Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - ‘Murder-suicide pact’

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

Having already painted a picture of Donald Trump allegedly directing or at the very least being keenly aware of a wide-ranging plan to subvert the 2020 US presidential election, the Jan. 6 committee on Thursday moved to depict how the former president and his aides sought to use the formidable authority of the Department of Justice to keep him in power. Key to this unprecedented endeavor, the committee argued, was a letter written by a midlevel environmental lawyer—to be signed by top Justice Department officials—falsely claiming election fraud in swing states. The unsent letter, electronic message evidence and testimony by senior members of the Trump Justice Department combined today to describe what panel members said was a desperate effort to erase the election of Joe Biden and keep Trump at the head of the American government. The strategy, according to Select Committee Chair and Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, was to help Trump “steal an election he already lost.”

Jeffrey Clark  Photographer: Susan Walsh/AFP

Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, led Thursday’s hearing as former Justice Department leaders described how Jeffrey Clark—a DOJ lawyer who text messages showed was pushed forward by Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry—asked to be put in charge of the Justice Department. The request allegedly came as Trump was scrambling for ways to slow the transfer of power, with messages between Meadows and Perry discussing strategies to undercut state vote tallies. When previously interviewed by the committee, Clark repeatedly invoked his right against self-incrimination. This week, the Justice Department as part of its criminal investigation searched his home, and a federal grand jury issued nine subpoenas to officials in four states as part of its inquiry into the alleged effort to use fake electors. 

Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy US attorney general, testifies as Jeffrey Rosen, former acting US attorney general, center, listens during a June 23 hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol. Photographer: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg

In his testimony on Thursday, Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy US attorney general under Trump, recounted meetings he had with Trump in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Saying he was “agitated” by the lack of Justice Department help with his election fraud claims, Donoghue said Trump finally asked him “why don’t you guys seize machines?” Trump also told DOJ officials to say the election was “corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressman,” Donoghue testified. Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was supportive of the Justice Department’s refusal to get involved, he said, given that the Clark letter could precipitate a “constitutional crisis.” When asked about Cipollone’s reaction to the now infamous letter, Donoghue said he called it “a murder-suicide pact.” 

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As had been predicted by legal observers given the tenor of oral arguments, the Republican-appointee controlled US Supreme Court handed a landmark victory to the gun lobby and its supporters on Thursday. In a ruling proscribing many state limitations on carrying a firearm in public, the decision is likely to trigger a flood of litigation that will end in more guns in public places. According to proponents of gun regulation and the three Democratic-appointed dissenters, the 6-3 ruling written by Clarence Thomas will eventually result in more gun violence. Shares of gunmakers spiked on news of the decision.

Clarence Thomas, right, administers the judicial oath to Amy Coney Barrett, left, on Oct. 26, 2020. Barrett, along with Donald Trump’s other two Supreme Court nominees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, joined Thomas’s opinion striking down state gun regulations. Photographer: Chris Kleponis/CNP

Noah Feldman writes in Bloomberg Opinion that the court under Chief Justice John Roberts, which 14 years ago enshrined its belief that the Second Amendment includes an individual right to bear arms, has now placed that widely contested interpretation above all other rights. In fact, another constitutional right—the one against self-incrimination—did not fare so well on Thursday. The same 6-3 majority moved in another ruling to loosen protections for Americans when it comes to the “right to remain silent.” The landmark Miranda v. Arizona decision established the requirement that police inform those in custody of said right. But on Thursday, the high court ruled that a Miranda warning doesn’t rise to the level of a constitutional right, and thus defendants cannot sue police for failing to mention it, removing a key incentive for police to follow the law. The decision was written by Samuel Alito, whose draft opinion rejecting federal abortion rights caused a furor when it was leaked in May. The court, which plans to release more opinions Friday and next week, has yet to publish its final ruling in that case. 

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell called his commitment to curbing inflation “unconditional” as another of his colleagues backed raising interest rates by 75 basis points again next month. Here’s your markets wrap.

The US is reportedly preparing $450 million in military aid to Ukraine on top of billions of dollars-worth already sent. The decision comes just as precision artillery systems are arriving there to potentially boost Kyiv’s ability to repel Russian forces. But such efforts to buttress strained Ukrainian forces may be too late to forestall a consolidation of Russian control in eastern Ukraine. On the back foot in areas long contested by Russian proxy forces, Ukrainian soldiers may soon pull back to prevent being cut off. But in the south, Ukrainian commanders are urging civilians to evacuate in view of a coming counteroffensive. On the frontlines of NATO, one national leader warned against underestimating the Kremlin’s long-term appetite for war.

As China and India help prop up Kremlin finances by buying a lot of oil, Vladimir Putin is simultaneously tightening the spigot on European nations opposed to his aggression. Germany warned that Russia’s moves to slash Europe’s natural gas supplies risked sparking a collapse in energy markets, drawing a parallel to the role Lehman Brothers played in triggering the 2008 financial crisis.

From left, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, in 2019 Photographer: Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP

The Biden administration agreed to erase nearly $6 billion in student loans for borrowers who filed a class action lawsuit against the government after attending for-profit colleges that were found to have misled students

Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio is shorting Europe. His firm, Bridgewater Associates, has built a $10.5 billion bet against companies on the continent, doubling its wager in just the past week. Greg Jensen, the firm’s co-chief investment officer, recently said the 2022 selloff in stocks has been small compared to the rally seen over the last decade. The implication may be that the bottom remains out of view.

Contemporary Amperex Technology unveiled an electric-car battery it said has a range of over 620 miles (1,000 km) on a single charge and is 13% more powerful than one planned by Tesla. Such a range would be a huge leap forward in the critical pursuit of battery technology as part of the fight against the climate crisis.

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Rolex, Patek Returns Beat Vintage Cars, Bitcoin

An unprecedented price surge for the most sought-after second-hand luxury watches is showing signs of settling down after some owners put their Rolex and Patek Philippe timepieces back on the block—and cash out.

A Rolex Daytona Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon

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