Jan. 6, primaries combine to highlight 'clear and present danger': The Note

Republicans will be better positioned next time to do what Trump demanded.

June 17, 2022, 6:01 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Perhaps the most resonant takeaway of the latest Jan. 6 committee hearing was the strong message that threats to democracy didn't end on that fateful day--or with the end of the Trump presidency.

"Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to our democracy," J. Michael Luttig, the former federal judge who advised then-Vice President Mike Pence on how to handle his role in counting electoral votes, told the committee in closing on Thursday. "That's not because of Jan. 6."

As Luttig noted, Trump continues to spread false claims about the last election -- while he and his followers put in place assurances that they will "succeed in 2024 where they failed in 2020."

PHOTO:  Michael Luttig testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, June 16, 2022.
Michael Luttig testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, June 16, 2022.
Susan Walsh/AP

By any objective measure, Republicans will be better positioned next time to actually do what Trump demanded last time. Voting laws and protections against political interference have changed the landscape across key states.

Already, roughly at the halfway point of primary season, at least 94 "big lie" candidates have won GOP nominations for governor, secretary of state, Senate or House races, according to research compiled by FiveThirtyEight.

On Tuesday, a Republican House member who voted to impeach Trump lost his primary -- the first time that's happened this election cycle -- to a Trump-endorsed candidate who insists the former president won in 2020. On that same day, candidates who dispute the legitimacy of the last election won primaries for Senate and secretary of state in Nevada.

They join candidates with similar views and vows in battlegrounds including Michigan and Pennsylvania, with voting in places like Arizona and Wisconsin still to come. Even Trump lawyer John Eastman himself -- the focus of much of the committee's most damning evidence on Thursday -- continues to push efforts to overturn the election in key states, as ABC News reported this spring.

Trump is slated to speak Friday at the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition gathering in Tennessee. He may be one of the few speakers there to bring up Jan. 6 -- but he doesn't have to mention it to make the impact of his false claims continue to resonate.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

As stocks tumble, price hikes continue and recession fears set in, President Joe Biden rejected the notion that a significant economic slowdown is definitely on the horizon.

Biden, in an interview with the Associated Press, said a recession "isn't inevitable." As other officials in his administration often do, the president pointed to inflation in other nations when asked about the cause of soaring costs.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks during a bill signing event at the State Dining Room of the White House, June 16, 2022.
President Joe Biden speaks during a bill signing event at the State Dining Room of the White House, June 16, 2022.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

"If it's my fault, why is it the case in every other major industrial country in the world that inflation is higher? You ask yourself that? I'm not being a wise guy," he said.

The messaging isn't particularly attractive as voters weigh who to cast their ballots for come November's high-stakes midterm elections. In the latest ABC News/Ipsos Poll, more than eight in 10 Americans (83%) said the economy was either an extremely or very important issue in determining how they will vote.

While the Biden administration has taken steps aimed at bringing Americans relief and is considering more, none have made a significant dent. If that relief doesn't materialize before Election Day, a not-so-rosy economic picture could usher in the red wave the GOP is hoping for.

The TIP with Brittany Shepherd

Does Herschel Walker have a truth-telling problem? After being caught falsely claiming he had worked in law enforcement, overstating his academic achievements and being less than discerning about his past employment, the Georgia GOP Senate hopeful faces new reporting in the Daily Beast that he has not one, but three children -- two sons and one daughter -- that he's not overtly acknowledged in public.

PHOTO: Heisman Trophy winner and Republican candidate for US Senate Herschel Walker speaks at a rally, May 23, 2022, in Athens, Ga.
Heisman Trophy winner and Republican candidate for US Senate Herschel Walker speaks at a rally, May 23, 2022, in Athens, Ga.
Megan Varner/Getty Images

"I support them all and love them all. I've never denied my children, I confirmed this when I was appointed to the President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, I just chose not to use them as props to win a political campaign. What parent would want their child involved in garbage, gutter politics like this?" Walker said in a statement sent to ABC News.

The question is, do Georgia voters really care, especially when the ceiling for personal scandal was shattered by former President Donald Trump?

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

208. That's the number of congressional districts in the new national congressional map that have a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean of R+5 or redder, per FiveThirtyEight's redistricting tracker. While just 187 districts will have a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean of D+5 or bluer. As FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakich writes, this has once again created a situation in which the national map is biased toward Republicans. There was a point in the redistricting cycle when it looked like Democrats might have the upper hand, but as Nathaniel writes, the 2021-22 redistricting cycle looks to have been a win for Republicans.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Start Here begins Friday morning with a recap of the latest Jan. 6 hearing and the committee's investigation into the pressure campaign against former Vice President Mike Pence. ABC's Katherine Faulders leads us off. Then, ABC's Sony Salzman breaks down what you need to know about COVID vaccines for kids under 5. And ahead of Juneteenth, Texas A&M Professor Andrea Roberts discusses the history of American Freedom Colonies and how free Southern Blacks continued to live under the shadow of slavery. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND

  • President Joe Biden hosts the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate at 8:30 a.m.
  • ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos": Anchor George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Roundtable: Former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, Former North Dakota Senator and ABC News Contributor Heidi Heitkamp, ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News Deputy Political Director Averi Harper.

Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

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

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