1/ Biden condemned Hamas’ attack on Israel, saying “this is terrorism” and that Israel has a right to respond to this “act of sheer evil.” Comparing Hamas to the terrorist group ISIS, Biden said: “Our hearts may be broken but our resolve is clear. We’ll make sure the Jewish and democratic state of Israel can defend itself today, tomorrow as we always have,” promising ammunition and other assistance to ensure “Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens.” Biden also said he would ask Congress to urgently “fund the national security requirements of our critical partners.” The unprecedented cross-border assault by Hamas militants over the weekend killed more than 1,000 people in Israel, including at least 14 Americans. While the Biden administration urged Israel to respond to the attack in a “proportionate” manner, it didn’t set any red lines. Israel has since mobilized 360,000 reservists and ordered a “complete siege” and bombardment of the Gaza Strip, where at least 900 Palestinians have been killed, including 260 children, and another 4,500 have been wounded so far. Biden’s national security adviser, meanwhile, accused Iran of being “complicit” in Hamas’ attack, saying: “They have provided the lion’s share of the funding for the military wing of Hamas. They provide training, they have provided capabilities, they have provided support, and they have had engagement in contact with Hamas over the years and years.” The Pentagon also warned Iran and Hezbollah – an Iran-backed militia in Lebanon – against joining the fighting. (Associated Press / NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Politico / CNN / ABC News / Bloomberg / CNBC)
2/ Republicans are still divided on who will be the next House speaker, though a group of Kevin McCarthy’s allies have discussed nominating him again for speaker. House Republicans are scheduled to hear from Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan – the two current declared Republicans contenders for speaker. A party vote is scheduled for Wednesday, followed by a formal election on the floor. It’s not clear, however, if Jordan, Scalise, or McCarthy can get the 217 votes needed to earn the speaker’s gavel. (Politico / ABC News / NBC News / New York Times / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
- 📌 SNAFU Week Notable: The House voted to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker – a first in U.S. history. A contingent of eight hard-right conservatives joined Democrats to strip McCarthy of the speaker’s gavel in a 216-to-210 vote. The House will now be forced to hold votes on a new speaker, though it’s not clear that any other Republican could win enough votes to secure the gavel. It took McCarthy 15 rounds of voting to secure the position in January. (Associated Press / New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
3/ Justice Clarence Thomas renewed his call for the Supreme Court to reconsider libel laws as the court declined to revisit the landmark 1964 First Amendment decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, which required public figures suing for defamation to prove that the defendant had acted with “actual malice.” In his own separate opinion, Thomas said that while he agreed the court shouldn’t take up Blankenship v. NBCUniversal, leaving the precedent in place “comes at a heavy cost, allowing media organizations and interest groups ‘to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.’” Thomas has come under recent scrutiny for failing to disclose that he’s accepted at least 38 vacations, 26 private jet flights, eight flights by helicopter, a dozen VIP passes to sporting events, two stays at luxury resorts in Florida and Jamaica, and a standing invitation to play at a high-end private golf club in Florida from several billionaire benefactors since 1991. (CNN / New York Times / Forbes / Rolling Stone)
4/ Trump’s $250 million civil fraud trial entered its second week with the Trump Organization’s longtime finance chief taking the stand. Allen Weisselberg testified that he once certified that Trump’s financial statements were “true, correct and complete” to prevent a loan default; that he urged the firm’s controller to add a 30% brand premium for seven of Trump’s golf courses; and that from 2011 until Trump became president, he would give Trump the statements of financial condition before they were finalized. After Trump was elected, Weisselberg said he would give the statements to Trump Jr. or Eric Trump. New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump, Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Trump Organization executives last year, accusing them of engaging in a decade-long scheme of “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” to inflate Trump’s net worth while lowering his tax burden. The trial is expected to run until December. Trump, meanwhile, again demanded that the trial be dismissed because –he claims – it’s “an Election Interference Witch Hunt, and everybody knows it.” Separately, Trump faces four upcoming criminal trials: federal and state charges in Georgia for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election; federal charges in Florida for allegedly possessing classified documents after leaving office and obstructing government efforts to get them back; and state charges in New York for allegedly falsifying business records in connection to a hush money payment in 2016. (ABC News / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Washington Post)
📌 SNAFU Week Notable: The judge overseeing Trump’s civil trial over alleged business fraud issued a gag order barring Trump from making public comments about the case. The decision by Judge Arthur Engoron came after Trump attacked one of his law clerks on social media. (Washington Post / NBC News)
📌 SNAFU Week Notable: Trump walked out of the courtroom during his civil fraud trial and complained that he was being taken away from his Republican presidential primary campaign because he was “stuck” in court. (CNBC / NBC News)
5/ Special counsel Jack Smith asked the judge overseeing Trump’s federal election obstruction case to implement protections for potential jurors, calling Trump’s use of social media a “weapon of intimidation.” The government asked for “limited” restrictions on how both sides can research and use information about prospective jurors, but requested that the court “strictly enforce” existing rules that shield jurors’ personal information. Smith’s team noted that the judge in Trump’s $250 million New York state civil fraud trial imposed a gag order last week after Trump disparaged his law clerk online. “Given that the defendant — after apparently reviewing opposition research on court staff — chose to use social media to publicly attack a court staffer, there is cause for concern about what he may do with social media research on potential jurors in this case,” the prosecutors wrote. Judge Tanya Chutkan is set to hear oral arguments on the government’s proposed limited gag order next week. (Bloomberg / ABC News)
6/ Biden voluntary met with the special counsel investigating how classified documents ended up at his private office and Delaware home. Special counsel Robert Hur is examining the retention of classified documents from Biden’s time as a senator and as vice president. Biden has said he was unaware he had the documents and that “there’s no there there.” (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / NBC News)
🔮 Dept. of Magical Thinking.
- 46% of registered voters in Nevada said they’d support Biden in a hypothetical 2024 matchup with Trump (45%). Biden won Nevada by just over 2 percentage points in 2020. (CNN)
✏️ Notables: SNAFU Week Edition.
Hours before a potential government shutdown, Congress passed bipartisan legislation to fund the government through Nov. 17. The legislation includes $16 billion in emergency disaster assistance and extends authorization for the FAA through the end of the year. It does not, however, include any additional aid to Ukraine, despite bipartisan support in the Senate. (New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
Biden approved $9 billion in student loan forgiveness for 125,000 Americans, who qualified under existing programs, including the income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. (CNBC / New York Times)
The Biden administration will expand Trump’s wall on the Mexican border, waiving 26 federal laws and regulations to allow for the construction of physical barriers. The funds for the new construction were appropriated in 2019 –before Biden took office. The law requires the funding to be used as approved and the construction to be completed in 2023. “The money was appropriated for the border wall,” Biden said. “I can’t stop that.” When asked if border walls work, Biden answered: “No.” (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN)
Trump shared classified information about U.S. Navy nuclear submarines with an Australian businessman at Mar-a-Lago shortly after he left office, including the number of nuclear warheads they can carry and how close they can get to Russian vessels without being detected. The Australian billionaire, Anthony Pratt, then allegedly shared the information with others, including more than a dozen foreign officials, several of his own employees, and a handful of journalists. (Bloomberg / New York Times / ABC News)
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will run as an independent for president. Kennedy, who has actively promoted conspiracy theories, accused Democratic leadership of “hijacking the party machinery” to stifle his challenge to Biden. Some of Kennedy’s siblings, meanwhile, issued a joint statement denounced his decision to run against Biden in a general election, calling “perilous for our country.” (New York Times / CNN)
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