1/ The Biden administration is reportedly worried that Israel lacks “achievable military objectives” ahead of its anticipated ground offensive in Gaza, but will refrain from “dictating terms” for Israel. Biden, nevertheless, sent a Marine three-star general and several military officers to advise the Israeli military. The U.S. has also reportedly called on Israel to delay its ground invasion for hostage negotiations and to address the worsening humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave. Gaza’s 2.3 million people are running out of food, water, and medicine since Israel sealed off the territory following the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7. At least 2,000 children are among the more than 5,700 people that been killed in Gaza by Israeli air strikes, which have escalated in the past two days. At least six hospitals in Gaza have been forced to close due to a lack of fuel, in addition to those that have closed because of damage or attacks. A doctor at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City – the largest hospital in the enclave – said that without electricity, the hospital “will just be a mass grave” and “there’s nothing to do for these wounded.” The Palestinian Health Ministry declared the health care system a “complete collapse.” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called for a humanitarian cease-fire, saying “the appalling attacks by Hamas,” which left 1,400 people dead, didn’t “justify the collective punishment” of civilians in Gaza. In response, Israeli officials called on Guterres to resign and said they’ll “reassess” their relations with the U.N. The Biden administration, meanwhile, is preparing for the possibility that more than 600,000 Americans living in Israel and Lebanon will require evacuation if the war escalates. (New York Times / HuffPost / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / NPR / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / The Guardian)
2/ Tom Emmer dropped out of the speaker’s race four hours after House Republicans selected him as their nominee when it became clear he couldn’t secure the 217 votes needed to win the gavel. Republicans had nominated Emmer after five rounds of voting behind closed doors. However, at least two dozen Republicans immediately indicated they would not support Emmer for the speakership, including some members of the House Freedom Caucus. It’s unclear whether any Republican can get the required votes in the divided chamber. Emmer is the third Republican this month to be nominated to lead the party, only to have his bid collapse due to the party’s competing ideological groups. Republicans have also succeeded in rejecting their three top leaders for the job: Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and Emmer. Trump, meanwhile, called Emmer a “Globalist RINO” and “totally out-of-touch with Republican Voters,” adding that electing him speaker would’ve been a “tragic mistake.” Notably, Emmer voted to certify the 2020 election. The House remains frozen until a new speaker is elected. (CNN / NBC News / ABC News / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / NPR / Washington Post)
3/ A fourth Trump co-defendant pleaded guilty to illegally conspiring to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia. Jenna Ellis pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting false statements related to the conspiracy to overturn the election in Trump’s favor. Ellis will cooperate with Fulton County prosecutors and serve five years of probation, pay $5,000 in restitution, and perform 100 hours of community service. She also agreed to write a letter of apology to the state of Georgia. Ellis is the third Trump campaign lawyer to accept a plea deal in the criminal racketeering case. (NBC News / NPR / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC / CBS News / Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Politico)
📌 Day 1007: A third Trump co-defendant pleaded guilty to illegally conspiring to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia. Kenneth Chesebro agreed to provide evidence and cooperate with state prosecutors, who have charged him, Trump, and 17 others of conspiring to keep Trump in power. Sidney Powell and bail bondsman Scott Hall previously pleaded guilty in the criminal racketeering case. All three have agreed to testify against others in the case. (ABC News / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Washington Post)
📌 Day 1003: Trump’s co-defendant Sidney Powell pleaded guilty in the Georgia election subversion case – one day before her trial was set to start. Powell, a former member of Trump’s legal team, was sentenced to six years of probation for conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties. As part of the deal, Powell agreed to testify truthfully against any of the 17 remaining defendants, write an apology letter to the citizens of Georgia, pay nearly $9,000 in restitution and fines, and to turn over any documents in her possession related to the case. Powell is the second of Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the racketeering case to plead guilty. Scott Hall, a bail bondsman, pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor charges related to a voting system breach in Georgia’s Coffee County in early 2021. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / Associated Press / Politico / NPR / NBC News)
4/ Trump – seeking to toss federal charges that he conspired to defraud the U.S. – argued that his actions were protected by the First Amendment and that he can’t be tried again after being acquitted by the Senate during his second impeachment. In four separate motions to dismiss, Trump contends that the felony indictment — which charges him with conspiring to obstruct Congress’ certification of the 2020 election, conspiring to deprive Americans of the right to vote and have that vote counted, and conspiring to defraud government officials administering the election — “does not explain” how he violated the laws. Further, Trump argued that the Justice Department is criminalizing “core political speech,” and that he is the target of “selective and vindictive prosecution.” Trump also claims that he has absolute immunity from federal prosecution because his efforts to overturn his election loss and remain in office were at “the heart of his official responsibilities as President.” Special counsel Jack Smith asked a judge to dismiss Trump’s claim of absolute immunity, saying its implications “are startling.” (Politico / New York Times / NPR / NBC News / Axios / CBS News)
Trump’s lawyer argued that he should be allowed to assert presidential immunity as a defense in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit, which accuses him of sexual assault. A district judge rejected Trump’s immunity argument in June, prompting him to appeal to the 2nd Circuit, which asked why Trump waited nearly three years to raise the immunity defense. (Politico / NBC News)
Michael Cohen testified that Trump directed him to falsely inflate his net worth. In the $250 million civil fraud trial brought by the New York Attorney General Letitia James, Cohen testified that “I was tasked by Mr. Trump to increase the total assets based upon a number that he arbitrarily elected,” and it was his responsibility to “increase those assets in order to achieve the number that Mr. Trump had tasked us.” Trump, meanwhile, watched from the defense table about 10 feet away. (New York Times / ABC News / NBC News / CNBC)
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