Day 461: "Get organized."
1/ A New York judge held Trump in contempt of court and fined him $10,000 a day for failing to turn over documents to the state’s attorney general. Judge Arthur Engoron said Trump failed to abide by his order to comply with the subpoena, and that his attorneys hadn’t shown they had conducted a proper search for records sought by state Attorney General Letitia James for her civil fraud investigation. Trump plans to appeal the decision, saying there are no records in his possession that match what James has asked for. (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN)
2/ Mark Meadows texted with Trump’s family, Trump associates, Jan. 6 rally organizers, Fox News hosts, and over 40 Republican members of Congress before and after the violence at the Capitol. The tranche of 2,319 text messages show how Meadows was the Trump administration’s point person for the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and how Trump’s supporters reaffirmed their support for Trump in the aftermath. Marjorie Taylor Greene in particular was in frequent contact with Meadows during this timeframe, urging Meadows on Dec. 31, 2020 “to get organized for the 6th,” and on Jan. 17 that “the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law,” calling for Trump to “declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!” [[I]Editor’s note: There’s no way to summarize 2,319 text messages. Read the CNN article for a comprehensive overview.] (CNN / Washington Post / Axios / Rolling Stone)
3/ Mark Meadows was warned that Jan. 6 could turn violent, but went ahead with the “Stop the Steal” rally anyway, according to the Jan. 6 committee. In a 248-page filing, lawyers for the committee highlighted the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a White House aide in Meadows’s office: “I know that there were concerns brought forward to Mr. Meadows,” adding: “I know that people had brought information forward to him that had indicated that there could be violence on the 6th. But, again, I’m not sure if he — what he did with that information.” Meadows was also told that Trump’s plans to try to overturn the 2020 election using alternate electors were not “legally sound.” Douglas Letter, the general counsel of the House, wrote in the filing: “But despite this and other warnings, President Trump urged the attendees at the January 6th rally to march to the Capitol to ‘take back your country.’” Meadows is trying to block the committee’s subpoenas, including one sent to Verizon for his phone and text data. (New York Times)
4/ Twitter accepted Elon Musk’s $44 billion offer to buy the social media company and take it private. “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement. Musk previously said he believes that “timeouts” from Twitter would be better than permanent bans, suggesting that Trump could possibly rejoin the platform. Twitter banned Trump following his tweets during the Jan. 6 insurrection, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.” Trump, meanwhile, assured Fox News that even if Musk reinstates his Twitter account, he will not return. Instead, Trump said he will officially start posting “truths” to his own social media startup, Truth Social, over the next seven days, as planned. (CNBC / Reuters / The Verge)
5/ Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. hopes the war in Ukraine will result in a “weakened” Russia that no longer has the military capabilities to invade its neighbors. Russia “has already lost a lot of military capability,” Austin said. “And a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.” Austin’s comments come following a trip to Kyiv with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, where they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to pledge U.S. support in the war. They also announced that U.S. diplomats would be returning to Ukraine. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
poll/ 41% of Americans ages 18-29 approve of Biden’s job performance – down from 56% last spring. 40% of young Americans approve of congressional Democrats’ job performance, down from 52% in March 2021, and 31% approve of congressional Republicans’ performance – little changed from 28% last spring. (CNN)