👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ Kevin McCarthy won the Republican nomination for speaker with 188 votes from the caucus in a secret-ballot vote. Assuming that Republicans take control of the chamber, McCarthy will need to win at least 218 votes on the House floor in January to earn the speaker’s gavel. Republicans are currently one seat short of the majority in the House with 13 races still uncalled, including four in which the Republican candidates lead. In the Senate, Rick Scott said he plans to challenge Mitch McConnell for minority leader. McConnell, however, is expected to retain support from the majority of his conference. Trump, meanwhile, is expected to announce a third consecutive presidential campaign tonight from Mar-a-Lago. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Bloomberg / Axios / Washington Post / Associated Press)
2/ The director of the CIA warned his Russian counterpart against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The National Security Council said Bill Burns’ meeting was part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. to “communicate with Russia on managing risk” and was not in any way to negotiate or to discuss any settlement of the war in Ukraine. National security adviser Jake Sullivan has also been in touch with his Russian counterparts about the consequences should Russia use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. Russia, meanwhile, launched roughly 100 missiles aimed primarily at Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure. Two Russian missiles, however, missed Ukraine entirely and landed about four miles north in Poland. (New York Times / CNN / Associated Press / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
3/ The Customs and Border Protection commissioner resigned after a standoff with Biden’s Homeland Security secretary. Chris Magnus initially refused to step down after both Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, and the department’s deputy secretary asked him to resign. CBP staff reportedly had lost confidence in him. Magnus served in the job for less than a year. (New York Times / Politico / NPR / Washington Post)
4/ Federal prosecutors closed their investigation in whether Rudy Giuliani violated U.S. lobbying laws while doing business in Ukraine and no criminal charges will be brought. After more than two years, prosecutors wrote that “based on information currently available to the government, criminal charges are not forthcoming.” (New York Times / CNN / CNBC)
5/ U.S. intelligence reports that the United Arab Emirates attempted to steered U.S. foreign policy in its favor through a series of legal and illegal activities. The classified report reveals that the UAE spent more than $154 million on lobbyists since 2016 to exploit the vulnerabilities in American governance, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars on donations to American universities and think tanks. In one exploit, the UAE hired three former U.S. intelligence and military officials to surveil dissidents, politicians, journalists, and U.S. companies, as well as break into computers in the U.S. and other countries. (Washington Post)
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