Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 22, 2022

The Jan. 6 committee says Trump rejected pleas to tell the Capitol mob to disperse, Biden tests positive for COVID-19, and more


Jan. 6 panel says Trump 'chose not to act' during Capitol attack

Then-President Donald Trump watched the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack on TV in his dining room and rejected pleas from aides to tell the mob of his supporters to stop the violence, members of the House select committee investigating the riot said at a hearing Thursday. Trump "chose not to act" during the 187 minutes between leaving a "Stop the Steal" rally and when he finally told the mob to disperse, said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). As Trump's national security staff was hearing how close rioters got to then-Vice President Mike Pence — and rioters chanted calls to hang him — Trump tweeted that Pence was a "coward" for refusing to block the certification of President Biden's victory over Trump in the 2020 election.


Biden tests positive for COVID but is 'doing well'

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced Thursday that President Biden "tested positive for COVID-19" and is "experiencing very mild symptoms." White House physician Kevin O'Connor said in a note that Biden had been experiencing a runny nose, fatigue, and an occasional dry cough since late Wednesday. Jean-Pierre said the president, who is fully vaccinated and has received two boosters, is being treated with Paxlovid, an antiviral drug used to reduce COVID severity. Biden, 79, said in a video posted on Twitter that he was "doing well" and "getting a lot of work done." The president had been scheduled to deliver a speech in Pennsylvania on gun violence, but the trip was canceled.


House passes bill that would codify right to contraception

The House on Thursday passed a bill seeking to protect access to birth control, aiming to shield it from any future Supreme Court decision like Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which struck down the right to an abortion. All Democrats and eight Republicans voted for the bill. The measure marked Democrats' latest response to the ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Since the Dobbs ruling, red states have rushed to tighten abortion restrictions or ban the procedure altogether. "This extremism is about one thing: control of women. We will not let this happen," said bill sponsor Rep. Kathy Manning (D-N.C.). The House voted on July 15 to codify abortion rights without GOP support.


Ex-officer gets 2.5 years for violating George Floyd's civil rights

A federal judge in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Thursday sentenced former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane to two-and-a-half years in prison for violating George Floyd's civil rights. Lane held down the unarmed Black man's legs while another officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck, eventually killing him. A jury found Lane guilty of violating Floyd's rights by failing to provide him with medical care, although he twice suggested rolling Floyd onto his side to help him breathe. Prosecutors had asked for the maximum sentence, with more than twice as much prison time. "It's insulting that he didn't get the maximum amount of time," said Philonise Floyd, one of Floyd's brothers. Lane is awaiting sentencing on a state manslaughter charge.


U.N.-backed deal seeks to restore Ukraine grain exports

Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres have agreed to sign a deal Friday to resume Ukrainian grain exports, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's office said Thursday. Russia and Ukraine are major wheat exporters, but the war between the two nations has disrupted shipments from Ukraine's Black Sea ports, leaving 20 million tons of grain stuck at the port of Odesa. The stalemate has pushed food prices higher and triggered a global food crisis. The agreement was finalized in negotiations in Istanbul last week, although the details were not immediately released. Guterres said the U.N. and Turkey have been pushing for a "package deal" that would allow Ukrainian exports to resume and facilitate shipments of Russian grain and fertilizer.


100 million under heat alerts across U.S.

More than 100 million people spent Thursday under excessive-heat warnings or heat advisories in the Lower 48 states, as a heat wave continued to push temperatures as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit. At least 16 states that are home to about 60 million people recorded highs in the triple digits, while a half-dozen more saw temperatures in the upper 90s. Many communities in Texas and Oklahoma are enduring one of their hottest summers ever. Both states had spots that recorded 115-degree temperatures on Tuesday, although Thursday was a bit cooler. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a heat emergency through Monday. Dozens of local heat records have been shattered this week. Meanwhile, a heat wave in Europe has been blamed for hundreds of deaths.


Judge temporarily blocks Louisiana abortion ban

A judge ruled Thursday that Louisiana abortion clinics can keep operating until a lawsuit challenging the state's near-total abortion ban is resolved. State district Judge Donald Johnson in Baton Rouge gave attorneys on both sides 30 days to work out their trial plans. Louisiana's "trigger" laws have twice taken effect only to be blocked since the Supreme Court's June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision conferring the right to an abortion. Johnson said the state ban's "vagueness" prevents medical professionals from being sure whether, "or to what extent, they continue to perform or assist" in abortions. The state could appeal. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has said the case is likely to end up at the state Supreme Court.


Supreme Court declines to reinstate Biden immigration policy pending challenge

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to reinstate President Biden's policy limiting immigration arrests pending the resolution of a court challenge by Texas and Louisiana. The Biden administration instructed immigration officers to prioritize the detention of undocumented people crossing the southern border who pose a threat to national security or public safety. A federal district judge in Texas said Biden's guidance, which marked a departure from former President Donald Trump's hardline immigration policy, violated federal law. The justices ruled 5-4, with conservatives in the majority, against the administration's request to block the lower court's ruling so immigration officials could carry out the enforcement guidelines while the case worked its way through the courts. The high court said it would fast-track the appeal, with oral arguments in December.


Amazon steps up health care push with $3.9B One Medical acquisition 

Amazon has agreed to buy health-care company 1LifeHealthcare, which operates primary-care practice One Medical, in a deal worth $3.9 billion, including debt, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The acquisition is the company's first under CEO Andy Jassy, who is making Amazon's expansion into healthcare a focus for the online retail giant. One Medical currently has more than 180 medical offices in 25 U.S. markets, and provides health benefits to employees at more than 8,000 companies. "We think health care is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention," said Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of Amazon Health Services. Amazon started its push into health care with the 2018 purchase of online pharmacy start-up PillPack.


DHS watchdog opens criminal inquiry of erased Secret Service Jan. 6 texts

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general has told the Secret Service to stop looking into its erased text messages related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack because the watchdog has launched an "ongoing criminal investigation" into the matter, CNN reported Thursday, citing a letter from DHS to the Secret Service. Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed that the inspector general sent the letter notifying the agency about the investigation, and said the Secret Service alerted members of the House committee investigating the Capitol attack, according to The Washington Post. The House select committee last week issued a subpoena seeking the texts.


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