, a former US Marine accused of espionage and arrested in Russia. Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images
Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

The White House has issued a statement encouraging the House to pass an assault weapons ban later today.

The statement reminds the public that 40,000 Americans die from gunshot wounds every year and guns have “become the top killer of children” in the US.

It notes that Joe Biden played a leading role when he was a US senator in the 1994 assault weapons ban, which stood for 10 years before the administration of George W Bush declined to extend it.

The White House further notes that “when the ban expired, mass shootings tripled”.

Earlier this month, the US president called once again for a ban on such rifles, saying the US was “awash in weapons of war” and decrying how such weapons have become more and more powerful so that when hitting human flesh, people are ripped apart and parents have to supply DNA samples after school shootings, such as in Uvalde, Texas, recently, because their children are so damaged from the bullets that they cannot otherwise be certainly identified.

Buffalo, in upstate New York, is still grieving mightily after a racist mass shooting there, as well as the less-documented, everyday urban gun violence blighting life in many American neighborhoods, and the valiant attempts by some community leaders to tamp it.

Meanwhile, ICYMI, here’s our Joanie Greve on what gun executives had to say at a congressional hearing earlier this week.

And here’s our Abené Clayton’s reporting as part of the Guardian’s Guns and Lies series.

Pelosi: ‘sick’ that children learn to handle assault weapons

Nancy Pelosi says it’s “sick” that children are learning to use assault weapons, amid a surge of deadly gun violence in the US that has claimed numerous lives in recent weeks in a series of mass shootings.

The House speaker was talking at a lunchtime press briefing at which she announced a vote in the chamber this afternoon on gun controls, including an assault weapons ban:

When I talk about it on the floor this afternoon I’m going to show a presentation of what some totally irresponsible people are putting out there about little children, toddlers, learning how to use an assault weapon.

Smaller assault weapons, but a gun like mommy and daddy’s, small assault weapons for getting their muscles ready to be able to use it. Is that sick?

Nancy Pelosi addresses the media on Friday.
Nancy Pelosi addresses the media on Friday. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Pelosi said there was an “outcry” for an assault weapons ban:

We’re hopeful [over the] vote for the assault weapons ban. I think the best, most important thing to do is to have background checks, that probably saves the most lives on the ongoing.

But with that it’s very important is to reinstate [the assault weapons ban], we like to say reinstate because we did pass this before. And it did save lives.

Even if passed by the House, an assault weapons ban faces next to no chance of clearing the 50-50 divided Senate, where 60 votes would be needed for its passage.

Such a measure would be unlikely to attract any Republican support.

New US sanctions for Russian citizens

The treasury department said Friday it had imposed sanctions on two Russian individuals and four entities that support the Kremlin’s “global malign influence and election interference operations”, according to Reuters.

“The individuals and entities designated today played various roles in Russia’s attempts to manipulate and destabilize the United States and its allies and partners, including Ukraine,” the department said in a statement.

Brian E Nelson, undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said: “Free and fair elections form a pillar of American democracy that must be protected from outside influence.

“The Kremlin has repeatedly sought to threaten and undermine our democratic processes and institutions. The US will continue our extensive work to counter these efforts and safeguard our democracy from Russia’s interference.”

The Russian citizens sanctioned are Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov and Natalya Valeryevna Burlinova .

Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a press conference for noon, at which we’re likely to learn of her plans for a House vote on the landmark Inflation Reduction Act announced yesterday, and whether she’s heading to Taiwan as early as tonight on a controversial trip.

We’ll bring you her comments when she speaks.

You can watch the speaker’s press conference on her YouTube channel here:

‘Secret basement meetings’ led to climate deal: report

Secret meetings in a dingy Capitol building basement, a “virtual handshake” across the miles to seal the deal… the Associated Press has published an extraordinary account of how the climate bill agreement between Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer that has set Washington abuzz this week came to be.

