👋 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/ The Supreme Court rejected the Republican-drawn congressional maps in Alabama that illegally diluted the political power of its Black residents. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s three liberal members in the majority, ordering the State Legislature to draw a second Black-majority congressional district. Alabama has seven congressional districts, but only one with a majority of Black voters even though African Americans make up more than a quarter of the state’s population. The ruling was unexpected in part because the court has repeatedly chipped away at the Voting Rights Act, and will likely lead to challenges of maps drawn by Republican-led legislatures elsewhere. (NPR / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)
2/ The Justice Department informed Trump that he is a target in the federal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents. The notice from the office of the special counsel Jack Smith suggested that prosecutors may be moving closer to indicting Trump for potential mishandling of classified materials and possible obstruction of justice. Trump’s lawyers were sent the “target letter” days before meeting with Justice Department officials in what was described as a final attempt to stave off charges. Trump, meanwhile, posted on his personal social media platform: “No one has told me I’m being indicted, and I shouldn’t be because I’ve done NOTHING wrong.” (CNN / Politico / New York Times / NPR / ABC News / The Guardian)
- Former White House official told federal prosecutors Trump knew of proper declassification process and followed it while in office. (CNN)
3/ Kevin McCarthy was forced to cancel votes in the House for the rest of the week following a revolt by the Freedom Caucus. McCarthy admitted that he had been “blindsided” when 11 Republicans joined with the Democrats to effectively freeze the House from considering any legislation for two days in a row. Members of the House Freedom Caucus said McCarthy betrayed promises he made in exchange for their support of his speakership in January when he struck a compromise deal with Biden to suspend the debt limit. “This is the difficulty. Some of these members, they don’t know what to ask for,” McCarthy said, adding: “We’re going to have to make up our work next week.” (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / The Hill)
4/ Cuba reportedly agreed to allow China to build an electronic eavesdropping and intelligence-gathering facility on the island in exchange for billions in foreign aid. The base in Cuba would be roughly 100 miles from Florida and allow Beijing to collect electronic communications throughout the southeastern U.S., home to many military facilities. The National Security Council, meanwhile, said “this report is not accurate,” without providing any details other than the U.S. is “well aware of – and have spoken many times to – the People’s Republic of China’s efforts to invest in infrastructure around the world that may have military purposes, including in this hemisphere.” (Wall Street Journal / Politico / Reuters / CNN / USA Today)
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