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Political Notebook

Trump says he will not try to stop ex-Justice officials from testifying

Former President Donald Trump.
Former President Donald Trump.COOPER NEILL/NYT

Former president Donald Trump said this week that he will not move to stop former Justice Department officials from testifying before two committees that are investigating the Trump administration’s efforts to subvert the results of the presidential election, according to letters from his lawyer obtained by The New York Times.

Trump said that he would not sue to keep six former Justice Department officials from testifying, according to letters sent to them Monday by Douglas A. Collins, who was known as one of Trump’s staunchest supporters when he served in Congress and who is now one of the former president’s lawyers.


Collins said that Trump may take some undisclosed legal action if congressional investigators seek “privileged information” from “any other Trump administration officials or advisers,” including “all necessary and appropriate steps, on President Trump’s behalf, to defend the office of the presidency.”

The letters were not sent to the congressional committees but rather to the potential witnesses, who cannot control who Congress contacts for testimony or what information it seeks.

By allowing his former Justice Department officials to speak with investigators, Trump has paved the way for new details to emerge about his efforts to delegitimize the outcome of the election.

Even though department officials, including Jeffrey Rosen, the former acting attorney general, and former attorney general William Barr, told him that Joe Biden had won the election, Trump pressed them to take actions that would cast the election results in doubt and to publicly declare it corrupt.

Trump and his allies have continued to falsely assert in public statements that the election was rigged and that the results were fraudulent.

Rosen; Richard P. Donoghue, a former acting deputy attorney general; and others have agreed to sit down for closed-door, transcribed interviews with the House Oversight and Reform and Senate Judiciary committees. The sessions are expected to begin as soon as this week, according to three people familiar with those interviews.


Last week, the Justice Department told former officials from the agency that they were allowed to provide “unrestricted testimony” to the committees, so long as it does not reveal grand-jury information, classified information, or information about pending criminal cases.


Officers who responded to riot set to get top honor

WASHINGTON — Congress moved Tuesday to award its highest civilian honor to police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, clearing a bill to give them the Congressional Gold Medal.

The Senate voted unanimously to approve the legislation during a week when District of Columbia police officials have announced that two more officers who were at the Capitol on Jan. 6 have died by suicide, bringing the total number to four.

“Jan. 6 unleashed many horrors, but it also revealed many heroes,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said Tuesday. “A day that many of us remember for its violence, anger and destruction was not without its share of bravery, selflessness and sacrifice.”

The legislation, which was shepherded by Senators Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, now heads to the desk of President Biden, who is expected to sign it.

The Senate voted in February to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Officer Eugene Goodman, who led rioters away from the Senate chamber, and directed Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, away from the mob.


The House in June expanded the measure to apply to all members of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police forces who were involved in the Jan. 6 response, and passed that legislation overwhelmingly, although 21 Republicans voted against the bill.

When Klobuchar brought that version up Tuesday, nobody objected, allowing it to pass without a recorded vote, a rarity in the polarized Congress.


DNC staffers will gain union representation

Staff members at the Democratic National Committee are set to be represented by a union, the first time a national party organization will have a unionized workforce, committee officials said Tuesday.

Roughly 150 employees at the committee will join the Service Employees International Union Local 500, a group that represents public-sector workers in the District of Columbia and across Maryland. They agreed to unionize through what is known as a card-check system: A majority of eligible staff members at the DNC signed cards opting to form a union. That kind of method for unionizing is supported in the party’s platform, which calls to recognize unions that form through such systems.

“The DNC has the ability to be a really powerful agent of positive change for working Americans, and we think this is an opportunity for us to really live those values,” said Christen Sparago, who manages monthly donors for the committee and helped lead the unionization effort.

The push for unionization was supported by the DNC’s executive director, Sam Cornale, and Mary Beth Cahill, a senior adviser and former CEO of the committee.

The committee is now negotiating the details of which staff members will be considered part of the union and who will be exempt — a group that is expected to include about 100 staff members with managerial responsibilities. Positions at the committee range from low-level organizers to higher-ranking managers who oversee efforts coordinating social media, fundraising and messaging. After voluntary recognition by DNC management, which is expected in the coming weeks, they will begin contract negotiations.



Detroit ballot measure seeks major changes

DETROIT — Voters in Detroit on Tuesday were deciding a ballot proposal that calls for the creation of some new city departments, restructuring the police and fire departments, and linking water rates and public transportation fares to income.

Changes to the city charter with Proposal P have been opposed by some who say it could increase spending by the city, which still has to carefully monitor its finances that for several years had been under state oversight following Detroit’s historic 2013 bankruptcy.

The changes were drafted and approved by the Detroit Charter Revision Commission.

Supporters have said the proposal addresses concerns raised by Detroit residents about social justice and other issues in the majority Black city. They took the measure to the courts to keep it on the primary election ballot after Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer declined to support it.