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Trump’s presence is everywhere in today’s chaotic political moment

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Former President Donald Trump holds a rally on June 25, 2022, in Mendon, Ill.
Former President Donald Trump holds a rally on June 25, 2022, in Mendon, Ill.Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — If it’s Tuesday ... the Jan 6. committee hears from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. ... President Biden heads to Spain for NATO conference. ... It’s Primary Day in Colorado, Illinois, New York (for Gov and Lt. Gov.), Oklahoma and Utah. ... It’s Runoff Day in Mississippi and South Carolina. ... There’s a special election in Nebraska-01. ... Alan Simpson appears in new TV ad for Liz Cheney. ... And Texas authorities find dozens of migrants dead inside of truck in San Antonio.  

But first: Donald Trump has been out of office for a year and half, yet today is another reminder of how his presence continues to dominate so much of Washington’s agenda and Republican politics.  

In D.C., the Jan. 6 committee will hear testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, the top aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, NBC News has confirmed. (What makes Hutchinson and her testimony noteworthy is the scope of what she knew while in the White House.) 

In primary races in Illinois, Trump has endorsed Mary Miller in Illinois-15’s member-vs.-member contest, as well as Darren Bailey in the state's race for governor after many Democrats and even Republicans had viewed Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin as the GOP’s strongest general-election candidate. (“This is the biggest debacle I’ve ever seen. It’s the biggest screw-up I’ve ever seen and the biggest waste of money I’ve ever seen,” one Republican tells NBC’s Natasha Korecki.)

And since Friday, the top political story remains the fallout from the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade — with all three justices Trump appointed to the court voting in the majority. 

Trump’s investigations, Trump’s continued hold on the GOP’s primaries and Trump’s legacy on abortion — they’re all on display today. 

Collectively, they also remind us that the midterms aren’t a lock for Republicans due to Trump’s presence. 

Whether it’s new revelations from the Jan. 6 committee, weaker-than-expected GOP nominees and an abortion decision that remains unpopular with the American public. 

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 4

That’s at least how many Republican primary races on the ballot Tuesday where Democrats are meddling in the hopes of getting their preferred outcome on the opposing side of the aisle.  

The most obvious example is the Illinois gubernatorial primary, where both the Democratic Governors Association and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker have spent tens of millions of dollars trying to sink Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin. (And as mentioned above, Donald Trump — late in the game — endorsed Irvin rival Darren Bailey.) 

There are three other examples in Colorado — two statewide races and one congressional race. Democrats are meddling in the hopes of elevating Republicans Greg Lopez and Ron Hanks in their respective primaries for governor and Senate (both men have questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election). And super PACs aligned with Democrats are spending in the new 8th District’s Republican primary too

Other numbers to know:

22: The number of Democratic state attorneys general who signed a letter declaring that “if you seek access to abortion and reproductive health care, we’re committed to using the full force of the law to support you,” despite the Supreme Court’s decision last week.  

1,000: The number of people inside a Ukrainian shopping center yesterday when a Russian missile hit the building, the Ukrainian government said.

800,000: The number of non-citizen voters in New York City who could have voted in municipal elections before a judge blocked the measure on Monday.

$4.5 billion: How much money the G-7 leaders pledged to spend to combat a global food crisis due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Midterm roundup: Abortion divides Colorado Republicans

GOP candidates competing in two statewide primaries in Colorado being decided Tuesday are divided on the issue of abortion as they seek to compete in this Democratic-leaning state. 

In the Senate race, construction company owner Joe O’Dea is competing against state Rep. Ron Hanks to take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. O’Dea has painted himself as a consensus builder, striking some more moderate positions, including allowing abortions at early stages of pregnancy, when the mother’s life is at risk and in cases of rape and incest. Hanks is staunchly opposed to abortion rights, without exceptions

In the governor’s race, businesswoman and University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl is facing Greg Lopez, a former state director for the Small Business Administration. Ganahl describes herself as “pro-life with exceptions for rape, incest, health of the mother and health of the fetus,” while Lopez opposes abortions without exceptions

Democrats have signaled that they would rather face the more conservative candidates, launching ads to elevate them in their primaries, with two Democratic groups launching TV spots noting both Hanks’ and Lopez’s positions on abortion. 

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Alaska Senate: An outside group backing GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s re-election is up with a new TV ad attacking Murkowski’s top GOP opponent, Kelly Tshibaka, on access to birth control.  

Arizona Senate: Former President Donald Trump stands with Blake Masters in a new TV ad, where Trump reiterates his endorsement of Masters and attacks two of Masters’ opponents, Mark Brnovich and Jim Lamon.

Michigan Governor: Ryan Kelley, the real estate broker recently arrested for his role in the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, says that arrest helped boost his name recognition and elevate his candidacy for governor

Wisconsin Governor: Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers says he’ll grant clemency to doctors who are charged with providing an abortion. In the GOP primary, three of the four GOP candidates participated in a debate Monday night.

Virginia-07Axios reports on audio from GOP nominee Yesli Vega where she said she wouldn’t be surprised if fewer women become pregnant because of rape. 

Ad watch: Alan Simpson appears in new Cheney ad

Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney is going up with a new television ad featuring former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, as she looks to hang onto her party’s voters in a primary race where her battle with former President Trump has taken center stage. 

While the longtime Wyoming political icon plays a subdued role in the spot, obtained first by NBC News, Simpson was far more candid in an interview with NBC about his appearance. He called Trump a “spoiled brat” and blasted his conduct around the 2020 election as a “Machiavellian distortion of whatever this country stands for.” 

Read more from Simpson, and watch the full ad, on the Meet the Press Blog

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world 

Law enforcement seized the phone belonging to John Eastman, the Trump-aligned lawyer who called on then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject presidential electors. 

Ed Gonzalez, whom President Biden nominated to lead ICE, pulled his name from consideration after languishing in the Senate. 

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a former high school football coach had the right to publicly pray after games.