Jan. 6 committee turns up heat on possible prosecutions: The Note

"I suppose our entire investigation is a referral of crimes," one member said.

June 13, 2022, 6:00 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

It's not just -- or not only -- about making former President Donald Trump look bad, or even just about establishing direct responsibility for the horrors of Jan. 6.

The House's Jan. 6 committee is turning its attention to the potential legal culpability of Trump and those around him. That means direct and indirect pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department as well as on the Fulton County District Attorney's office as part of the latter's investigation of Trump's efforts to reverse the 2020 election's outcome in Georgia.

The committee says Monday morning's hearing will focus on establishing that Trump and his legal team knew he lost the election but pressed to hold on to the presidency anyway. Committee members are signaling some frustration they feel over the apparent fact that they are breaking ground that prosecuting authorities appear not to have found -- at least not yet.

PHOTO: Rep. Adam Schiff attends the hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 9, 2022.
Rep. Adam Schiff attends the hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 9, 2022.
Andrew Harnik/AP

"There are certain actions, parts of these different lines of effort to overturn the election, that I don't see evidence the Justice Department is investigating," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "They need to be investigated if there's credible evidence, which I think there is."

"I suppose our entire investigation is a referral of crimes, both to the Department of Justice and to the American people," Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said on CNN.

The committee's focus from here provides important context to testimony that aired Thursday night, during the first of the latest round of hearings, when former Attorney General William Barr, Ivanka Trump and top Trump campaign aides all were shown saying they knew Trump had lost.

Those were loyalists who knew it was over. One takeaway the committee hopes to establish is that plenty of others made a much different choice -- including people still in office, and who are facing voters again.

The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema

A bipartisan group of senators on Sunday announced a framework addressing gun violence just shy of three weeks after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two teachers.

"Today, we are announcing a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America's children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country," the statement from the 20 Senators, including Texas Republican John Cornyn, said.

PHOTO: Sen. John Cornyn listens during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Examining the Metastasizing Domestic Terrorism Threat After the Buffalo Attack in Washington, June 7, 2022.
Sen. John Cornyn listens during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Examining the Metastasizing Domestic Terrorism Threat After the Buffalo Attack in Washington, June 7, 2022.
CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE

Their proposal covers several areas of concern related to gun safety, including increased support for mental health resources, school safety and incentives for states to pass "red flag" laws. The framework also takes aim at cracking down on gun buyers who are younger than 21 years old by instituting requirement of "an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement."

"Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can't purchase weapons. Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense proposal into law," the senators said.

The proposal still needs to be turned into legislative text, which could create challenges given the tense midterm election landscape. Even so, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called it a "good first step" and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered his tentative support as well, saying it demonstrates "the value of dialogue and cooperation."

Some aides involved stressed that Sunday's bipartisan agreement covered only the general principles, not the specifics -- which could mean the eventual draft bill changes. Still, if passed, the proposed measures would usher in the most significant action Congress has taken on gun laws in nearly three decades following the federal assault weapons ban in the mid-1990s and a ban passed in '96 on domestic abusers owning guns.

It remains to be seen if the new deal receives further bipartisan votes, and the aftermath of signing onto gun control legislation -- a longstanding priority for Democrats -- could be more challenging for GOP candidates up for reelection this year.

Out of the 10 Republicans backing the proposal -- including Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio and Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey; along with Cornyn -- none will be facing voters at the ballot box this fall.

The TIP with Hannah Demissie

This weekend set the stage for a political comeback for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as she advanced to the state's special general primary for the lone House seat there.

Palin prevailed through the crowded jungle primary alongside Nick Begich and Al Gross. A fourth candidate has not yet been determined in the race, which was held Saturday.

Alaska voters will now decide which candidate will finish the late Rep. Don Young's term via ranked-choice voting, which will be used in August for the first time in the history of the state's elections.

PHOTO: Sarah Palin, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, addresses supporters in Anchorage, Alaska, June 2, 2022.
Sarah Palin, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, addresses supporters in Anchorage, Alaska, June 2, 2022.
Mark Thiessen/AP

Palin released a statement after advancing to the special general election. Her press release echoed the sentiments of former President Trump, who endorsed her two days after she launched her campaign.

"I'm so grateful to all of my wonderful supporters who voted to make Alaska great again!" she said.

In the same weekend, Trump lent his support to Alabama Senate candidate Katie Britt, who is in a primary runoff for the state's open seat against Rep. Mo Brooks, who lost Trump's endorsement in March.

Trump called Britt a "fearless America First Warrior" and said that she was a fighter for the people of Alabama.

That's a stark contrast from what he called Britt last July. According to Politico, Trump said then that Britt was an "assistant" to "the RINO Senator from Alabama, close friend of Old Crow Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby." He continued by saying she was not what the country needed and urged people to support Brooks -- before ultimately souring on Brooks because he felt Brooks wasn't sufficiently backing his claims about the 2020 election.

Trump's support of Britt comes a few days after Brooks wrote in a now-deleted tweet that he wanted the former president's endorsement back.

Trump's flip from backing Brooks to Britt shows his disdain toward the congressman, despite Brooks' broader record -- and that his primary-race blessing, which is often influential to conservative voters, is contingent on continued loyalty.

Brooks hit back following Trump's endorsement of Britt.

"This is weird - last time Donald Trump talked about Katie Britt, he said she was unqualified for the Senate," Brooks wrote on Twitter. "Donald Trump is the only man in American politics who could get conned by Mitch McConnell twice in an Alabama Senate race."

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

30. That's the share of the vote that Palin has garnered so far in Alaska's special election primary to replace Young. But because Alaska now uses a top-four primary system -- whereby all candidates (regardless of party) run on the same ballot and the top four finishers advance to the general election -- Palin will likely face businessman Nick Begich III, fisherman-physician Al Gross and potentially former state Rep. Mary Peltola (the vote is still being counted). But as FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakich wrote in his preview of the election, despite Palin's sizable margin -- Begich, the second-closest candidate, is currently 11% behind her -- this could still set up a situation where Palin ends up losing the general election, as Alaska will use ranked-choice voting, meaning the candidate with the broadest appeal will win.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. "Start Here" begins Monday morning with ABC's Trish Turner on a new bipartisan gun deal. Then, ABC's Josh Margolin explains why white nationalists were arrested near an Idaho Pride event. And, ABC's Devin Dwyer breaks down important upcoming Supreme Court decisions and what national laws they could reshape. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Joe Biden signs the "Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act" at 2 p.m.
  • White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gives a briefing at 3 p.m.
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Sierra Vista, Arizona, where he will join Gov. Doug Ducey and Sheriff Mark Dannels for a border briefing at the SouthEast Arizona Command (SEACOM) and a tour of the southern border at 11 a.m. ET. At 4:30 p.m. ET, Pence will deliver remarks on border security at the Arizona Commerce Authority in Phoenix.
  • The House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol holds a hearing at 10 a.m. where former Trump campaign manager William Stepien will testify with former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt. On a second panel, GOP election attorney Benjamin Ginsburg will appear with Al Schmidt, a former GOP Philadelphia election official, and BJay Pak, the former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
  • Former first lady Michelle Obama will deliver the keynote address at the Culture of Democracy Summit in Los Angeles, an event organized by When We All Vote, the nonprofit she co-founded in 2018 with various celebrities.

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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back on Tuesday for the latest.

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