Justice Stephen Breyer, NATO and R. Kelly. It’s Wednesday’s news. – USA TODAY

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The Jan. 6 committee seeks testimony from more Trump administration witnesses. Finland and Sweden have received invitations to join NATO. And a Supreme Court justice announces he will be stepping down tomorrow. 

👋 Hi! Julius here, tagging in for Laura today. Let’s get into Wednesday’s news.

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What’s next after stunning Jan. 6 testimony? 

Following shocking testimony Tuesday from ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are calling for more Trump administration witnesses to testify. Hutchinson painted a picture of a president prone to outrage as Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election failed. Here’s where the investigation stands in the wake of Tuesday’s bombshells:

  • Former Trump aides deny seeking pardons: Spokesman Ben Williamson said former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows “never sought a pardon and never planned to.” Rudy Giuliani also denied seeking a pardon for actions around the insurrection, tweeting: “I specifically told President Trump I did not want or need a pardon.”
  • Virginia “Ginni” Thomas might not testify: Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, told the Daily Caller on June 16 that she was eager to testify. But her lawyer responded Tuesday to the committee’s request with a letter questioning why her testimony was needed at all.
  • Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone asked to testify: Hutchinson in her testimony described Cipollone warning against allowing Trump to visit the Capitol with the mob of his supporters because he could be charged with “every crime imaginable.”
  • Historical perspective: Presidential historian Michael Beschloss said there has never been credible testimony in front of Congress “this shocking” against a U.S. president.

Finland, Sweden are on the cusp of joining NATO

NATO leaders have formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. The two historically neutral countries seek to join the alliance amid concerns about their own security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Their membership would redraw the map, potentially placing NATO troops on the Finnish-Russian border.  Final approval could still be months away because the legislative bodies of all 30 NATO countries must vote to accept the new members.

What everyone’s talking about

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Breyer says his retirement from Supreme Court effective Thursday

Associate Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement from the Supreme Court will be effective Thursday, after the court issues its final set of rulings for this term, the court announced. In January, Breyer informed President Joe Biden that he would step down at the end of the term if his replacement was confirmed by the Senate. D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed in April, and she will now be sworn in as the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. Breyer’s retirement comes after nearly 28 years on the court.

Identifying the 53 people found dead in San Antonio will be difficult

Experts say identifying the bodies of the 53 people found dead in an abandoned semitruck in San Antonio may be a long, complicated and costly process, not only because multiple countries are involved, but because families of migrants seeking relocation to the United States may be fearful of coming forward. As of Tuesday evening, Bexar County spokesman Tom Peine said there were 34 “potential IDs” among the victims — made up of 39 males and 12 females, including some of whom are likely teenagers. Meanwhile, a specialized team of death investigators has been helping with the case, using whatever identification or documents may have been found on the victims or at the scene to help.

Real quick

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R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison after sex trafficking guilty verdict

A New York federal judge has sentenced musician R. Kelly to 30 years in prison after he was found guilty last year of nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering.  Through tears and anger, R. Kelly’s accusers told a court Wednesday that he preyed on them and misled his fans as the star listened with downcast eyes. In September, a jury of seven men and five women found the 55-year-old guilty after just two days of deliberations.

A break from the news

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