House Speaker drama drags on with Jordan no closer to the gavel – National & International News – THU 19Oct2023

House Speaker drama drags on with Jordan no closer to the gavel.

Former Trump attorney pleads guilty in GA election interference case.

Is the US about to be dragged into Israel’s war?



House Speaker drama drags on with Jordan no closer to the gavel

Despite some anticipation, there was no third vote in the House Speaker race today and it’s not clear when it will happen. Speaker-elect Jim Jordan (R-OH) earlier today threw his support behind a plan to temporarily empower the current acting Speaker Patrick McHenry (R-NC) with the full powers of the Speakership. The plan would have put an end the total deadlock in the chamber which has several pressing matters before it, including a fast approaching deadline to avert a government shutdown in mid-November. After calling a closed-door meeting of House GOP members though, it was clear that the hardline faction of the party was not on board for the plan.

It’s not really clear what happens next. After his supports shot down the idea of planning McHenry, Jordan told reporters he did not intend to back out of the race and that there would be a third vote, though none is yet scheduled.

It may still be possible to revive the temporary Speaker plan with Democratic support. Several Democratic lawmakers, including Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, have expressed openness to the idea with some conditions. Democratic sources say there have been some conversations between Democrat and GOP members about this possibility. However, no Republican has admitted to any such discussions.

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Former Trump attorney pleads guilty in GA election interference case, will testify in future trials

A day before her trial was set to begin, prominent former Trump attorney Sydney Powell has pleaded guilty in the Georgia election interference case, in which Trump is also a co-defendant. Powell was a highly visible advocated in the media for Trump’s theory that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Some of Powell’s outlandish claims have also made her the subject of a defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems, seeking over $1 billion in damages. Powell is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal election interference case against Trump led by special counsel Jack Smith.

The plea deal spares Powell jail time with only 6 years probation. She will also have to testify in future trials for the other co-defendants in the Georgia election case. One of the charges Powell plead guilty to was related to her orchestrating a scheme to illegally access voting machines in rural Coffee County Georgia. Former Coffee County elections supervisor Misty Hampton is the only other co-defendant named in Powell’s proffer. Powell will have to testify about Hampton’s role in the scheme when she comes to trial.

Powell is the second of the 19 co-defendants to plead guilty, the first being a Georgia bail bondsman who was also part of the Coffee County conspiracy. 

Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told the BBC it was unsurprising that she took a deal. Some commentators have wondered whether these two pleas could create a “domino effect” in the case. Many of the co-defendants are facing lengthy prison sentences if convicted and may be tempted to turn state’s evidence by more lenient non-custodial sentences.

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Is the US about to be dragged into Israel’s war?

As Israel continues its bombing campaign in Gaza continues and plans to mount a large-scale ground invasion continue to move forward, outrage is growing among Israel’s neighbors. The recent bombing of a hospital in Gaza that has killed around 500 people appears to have been a tipping point. Israeli Defense Forces continue to blame the attack on a failed rocket launch by Islamic militants in Gaza, but many still believe Israel is the more likely culprit. Whoever is responsible, the event appears to be a catalyst that could draw other players into the fight, possibly including the United States.

Today, a US Navy destroyer in the Red Sea shot down multiple missiles and drones launched by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Eight years of fighting between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis has been quieted by a recent ceasefire, but the Houthis remain in control of large parts of Yemen. Some Pentagon officials say that the missiles shot down today may have been directed at Israel. Recently, Iran’s foreign minister warned of “pre-emptive action” if it looked like the IDF was about to invade Gaza.

Two days ago, the US also issued prepare-to-deploy orders for about 2,000 troops in support of Israel. The Pentagon says the troops won’t necessarily deploy directly to Israel but will be stationed in a nearby country.

Sources say the White House has also discussed involvement of the US military in the event that Hezbollah in Lebanon launches large-scale attacks against Israel. Lebanon and Israel have been exchanging missiles over their shared border for several days.


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