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Morning news brief

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today, a House committee votes on whether to send the Justice Department evidence of crimes linked with the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

A source familiar with the deliberations says they'll take up a criminal referral against former President Trump on at least three charges. That's one more than previously known. Representative Adam Schiff told NPR early this month he thought the evidence is there.

ADAM SCHIFF: The facts support a potential charge against the former president. And, you know, the Justice Department, in my view, needs to hold everyone equally responsible before the law. And that includes former presidents when they engage in criminality.

INSKEEP: Schiff added that it's a political as well as a legal decision for Congress to make that statement. NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales is covering this story. She's covered the committee all along. Hey there, Claudia.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: OK. So we'd heard about possible charges for conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. What is the new charge here?

GRISALES: The source told me it's insurrection. Insurrection is a rare charge, even in connection with the January 6 attack on the Capitol. A sub-panel of the committee's lawyers - this is led by Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin and also includes California Democrat Zoe Lofgren and Adam Schiff and Republican Vice Chair Liz Cheney - is expected to make this recommendation to the fuller panel today, which will then vote on these plans. Congress cannot prosecute crimes, but it can make a referral in the form of a formal letter to the Justice Department.

INSKEEP: Which does make a big statement if, ultimately, the House of Representatives sends this on - or this House committee does. Is Trump the only person who might face accusations?

GRISALES: No. NPR obtained a small portion of the draft script for the January 6 panel's hearing that shows it intends to accuse lawyers John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro of being tied to a larger conspiracy. Eastman was a Trump ally who helped lead the effort to overturn President Biden's win. While Chesebro has been considered a central figure in the scheme pushing for a slate of fake Trump electors in various states won by Biden. Chairman Bennie Thompson has repeatedly noted that attorneys who were tied to the plot could be referred for disciplinary action through their various bar associations to lose their licenses to practice law. Yesterday, I was outside of the room where members were rehearsing for today's hearing. And as he left, Chairman Bennie Thompson teased the plans today and told reporters to stay tuned.

INSKEEP: Well, we'll do that, Claudia. But when you say you obtained a draft script - a script - it suggests the committee pretty much knows what they want to do today. And there's not a lot of suspense about where this is going. Who are some of the other people whose names may come up as they vote on these charges?

GRISALES: Some central figures we could hear about today could include former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jeffrey Clark. They were the subject of subpoenas from the panel this year and were also tied to this plot to overturn President Biden's win. We could also hear potential referrals for complaints to the House Ethics Committee against House Republicans who defied their committee subpoenas. Chairman Thompson has said any of these referrals and recommendations in the end could be sent to five or six entities.

INSKEEP: Having followed this committee all along, Claudia, what has this panel changed and added to the record here through a year and a half of work?

GRISALES: Right. They've made quite the impact in terms of how to approach a congressional investigation - to tell the story with voices that were closest to the most central figure in this probe, that's former President Trump, and making sure that they do everything they can to document a historical record, a comprehensive record, of what happened leading up to and on the day of the attack.

INSKEEP: NPR's Claudia Grisales. Thanks so much.

GRISALES: Thank you much.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: OK. People in sports sometimes say an exceptionally close game is a nail-biter. So it was fitting yesterday when the World Cup final went into extra time and the TV broadcast briefly showed a woman literally biting her nails.

MARTÍNEZ: So was I. Argentina prevailed in a game that went into extra time and then a penalty kick shootout to decide the winner. This was a face-off between two nations, two teams and also arguably the two best players in the world, Kylian Mbappe of France and Lionel Messi of Argentina.

INSKEEP: NPR's Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine American journalist and host of the podcast The Last Cup, which is about Messi's life story - wow, well-timed. Jasmine, welcome.

JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: Hi.

INSKEEP: How are your fingernails? You OK?

GARSD: My fingernails are fine. But my voice is a little raspy. I've been screaming for, like, five hours straight.

INSKEEP: (Laughter).

GARSD: I'm so sorry (laughter).

INSKEEP: It's OK. You'll get through it. You'll get through it. What was it like yesterday as you were watching?

GARSD: Oh, my God. I've been hearing that this is, like, one of the most beautiful World Cup games to ever be played. It was completely unpredictable. Argentina dominated in the first half. We scored two goals. And it looked like a sure bet. But there are no sure bets in soccer. Late in the second half, France scored two goals to tie the match. I was watching at a packed bar in Brooklyn.

(CROSSTALK)

GARSD: They played 90 minutes of regulation. They played an additional 30 minutes of extra time and then went into penalty kicks. You know, each team gets five kicks to define the game. So really, Steve, up until the very end, it was anyone's guess to how this was going to end.

