👋 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.
Send your thoughts, suggestions, or complaints to:
1/ Kevin McCarthy suggested that House Republicans may pursue an “impeachment inquiry” into Biden. Following a series of congressional investigations targeting Biden, his administration, and his family members, House Republicans have sought to build a case that the Justice Department improperly interfered in a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial dealings and that Biden’s family members received payments from foreign companies. McCarthy said an impeachment inquiry would give Congress “the strongest power to get the rest of the knowledge and information needed” to investigate Biden. The White House, meanwhile, said House Republicans “eagerness to go after” Biden “regardless of the truth is seemingly bottomless […] Instead of focusing on the real issues Americans want us to address like continuing to lower inflation or create jobs, this is what” they want “to prioritize.” (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / USA Today / CNN)
2/ Nancy Pelosi accused Kevin McCarthy of “playing politics” with the idea of expunging Trump’s two impeachments, saying he’s “afraid” and “looks pathetic.” Pelosi added: “As I’ve said before, Donald Trump is the puppeteer and what does he do all of the time but shine the light on the strings.” McCarthy reportedly promised Trump that he would move to expunge the two impeachments before Congress breaks for its August recess after he openly questioned whether Trump is “the strongest to win the [general] election” on national television. McCarthy, however, has not scheduled a floor vote, and said the idea should “go through committee like anything else.” (Politico / USA Today / CNN / The Hill)
3/ A federal judge blocked Biden’s temporary restrictions on migrants seeking asylum. The judge ruled that the system the Biden administration imposed in May – which disqualifies most people from applying for asylum if they have crossed into the U.S. without first applying online or seeking protection in a country they passed through – violates asylum laws that allow for anyone who enters the U.S. to ask for protection regardless of how they arrived. Judge Jon Tigar previously ruled against a similar policy under the Trump administration’s so-called transit ban. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / Associated Press / Politico / Wall Street Journal)
4/ The U.S. has surpassed 400 mass shootings in 2023. The U.S. has already outpaced the number of mass shootings recorded each year between 2013 and 2018, and there have been more mass shootings in 2023 so far than at this point in any year since at least 2013. (CNN)
5/ Pedestrian deaths in the U.S. have increased 77% since 2010. In 2022, an estimated 7,508 pedestrians were killed while walking – the most since 1981. While there’s no single explanation why walking has become more dangerous, road design and bigger vehicles are major contributing factors. (Vox)
6/ The July heat waves in the U.S., Mexico, Europe, and Asia would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, according to a new study. The analysis by the World Weather Attribution network examined weather data and computer models to compare today’s current climate – which is around 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial era – with the climate of the past. They found that “the role of climate change is absolutely overwhelming” and that heat waves are becoming more common. The recent heat wave in China, for instance, was made 50 times as likely by climate change, the researchers said. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN)
7/ The Atlantic Ocean’s currents could collapse “around mid-century under the current scenario of future emissions” because of human-caused climate change, according to a new analysis of 150 years of temperature data. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation carries warm, salty water from the tropics to the North Atlantic, and then sends colder water south along the ocean floor. But as rising global temperatures melt Arctic ice, large amounts of fresh water enter the North Atlantic, which disrupts the balance of heat and salinity in the ocean, and weakens the current. Continued warming is expected to push the AMOC over its “tipping point” around the middle of this century, which could trigger rapid weather and climate changes, including a drop in temperatures in northern Europe, elevated warming in the tropics, faster sea-level rise along the coastlines of North America and Europe, and stronger storms on the East Coast of North America. The last time there was a major slowdown of the ocean currents around the North Atlantic was roughly 12,800 years ago when temperatures fell by around 18 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of Greenland and arctic-like conditions returned to parts of Europe. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / USA Today)
A member of Rudy Giuliani’s team turned over thousands of pages of documents to special counsel Jack Smith as part of the federal investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Bernard Kerik, the former New York City Police commissioner, worked with Giuliani in the effort to uncover voter fraud following Biden’s victory. Kerik’s legal team initially refused to turn those documents over, citing attorney-client privilege. (Daily Beast / CNN / NBC News)
Special counsel Jack Smith’s office is investigating a February 2020 Oval Office meeting where Trump praised improvements to the security of U.S. elections, including the expanded use of paper ballots and security audits. “Trump was so encouraged by federal efforts to protect election systems that he suggested the FBI and Department of Homeland Security hold a press conference to take credit for the work.” (CNN)
The Fulton county district attorney reportedly is pursuing a racketeering indictment in the investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. “The racketeering statute in Georgia requires prosecutors to show the existence of an ‘enterprise’ – and a pattern of racketeering activity that is predicated on at least two ‘qualifying’ crimes.” (The Guardian)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.