ALABAMA FAVORED IN TONIGHT'S CFC: Alabama rolls against Georgia (2.5-point favorite) in Indianapolis at 8 p.m. ET tonight for the college football championship. Ten years ago, Alabama, led by head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, avenged a 9-6 regular-season defeat to LSU with a 21-0 pasting of the Tigers in the BCS National Championship Game (ESPN). LSU's offense famously didn't cross the 50-yard line until late in the game, and Bama immediately shoved it back to its side of the field. On Monday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App), Saban and Smart will coach in another rematch, this time from opposite sidelines. Alabama stomped unbeaten Georgia 41-24 in the SEC championship game in early December, allowing the one-loss Crimson Tide to seal a spot alongside the Dawgs in the College Football Playoff. And after the teams won their semifinal games by a combined 61-17, here we are.

 

HOLCOMB, RUSH SPEECHES THIS WEEK: The annual addresses by the leaders of Indiana's executive and judicial branches of government are scheduled for this week. On Tuesday, Gov. Eric Holcomb will deliver his 2022 "State of the State" speech to a joint session of the Indiana General Assembly at the Statehouse in Indianapolis (Carden, NWI Times). The Republican chief executive is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. (ET). He plans to outline his priorities for the 10-week legislative session, as well as his year-long goals for the state as a whole. On Wednesday, Chief Justice Loretta Rush is due to present her 2022 "State of the Judiciary" address in the House chamber to state lawmakers, Holcomb, and judges from across the state. Her speech, set for 2:30 p.m. ET will focus on the work of the state court system to increase public trust, strengthen Hoosier families, improve public safety and modernize the judiciary.

 

PANDEMIC CRIMPS STUDENT ENROLLMENT: Public schools across Indiana are reporting enrollment dips as the coronavirus pandemic draws into its third year (Lanich, South Bend Tribune). As schools enter their fifth semester affected by the pandemic, state data collected through this fall shows the extent to which some districts lost students and others rebounded after months of learning disruptions. Every public district in St. Joseph County saw lower student counts in the first year of the pandemic. For some, like the South Bend corporation, the loss follows years of declining enrollment. Others, like Mishawaka, have a history of steady enrollment counts, and appear to have recovered quickly. To better understand trends during the pandemic, The Tribune requested data from the Indiana Department of Education and received average daily membership counts for the past six school years.

 

PENCE LIKELY TO COOPERATE WITH JAN. 6 COMMITTEE: Mike Pence’s onetime press secretary said Saturday that the former vice president will likely need a subpoena before he’ll cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection (Huffpo). While Pence wants to do his part, the issue is a political landmine for him, Alyssa Farah Griffin explained on CNN. Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), said Friday he’ll ask Pence to voluntarily testify sometime this month. “I anticipate that he’ll cooperate with the committee in some capacity,” Griffin said, though noted that she hasn’t discussed the matter with him.

 

FIRST HOOSIER CONVICTED REGRETS ENTERING CAPITOL: The first Hoosier convicted for her role in the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot has decided to tell her side of the story. Anna Morgan-Lloyd of Bloomfield spoke to WISH-TV’s I-Team 8 and says she truly regrets what happened that day (WIBC). “My remorse was sincere. It is still sincere. If I could take back being there that day, I would gladly take it back,” Morgan-Lloyd said. Morgan-Lloyd was convicted and sentenced to 36 months of probation, community service, and was hit with a $500 fine. She says some people in her town call her a hero for going to the Capitol that day, but she never intended to make any sort of stand. She says she only went inside to protect an elderly woman, only identified as “Linda.” “I didn’t go in to make a statement about the government. I didn’t go in … 100% the only reason I went in was to get that 74-year-old woman out. I didn’t go in to prove a point or be brave. Quite honestly, I was shaken, you know. I’m not one to break the law. I support the police. I didn’t try an prove a point, so it is not like I got sucked in, too. Like I told the FBI, if I knew I was going to get arrested for it, I would have gone in and seen the artwork and the rest of the Capitol building,” Morgan-Lloyd said.

