Cup of Joe – October 16, 2023

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) is aiming to schedule a floor vote Tuesday on his bid to be speaker, Punchbowl News reports.

Jordan won the GOP nomination to be speaker last week but 55 House Republicans said they wouldn’t vote for him on the floor in a secret ballot. Jordan and his allies have spent the weekend trying to win over his opposition. But there is still a healthy pocket of House Republicans who are opposed to Jordan’s bid.

A floor vote would put GOP lawmakers on record about his nomination.

“Rep. Jim Jordan is racing to shore up his speaker bid, as his supporters urge him to take the fight to the House floor early next week to build public pressure on his skeptics,” Politico reports.

“It’s an uphill climb and one that Jordan is trying to pull off in record time. It took former Speaker Kevin McCarthy almost two months of behind-the-scenes maneuvering to be ultimately crowned in January. And Jordan is facing a steeper lift compared to the California Republican who started off with 188 supporters, with some of his colleagues already warning that if he can’t figure out the math by early next week they should move on to someone else.”

Matt Lewis: “Even if Jordan wins, the GOP caucus is like a Rubik’s cube. If you do what you have to do to fix one side, you are likely to mess up your previous work on the opposite side.”

Playbook: “The challenge Jordan is facing boils down to this: Despite becoming more aligned with leadership over the past three years, many of his colleagues still don’t trust him.”

“Lots of them worry he’ll embrace fiscal brinkmanship and steer the government into shutdowns. An even larger group is furious with how he treated Steve Scalise after the House majority leader won the nomination Wednesday, and they aren’t keen on seeing the second-place finisher end up with the gavel.”

“It should come as no surprise, though, that Jordan and his allies are ready to fight in a way that Scalise wasn’t. Their strategy is simple: Smoke out the holdouts in a public floor vote and put them in a political pressure cooker.”

Politico: Jordan racing to secure votes as speaker vote looms.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told NBC News that there are informal conversations about a bipartisan solution to the inability of House Republicans to elect a speaker.

Said Jeffries: “There are informal conversations that have been underway. When we get back to Washington tomorrow, it’s important to begin to formalize those discussions.”

He added: “House Republicans have been focused on fighting each other. It’s time to end the Republican civil war so we can get back to doing the business of the American people. And we as House Democrats are committed to finding that bipartisan path forward in a meaningful way.”

“Centrists are signaling they’re open to a deal. Democrats are outlining terms. With no speaker in sight yet, House Republicans are ramping up their discussions about a way to reopen the chamber,” Politico reports.

“A bipartisan solution to the GOP’s leadership chaos still sounds farfetched to most on the Hill — but then, so does the idea that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) might overcome his dozens of skeptics and win a floor vote early next week.”

Dan Pfeiffer: “The Republicans’ 2024 strategy against Joe Biden has been crystal clear since the first day of his presidency — make the world seem as chaotic and dangerous as possible and then argue that the 80-year-old President is too old and infirm to protect Americans from that chaos and danger…”

“To date, that strategy has been working. Most people think the country is going in the wrong direction. More Americans are expressing concern about Biden’s age, and Trump has a slight edge in hypothetical general election polls.”

“The events of this past week, however, demonstrate a fatal flaw in that strategy. The more consequential the moment, the less likely voters are to hand over the wheel of the ship to a completely unserious party led by an erratic criminal without the slightest interest in or capacity to govern.”

“The Israeli military is preparing to invade the Gaza Strip soon with tens of thousands of soldiers ordered to capture Gaza City and destroy the enclave’s current leadership, according to three senior Israeli military officers who outlined unclassified details about the plan,” the New York Times reports.

“The military has announced that its ultimate goal is to wipe out the top political and military hierarchy of Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza and led last week’s terrorist attacks in Israel that killed 1,300 people.”

Washington Post: Israeli military preparing ‘wide range’ attacks as Gaza residents flee.

Hamas has publicly thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for Moscow’s “tireless efforts” to support Palestinians, the Daily Beast reports.

The Atlantic: “A close read of Hamas’s founding documents clearly shows its intentions.”

New York Times: “With meticulous planning and extraordinary awareness of Israel’s secrets and weaknesses, Hamas and its allies overwhelmed the length of Israel’s front with Gaza shortly after dawn, shocking a nation that has long taken the superiority of its military as an article of faith.”

“Using drones, Hamas destroyed key surveillance and communications towers along the border with Gaza, imposing vast blind spots on the Israeli military. With explosives and tractors, Hamas blew open gaps in the border barricades, allowing 200 attackers to pour through in the first wave and another 1,800 later that day, officials say. On motorcycles and in pickup trucks, the assailants surged into Israel, overwhelming at least eight military bases and waging terrorist attacks against civilians in more than 15 villages and cities.”

“Hamas planning documents, videos of the assault and interviews with security officials show that the group had a surprisingly sophisticated understanding of how the Israeli military operated, where it stationed specific units, and even the time it would take for reinforcements to arrive.”

“Diplomats struggled to ease an escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza and get foreigners out of the blockaded enclave as intensifying clashes along Israel’s border with Lebanon and Israeli airstrikes inside Syria stoked fears of a wider conflict in the region,” the New York Times reports.

