Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF SEP. 13, 2021

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SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

House committee seeks federal records and phone data as Jan. 6 Capitol takeover inquiry presses ahead

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3.gifUsing a local coverage example, explain why local politics also is important.

A U.S. House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection has expanded its scope. After testimony in late July from four law enforcers who were at the Capitol when protesters delayed certification of 2020 presidential votes eight months ago, the panel last month issued sweeping requests for records from about the attack on Congress and also about Donald Trump’s efforts to subvert the election he lost. Documents are sought from the National Archives, FBI, six other federal agencies and from telecommunications companies. Phone records of 11 unnamed Republicans in Congress and at least 30 people who were in Trump's inner circle, including his sons Eric and Donald Jr., also are subpoenaed (legally demanded).

Members want to determine "the former president's knowledge of the election results and what he communicated to the American people about the election," says committee chair Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss. "Our Constitution provides for a peaceful transfer of power, and this investigation seeks to evaluate threats to that process, identify lessons learned and recommend laws, policies, procedures, rules or regulations necessary to protect our republic in the future. . . . Nothing will be off-limits. We will do what is necessary to understand what happened, why and how."

The panel was formed in June by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California. It has seven Democrats and two Republicans, with four Republican seats unfilled because of partisan disputes. Trump calls the inquiry "a partisan sham and waste of taxpayer dollars. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who had at least one call with the former president on Jan. 6, says investigating phone data of Congress members would "put every American with a phone or a computer in the crosshairs of a surveillance state run by Democrat politicians. . . . They come for members of Congress, they are coming for everybody."

Emotional, personal accounts were voiced during the televised July hearing at the scene of the uprising (see video below). "So many of the people I put my life at risk to defend are downplaying or outright denying what happened," testified Michael Fanone, a District of Columbia police officer who was knocked unconscious during the Capitol Hill attack. He was referring to Republicans who claim those who crossed police lines were peaceful protesters or equivalent to tourists. Another witness, Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the Capitol Hill Police, said minimizing the violent intrusion "demoralizes not just the rank-and-file [officers], but the future recruits. What do you think people considering becoming law enforcement officers think when they see elected leaders downplaying this. Why would I risk my life for them, when they don't even care?"

Committee member says: "Many in my party have treated this as just another partisan fight. It's toxic." – Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.

D.C. cop says: "Nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day. And in doing so, betray their oath of office." – Michael Fanone, District of Columbia police officer, at first hearing July 27

Republican congresswoman says: "These telecommunication companies, if they go along with this [call records request], they will be shut down. That's a promise." – Rep., Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2021

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