Posts tagged with "Informal conversations"

Former AG Bill Barr has spoken to January 6 Committee, chairman says

January 25, 2022

The chair of the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol said on Sunday, January 23, that former Attorney General Bill Barr  already has spoken with investigators—a major revelation that at least some former Trump Administration officials are cooperating with the probe into the deadly insurrection, reports HuffPost.

“To be honest with you, we’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said on CBS-TV’s’ Face the Nation. “We’ve talked to Department of Defense individuals. We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false.”

Thompson’s remarks came amid questioning over recent reports that Trump was presented with a draft executive order that would have directed the Pentagon to seize voting machines in battleground states after he lost the 2020 election. Politico first reported last week that the document is among several records Trump’s attorneys were trying to shield from January 6 investigators.

The Supreme Court ruled this month, however, that the National Archives should turn the documents over, and the select committee said just hours later that it had already begun to receive the records.

Thompson told CBS News host Margaret Brennan that the plan was only a draft and never became operational—but said that lawmakers remained concerned about the reports and would let the public know if it found evidence of any “individual who [were] participating in trying to stop the election.”

“If you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know. We’ve never had that before,” Thompson said Sunday.

It’s unclear what Barr discussed with the panel, or if he spoke about the draft order on voting machines, but the fact that he spoke with lawmakers is significant. Several top Trump officials have refused to do so, even as the select committee has ramped up its issuance of subpoenas.

The Washington Post reported that the committee’s conversations with Barr were “informal,” citing a committee staffer familiar with the discussions. The outlet added that lawmakers also have already interviewed Barr’s successor, Jeffrey Rosen.

Barr was closely allied with Trump throughout his tenure at the Justice Department, but he resigned in December 2020 after he refused to back up the then-president’s false claims about election fraud.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Ask and you shall receive—but don’t expect a thank you

May 24, 2018

Common courtesy is not, well, so common anymore. Research findings released on May 23 by the University of Sydney indicate that, worldwide, people often don’t say “thank you’” when someone does a simple favor for them.

The research—conducted across Australia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, Laos, Poland, Russia, and the United Kingdom in the native languages of each country—found that in 1,000 instances of informal conversations among friends and families, the words “thank you” were said “in only one out of fifty occurrences.”

At the farthest end of spectrum, Ecuadorians in the study never said “thank you” when someone did them a favor.

Published in Royal Society Open Science, the findings suggest that there is an unspoken willingness by most people to cooperate with others.

“Our findings indicate a widespread assumption that saying ‘thank you’ is not necessary in the everyday contexts of our lives,” said Professor Nick Enfield of the university’s Department of Linguistics, who led the investigation—which  is part of a larger look at language and social interactions.

“When people think of social norms around gratitude, they naturally think about our interactions in formal settings, where it seems standard to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’,” said Enfield. “But in in our homes and villages – where our interactions would seem to matter most – we find people dispense with these niceties almost entirely.”

He says this does not constitute a lack of manners in most cultures—or that we are polite in public but have no manners in our own homes. “Instead,” Enfield explained, “it demonstrates that humans have an unspoken understanding we will cooperate with each other.”

The researchers found significantly higher rates of gratitude expressed among English and Italian speakers. Those whose first language is English or another Western European language were outliers, not representative of the diversity of the world’s languages and cultures.

“Everyday life works because it’s in our nature to ask for help and pay back in kind, rather than just in words,” said Enfield.

Research contact: nick.enfield@sydney.edu.au