A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
The House select committee investigating the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol wraps up its public hearings this week. The final sessions (June 21 and 23) are expected to focus on how Donald Trump allegedly encouraged far-right groups to carry out the attack, leading them to believe that they had been called to arms, and how he pressured state legislators to undermine the election results. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who Trump called on to ‘find’ 11,780 votes, is expected to testify.
This week’s hearings come in the wake of new footage of an unusual tour of the Capitol on January 5 and a request for Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to appear before the committee over her communications with Trump attorney John Eastman. Such revelations could prompt a further hearing ahead of the release of the committee’s final report in September.
As Friday (June 24) marks one month since 21 students and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Senators face mounting pressure to take action on gun violence. Following the announcement that a bipartisan deal had been reached on June 12, lawmakers are hoping that the package reaches the floor this week. However, with a number of unresolved issues and an inevitable Republican filibuster on the horizon, passage is anything but certain ahead of Democrats’ self-imposed July 4 deadline.
While legislative action remains somewhat elusive, Senators will vote as soon as Thursday (June 23) on the nomination of Steven Dettelbach to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Dettelbach is expected to secure the nomination, garnering the support of moderate Democrats, which will make him the first Senate-confirmed ATF head since 2015 and an important figure in the administration amid the ongoing debate over federal gun policies.
This week marks the half-way point of the midterm primary season, with voters heading to the polls in Virginia and Washington DC. Run-offs also take place in Alabama and Georgia (June 21).
In the Old Dominion, look out for the 2nd and 7th Congressional Districts, both of which are considered Democratic toss ups. In the 2nd District, MAGA Republicans Jen Kiggans and Jarome Bell are battling to take on Elaine Luria, who flipped the seat in 2018. Meanwhile, in the newly-redrawn 7th District, a crowded field of Republicans including Bryce Reeves, Yesli Yega and Derrick Anderson are fighting to take on Abigail Spanberger.
In Washington DC, Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser faces a surprisingly strong primary challenge from council member Robert White, who is running on the argument that the district needs change after almost eight years with Bowser in charge. A similar line is being used by challengers looking to unseat long-time delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. The 84-year-old non-voting member of Congress, who has been in office for 31 years, faces pastor Wendy Hamilton and podcast host Kelly Mikel Williams.
Finally, in Alabama all eyes are on the Republican Senate run-off, where Katie Britt faces Congressman Mo Brooks. Both are seeking to replace Britt’s former boss, Richard Shelby, to campaign against Will Boyd in November. The race has drawn additional attention in recent weeks after Donald Trump publicly withdrew his endorsement of Brooks and switched his support to Britt just days before the run-off.
Three major international summits are set to dominate international news this week: a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels starting on Thursday (June 23-24), a virtual summit of BRICS leaders hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday and Friday (June 23-24), and the three-day G7 summit hosted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz starting on Sunday (June 26). The Ukraine war and its sprawling ramifications, laid out in stark terms in a recent UN report, are set to cast a shadow over all three gatherings as the conflict enters its fifth month.
With Ukraine’s NATO aspirations shelved for the foreseeable future, attention has turned to its bid to join the European Union, and the question of whether to grant candidate status is set to be discussed at the European Council after a positive European Commission recommendation today. The BRICS summit, meanwhile, will allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to highlight the support Moscow continues to enjoy from strategic partners and counter claims Russia has become a global pariah as a result of its invasion. Complicating matters, at least two of the participants in the BRICS meeting, India’s Narendra Modi and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, are expected to participate in the G7 summit as ‘outreach’ partners, but have already faced criticism from the West over their neutral stances on Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also accepted an invitation to join the talks.