1/ The House passed a short-term funding bill to keep the government open after Democrats stepped in to rescue Speaker Mike Johnson and his spending plan that many Republicans opposed. The bill would fund some government departments until mid-January and the rest through early February, but it does not include spending cuts or policy changes that the House Freedom Caucus had demanded. Democrats, meanwhile, are dissatisfied that the measure doesn’t include emergency aid for Israel or Ukraine, and it also threatens a two-step shutdown next year. The bill still needs to pass the Senate and be signed into law by Biden before midnight on Friday to avert a shutdown. (CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / NPR / ABC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
2/ A former Trump attorney told Georgia prosecutors that in December 2020 Trump’s deputy chief of staff told her “the boss” didn’t plan to leave the White House “under any circumstances” – despite the fact that Trump had already lost the election and most of his subsequent challenges. “And [Dan Scavino] said to me, you know, in a kind of excited tone, ‘Well, we don’t care, and we’re not going to leave,’” Jenna Ellis said in a leaked deposition video. Ellis provided the testimony as part of a plea deal with prosecutors in which she pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting false statements and writings. Portions of recorded depositions with three other Trump co-defendants, who have accepted plea deals in the case, also leaked: Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, and Scott Hall. When prosecutors asked Powell why Trump ignored the White House attorneys and instead listened to her for legal advice, Powell replied: “Because we were the only ones willing to support his effort to sustain the White House. I mean, everybody else was telling him to pack up and go.” (Washington Post / ABC News)
3/ Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis asked for an emergency protective order after portions of videos from key witnesses in her election interference case against Trump leaked. “The release of these confidential video recordings is clearly intended to intimidate witnesses in this case, subjecting them to harassment and threats prior to trial,” Willis’ office said in a court filing. The prosecution’s filing included an apparent admission from an email chain with one of Trump’s co-defendants. An attorney for Harrison Floyd, a Trump ally charged for his alleged role in the harassment of election worker Ruby Freeman, initially said “It was Harrison Floyd’s team” who leaked the videos. In a subsequent email, Todd Harding, Floyd’s attorney, called the prior email admission “a typo.” Willis, meanwhile, said she expects the trial to conclude by early 2025, with proceedings likely underway during the final stretch of the 2024 presidential election. (CNN / NBC News / Washington Post)
4/ Trump’s allies are reportedly pre-screening up to 54,000 pro-Trump loyalists as a type of government-in-waiting if Trump wins the 2024 election. The headhunting operation aims to recruit 20,000 people to serve in the next administration and fill 4,000 presidential appointments as part of an effort to replace as many as 50,000 federal workers who are considered “policy-adjacent.” The project is being orchestrated by the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025. (Axios)
How Trump could reimpose “Schedule F” in 2025. “Trump say he would immediately reimpose his “Schedule F” executive order if he takes back the White House in the 2024 presidential elections.” (Axios
A radical plan for Trump’s second term. “Trump’s top allies are preparing to radically reshape the federal government if he is re-elected, purging potentially thousands of civil servants and filling career posts with loyalists to him and his “America First” ideology.” (Axios)
5/ Mike Johnson endorsed Trump’s 2024 presidential bid, saying he’s “all in” on the twice-impeached former president, who is facing 91 felony charges stemming from four indictments. Johnson, the second person in line to the presidency and the country’s highest-ranking Republican, played a key role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the election and objected to certifying Biden’s electoral win. In 2015, however, Johnson posted on Facebook that Trump “lacks the character and the moral center we desperately need again in the White House.” In a subsequent comment, Johnson said: “I am afraid [Trump] would break more things than he fixes. He is a hot head by nature, and that is a dangerous trait to have in a Commander in Chief.” (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Politico)
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