A Common Answer to Jan. 6 Panel Questions: The Fifth | Big Indy News
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A Common Answer to Jan. 6 Panel Questions: The Fifth



WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol released a batch of 34 transcripts on Wednesday that showed witnesses repeatedly stymying parts of the panel’s inquiry by invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The conservative lawyer John Eastman, who advised former President Donald J. Trump on how to try to overturn the 2020 election, cited his Fifth Amendment right 155 times.

The political operative Roger J. Stone Jr. did so in response to more than 70 questions, including ones regarding his communications with Mr. Trump and his role in the events of Jan. 6. The activist Charlie Kirk took a similar stance, citing the potential for self-incrimination in response to most of the committee’s questions, even about his age and education (he was willing to divulge the city in which he resides).

Time and again, the panel ran into roadblocks as it tried to investigate the effort to overturn the election, the transcripts show.

“Trump lawyers and supporters Jenna Ellis, John Eastman, Phil Waldron and Michael Flynn all invoked their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when asked by the select committee what supposed proof they uncovered that the election was stolen,” the committee wrote in an executive summary of its final report. “Not a single witness — nor any combination of witnesses — provided the select committee with evidence demonstrating that fraud occurred on a scale even remotely close to changing the outcome in any state.”

The transcripts released on Wednesday do shine some light on previously unknown aspects of the committee’s investigation. As part of their questioning, the committee’s lawyers referred to emails or text messages they had obtained through subpoenas, quoting aloud in hopes of eliciting more information from the recalcitrant witnesses.

During the questioning of Mike Roman, director of Election Day operations for Mr. Trump’s campaign, a committee lawyer revealed communications that investigators said showed that Mr. Roman sent Gary Michael Brown, who served as the deputy director, to deliver documents to the Capitol related to a plan to put forward false slates of pro-Trump electors.

After doing so, Mr. Brown sent a photo of himself wearing a suit and a mask with the U.S. Capitol over his shoulder. “Mission accomplished,” he wrote.

Investigators also asked Kelli Ward, the chair of the Arizona Republican Party, who sued to try to block the committee’s subpoena, about a text she sent to a member of the Maricopa County board of supervisors that said: “We need you to stop the counting.”

And investigators revealed how disputes broke out among organizers over the financing of the rally that preceded the violence on Jan. 6, including a payment of $60,000 to Kimberly Guilfoyle, the fiancée of Donald Trump Jr., for her brief speech.

“You’re done for life with me because I won’t pay you a $60,000 speaking fee for an event you aren’t speaking at?” Caroline Wren, a Trump fund-raiser, wrote, as she implored Ms. Guilfoyle to call and thank Julie Jenkins Fancelli, an heir to the Publix supermarket fortune who had donated millions to put on the rally. “This poor woman has donated $1 million to Don’s Senate PAC and $3 million to this rally and you’ll can’t take five minutes out of your day to thank her. It’s so humiliating. And then you have the audacity to ask me why I won’t have her pay you $60,000?”

The transcripts also show the combative stance some witnesses and their lawyers took during questioning. For instance, a lawyer for the white nationalist Nick Fuentes repeatedly challenged the committee’s investigators and accused them of grandstanding.

“I will note the irony of an accusation of grandstanding in a deposition of Mr. Fuentes,” a lawyer for the committee shot back.

Another time, Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, asked Mr. Stone if he believed “coups are allowed in our constitutional system.”

Mr. Stone replied: “I most definitely decline to respond to your question.”

The release of the transcripts came a day ahead of the committee’s planned release of its more than 800-page final report, likely the final act of an 18-month investigation during which the lawmakers interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses.

Hundreds more transcripts are expected to be released before the end of the year, including those in which witnesses provided extensive testimony used by the committee in reaching its decision to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department for Mr. Trump, Mr. Eastman and others involved in the effort to keep Mr. Trump in power after his 2020 election loss.

