Justices Questioned a Law Used to Charge Jan. 6 Rioters


The Supreme Court appeared wary during a hearing today of allowing prosecutors to use a federal obstruction law to charge hundreds of rioters involved in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

The justices repeatedly suggested that federal prosecutors may have interpreted the law — enacted in 2002 after the collapse of the energy giant Enron to criminalize the destruction of records and the obstruction of an official proceeding — too broadly. Justice Neil Gorsuch asked the solicitor general who was defending the use of the law, “Would a heckler in today’s audience qualify?”

A decision on the case is expected in June. If the court rejects the government’s interpretation, it could disrupt the prosecutions of more than 350 people who stormed the Capitol and have been charged under the law. Donald Trump would also almost certainly demand that two of the four federal charges against him be thrown out.

But the federal case against Trump was built to survive without the use of the obstruction law, so it will probably not be greatly altered by the Supreme Court’s decision.

It is also unclear how significant an effect any ruling would have on the broader Jan. 6 investigation. Judges and prosecutors working on Capitol riot cases have quietly adjusted to the potential Supreme Court ruling, and there are currently no defendants facing only the obstruction charge.

The Biden administration is preparing to impose new sanctions on Iran in the coming days after its attacks on Israel over the weekend.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested that the administration was considering ways to further restrict Iranian oil exports. Another Treasury official said the U.S. was also looking at ways to cut off Iran’s access to military components that it used to build weapons such as the drones that it deployed against Israel.

Speaker Mike Johnson settled on a multipart plan to pass legislation on aid to Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and other allies. It’s broken down into three separate pieces that would each be voted on individually. The move aims to allow different factions in the House to register their opposition to pieces of the aid package without sinking the entire deal.

In order to prevail, Johnson will need to secure the support of a number of Democrats. That was made especially clear today when a second House Republican, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, announced that he would join Marjorie Taylor Greene’s bid to oust Johnson from his leadership role.

The Biden administration is expected as early as this week to deny permission for a mining company to build a 211-mile industrial road through fragile Alaskan wilderness, according to two people familiar with the decision. The decision is a victory for environmentalists in an election year when the president wants to underscore his credentials as a climate leader.

The road was essential to reach what is estimated to be a $7.5 billion copper deposit buried under ecologically sensitive land. But the Interior Department found that it would have disturbed wildlife habitat, polluted spawning grounds for salmon and threatened the hunting and fishing traditions of more than 30 Alaska Native communities.

In “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder,” which came out today, Salman Rushdie writes about the 2022 attack that blinded him in one eye and the way his wife supported him through his recovery. It is a visceral, intimate remembrance.

“I wanted to write a book which was about both love and hatred — one overcoming the other,” he told my colleague Sarah Lyall. “And so it’s a book about both of us.”

For more: Our reviewer called the book “candid, plain-spoken and gripping.”

Ads made by the mother and baby care brand Frida were blocked from the typical places companies market their products, like TV and Instagram. They had shown lactating breasts and pained postpartum mothers, which were considered too explicit.

So Frida decided to carve its own path. The brand has launched a website where it is working with Asa Akira, a well-known porn actress, to create educational videos about its products.

When you’re having friends or family over for dinner, do you like to keep it simple? Or do you prefer to go all out? Both styles can make for a great night, and both require some planning.

So, two of our cooking editors made menus to help you prepare. One swears by the effortless route, and the other likes to put on an elaborate culinary performance. Check out what they made.

Have a lively evening.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew

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