Your essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics.
Day 1050: "An even more hellish scenario is about to unfold."
1/ Special counsel Jack Smith accused Trump of a pattern of lying about electoral fraud since at least 2012 and “encouragement of violence,” saying Trump “sent” his supporters on Jan. 6 to criminally block the election results. In a new court filing, prosecutors said “evidence of [Trump’s] post-conspiracy embrace of particularly violent and notorious rioters is admissible to establish [Trump’s] motive and intent on January 6 — that he sent supporters, including groups like the Proud Boys, whom he knew were angry, and whom he now calls ‘patriots,’ to the Capitol to achieve the criminal objective of obstructing the congressional certification.” Prosecutors added that Trump’s lies about election fraud from the 2012 and 2016 elections show his “motive, intent, and plan to obstruct the certification of the 2020 election results and illegitimately retain power,” and that the baseless claims “demonstrate [Trump’s] common plan of falsely blaming fraud for election results he does not like.” Biden, meanwhile, said that “if Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running.” He added: “We cannot let him win for the sake of our country.” (Washington Post / Axios / CNN)
💡 Defending his 2020 fraud claims, Trump turns to fringe Jan. 6 theories. “Ever since he was indicted on charges of interfering in the 2020 election results, Donald Trump has relished the chance to use the case in Washington as a venue to air his baseless claims of fraud. Now he is using it to circulate a new set of falsehoods: that the federal government staged or incited violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to discredit Trump and his supporters.” (Washington Post)
💡 The fear of a looming Trump dictatorship. “This isn’t mere hyperbole. As my colleagues have reported over the past year, Trump has made clear his stark, authoritarian vision for a potential second term. He would embark on a wholesale purge of the federal bureaucracy, weaponize the Justice Department to explicitly go after his political opponents (something he claims is being done to him), stack government agencies across the board with political appointees prescreened as ideological Trump loyalists, and dole out pardons to myriad officials and apparatchiks as incentives to do his bidding or stay loyal.” (Washington Post)
💡 Americans are sleepwalking into a Trump dictatorship. “Trump’s devolution into an American dictator who believes that he is on a mission from God as some type of chosen one continues. This is mentally pathological behavior on a massive level. His Hitler-like behavior is only going to get worse as next year’s presidential election approaches and the pressure from his criminal and civil trials increases.” (Salon)
💡 Trump poses the biggest danger to the world in 2024. “Because maga Republicans have been planning his second term for months, Trump 2 would be more organised than Trump 1. True believers would occupy the most important positions. Mr Trump would be unbound in his pursuit of retribution, economic protectionism and theatrically extravagant deals. No wonder the prospect of a second Trump term fills the world’s parliaments and ...
Day 1049: "One impossible choice after another."
1/ Trump does not have “absolute immunity” from lawsuits seeking to hold him accountable for the Jan. 6 Capitol violence. A three-judge panel concluded that Trump’s incendiary speech to supporters near the White House on Jan. 6 was “not an official presidential act” and not protected by “presidential immunity.” Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan added: “When [Trump] acts in an unofficial, private capacity, he is subject to civil suits like any private citizen.” The ruling allows a number of lawsuits to move forward, including several brought by members of Congress and injured police officers. The court, however, left open the possibility for Trump to try to prove that he was acting as president, rather than as a candidate for reelection, when he addressed the crowd at the Ellipse. Hours later, the judge overseeing Trump’s criminal election subversion case ruled that he had no protection from prosecution as a former president. “Whatever immunities a sitting President may enjoy, the United States has only one Chief Executive at a time, and that position does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass,” Judge Tanya Chutkan wrote. Trump’s “four-year service as Commander in Chief did not bestow on him the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens.” (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Axios / NBC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / CBS News / Bloomberg / USA Today / CNBC)
💡 Why a Second Trump Presidency May Be More Radical Than His First. “Donald Trump has long exhibited authoritarian impulses, but his policy operation is now more sophisticated, and the buffers to check him are weaker.” (New York Times)
💡 If Trump wins. If Donald Trump returns to the White House, he’d bring a better understanding of the system’s vulnerabilities, more willing enablers, and a more focused agenda of retaliation against his adversaries. (The Atlantic)
💡 Democracy is at stake if Trump is reelected. “I look at it very much through the lens of stopping Donald Trump,” Liz Cheney said. “And so whatever it will take to do that is very much my focus. I think the danger is that great that that needs to be everybody’s top priority.” (NPR)
💡 Trump is showing how a second term would rewrite...