 

U.S. TOPS 700K DAILY COVID CASES: The seven-day average for newly reported cases in the U.S. topped 700,000 for the first time, data from Johns Hopkins University show, as the highly infectious Omicron variant spreads throughout the country (Wall Street Journal). The average of known cases could soon triple the pre-Omicron record set a year ago, when the U.S. briefly saw about a quarter million daily cases. The numbers reported by state health departments and collected by Johns Hopkins also likely reflect a fraction of the true number, due in part to Omicron’s rapid spread and the difficulty many Americans have had getting tested. Some laboratories are limiting test-processing to certain people such as those with symptoms because of the surge in demand. At least 40 states are currently at or near record case levels, data through Saturday show.

 

U.S., RUSS ENGAGE IN UKRAINE TALKS: With the threat of Russian military action in eastern Ukraine stirring concern across Europe, American and Russian officials met on Monday to try and find a diplomatic path to ease tensions and avoid the potential for bloodshed (New York Times). The official delegations, led by a Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei A. Ryabkov, and the American deputy secretary of state, Wendy Sherman, sat down at the U.S. Mission in Geneva just after 9 a.m. local time, the State Department said. Minutes earlier, the police escorted a convoy of black sedans and silver minibuses carrying Russian officials into the sprawling American diplomatic compound on a hill above Lake Geneva. The talks — the first in a series of discussions that will take place across Europe this week — revolve around the demands for “security guarantees” from Western powers that the Kremlin made in a remarkable diplomatic offensive late last year. Monday’s negotiations were expected to take up much of the day, with American and Russian officials scheduled to brief reporters separately afterward, in the early evening.

 

EV RACE TIGHTENS BETWEEN GM, FORD: The electric-vehicle race is tightening, with both Ford F -0.08% Motor Co. and General Motors Co. GM -0.95% highlighting new electric pickups, and car companies getting ready to release a barrage of new battery-powered models this year and next (Wall Street Journal). Auto executives have spent the past few years talking up their ambitions, allocating billions of dollars in new investment to add more electrics to their global lineups. But so far, the transition has mostly taken place behind the scenes with engineers and designers readying the next generation of vehicles. In the coming year, car buyers will start to see those efforts show up more on dealership lots. Auto makers plan to launch dozens of new electric models over the next two years in a range of different styles and at varying price points, according to analysts at Bank of America. The arrival of these EVs shifts the pressure on car companies from developing them to convincing consumers to buy them.

 

THAT $1,000 BOTTLE OF BOURBON YOU BOUGHT MAY BE FAKE: To the casual eye, there was nothing amiss about the bottle of whiskey sitting on a shelf at Acker, a wine store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. But for anyone who knew what to look for, the warning signs were clear (New York Times). The whiskey, a bourbon called Col. E.H. Taylor Four Grain that Acker was selling for about $1,000, normally came packaged in a special cardboard tube; this one sat there tubeless. Its strip stamp, attached over the top of the cork, was on backward. Still, when a producer from the TV news program “Inside Edition” asked in April about the bottle’s authenticity, the store assured him it was legitimate. The producer bought the whiskey, then took it to Buffalo Trace, the Kentucky distillery that makes the Col. E.H. Taylor line of bourbon, for chemical analysis. The bottle, it turned out, was fake: It had been refilled with cheap whiskey and resealed, then sold to Acker as part of a private collection. It was just the latest high-profile example of what distillers, retailers and consumers describe as a growing problem for the bourbon industry and its millions of enthusiasts. Over the past few years counterfeiting, long a problem for purveyors of fine wines and single-malt Scotch, has come to American whiskey.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Ultimately, the Colts were Not Ready For Primetime. Sunday's loss to the lowly Jags was one of the most embarrassing, uninspiring efforts in modern sports history. - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

REP. DAVISSON KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN: State Rep. J. Davisson (R-Salem) has announced his candidacy for HD69. Davisson, 40, was selected in October to serve the remainder of his late father’s term. Steve Davisson served as District 73 state representative from 2010 until his death in September following a lengthy battle with cancer (Howey Politics Indiana). As a result of legislative redistricting, district lines shifted, leaving Davisson in a different district for the upcoming election. “The district moved, but I haven’t,” Davisson said. “The other thing that hasn't changed is my commitment to serving my community and the surrounding region.” After his unanimous selection in October and with the legislative session only two months away, Davisson said he went right to work. The session started on Jan. 4, and Davisson has introduced legislation to honor fallen military members, reduce barriers to adoption, increase school transparency and reduce and modernize government.

In addition, he has held “Doughnuts with Davisson” listening sessions, something he plans to continue to do. “I welcome every opportunity to listen to and learn from my fellow Hoosiers,” Davisson said. “I am looking forward to meeting as many people as possible and to hearing their concerns and ideas.”