In an attempt to rebut the committee’s final report, five House Republicans led by Representative Jim Banks of Indiana released their own report into the attack on the Capitol. That 141-page document criticizes law enforcement failures, accuses Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her senior team of bungling Capitol security and tries to recast Mr. Trump’s role in the events of Jan. 6 as a voice for peace and calm.

“Leadership and law enforcement failures within the U.S. Capitol left the complex vulnerable on Jan. 6, 2021,” the Republican report stated. “The Democrat-led investigation in the House of Representatives, however, has disregarded those institutional failings that exposed the Capitol to violence that day.”

A bipartisan Senate report last year also detailed Capitol security failures but did not find any blame in the actions of Ms. Pelosi or her staff, who fled from a mob of Trump supporters chanting her name as the speaker tried to get the National Guard to respond to the violence.

The Senate report found top federal intelligence agencies failed to adequately warn law enforcement officials before the Jan. 6 riot that pro-Trump extremists were threatening violence, including plans to “storm the Capitol,” infiltrate its tunnel system and “bring guns.”

An F.B.I. memo on Jan. 5 warning of people traveling to Washington for “war” at the Capitol never made its way to top law enforcement officials.

The Capitol Police failed to widely circulate information its own intelligence unit had collected as early as mid-December about the threat of violence on Jan. 6, including a report that said right-wing extremist groups and supporters of Mr. Trump had been posting online and in far-right chat groups about gathering at the Capitol, armed with weapons, to pressure lawmakers to overturn his election loss.

A spokesman for the House Jan. 6 committee declined to comment.

Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills



The F.D.A. said it made the change now because it had completed a review of a 2018 application to alter the label that was submitted by Foundation Consumer Healthcare, a company that in 2017 bought the Plan B brand from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Agency officials said the pandemic delayed the review process and that the timing was not motivated by political considerations.

A spokeswoman for the company, Dani Hirsch, said in an interview that for its 2018 application, the company had not conducted any new studies but had submitted “what was already out there.”

In a statement, the company’s marketing director, Tara Evans, said “the misconception that Plan B works by interfering with implantation can present barriers to broader emergency contraception access. The Plan B labeling correction will help protect continued over-the-counter emergency contraception access and reduce confusion about how Plan B works and further clarify that Plan B does not affect implantation.”

Plan B One-Step and its generic versions — including brands like Take Action, My Way and Option 2 — contain levonorgestrel, one of a class of hormones called progestins that are also found at lower doses in birth control pills and intrauterine devices. The pills are most effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, although they can sometimes work if taken within five days.

Another type of morning-after pill, marketed as Ella and containing a compound called ulipristal acetate, is only available by prescription and is not affected by the F.D.A.’s label change. There has been less research on this type of pill, but studies suggest that it is highly unlikely to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. In 2009, after months of scrutiny, Ella was approved for sale in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where laws would have barred it if it had been considered to induce abortions.

According to data published in 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-quarter of women of reproductive age who have sex with men answered yes to the question: “Have you ever used emergency contraception, also known as ‘Plan B,’ ‘Preven,’ ‘Ella,’ ‘Next Choice,’ or ‘Morning after’ pills?” The agency did not break down the data by the type of pills taken.

As far back as the 1999 approval process, the maker of Plan B — Barr Pharmaceuticals, later acquired by Teva — asked the F.D.A. not to list an implantation effect on the label, The Times reported in 2012.

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Who are Caroline Ellison’s parents? Fraudster’s mom and dad are MIT economists



This apple fell far from the tree.

Caroline Ellison — who pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to her role in the FTX cryptocurrency scandal, which led to the extradition of Sam Bankman-Fried this week — is the daughter of high-profile economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to his curriculum vitae, Ellison’s father, Glenn Ellison, was educated at Harvard, Cambridge and MIT before becoming the Gregory K. Palm (1970) Professor of Economics at the latter. 

In addition to coaching youth softball and his daughters’ middle school math teams, he writes “Hard Math,” a series of textbooks and workbooks about teaching arithmetic to younger students.

