Cup of Joe – October 18, 2023

In a roll call vote on the House floor this afternoon, 20 Republicans voted for a candidate other than Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), denying him the speakership.

That’s significantly more defections than Jordan allies thought ahead of the vote. Jordan could afford to lose no more than four Republicans. Jordan received 200 votes, Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries received 212 votes, and 20 votes were spread between McCarthy, Scalise and other Republicans.

Jordan now has more votes against him than Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) did in January — and that went 15 rounds.

One Republican House member to Politico on the vote for speaker: “I personally know 5 will change their votes from yes to no on second round. That’s what they told me. This will get worse.”

The House did not hold a second round vote for speaker last night— a clear indication Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has made little progress switching votes since his failure earlier today, Punchbowl News reports.

Jordan told reporters he’s going to stay in race and warns against cutting deal with Democrats: “No one in our conference wants to see a coalition government with the Democrats. We are going to keep working. We will get to the votes.”

The House will try again at 11 a.m. ET today.

Punchbowl News: “The ‘no’ votes ran the gamut from institutionalists to conservatives, and it highlights the discontent with the 59-year-old Judiciary Committee chair’s bid for the chamber’s top job.”

“The House immediately recessed following Jordan’s defeat.”

“The size of the opposition to Jordan stunned some Republicans. While some of the no votes had been public, there were some notable surprises. For instance, Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) voted for Majority Leader Steve Scalise, as did six other members. Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) got several votes from New Yorkers.”

Politico: “Jordan is ready to battle through multiple ballots on the floor, losing again and again, in order to overtake his opponents. That’s what many in the conference have been hoping to avoid, fearing that another bruising floor fight will project chaos. It took 15 rounds for Kevin McCarthy to get the votes to win in January.”

“While Jordan is counting on flipping the votes against him on consecutive ballots, some of his colleagues who have promised to vote for him have only made that commitment for the first ballot.”

“The fact that you and I are living in a world where it is at least notionally possible that Jim Jordan would become the speaker of the people’s house and in line to the presidency of the United States is so utterly fantastic, not because Jim Jordan is some, transdimensional warlock. But because he’s an idiot… These Frankensteins were never supposed to get off the table.”— Tom Nichols, on the Bulwark podcast.

If Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) had urged Republicans to rally behind his speakership bid in order to project competence he might have had a chance. Instead, it appears Jordan has relied on a pressure campaign on Republican holdouts which even some of his allies think will backfire.

Jordan has two fundamental problems in his bid for speaker:

  • He’s not credible in wanting to create a House that actually governs since he’s never passed a substantive piece of legislation himself.
  • His base of support is rooted in people who fundamentally don’t believe in compromise.

That’s why it’s impossible to see Jordan building a durable coalition by giving up concessions like Kevin McCarthy did to win the speakership in January.

Instead, he’s relied mostly on bullying tactics. He’s reportedly bringing his nomination to the House floor tomorrow in order to smoke out those who are opposed to him by forcing a public vote.

“The size of the GOP opposition to Jim Jordan’s speakership bid has revived serious bipartisan talks to empower acting Speaker Patrick McHenry,”  Politico reports. “And the members pushing it could pull the trigger as soon as Jordan’s second failed ballot.”

“Centrist Republicans and Democrats are once again backchanneling about a possible vote to strengthen McHenry’s abilities to bring legislation to the floor — particularly spending bills, given a Nov. 17 funding deadline — amid the weeks-long impasse in selecting a speaker.”

“They’re pushing a short-term measure that would grant McHenry added powers and could pass the House by majority vote, though they have not coalesced around specific language.”

Playbook: “It’s hard to underplay the stakes. Electing a Speaker Jordan would mean installing a firm Donald Trump loyalist atop the House — one even more willing to embrace the former president’s desires and tactics than McCarthy was, a “significant player” in the plan to undo Joe Biden’s presidential victory.”

