👋 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/ Biden canceled all seven Trump-issued oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and prohibited oil drilling in 13 million acres in the federally owned National Petroleum Reserve. “As the climate crisis warms the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, we have a responsibility to protect this treasured region for all ages,” Biden said in a statement, adding that the state is full of “breathtaking natural wonders” that need protection. While the new regulations are intended to ensure “maximum protections” for nearly half of the petroleum reserve, it will not block the ConocoPhillips Willow project, which Biden approved earlier this year. The Willow project is expected to produce 576 million barrels of oil over 30 years. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico / Washington Post / CNN / The Hill)
2/ A federal judge ruled that Trump was liable a second time for defaming writer E. Jean Carroll and the upcoming trial will focus on what money damages he owes her. In May, Carroll was awarded $5 million in damages at a civil sexual assault trial against Trump after finding he sexually abused her and later defamed her in October 2022. A day later, Trump appeared on CNN and “falsely stated that he did not sexually abuse Carroll, that he has no idea who Carroll was, and that Carroll’s now-proven accusation was a ‘fake’ and ‘made up story’ created by a ‘whack job.’” Carroll then amended her original defamation lawsuit against Trump to include the comments he made on CNN. Judge Lewis Kaplan said since the jury in the first case found Trump liable for sexual assaulting and defaming Carroll, the verdict will carry over to the defamation case and only deal with the amount of damages Carroll deserves, who is seeking more than $10 million in damages. (CNN / CNBC / Washington Post / NBC News / ABC News / Wall Street Journal)
3/ The judge presiding over the Georgia election interference case against Trump and his 18 co-defendants said he’s “very skeptical” of the plan to put all 19 defendants on trial next month. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis initially asked for a March trial date, but moved up the timeframe after Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell asked for a speedy trial in the case. Prosecutors expect that the case will take about four months to present, excluding jury selection, and that they plan to call more than 150 witnesses. “It just seems a bit unrealistic to think that we can handle all 19 in forty-something days,” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said. The judge, however, denied the request by Chesebro and Powell to sever their cases from each other. The two will face jurors together on Oct. 23. (NBC News / Politico / ABC News / CNBC / Axios / Atlanta Journal-Constitution )
4/ A New York judge rejected Trump’s request to delay his Oct. 2 civil fraud trial, calling the request “completely without merit.” Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250 million in damages in the case, which accuses Trump, Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and his other co-defendants of “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentations” for more than a decade by “grossly” inflating Trump’s net worth by billions of dollars and deceiving lenders, insurers, and tax authorities with false and misleading financial statements. (CNBC / Reuters)
5/ Six voters in Colorado filed a lawsuit seeking to block Trump from the state’s ballots in 2024 for his role in the insurrection on Jan. 6. Their suit, which was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, contends that Trump should be disqualified from running in future elections under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution from holding office. Trump’s campaign called the case an “absurd conspiracy theory and political attack,” adding that there “is no legal basis for this effort except in the minds of those who are pushing it.” Last year, CREW successfully removed a county official in New Mexico, who was convicted of trespassing in connection with the attack on the Capitol. (NBC News / ABC News / New York Times / CNBC / Associated Press / Bloomberg)
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