 

State

 

BIG TEN: IU TOPS MINNESOTA 73-60 - Trayce Jackson-Davis had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Indiana beat Minnesota 73-60 on Sunday (AP). With a Minnesota defense concentrating on Jackson-Davis, who averages just under 20 points a game, the Hoosiers responded with five players scoring in double figures including Xavier Johnson with 14 points, Rob Phinisee 13, Parker Stewart 12 and Race Thompson 10. Still, Jackson-Davis posted his sixth double-double this season and the 27th of his career. Jamison Battle scored 19 points, Payton Willis 18 and E.J. Stephens 12 for the Gophers. Indiana (12-3, 3-2), coming off a home win over No. 13 Ohio State, is now 11-0 in Assembly Hall this season. The Hoosiers have won four straight over the Gophers (10-3, 1-3).

 

BIG TEN: PURDUE/MICHIGAN GAME POSTPONED BY COVID - The Purdue-Michigan men’s basketball game has been postponed because the Wolverines have fewer than seven scholarship players cleared to play due to COVID-19 protocols (NWI Times). The third-ranked Boilermakers were scheduled to play at Michigan on Tuesday night. The Wolverines also had to postpone their game against No. 10 Michigan State on Saturday because they didn't have enough scholarship players available.

 

NFL: COLTS DEBACLE AGAINST JAGS ENDS SEASON - The Indianapolis Colts got clowned in Jacksonville. This one was more embarrassing than any other loss to the Jaguars, too (ESPN). Indy badly botched a chance to secure an AFC wild-card spot with a 26-11 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday in the "clown game," the team's seventh consecutive road loss to the Jaguars. A debacle few saw coming left the Colts (9-8) with an outside shot at making the playoffs for the third time in four years, but those slim hopes ended when Pittsburgh beat Baltimore in overtime. Now, Indy returns home with a two-game skid and facing a long offseason that doesn't even include a first-round draft pick. The Jaguars (3-14), meanwhile, got a much-needed celebration that ended an eight-game losing streak. And they still managed to lock up the No. 1 pick for a second straight season.

 

General Assembly

 

REDISTRICTING ADVOCATES SEEK TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM: The once-a-decade process of redrawing legislative district boundaries is over in the Hoosier State (Carden, NWI Times). But advocates for a different kind of redistricting are just getting started in their efforts to change the system. Members of the All IN for Democracy coalition last week converged on the Statehouse to encourage Indiana lawmakers to put a politically independent commission in charge of future redistrictings, instead of continuing to allow partisan members of the General Assembly to draw the lines. "During the debate over redistricting last fall, Hoosiers from across the state denounced the current process that allows politicians to choose their voters," said Julia Vaughn executive director of Common Cause Indiana, a coalition co-founder.

 

WEEK'S ROUNDUP: Indiana lawmakers returned to the Statehouse on Jan. 4 for what is expected to be a fast-paced and packed 2022 legislative session (Lange, IndyStar). Already some legislation is moving forward. Here's what you might have missed last week at the Statehouse:

 

Permitless handgun carry: Republicans in the House are trying once again to nix the permit requirement for those carrying a handgun in Indiana, despite resistance from police officers across the state.  Under House Bill 1077 anyone who legally can carry a handgun now could do so without a permit moving forward. The bill would also elevate the theft of a firearm to a Level 5 felony, meaning someone convicted would be imprisoned between one and six years, and may be fined as much as $10,000. The House Public Policy Committee voted on Jan. 5 along party lines to send House Bill 1077 to the full floor for a vote, with every Democrat voting against the controversial measure.

 

Vaccine mandates: As promised, lawmakers are advancing House Bill 1001, a House Republican priority bill that would require private businesses that have COVID-19 vaccine mandates to grant employees exemptions for medical or religious reasons. The House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee amended the proposal on Jan. 6, to ensure that anyone who is forced to resign because their request for an exemption is denied would be guaranteed unemployment benefits. The committee voted 7-4 to advance the bill.

 

Jail crowding: Indiana House Republicans said they hope to tackle widespread jail overcrowding with House Bill 1004. The bill would allow judges to resume sentencing people convicted of low-level felonies into state prisons. Currently, as part of state lawmakers' criminal justice reform bills from the mid-2010s, most people convicted of low-level felonies are sentenced to county jails. The bill, pitched as a way to also provide greater access to drug and mental health treatment inside state prisons, passed out of a House committee unanimously on Jan. 5. It is supported by prosecutors, county office-holders, judges, the Indiana Department of Correction, sheriffs and police unions, and state representatives from both political parties.