The size and scope of what Manchin, the rebel West Virginia Democrat who had stalled almost the entirety of Joe Biden’s ambitious first term agenda, was willing to accept to form the Inflation Reduction Act surprised Schumer, the Senate majority leader, the AP says.

Senator Joe Manchin (left) and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer talk at the White House in March.
Senator Joe Manchin (left) and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer talk at the White House in March. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

The news agency account suggests it was partly Manchin’s fears about losing his gavel as chair of the Senate energy committee (he has made millions from the coal industry) that led to his reversal, and willingness to accept climate change provisions he had previously fiercely resisted.

“The coal state conservative was being publicly singled out, shamed even, as the sole figure stopping help for a planet in peril,” the AP said, noting the barrage of criticism directed at Manchin from progressive Democrats and climate crisis activists after he blocked Biden’s flagship Build Back Better project.

According to the report, compiled with the help several people familiar with private conversations, and granted anonymity to discuss them, Manchin met Schumer secretly in a Capitol basement to get the conversation going.

“What a beautiful office,” Schumer reportedly said. “Is it mine?”

Over several sessions, the two men and their staffs thrashed out the details of what would become the $739bn Inflation Reduction Act, hailed yesterday by Biden as “the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis.”

They sealed the deal on Wednesday afternoon with a “virtual handshake” on a Zoom call, with Manchin isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.

Whether the bill becomes law remains to be seen. Democrats will need every one of their votes in the 50-50 divided Senate, while there will also be Republican opposition in the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’ll bring members back from their summer break to vote on the bill next week.

Regardless of the outcome, just getting to this point was a remarkable achievement in itself, the AP says.

Meanwhile, Fortune has this intriguing account of the role of former treasury secretary and Biden critic Larry Summers in the saga, suggesting he may just have “saved Biden’s presidency”.

Read more:

Maya Yang

An impassioned plea from a 12-year-old girl has gone viral after she spoke to West Virginia Republican lawmakers during a public hearing for an abortion bill that would prohibit the procedure in nearly all cases.

On Wednesday, Addison Gardner of Buffalo middle school in Kenova, West Virginia, was among several people who spoke out against a bill that would not only ban abortions in most cases but also allow for physicians who perform abortions to be prosecuted.

Addressing the West Virginia house of delegates, Gardner, among about 90 other speakers, was given 45 seconds to plead her case.

“My education is very important to me and I plan on doing great things in life. If a man decides that I’m an object and does unspeakable and tragic things to me, am I, a child, supposed to carry and birth another child?” Gardner said.

Read more here:

Homeland security officials’ January 6 texts ‘missing’

Text messages of two of Donald Trump’s chief homeland security officials, Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, are missing for “a key period” surrounding the former president’s January 6 insurrection, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Chad Wolf.
Chad Wolf. Photograph: Sarah Silbiger/Reuters

It follows news that secret service texts from about the same time had been mysteriously erased, hampering the House panel’s inquiry into the deadly Capitol riot and Trump’s illegitimate efforts to remain in office.

The previously unreported discovery of missing records for the most senior homeland security officials increases the volume of potential evidence that has vanished regarding the time around the Capitol attack, the Post says.

🚨🔎🚨BREAKING POGO INVESTIGATION: yet another story of missing text messages at #DHS. This time, text messages to and from three top Trump-era officials at the dept. from early January 2021 are missing. Read the investigation now: https://t.co/AkWxoUu65Z

— Project On Government Oversight (@POGOwatchdog) July 29, 2022

The homeland security department told the agency’s inspector general in February that texts of Wolf and Cuccinelli were lost in a “reset” of their government phones when they left their jobs in January 2021 in preparation for the new Biden administration, the newspaper adds.

The Post says its source is an internal record obtained by the Project on Government Oversight, whose own report on the disappearance of the messages can be found here.

Messages of a third senior department official, the undersecretary of management Randolph “Tex” Alles, a former Secret Service director, are also no longer available because of the reset, according to the Post.

