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On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Jan. 6 hearings resume, expected to examine pro-Trump mob

The House committee will take a deeper dive on how the mob came to be. Plus, Supreme Court correspondent John Fritze looks at an upcoming case that could upend election laws, health officials tell hospitals they must perform abortions in emergencies, education reporter Chris Quintana looks at the cost of college and a space telescope brings back unprecedented images from the cosmos.

Podcasts:True crime, in-depth interviews and more USA TODAY podcasts right here.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Tuesday, the 12th of July, 2022. Today, the latest on January 6th. Plus, the Supreme Court could make a huge decision on elections this fall, and more.

Here are some of the top headlines:

  1. New security camera footage from Uvalde gives the clearest view yet of what happened inside Robb Elementary School in the buildup and even during the massacre that left 19 students and two teachers dead. Video shows what experts have called one of the worst police failures in American history, as officers gathered in a school hallway, increasingly armed, but not entering the classroom to take down the gunman for more than an hour.
  2. Two people were killed and three injured before dawn yesterday in shootings at four 7-Eleven stores in Southern California. Authorities said they were seeking a lone gunman in at least three of the shootings.
  3. And the father of a teenager killed in the 2018 Parkland shooting interrupted President Joe Biden yesterday during an event at the White House marking new gun legislation. The father said, “More needs to be done.”

January 6th committee hearings will continue today. Committee member, Congressman Adam Schiff said the panel will now focus on “The efforts to assemble that mob on the mall, who was participating, who was financing it, how it was organized.” He added that the committee will give new information about the potentially critical roles played by the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys in the attack. The hearing will also focus on whether anyone in the White House engaged in a seditious conspiracy with leaders of the two groups to overturn election results by storming the Capitol. Former President Donald Trump’s White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s testimony from Friday will also be featured. His comments come after other testimony that he tried to prevent Trump from challenging the 2020 election results and worked to stop the defeated president from joining the violent mob.

The Supreme Court will consider a bombshell appeal this fall that legal experts say could fundamentally change how federal elections are run. Supreme Court correspondent, John Fritze has the details.

John Fritze:

Yeah, I mean, this is kind of a technical thing, but I think it’s really important because it could have pretty big implications for how elections are run and how states make rules about elections.

In the 2020 election, there were a bunch of state courts that weighed in to sort of change the rules in response to COVID. And they did things, most notably in Pennsylvania, like saying that if your absentee ballot was postmarked by Election Day, it’d be okay if it took three or four extra days to get to the clerk’s office. Because at the time, as everybody remembers, there were a lot of delays in the post office. It did things like in Rhode Island saying that you don’t need to have two signatures witnesses on your absentee ballot because at the time maybe during COVID you didn’t want to go out and find two people to stand next to you to sign your ballot. And so the court stepped in and made these changes.

And what conservatives say is like, “Look, you can’t do that because the law is the law, and courts can’t just interpret words out of the law.” What the other side says is courts have always done this. They’ve done it for a long time and they should be able to continue doing it in limited circumstances. And what the Supreme Court will decide is who’s right.

I think the most significant thing that could happen is if the Supreme Court embraces this doctrine, it’s known as the independent state legislature doctrine, kind of a wonky term. But what it basically means is that state legislatures get to act alone. And what does that mean? Well, the court could fully embrace this and in that situation, basically, any other entity that’s not the state legislature would have a very hard time acting as a check on the state legislature. And that includes the governor, which in most other instances, the governor would sign a law passed by the state legislature. It includes state courts, which like every other law passed by a state legislature would review what the lawmakers did, what the bill is. And it could even include federal courts to some extent, although I think that’d be pretty limited.

So in its biggest impact here, the court could say, all of these entities cannot act as a check on the state legislature when it comes to things like voting hours, early voting, absentee ballots and how those get cast, redistricting, and also by the way, which a slate of electors get sent to the electoral college for electing the president. You’ll remember in 2020, President Trump and some of his allies were looking for state legislatures to send sort of a slate of electors that didn’t really represent how the state voted. And that could have changed the outcome of the presidential election.

Now, no state legislature did that. And most experts that I talked to think that political pressure is unlikely to make such a thing happen. But if the Supreme Court fully embraces this, legally it could happen.

Taylor Wilson:

The Department of Health and Human Services yesterday issued guidance to hospitals and doctors, reminding them of obligations to perform abortions and emergencies, regardless of state laws. In a letter to healthcare providers, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra wrote, “Under the law, no matter where you live, women have the right to emergency care, including abortion care.” He stressed that federal law preempts state abortion bans when it comes to emergency care.

The advisory comes just two weeks after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe versus Wade, the 1973 once landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. The Biden Administration is facing strong pressure from advocates to protect access to reproductive care. President Joe Biden on Friday announced several steps, including protecting access to medication and making legal representation available to those who choose to travel out of state for the procedure.

According to a USA TODAY and Public Agenda poll, Americans say they value higher education, but it’s too expensive for many. Education reporter, Chris Quintana has more.

Chris Quintana:

People have conflicted feelings about college, right? People believe that college is too expensive, especially for low income people and somewhat so for middle income folks who don’t benefit for financial aid. But also at the same time, there’s a desire to make college more affordable and make it such that more people can go. But at the same time, there’s a lot of skepticism towards the value of the degree. Only about half of the people polled think having a college education or having more people college educated could improve the economy or the nation’s democracy, but at the same time, that’s about half of people who don’t feel that way. Right?

And so a lot of research indicates that people who have a bachelor’s degree tend to be more engaged with their community, they tend to vote at higher rates. There’s also a question of earnings. People with a college degree or more are likely to earn more than folks without it. And then that’s just sort of born out by earnings data, right? And so it’s a challenging place for people in the business of providing a college education as well.

The conversation around student loan debt is just sort of continuing to go on. And this poll also kind of addressed that as well. I think it was interesting to see that roughly 60% of Americans are in favor of canceling student loan debt when it’s excessive. And what excessive means will vary from person to person. But we are seeing more support from Democrats and Republicans on that one, which is really interesting to me.

Another really interesting stat is people want college education to be available, but they don’t want to be forced. So it’s something about like it’s close to like nine in 10 people believe you should be able to get a job without a bachelor, to find a good paying job without having to get the bachelor’s degree. And I totally understand where people are coming from with that. When you look at the costs and the student loan debt associated with it.

But there’s also this other piece where, if you’re going to a traditional four-year college, that’s like at least four years out of the workforce. And jobs are hiring really aggressively right now. And yeah, it’s a challenging decision for young people at this point.

Taylor Wilson:

The first image from NASA’s $10 billion James Webb space telescope was released yesterday at a White House briefing. The image shows thousands of galaxies, including the faintest objects ever observed. It’s the deepest view of the cosmos ever captured. President Joe Biden.

Joe Biden:

Six and a half months ago, a rocket launch from Earth carrying the world’s newest, most powerful, deep space telescope on a journey 1 million miles into the cosmos. First of all, that blows my mind. A million miles into the cosmos.

Taylor Wilson:

The telescope uses a massive 21-foot mirror made up of hexagonal tiles to study the cosmos. Its main capability is infrared observation, allowing it to look through obstacles like dust clouds to see the early phases of star formation. Scientists also hope the telescope will allow them to see the atmospheric compositions of far off planets. More images are set to be released today.

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us seven mornings a week on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or whatever your favorite podcast app is. Thanks to PJ Elliot for his great work on the show and I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.

 

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