1/ Democrats won the Senate while Republicans appear on track for a narrow majority in the House. As of Monday morning, 20 House seats remain uncalled, with 212 seats projected for Republicans and 203 for Democrats. To retain the House majority, Democrats would have to win 15 of the last 20 seats. Biden told reporters: “I think we’re going to get very close in the House […] but I don’t think we’re going to make it.” Meanwhile, in the Senate, Democratic incumbents Mark Kelly and Catherine Cortez Masto won re-election in Arizona and Nevada, respectively. The two victories mean Democrats will not only be able to unilaterally confirm Biden’s judges and executive branch nominees for two more years, but they have the chance to expand their Senate majority with a win in Georgia’s Senate run-off election next month. Biden, however, said that Democrats still lack the votes needed to codify abortion rights into law. (Politico / NBC News / CNBC / New York Times / NPR)
2/ A federal appeals court blocked Biden’s student loan forgiveness program while it considers a lawsuit brought by six Republican states to end the policy, which argued they were harmed by a freeze on the collection of student loan payments and interest. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited the potential “irreversible impact” of allowing debt forgiveness for about 40 million borrower to proceed “as compared to the lack of harm an injunction would presently impose.” The court had temporarily blocked the debt relief program in October. The appeals court decision comes days after a federal judge in Texas blocked the program and declared it “unlawful.” U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman, who was appointed by Trump, wrote: “In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government.” About 26 million people had applied for debt relief and 16 million people had already had their relief approved. The government, however, is blocked from discharging any debt while the court considers the lawsuit to end the policy. The Education Department, meanwhile, is no longer accepting applications for debt relief because of the court orders. (Axios / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CBS News / NPR / Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / CNBC)
3/ Trump sued the Jan. 6 committee to avoid cooperating with its subpoena for documents and his testimony. Trump was subpoenaed by the committee in October and was scheduled to be deposed on Nov. 14 – a day before his “big announcement,” where he is widely expected to announce the launch of his 2024 presidential campaign. Trump is challenging the legitimacy of the committee and claims he should be immune from testimony about the time he was president. (CNN / CNBC)
- The Supreme Court refused to block a Jan. 6 committee subpoena for the phone records of Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party and a Trump ally. The vote was 7-to-2, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting, without explanation. (New York Times / NPR / Politico / NBC News)
4/ Trump claimed in a court filing that the highly sensitive national security documents he took to Mar-a-Lago were his “personal” property because he said so. The Justice Department, however, said that Trump cannot deem the records personal “simply by saying so,” and accused him of engaging in a “shell game” to shield documents from criminal investigators. The DOJ added that if the records were “personal,” then there’s no basis to shield them from investigators. (Politico / CNN / New York Times / CNBC)
5/ Officials from six nations spent more than $750,000 at Trump’s hotel in Washington while they were trying to influence U.S. foreign policy in 2017 and 2018, according to a report by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The spending in the records included more than $250,000 by Malaysia, more than $280,000 by Qatar, more than $90,000 by Saudi Arabia, and more than $74,000 by the United Arab Emirates. The records also show a total of $65,139 in charges by the American Turkish Council, a nonprofit group with ties to the Turkish government, as well as $19,370 in spending by a delegation from the Embassy of China. (New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Axios)
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