Day 1045: "Lead the way."
1/ The United Nations World Meteorological Organization declared 2023 the warmest year ever recorded. Data from January through October showed global temperatures were around 1.4C (2.5F) above the pre-industrial average from 1850 to 1990, according to the provisional findings in the 2023 State of the Global Climate Report. “Record global heating should send shivers down the spines of world leaders and it should trigger them to act,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said. “We are living through climate collapse in real time, and the impact is devastating.” The nine years from 2015 to 2023 have been the warmest nine in 174 years of scientific recording, with 2023 breaking the previous single-year records set in 2020 and 2016. Petteri Taalas, the secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, called it “a deafening cacophony of broken records.” July was Earth’s hottest month ever observed and may have been warmer than any time in the last 125,000 years. (New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / Bloomberg / Associated Press)
Study warns about climate change misinformation during extreme weather. “A new study warns that some politicians and their followers have been using recent extreme weather events to spread misinformation about climate change.” (Axios)
2/ The annual United Nations climate summit convened with the goal of finding agreement on whether to phase out fossil fuels – the primary driver of global warming – or to scale up carbon capture technology to reduce emissions. The International Energy Agency, however, has called the idea of widespread carbon capture an “illusion.” The COP28 climate summit is hosted this year by the United Arab Emirates – an OPEC member – and the person responsible for brokering a global climate deal is Sultan al-Jaber – the CEO of one of the world’s largest oil producers. Days before COP28 began, it was reported that Sultan Al Jaber planned to use his role as COP president to promote Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. fossil fuel sales. In his opening address, Jaber told delegates they must “ensure the inclusion of the role of fossil fuels” in any climate agreement, and suggested that oil and gas companies “can lead the way.” [Editor’s note: Shocker.] (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Associated Press / NBC News / Politico / ABC News / CNN)
Nations at COP28 agreed to an unprecedented fund...
Day 1044: "Repeated attempts to undermine our democracy are unacceptable."
1/ About 90 House Republicans plan to support the vote to expel George Santos from Congress following the release of a House Ethics Committee report, which found “substantial evidence” that he knowingly filed false campaign finance statements and used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses including rent, trips, luxury items, cosmetic treatments like Botox, and a subscription to the adult-content site OnlyFans. Speaker Mike Johnson, meanwhile, said he has “real reservations” about the motion to expel embattled the New York Republican. Santos, meanwhile, has repeatedly vowed to not resign, reiterating his belief that the bipartisan Ethics report was “littered with hyperbole and littered with biased opinions.” A vote is expected as soon as Thursday. (Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CBS News)
2/ A grand jury indicted two Republican county supervisors in Arizona for delaying the certification of 2022 election results. The state attorney general charged Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd with two felonies for conspiring to delay the certification of election results and interfering with the secretary of state’s statewide canvas. Both are Class 5 felonies, and each crime carries a maximum punishment of 2.5 years in prison and a $150,000 fine. “The repeated attempts to undermine our democracy are unacceptable,” Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said. “I took an oath to uphold the rule of law, and my office will continue to enforce Arizona’s elections laws and support our election officials as they carry out the duties and responsibilities of their offices.” (NPR / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times)
Trump embraces the Jan. 6 rioters on the trail. In court, his lawyers hope to distance him from them. “While Trump’s glorification of Jan. 6 defendants may boost him politically as he vies to retake the White House in 2024, his lawyers’ approach lays bare a concern that arguments linking him to the rioters could harm him in front of a jury.” (Associated Press)
3/ Trump doubled down on his calls to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act if he’s elected president again. Without offering any details about what his alternative health care plan might be, Trump promised “much better Healthcare than Obamacare for the American people,” adding: “Obamacare Sucks!!!” Republicans in Congress, however, have abandoned plans to repeal the ACA since failing to undo the health care law in 2017. Trump’s comments have also caught lawmakers off guard because there’s no consensus within the Republican Party on how to replace it. (NBC News / The Hill / a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2023/11/29/trump-obamacare-florid...