 

School funding fix: At the start of the fall semester, COVID-19 cases among Indiana students were surging. Thousands of students tested positive and even more were identified as a close contact and told to quarantine at home. Schools worried that these quarantines could lead to cuts in state funding if students were counted as virtual. Legislature leaders assured schools in September that they would pursue a legislative fix, ensuring schools are fully funded for the fall semester. Senate Bill 2 allows the Indiana Department of Education to consider a student’s attendance over the entire first semester when determining their in-person status. It passed unanimously during the first meeting of the Senate’s education committee Jan. 5 and will head next to the Senate’s appropriations committee.

 

Null grades: If House Bill 1093 passes, schools would not receive a letter grade from the state for academic performance this year. Traditionally, schools receive an A through F grade based on their students’ scores on state tests and several other metrics. This will be the fourth year that schools have either been held harmless or not received a letter grade. HB 1093 was heard in committee. It will be back Jan. 10 for amendments and a committee vote.

 

CRT-related bills: Indiana lawmakers have filed a number of bills inspired by the critical race theory debate that has been raging at school boards around the country. The first of those was heard in committee. Senate Bill 167 would, among a long list of things, prohibit public K-12 schools from teaching students that “any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation” is inherently superior, inferior, racist, sexist, oppressive. They also may not teach that any individual should feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, responsibility or any other form of psychological distress” on account of those same characteristics or that meritocracy was created by one group to oppress another. It received a lengthy hearing Jan. 5 and will be back at the Senate's education committee for amendments this week. House Bill 1134 is nearly identical and will be heard in committee Jan. 10.

 

Call for Constitutional convention: The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a joint resolution on Jan. 5, directing Congress to propose an amendment to the Constitution fixing the number of Supreme Court justices at nine.  The resolution now moves to the full Senate floor for a vote. Indiana's Congressional delegates can simply choose to ignore Senate Concurrent Resolution 2, and aren't obligated to offer a Constitutional amendment.

 

Compensating landowners for eminent domain: When local governments want to build a new highway or a road, they often must acquire property owned by private owners through eminent domain. Currently, they must only pay at least the appraised market value of the property, although that can be — and often is — contested by the property owner through legal settlement or litigation. Senate Bill 29 would raise the compensation owned to those property owners for condemnation — or the taking of their property — to 120% of the appraised market value. Additionally, it will raise attorney fees that can be awarded to the property owner to $75,000, up from $25,000. The bill received a first hearing in committee and is being held from a vote as amendments are pending.

 

CHAPLIN STRESSES CHURCH/STATE: Pastor Matt Barnes has been the Indiana Statehouse Chaplin for 17 years and he tells Indy Politics that he and his team of six people are the only group within the statehouse that doesn’t want something from state lawmakers. “We have a team of five or six folks here that simply care about the people here,” Barnes said. “Everybody in this building, everybody outside this building, is created in the image of God. My religion (Baptist) dictates that I love all people.” He urges Hoosiers to understand that though politics is the name of the game for your elected officials, they are still human beings.

 

Congress

 

JAN. 6 PANEL RAMPS UP STATE PROBES: The public focus of Congress’ Jan. 6 investigation, so far, is what happened in Washington, D.C. Behind the scenes, the probe’s state-level work is kicking into overdrive (Politico). The House committee investigating the Capitol attack has gathered thousands of records from state officials and interviewed a slate of witnesses as it attempts to retrace former President Donald Trump's attempts to subvert the 2020 election, particularly in four key states that swung the presidency to Joe Biden. They're getting ready to take their work public, possibly as soon as the spring. “We want to let the public see and hear from those individuals who conducted elections in those states,” select panel chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview. He described those witnesses as particularly important given their mandates to keep elections “fair and impartial” while hailing from one political party.

 

REP. JORDAN WON'T COOPERATE: Rep. Jim Jordan, one of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies, said Sunday evening he would not cooperate with an interview request from the select panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, calling it an “unprecedented and inappropriate demand” (Politico). “Your attempt to pry into the deliberative process informing a Member about legislative matters before the House is an outrageous abuse of the Select Committee’s authority,” the Ohio Republican said in a four-page letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel chair.

