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Your Tuesday Briefing: Jan. 6 Panel Refers Trump for Charges

The Jan. 6 committee interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and obtained more than one million documents.Credit…Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

Jan. 6 panel refers Trump for criminal prosecution

The House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol accused Donald Trump of inciting insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and two other federal crimes. The panel recommended that he face criminal charges.

It’s the first time in U.S. history that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution. The committee’s referrals do not carry legal weight or compel the Justice Department to take any action. The charges would carry lengthy prison sentences, if federal prosecutors chose to pursue them.

The panel also referred five of Trump’s allies to the Justice Department for prosecution, including Mark Meadows, his final chief of staff, and Rudy Giuliani, his lawyer.

In an executive summary from its final report into the Capitol attack, the committee singled out Trump as the primary cause of the mob violence. “None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him,” the document said.

The report detailed his relentless drive to remain in power, after he lost the 2020 election by seven million votes, and identified co-conspirators. The full report is expected tomorrow.

More headaches: For Trump, the coming week will be among the most consequential. Another House committee will meet today to discuss whether to release Trump’s tax returns. The events shine a spotlight on Trump’s refusal to cede power and the issue that he has guarded for decades: the actual size of his personal wealth and his sources of income.


If he follows through, Elon Musk would relinquish a $44 billion purchase based on a Twitter poll.Credit…Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

Twitter users say Musk should quit

After Elon Musk asked Twitter users if he should step down as head of the social media site, 57.5 percent of the 17 million respondents voted yes. Musk had said he would “abide by the results.” After voting ended yesterday, there was no immediate response from Musk on Twitter.

The poll may be a tacit acknowledgment of Twitter’s recent chaos. In the weeks since Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in late October, he’s carried out mass layoffs and executives have resigned. Hate speech has also risen on the platform.

Understand the Situation in China

The Communist Party cast aside restrictive “zero Covid” policy, which  set off mass protests that were a rare challenge to the Communist leadership.

  • Traumatized and Deflated: Gripped with grief and anxiety, many in China want a national reckoning over the hard-line Covid policy. Holding the government accountable may be a quixotic quest.
  • A Cloudy Picture: Despite Beijing’s assurances that the situation is under control, data on infections has become more opaque amid loosened pandemic constraints.
  • In Beijing: As Covid sweeps across the Chinese capital, Beijing looks like a city in the throes of a lockdown — this time, self-imposed by residents.
  • Importance of Vaccines: As the government drops its restrictions, it not only needs to convince people that the virus is nothing to fear, but also that inoculations are essential.

Outrage mounted last week after the accounts of several journalists were suspended, then reinstated. On Sunday, Twitter users exploded in anger again after Musk tried to prevent them from sharing links to rival platforms.

Context: Musk’s ownership of Twitter may be interfering with his other ventures. Since he bought Twitter, the value of Tesla has sunk.


China faces a surge of infections since it lifted restrictions.Credit…Qilai Shen for The New York Times

China’s pandemic U-turn

After micromanaging the coronavirus strategy for nearly three years, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has suddenly left the populace to improvise.

When China abruptly abandoned its “zero Covid” policy this month, Xi and the Communist Party had no plan for a measured retreat from the restrictions. Now, people are bewildered as outbreaks seed uncertainty and disarray.

“They feel at a loss about what to do,” a psychological counselor said. “There are even some who hope that the government will restore controls.”

Messaging: State-run media has tried to frame the pivot as a stressful but well-considered return to good economic times. Officials say that the Omicron variant is generally mild, and The People’s Daily argued that waiting to reopen saved many lives.

Twitter bots: Bots pushing adult content drowned out posts from people protesting Covid restrictions, a Times investigation found.


THE LATEST NEWS

Asia Pacific

Strong winds and waves caused a naval ship to sink.Credit…Royal Thai Navy, via Associated Press
  • The Thai Navy is scrambling to rescue 31 sailors after its ship sank in the Gulf of Thailand.

  • Dozens of people in Australia experienced delirium, fever and hallucinations after eating what the authorities believe to be contaminated batches of baby spinach.

  • Hiroyuki Nishimura has endeared himself to young Japanese, but he talks much less about his ownership of 4chan, one of the most toxic places on the internet.

Around the World

Cyril Ramaphosa will almost certainly remain South Africa’s president.Credit…Emmanuel Croset/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Despite a raging scandal, Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president, won a second term as the leader of the governing African National Congress.

  • Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, visited Belarus as Russian drones hit Kyiv and other cities overnight.

  • Roughly 190 nations reached a sweeping U.N. biodiversity agreement to protect 30 percent of the planet’s land and oceans.

Other Big Stories

  • A British court upheld a contentious plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

  • At least 25 people have died in Peru’s mass protests.

  • A gunman killed at least five people at an apartment building in Canada. Police then shot and killed him.

Technology

  • Sam Bankman-Fried agreed to be extradited to the U.S., one of his lawyers said.

  • Epic Games agreed to pay $520 million to settle U.S. regulators’ accusations that it violated a federal law by illegally collecting children’s data and duped users into unwanted purchases.

  • Many tech employees can work from home indefinitely. As a result, San Francisco’s downtown has become one of the most deserted in the U.S.

A Morning Read

The plains of the Red Sea Mountains, in Egypt.Credit…Sima Diab for The New York Times

Over the past 15 years, new long-distance hiking trails have been developed in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and the occupied West Bank.

Their creators are trying to bring tourists and jobs to distressed villages, using hiking to dispel negative perceptions of the region and help preserve long-overlooked natural wonders.

ARTS AND IDEAS

Jake Sully, the hero of the first “Avatar,” is back in its sequel.Credit…20th Century Studios

A long-awaited sequel

It may be hard to recall, but when “Avatar” came out in 2009, it was a bona fide blockbuster. It brought in more than $2.8 billion in ticket sales worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time. Now the first of several long-awaited sequels is out in theaters across the globe.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” hits some familiar beats but once again dazzles with inventive visuals, A.O. Scott writes his review. The whole thing carries an air of nostalgia, he writes: “Even the anticipation of seeing something genuinely new at the multiplex feels like an artifact of an earlier time, before streaming and the Marvel Universe took over.”

The film represents a milestone for visual effects with its use of a technique called underwater performance capture. Only two shots in the entire film contain no visual effects.

In international markets, “The Way of Water” had a healthy opening total of $300.5 million, with ticket sales highest in China. In North America, opening-weekend ticket sales fell short of expectations, collecting about $134 million over the first three days.

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook

Credit…Julia Gartland for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Cherry yum-yum is a flavorful no-bake dessert from the American South.

What to Watch

“The Quiet Girl,” a luminous drama, is Ireland’s Academy Award entry for best international feature.

What to Read

In her novel “Lucy by the Sea,” Elizabeth Strout asks: What happens when ex-spouses quarantine together?

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Obeys a basic dog command (five letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.


Thanks for reading us today. See you tomorrow! — Amelia

P.S. Gilbert Cruz, our Books editor, joined PBS News Hour to talk about his favorite selections of 2022.

“The Daily” is about the World Cup.

I’m always reachable at briefing@nytimes.com and happy to receive your feedback. Thanks!

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