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Jan. 6 documents reveal role of Pa. Republicans

Plus, immaculate reception conspiracy theories.

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Friday, December 23, 2022
Damaging depositions, tightened timeline, investigation insights, water woes, pay bumps, big bows, immaculate questions, and Pittsburgh patois.
☃️ PROGRAMMING NOTE: We're off Monday but we'll be back in your inboxes first thing Tuesday with a special edition. Happy Holidays!
TRANSCRIPT TRAIL
Pennsylvania Republicans played a prominent role in former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election, newly released documents show.

Deposition transcripts from interviews conducted by the U.S. House committee investigating the storming of the U.S. Capitol detail plans among Pennsylvania Republicans to access voting machines, organize false electors, and sue the state of Pennsylvania over its election administration.

State and congressional lawmakers, a White House lawyer, a congressional staffer, political operatives, and QAnon adherents are among the interviewees — underscoring the scope of the investigation and the breadth of the bid to sway the election.

Read The Inquirer's full report: Jan. 6 transcripts reveal new details on how Pa. Republicans tried to help Trump stay in the White House

THE CONTEXT: The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol closed its final public presentation earlier this week with criminal referrals for Trump and ethics referrals for four House Republicans who refused to comply with subpoenas, one of whom was Scott Perry.

A Thursday hearing included testimony by a former White House aide who described a pressure campaign for her to not cooperate with the committee.

The committee released an executive summary of its year-plus probe earlier this week and plans to publicize other documents before it is required to dissolve when a new Congress convenes next month.

The U.S. Department of Justice will decide whether to bring charges based on the criminal referrals, and the ethics referral will be reviewed by the U.S. House Committee on Ethics.
NOTABLE / QUOTABLE

"I really wanted to capture how funny Pittsburghers are."

—Author Tom Scanlon on his comic novel The Immaculate Jagoffs of Pittsburgh, which is designed to be so hyperlocal and representative of the city's dialect that it comes with a warning about its "intense vernacular"
 
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A magical scene from the Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at the Phipps Conservatory. Thanks, Kimberly D.! Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

DAILY RUNDOWN
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.FAST-TRACKED: The Commonwealth Court judge presiding over the power dispute between Republicans and Democrats in the Pennsylvania House vowed to expedite the case amid the two sides still struggling to reach an agreement. The outcome of the suit will determine when special elections for three vacant seats in the chamber can be held.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.TIOGA TAKEAWAYS: Spotlight PA local accountability reporter Min Xian distills the key findings of her recent five-month investigation of Tioga, which found itself under intense local and national scrutiny after it hired the former Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014. Her reporting unearthed a long history of infighting among the small borough's government officials.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.CHESTER'S CHOICE: After filing for bankruptcy last month, Chester is considering selling its water authority to handle its debt, Bloomberg's City Lab reports. The choice would give the small city a much-needed cash infusion, but residents fear rate increases if the system gets privatized, and the Chester Water Authority itself opposes a sale.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.PAY RAISE: Nearly 1,000 government officials will receive a 7.8% pay raise on Jan. 1 under a 1995 state law that ties annual cost-of-living adjustments to a regional consumer price index. Raises for two officials not mentioned in that law — the executive directors of two major state retirement systems — are raising the eyebrows of some good-government advocates, PennLive reports.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.CLIMATE FUND: Lancaster nonprofit RegenAll has launched a "community climate fund" that gives participants the chance to offset their carbon footprints at the local level. The group uses donations to fund efforts such as planting trees and replacing energy-intensive appliances with efficient alternatives.
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IN OTHER NEWS

WEATHER WATCH: Flash freezes, snow, low temperatures, and other wintry possibilities are possible throughout the state today. Stay warm, safe, and informed this weekend.

IN MEMORIAM: Girl Scouts leader and Pennsylvanian Frances Hesselbein, 107, died Dec. 11. The New York Times details how she took the group out of "the Betty Crocker era" and reversed a decline in membership.

BOW BIZ: Turns out those huge car bows featured prominently in holiday ads come from Warminster manufacturer Car Bow Store.

STILL IMMACULATE: Fifty years ago today, the late Franco Harris turned an impressive catch into one of football's most famous moments. Watch it. Then watch a short NFL documentary on the many conspiracies about the play.

'SANTAZILLA': Santas come in so many forms. There's Krampus, there's the Belsnickel, and there's Santazilla of Pittsburgh's Brighton Heights, a 40-foot tall inflatable Kris Kringle who presumably does not use chimneys.

THE SCRAMBLER
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.
 
F U O S S D N E L P I E R

Yesterday's answer: Retaliatory

Congrats to our daily winners: Bill S., Kimberly D. David W., Susan D., Elaine C., Becky C., Jane R., George S., Susan Z., Dianne K., Myles M., Don H., Btfoos, and Craig W.
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