Day 1043: "The situation remains catastrophic."
1/ The truce between Israel and Hamas entered its fifth day after 12 more hostages held in the Gaza Strip were released in exchange for 30 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons. Under the current truce, Hamas has released 81 hostages, while Israel has freed 180 Palestinians from prison – many of whom were detained but never charged. The U.S., meanwhile, urged Israel that any offensive in southern Gaza after the truce must be designed to avoid “significant further displacement” of Palestinian civilians. More than 1.7 million people have been displaced in Gaza, where health officials say the death toll has surpassed 14,500 since the start of the conflict. The World Health Organization also warned that disease may kill more Gazans than Israel’s bombardment if the enclave’s health system is not repaired. The United Nations added: “The humanitarian situation in Gaza remains catastrophic.” (NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / ABC News)
Biden Navigates Divisions Over Gaza Inside the White House and Beyond. “Biden is facing deep anger over his solidarity with Israel among supporters and even from some staff members who have said they feel disenchanted with the president.” (New York Times)
2/ Hunter Biden offered to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee in response to a Republican subpoena. Hunter Biden’s lawyer accused Republican lawmakers on the committee of selectively leaking information from closed-door depositions with other witnesses in his ongoing impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, saying: “We have seen you use closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public. We therefore propose opening the door.” House Oversight Chairman James Comer, however, rejected the idea of a public hearing, saying: “Hunter Biden is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else. That won’t stand with House Republicans.” Comer added: “We expect full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition but also agree that Hunter Biden should have the opportunity to testify in a public setting at a future date.” The House Republican inquiry has not provided any direct evidence that Joe Biden has committed any wrongdoing. The White House also accused House Republicans of abusing their power and “throwing spaghetti” at the wall after failing to produce evidence to support their allegations. (Associated Press / Politico / New York Times / Axios / ABC News / Washington Post / a href="https://www....
Day 1042: "Looking at alternatives."
1/ Biden won’t attend the United Nations climate summit in Dubai, which draws leaders from nearly 200 countries. The White House said it would send a climate envoy, including John Kerry, Ali Zaidi, and John Podesta. While Biden has called climate change “the ultimate threat to humanity,” it’s unclear why he will skip the annual COP28 after attending the previous two summits. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates – the world’s fifth-largest oil producer – is hosting the climate talks this year. Leaked document show that the UAE plans to use its position as host country to discuss oil and gas deals with more than a dozen countries. (Associated Press / Politico / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
Why an oil kingdom is hosting the COP28 climate summit. “The United Nations rotates the location of COPs each year through Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western Europe. This year, it was the Asia-Pacific group’s turn to host, and the United Arab Emirates made an unopposed bid in May 2021.” (Washington Post)
Former Coal Towns Get Money for Clean-Energy Factories. “An Energy Department program designed to create jobs and manufacturing in communities reliant on fossil fuels is backing projects in West Virginia, Colorado and elsewhere.” (New York Times)
Huge Turbines Will Soon Bring First Offshore Wind Power to New Yorkers. “New York’s best bet for entering the era of offshore wind power is stacked up at the water’s edge in Connecticut.” (New York Times)
Sodium in Batteries: Shift May Herald Another Shakeup. “Sodium — found in rock salts and brines around the globe — has the potential to make inroads into energy storage and electric vehicles because it’s cheaper and far more abundant than lithium, which currently dominates batteries. But while chemically and structurally similar, sodium has yet to be used on a large scale, partly due to the better range and performance of similarly sized lithium cells.” (Bloomberg)
Costs for renewables have plummeted and growth is exceeding expectations. “In 2009, the International Energy Agency predicted that solar power would remain too expensive to compete on the grid. It continued to underestimate the growth of renewable energy and EVs. Last year, more than four-fifths of the world’s new power capacity was renewables, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.” (Wall Street Journal)
Short and informative
Great podcast for getting caught up on some of the crazy things happening.
Also, the show notes in each episode are well organized and make it easy to quickly reference things that caught my ear or later when something comes to mind.
All I have to do is search for keywords, in the actual podcast app I use, to jump to the relevant episode.
Excellent News Update
This is a great podcast to get an news update on what happened in the current day. I look forward to listening each day.
This podcast is great! Just enough info to catch all ya need to know.