 

GRISHAM SAYS FOX NEWS HAD ACCESS TO TRUMP: Stephanie Grisham, former press secretary to President Donald Trump, remembers the challenges that came from so many Fox News hosts having the direct number to reach Trump in the White House residence (Washington Post). “There were times the president would come down the next morning and say, ‘Well, Sean thinks we should do this,’ or, ‘Judge Jeanine thinks we should do this,’ ” said Grisham, referring to Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, both of whom host prime-time Fox News shows. Grisham — who resigned from the White House amid the Jan. 6 attacks and has since written a book critical of Trump — said West Wing staffers would simply roll their eyes in frustration as they scrambled to respond to the influence of the network’s hosts, who weighed in on everything from personnel to messaging strategy. Trump’s staff, allies and even adversaries were long accustomed to playing to an “Audience of One” — a commander in chief with a twitchy TiVo finger and obsessed with cable news.

 

THE SENATE will meet at 3 p.m. to take up Alan Davidson's nomination to lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, with a cloture vote at 5:30 p.m.

 

THE HOUSE will meet at 6:30 p.m.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN LASHES OUT AT GOP - President Biden has begun his second year in office by lashing out at Republicans, embracing forceful new attacks meant to define a choice for voters between Mr. Biden’s Democrats and a Republican Party still under the thumb of former President Donald J. Trump (New York Times). The sharp tone comes as Mr. Biden seeks to jump-start his agenda, which has largely stalled in Congress. And with midterm elections looming at the end of the year, the president faces a challenge that he has largely avoided so far: drawing Mr. Trump and other Republican leaders into a more direct clash of ideas.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule — 9:30 a.m.: The president will return to the White House from Camp David. — 10:30 a.m.: Biden will receive the President’s Daily Brief. Jen Psaki will brief at 1:30 p.m. — Tuesday: The president and VP will travel to Georgia, where they will deliver remarks on voting rights. They will also lay a wreath at the crypt of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and visit Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. — Thursday: Biden will deliver an update on the administration’s pandemic response.

 

TRANSPORTATION: SEC. PETE BOBBLEHEAD UNVEILED -  Friday is National Bobblehead Day, and one of Michiana’s own is being recognized (WNDU-TV). The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled the first bobblehead of Transportation Secretary and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg Friday morning. The smiling Buttigieg bobblehead is dressed in a dark suit and blue tie and standing with his hands in his pockets. The bobbleheads are only available through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store. They’re $25 each, plus a shipping charge of $8 per order.

 

NEW YORK: 19 KILLED IN BRONX FIRE - Nineteen people, including nine children, were killed on Sunday when an apartment fire started by a malfunctioning space heater sent smoke billowing through a Bronx high-rise, officials said, in the deadliest fire New York City had seen in more than three decades (New York Times). An additional 44 people were injured, 13 of them critically, after the occupants of the third-floor apartment where the fire started fled without closing the door behind them, the fire commissioner, Daniel A. Nigro said at a news conference at the scene.

 

ILLINOIS: CHICAGO SCHOOLS REMAIN CLOSED - Chicago Public Schools said classes would be closed again on Monday, the fourth-straight academic day, as it failed to reach a deal with the local teachers’ union over demands for more measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (Bloomberg News). Schools have been closed in the nation’s third-largest district since Wednesday after Chicago Teachers voted to shift back to remote learning. The union has insisted that the district put in place more stringent protections from a Covid-19 surge driven by the omicron variant.

 

NFL: BENGALS FALL TO BROWNS 21-16 -  Joe Burrow skipped Cincinnati's last trip of the regular season. He and the Bengals have reservations to go somewhere more special — the playoffs (ESPN). Case Keenum got his second win while filling in for Baker Mayfield on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns ended their dismal season with a 21-16 win over the Bengals, who left Burrow at home and played their backups ahead of next weekend's wild-card round game against Las Vegas in Cincinnati on Saturday to open the playoffs.

 

NFL: VIKINGS TOP BEARS 31-17 - Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had no interest in reflection, still stung by several narrow losses in his eighth year that kept his team out of the playoffs and rendered irrelevant this season-ending win over Chicago (ESPN). Down the hall, Bears coach Matt Nagy was more introspective in defeat. With both of them in danger of being fired, though, the conclusion was the same. The decision isn't theirs, and the record doesn't lie. Kirk Cousins passed for 172 yards and three touchdowns in the second half to lead a Vikings comeback to beat the Bears 31-17 on Sunday in a pad-the-stats game between eliminated teams.