“With senior Israeli military officers signaling their intent to invade Gaza, Israel’s new emergency wartime government held its first formal meeting on Sunday, and appeared to be preparing for the invasion.”

Said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “We will take Hamas apart.”

The Washington Post says Secretary of State Antony Blinken will return to Israel on Monday.

“Iran sent a message to Israel on Saturday stressing that it does not want further escalation in the Hamas-Israel war, but that it will have to intervene if the Israeli operation in Gaza continues,” Axios reports.

“The fighting between Hamas and Israel will turn into a regional war if Iran gets involved either directly or indirectly, such as through a militant group in Syria or by backing any Hezbollah decision to fully join the fighting.”

“A diplomatic effort to evacuate U.S. citizens from Gaza faltered after Egyptian officials said they would only allow foreigners to cross the border if aid could pass in the opposite direction,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Egypt’s refusal on Saturday, confirmed by three officials and in an announcement on state television, thwarted the latest U.S. push to evacuate any of the 500 or more Americans in Gaza wishing to leave through the enclave’s southern border with Egypt.”

Doctors Without Borders called on the Israeli government to “show humanity” ahead of Israel’s expected ground invasion, asking authorities to restore drinking water to the Gaza Strip and warning of dire consequences to the people of Gaza.

“Joe Biden’s reelection strategy relies on painting Republicans as chaotic, disorganized, and unserious,” The Messenger reports.

“And the recent bedlam in the Republican-controlled House is making that job a lot easier.”

“Biden’s campaign has seized on the Republican infighting around the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Oct. 3  and the Republican conference’s inability to agree upon a successor. The fractious debate plays directly into Biden’s split-screen strategy, one that the president’s top aides and advisers believe will allow persuadable voters to see the Democratic leader in a position of power as the Republicans in the House and those vying for his job fight amongst themselves.”

Associated Press: “It is the biggest test yet for Chutkan underscoring the unprecedented complexities of prosecuting the former Republican president as the judge vows not to let political considerations guide her decisions.

“Ending the stream of Trump’s harsh language would make the case easier to manage. But among the difficult questions Chutkan must navigate is how any gag order might be enforced and how one could be fashioned that does not risk provoking Trump’s base and fueling his claims of political persecution as he campaigns to retake the White House in 2024.”

“Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen will not testify next week in the $250 million civil fraud case against the former president because of a health-related issue,” NBC News reports.

Said Cohen: “Unfortunately I need to attend to a pre-existing medical condition that impedes my ability to testify this upcoming week. Rest assured, I will testify at the earliest opportunity.”

Tom Nichols: “Trump’s win set up a series of cascading failures. Winning in 2016 turbocharged Trump’s claims of leading a movement. His victory encouraged other Republicans to go into survival mode and adopt the protective coloration of Trumpism just to win their primaries, a process that led directly to the crapstorm deluging the House at this very moment.”

“Most Republicans in Congress, as Mitt Romney has told us, hate Trump, and many of them probably wish that someone could jump into the Time Tunnel, go back to 2016, and persuade a few thousand voters in three or four states to come to their senses.”

“At the least, a Trump loss would have let other Republicans avoid sinking in the populist swamp.”

“Gasoline markets have shifted into reverse,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Wholesale costs have slid in recent weeks, undoing a late-summer run-up that sparked fears of an inflationary shock while promising relief to drivers and the Federal Reserve. Already, gas stations around the U.S. are cutting prices at the pump, a trend that traders on Wall Street suggest will continue in the coming weeks.”

Washington Post: “Some of Trump’s public statements have already gotten him in legal hot water, with a partial gag order issued in a civil business fraud trial that is underway in New York, and a hearing Monday on a broader possible gag order in Trump’s D.C. criminal case.”

“But the bombastic diatribes are also giving prosecutors new material that could be used at trial to prove elements of the criminal charges against the former president. If special counsel Jack Smith succeeds in his quest for a gag order on Trump, prosecutors could lose one of their best sources of incriminating information — Trump’s mouth.”

“The judge presiding over the upcoming damages trial against Rudy Giuliani said Friday she will tell jurors that the former Trump lawyer intentionally hid financial documents and other records in defiance of court orders,” NBC News reports.

“That means jurors deciding how much Giuliani should pay two Georgia election workers he defamed will be told they can assume the worst about why the former New York City mayor has failed to turn over the court-ordered records.”

New York Times: “The previous bipartisan support for Ukraine in the United States no longer seems to hold… Should Washington cut its aid to Ukraine, deciding that it is not worth the cost, top European officials … openly acknowledge that Europe cannot fill the gap.”

“After an election campaign of fits and starts, in which neither major party appeared to offer much solace to a weary nation, voters in New Zealand on Saturday ousted the party once led by Jacinda Ardern and elected the country’s most right-wing government in a generation, handing victory to a coalition of two conservative parties,” the New York Times reports.

“New Zealand’s next prime minister will be Christopher Luxon, a former chief executive of Air New Zealand, whose center-right National Party will lead a coalition with Act, a smaller libertarian party.”

Saudi Arabia has suspended talks on potentially normalizing ties with Israel, amid the war raging between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, France 24 reports.

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