Glenn Ellison is also an Elected Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Caroline Ellison’s parents, Glenn and Sara Ellison, outside their Newton, Mass., home in early December.
Robert Miller

Ellison’s mother, Sara Ellison, is also an accomplished academic. Armed with an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a mathematical statistics diploma from Cambridge University, her profile shows she completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993. 

Sara Ellison is currently a senior lecturer in the department alongside her husband.

“We were definitely exposed to a lot of economics [growing up],” Ellison, 28, once told Forbes.

Ellison, 28, plead guilty to fraud this week.
Ellison, 28, pleaded guilty to fraud this week.
Twitter / @AlamedaResearch
Caroline Ellison's sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.
Caroline Ellison’s sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.

Glenn and Sara Ellison were photographed by The Post outside their home in Newton, an affluent Boston suburb, earlier this month. Armed with several bags, they told reporters they were too “busy” to comment on the FTX scandal.

The eldest of three sisters — including Anna, 25, who now lives in Manhattan’s West Village — Ellison distinguished herself as a precocious math whiz at a young age. 

When she was just 8 years old, she reportedly presented her father with a paper analyzing stuffed animal prices at Toys ‘R’ Us.

Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.
Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
Matthew McDermott
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Robert Miller

She went on to compete in the Math Prize for Girls while at Newton North High School before studying mathematics at Stanford University, where former professor Ruth Stackman described her to Forbes as “bright, focused, [and] very mathy.”

Ellison and Bankman-Fried, 30, crossed paths at the Wall Street trading firm Jane Street. Bankman-Fried’s parents are also both university lecturers, at Stanford in California. They became good friends and she joined Alameda Research, the hedge fund arm of the FTX crypto exchange, in 2018. She then became CEO in 2021. However, the company remained owned 90% by Bankman-Fried and 10% by another member of his circle.

In addition to documenting her supposed foray into polyamory on Tumblr, Ellison once boasted about drug use on social media.

Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Robert Miller

“Nothing like regular amphetamine use to make you appreciate how dumb a lot of normal, non-medicated human experience is,” she tweeted in 2021.

Ellison reportedly admitted to Alameda employees that FTX had used client funds to bail out the fledgeling hedge fund during a video call in November. She was eventually terminated as CEO by insolvency professional and current FTX CEO John J. Ray III after FTX and Alameda filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

She pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges on Monday, and has subsequently been released on $250,000 bail.

Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Twitter / @AutismCapital

Although she could be sent to jail for up to 110 years for her part in the FTX-Alameda scandal — which has been said by federal prosecutors to have lost between $1 billion and $2 billion of customers’ cash — she is thought to have struck a deal with the feds for a much lighter sentence in return for her cooperation.

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Iran condemns Zelensky’s remarks to Congress as ‘baseless.’



Iran has condemned President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks to the U.S. Congress, warning the Ukrainian leader against further accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to Russia for use in the war.

Mr. Zelensky told Congress on Wednesday that Iranian-made drones “sent to Russia in hundreds” had been threatening Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, a view shared by American and European officials. In Iran, he said, Russia had found an “ally in its genocidal policy.”

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani, called Mr. Zelensky’s comments “rude” and “baseless.”

“Mr. Zelensky had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless,” Mr. Kanaani said in a statement on Thursday.

Although Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with the weapons since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have said that the first shipment was delivered in August.

Mr. Zelensky has said that drones used in Monday’s wave of predawn attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities were from a batch recently delivered to Russia by Iran. The strikes came after Biden administration officials said that Russia and Iran were strengthening their military ties into a “full-fledged defense partnership.”

The European Union last week condemned Iran’s military partnership with Russia as a gross violation of international law and announced new sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities over their roles in supplying the drones that Moscow has used to attack Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure. That followed a round of sanctions on Iranians over the drone deliveries in October.

Mr. Kanaani “once again emphasizes” that Iran has not supplied military equipment for use in Ukraine, the statement issued on Thursday added, and urged Mr. Zelensky to learn “the fate of some other political leaders” who were happy with U.S. support. It was not clear which other leaders the statement was referring to.

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