 

Sunday Talk

 

KINZINGER SAYS JAN. 6 NARRATIVE EMERGING: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Sunday said the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol already has a “powerful and substantive narrative,” months into its probe of the fatal riot. Asked by moderator Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” how much of the Jan. 6 story the panel would have today if it did not receive any additional information, Kinzinger said the congressional investigators “know a lot of the narrative.” “I think the most important thing is not even the day of Jan. 6. It’s what led to it. We have a lot of what's out there in the public venue, what the president himself said, the fact that he was watching for three hours on TV, probably gleefully, while this happened,” Kinzinger said.

 

PELOSI SLAMS GOP OVER JAN. 6: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday accused Republicans across the country of carrying out a "legislative continuation" of Jan. 6, 2021, through new election laws that she said "undermine our democracy." "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan asked Pelosi if she would commit to seating individuals whose elections are not certified in their states, noting the many states that have recently changed their laws. "I think that the order of things is very appropriate. There's nothing more important for us to do than protect our Constitution and our democracy. What the Republicans are doing across the country is really a legislative continuation of what they did on Jan. 6, which is to undermine our democracy, to undermine the integrity of our elections, to undermine the voting power, which is the essence of a democracy," Pelosi said.

 

RAFFENSPERGER AGAINST FEDL LEGISLATION: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) on Sunday spoke out against measures included in proposed federal voting rights legislation ahead of a visit from President Biden and Vice President Harris to his state to campaign for those very laws. Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," Raffensperger praised Georgia's current voting laws and suggested that a constitutional amendment be made stipulating that only American citizens be permitted to vote in elections, pointing to cities such as New York City that have recently moved to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. "So that's another, you know, solid commonsense federal reform measure if they really want to get serious about election reform," Raffensperger said, appearing to refer to Biden and Harris.

 

RAFFENSPERGER KNOCKS 'DOUBLE MINDED' CHALLENGER: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Sunday rebuked Rep. Jody Hice (Ga.), his challenger in the upcoming GOP primary, as being "double-minded" when it comes to the most recent national elections. "The person I'm running against, Congressman Hice, he's been in Congress for several years. He's never done a single piece of election reform legislation. Then he certified his own race with those same machines, the same ballots, and yet for President Trump, he said you couldn't trust that," Raffensperger said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "That's a double-minded person, and as a pastor, he should know better. So I'm going to run on integrity, and I'm going to run on the truth. I don't know what he's going to run on," he added.

 

SEN. ROUNDS WILL 'TAKE A HARD LOOK' AT SECOND TRUMP NOMINATION: Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said on Sunday that while he previously stated he would support the next Republican presidential nominee, he would take a "hard look" at supporting former President Trump if he ran again in 2024. ABC "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos asked Rounds, who has shot back at GOP assertions that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent, if he could support Trump if he ran for office again. "I will take a hard look at it," said Rounds.

 

HUTCHINSON OPPOSES 'OPPRESSIVE' VAX MANDATES - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Sunday said large businesses should not comply with the Biden administration’s “oppressive” vaccine or testing mandate. “[T]his mandate of [the Occupational safety and Health Administration], the federal government, needs to be struck down. And that's why we're fighting against it. And I expect the Supreme Court, hopefully, to rule against the Biden administration on that oppressive vaccine mandate,” Hutchinson told co-anchor Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

 

RASKIN SAYS GRISHAM SUPPLIED NEW NAMES: Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) on Sunday said former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol about “a number of names that I had not heard before.” “She had a number of names that I had not heard before, and she had some ways of looking at it,” Raskin told moderator Chuck Todd when asked about Grisham’s meeting with the panel during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Raskin told CNN after Grisham met with the committee that she “named a lot of names I had not heard before” and “identified some lines of inquiry that had never occurred to me.”

 

LIGHTFOOT CALLS LOCKOUT ILLEGAL: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Sunday said the Chicago Teachers Union walkout is “illegal.” “What the Chicago Teachers Union did was an illegal walk-out. They abandoned their posts and they abandoned kids and their families,” Lightfoot told moderator Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Chicago Public Schools closed for a third straight day on Friday amid a protest by city teachers. The teachers union is embroiled in negotiations with the school district regarding COVID-19 safety protocols.