INSKEEP: Yeah. I felt like Mbappe and Messi, the greatest players on each side, were present at every key moment. It was almost like a movie in that sense, as if they were scripted as the stars. Both of them scored goals, of course. Both scored penalty kicks. And I want to mention Messi, the guy you've been following for so long, seemed just super calm, almost nonchalant, which is amazing considering the pressure on him at this moment.

GARSD: Yeah. I don't know how he did that. I mean, Lionel Messi is considered one of the best players in soccer history. He's never won a World Cup, though. The pressure was huge. And for Argentina, which is, like, a soccer-obsessed nation, this was seen as a huge failure, never winning a cup. This World Cup was his last chance. He himself said he'd be retiring from the tournament after this one. This was it. And he did it.

INSKEEP: Did it mean as much to him personally as it seems to to his country?

GARSD: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think that - I think this was a dream. And I think everyone kind of got behind him on this dream. In Argentina, soccer is kind of like the unofficial religion.

(LAUGHTER)

INSKEEP: And, of course, Argentina is a soccer-obsessed nation, as you mentioned. How did people respond to the win there and also where you were in New York City?

GARSD: I mean, the country is just one big party. And, you know, for me, I left the bar in Brooklyn. I went to Times Square after the game. And it was completely taken over by celebrating Argentine fans. And I was astounded by the sheer size. Check it out.

ALEJO DE LOS REYES: (Non-English language spoken).

GARSD: That's Argentine immigrant Alejo de los Reyes. He's just saying, we deserve this. We deserve some happiness.

INSKEEP: (Laughter) Well, you deserve to rest your voice. Thank you for...

GARSD: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: ...Taking the last of it here to talk with us this morning, Jasmine.

GARSD: Thank you so much, Steve.

INSKEEP: NPR's Jasmine Garsd.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Some other news now. On a single night this year, the federal government surveyed people across this country who were homeless.

MARTÍNEZ: The survey found the total number of people who are unhoused is stable. But hundreds of thousands of people are moving in or out of homelessness. There's a lot of churn there. So the Biden administration is announcing a shift in strategy.

INSKEEP: NPR's Jennifer Ludden is here to tell us about it. Good morning.

JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: Hi there.

INSKEEP: What do the numbers show you, Jennifer?

LUDDEN: So you know, they are good news in the sense that we've seen homelessness numbers rising steadily since 2016. So you know, to have them be stable, people will take it. During an annual count this year, there were just over 580,000 people without housing. That's the same as in 2020, which was the last full count right before the pandemic. I will note that over the course of a whole year, more than a million people report that they don't have housing.

But Biden administration officials say, look; these numbers likely would have been a lot higher without all that financial help that people had access to during the pandemic. And now that a lot of that has ended, there's worry the numbers could go back up again. Also, you know, the U.S. is actually moving more people than ever out of homelessness. So they say they're doing some things right. The problem is that the same number or even more have been falling into it. So many reasons - but, you know, a huge one that continues, we've got this severe shortage of affordable housing and really high rents.

INSKEEP: And you just have a sense of so many people's lives that are unstable for a few weeks, a few months, for part of the year, the whole year. They're out on the streets in some fashion. So what's the U.S. strategy to deal with that?

LUDDEN: So they have their latest plan to fight this crisis. It is out today. The most notable change is a bigger push for prevention, doing more to keep people from losing housing in the first place. And I understand that may sound obvious. But, you know, advocates tell me, for so long, the overwhelming focus has really been, how do we help people once they are already on the streets? I spoke with Jeff Olivet. He heads the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, which came up with this plan. He wants to see systematic prevention to catch people at risk for becoming homeless. And the plan has a special focus on those we know are really vulnerable, people who are leaving prison, leaving addiction or mental health treatment or foster care.

JEFF OLIVET: At those critical moments of transition, we have an opportunity. We know where people are. We could bridge that inpatient or incarceration or foster care experience straight into housing. It does not have to result in shelter or living in a tent.

LUDDEN: You know, Olivet also sees a role for business and philanthropies with prevention here, and for states and cities to take up this approach.

INSKEEP: Is there a model for them to follow?

LUDDEN: I mean, absolutely. A lot of advocates already try, as one said, to help somebody three steps before a full-blown emergency. For example, if you can help pay for someone's car repair, that will let them keep going to their job and keep paying their rent. In San Diego, though, there's, like, a broader homelessness prevention pilot program. Seniors are a quarter of the homeless population there.

A survey last year just showed a few hundred dollars a month could help keep them off the streets. So now the city and county are subsidizing rents by up to $500 a month. Los Angeles County is one place trying a different approach. There, they have a computer model tracking data from aid agencies. And when it flags someone who might be struggling, caseworkers reach out to help. So that kind of data screening is something that the Biden officials say the federal government could do more of.

INSKEEP: NPR's Jennifer Ludden. Thanks so much.

LUDDEN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.
Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.