It has been a relatively quiet week since the last roundup–July is a slow time in the news field too, it would appear. That said, don’t get too used to the lull; we’re definitely still gearing up for some chaotic news weeks ahead.
Standard standing reminders still apply: I guess after six years I’m conceding that I’m a journalist, but I summarize news within my areas of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not a subpoena!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!
Cleanup in Aisle 45:
We’re still in a relatively quiet period for January 6 proceedings and the Election Rejection front. Here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Update: Testimony Miscellany. For another week, most of the updates are about testimony (or lack thereof). As foretold by prophecy, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone did indeed cooperate with the panel, and gave closed testimony this week. In a much more surprising turn of events, Steve Bannon also agreed to testify after refusing for a dog’s age. The about-face is likely in part due to his upcoming contempt trial, which a judge refused to continue this week–but recent court filings also suggest that Trump never invoked executive privilege for him at all. Needless to say, there’s a lot to watch here.
There’s a little bit more going on with the Biden Rebuilding section. Here’s what has happened:
- Reproductive Health Steps. Facing growing pressure to do something, Biden signed an executive order this week that offers modest protection for several forms of reproductive health. Though it’s no substitute for federal legislation, the executive order will likely make it easier to maintain access to medication abortion and contraceptive care. And given the ongoing march of new restrictions, which we’ll talk more about below, that access is likely to be meaningful.
Your New Normal:
- Contagion Corner. The biggest story by far this week is the likelihood of a new BA.5 wave, given the increased case instance and hospitalization rates we’re seeing on the ground. The increased rates can likely be linked to the heightened immunity invasion of this strain, which became the dominant variant sometime last week. Needless to say, this isn’t awesome, and it’s safe to say the pandemic isn’t actually over. That said, we don’t yet know how these variants interact with long Covid estimates, and it’s possible the virus is also becoming milder–I’ll keep folks posted.
- Senate Dysfunction. Now that the Safer Communities Act has passed, Senate Democrats are back to trying to get some version of Build Back Better on the books too. As far as I can tell, this mostly just involves yet another round of courting Joe Manchin into pretending he’s a “Democrat” who “cares about party agenda” and “wants to keep the House and Senate.” We’ll see if this results in any actual legislation this time around.
- Reproductive Health Recap. News on this front remains grim. Despite a brief injunctive reprieve, the near-total bans in MS and FL both went into effect this week. This is resulting in the closure of Mississippi’s final abortion clinic, which obviously will have a lot of implications for the state. Providers in other states are concerned about their growing liability as well, not just for abortion but for fertility treatments as well. Meanwhile, the Washington Post ran a story about how few maternal supports exist in most of the states mandating births.
- Black Lives Still Matter. Derek Chauvin, the officer primarily responsible for the death of George Floyd, received a 21-year federal sentence this week for use of excessive force under color of law. This federal sentence is a big deal, because it basically obviates his appeal of the state sentence and guarantees that Chauvin will serve a twenty-year sentence.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m relieved it isn’t worse. For making it through, you deserve this guy’s urban rescue ranch humor and a more functional government. I’ll be back next week with more restructured and improved news, and I hope you will be back as well–but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments. Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me cooler weather because heat waves are the worst!