Manafort invokes Holocaust in memoir of life in prison

Martin Pengelly

Martin Pengelly

In his forthcoming memoir, the former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort describes his travels through the US prison system after being convicted on tax charges – including a stay in a Manhattan facility alongside the financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the Mexican drug baron Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Paul Manafort.
Paul Manafort. Photograph: Eduardo Muñoz/Reuters

Manafort also writes that during one transfer between facilities, at a private airfield “somewhere in Ohio”, the sight of “prisoners … being herded in long lines and then separated into other buses and on to … transport planes … reminded me of movies about the Holocaust”.

Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, but Not Silenced, will be published in the US next month. The Guardian obtained a copy.

Manafort’s book is not all quite so startling. But he does make the surprise admission that in 2020, he indirectly advised Trump’s campaign while in home confinement as part of a seven-year sentence – advice he kept secret as he hoped for a presidential pardon.

“I didn’t want anything to get in the way of the president’s re-election or, importantly, a potential pardon,” Manafort writes.

He got the pardon.

Here’s more:

Federal prosecutors ready for executive privilege fight

Prosecutors at the justice department are gearing up for a courtroom battle to force the testimony of Donald Trump’s former White House officials, as they pursue their criminal inquiry into his insurrection, a report published Friday by CNN says.

The former president is expected to try to invoke executive privilege to prevent his closest associates telling what they know about his conduct and actions following his 2020 election defeat, and efforts to prevent Joe Biden taking office, according to the network.

But the department, which has taken a much more aggressive stance in recent weeks, is readying for that fight, CNN says, “the clearest sign yet” that the inquiry has become more narrowly focused on Trump’s conversations and interactions.

Attorney general Merrick Garland.
Attorney general Merrick Garland. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

This week attorney general Merrick Garland promised “justice without fear or favor” for anyone caught up in insurrection efforts and would not rule out charging Trump criminally if that’s where the evidence led.

He told NBC’s Lester Holt:

We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for events surrounding January 6, or any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable.

That’s what we do. We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.

CNN’s story suggests that prosecutors are acutely aware that Trumpworld insiders who are initially reluctant to testify will be more inclined to do so with a judge’s order compelling it.

The network also says Trump’s attempt to maintain secrecy came up over recent federal grand jury testimony of two of former vice-president Mike Pence’s aides, Marc Short and Greg Jacob.

Questioning reportedly skirted around issues likely to be covered by executive privilege, with prosecutors having an expectation they could return to those subjects at a later date, CNN’s sources said.

The development is set to add more legal pressure on Trump following the announcement of an evidence-sharing “partnership” between the justice department and the parallel House January 6 inquiry, in which transcripts of testimony from at least 20 witnesses are passing to Garland’s investigation.

Good morning blog readers, we’ve made it to the end of an extraordinary week in US politics, but we’re not through quite yet. There’s news today of more legal peril for Donald Trump over his efforts to illegitimately reverse his 2020 election defeat.

Justice department prosecutors, according to CNN, are preparing a court fight to force Trump insiders to testify over the former president’s conversations and actions around January 6. They expect Trump to try to invoke executive privilege to prevent his former White House officials telling what they know.

We’ll have more on that coming up, and will also be looking at the following:

  • Washington is still abuzz with Senator Joe Manchin’s stunning reversal, leading to the surprise announcement of the Inflation Reduction Act and the chance for Joe Biden to achieve some of his signature climate policy goals.
  • Text messages around the time of the January 6 Capitol riot “vanished” from the the phones of Trump’s senior homeland security officials Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, the Washington Post reports.
  • The Biden administration reportedly has a new plan for Covid-19 boosters, scrapping advice for a summer shot and concentrating instead on pushing next-generation vaccines in the fall.
  • It could be a busy day in the House with possible votes on gun controls and police funding, before members head off for a six-week break. But the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, could call them back next week for a vote on the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has her daily briefing scheduled for 1.30pm. Joe Biden has no public events listed.

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