“It’s easy to imagine the House moving appropriations bills that would defund DOJ’s Trump probes or zero out various Biden Cabinet officials’ salaries. Or voting to impeach Biden. Or shutting down the government over policy fights with Democrats.”

“Jordan has virtually no relationships with key leaders he would be negotiating with on a regular basis. In addition to leading attack after attack on Biden, he’s led a cadre of conservatives that has long pummeled Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as an establishment pushover. And he’s had little to no dealings to speak of with Hakeem Jeffreis, the House’s top Democrat.”

Bloomberg: “Jordan, a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, votes more conservatively than any Republican speaker in at least three decades, according to ideology scores that rank how similarly legislators have voted on an economic liberalism-to-conservatism spectrum. The scores are based on a model known as DW-NOMINATE, which was first developed by two academics at Carnegie-Mellon University more than 30 years ago and is widely used by political scientists.”

“The measure also places Jordan further from his party’s median score than the last several Republican speakers.”

NBC News: “It’s a grueling decision for the GOP lawmakers who fear Jordan’s scorched-earth brand of politics won’t suit their swing districts and could alienate the independent voters they rely on to get elected.”

“Lawmakers from the self-styled ‘governing wing’ of the party also worry that supporting Jordan, a favorite of the right, would amount to rewarding what they see as bad behavior by the far-right rebels who voted to evict McCarthy and throw the House into chaos.”

CNN: “One GOP fundraiser, who has raised money for past Republican speakers, told CNN that they have vowed not to raise money for Jordan if he becomes the speaker.”

“The fundraiser also said multiple GOP donors have indicated that they wouldn’t cut big checks for the party and would rather invest in trying to flip the Senate than take a bet on the House, which they see as a far riskier proposition if Jordan is holding the gavel.”

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) told Fox News that a pressure campaign mounted by his colleagues may have backfired after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) was soundly defeated during his first attempt to secure the speaker’s gavel on Tuesday afternoon.

Said Donalds: “I think some of the pressure campaigns have backfired — they have not worked. And so I think that right now, under the leadership of Jim Jordan, you know, I would request that people just take a break, take a pause.”

“If he wins, it’s not like putting a fox in the henhouse. It’s like blowing up the henhouse.” — Former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), quoted by Politico, on the possibility of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) becoming speaker.

Before the first vote today for speaker, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) to give him a nominating speech on the House floor and a source told CNN that Scalise wouldn’t do it.

When Scalise had the party’s nomination for speaker last week, Jordan made a speech nominating Scalise.

“Senators return to Washington this week feeling completely flummoxed by the turmoil in the House and with no clear idea of whether House Republicans will elect a Speaker anytime soon,” The Hill reports.

“Republican senators have called on their House colleagues to unify behind a Speaker as quickly as possible, but that plea has fallen flat.”

“Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer laid out an aggressive schedule on Monday for delivering aid and resources to Israel, fresh off a whirlwind trip over the weekend,” Politico reports.

“The highest-ranking Jewish leader in government, Schumer said the Senate will not wait for the House to devise its own plan, as the lower chamber continues to be without a permanent speaker. He said he’s consulted with Israeli officials about what they need, and the package will include military, intelligence, diplomatic and humanitarian aid.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer “is instructing three top Democratic committee leaders to hammer out a deal with Republicans on an aid package for Israel that could pass in the coming weeks,” Politico reports.

Said Schumer: “We can’t wait for the House, who knows what will happen there? The Senate will go first. It’s my hope that if the Senate can move quickly and pass something with strong bipartisan support we can importune the House to act.”

“Four House Republicans walked away from conversations with House GOP speaker nominee Jim Jordan under the impression he’ll allow a floor vote on linking Ukraine funding with Israel funding if he wins the gavel,” Axios reports.

“Many hardline House Republicans are pushing for the U.S. to stop providing funding to Ukraine, but allowing a House floor vote could allow funding to pass thanks to significant help from Democrats.”

President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday, CNN reports.

New York Times: “It would be a trip fraught with risks, both political and physical.”

Israeli Channel 12 reports that preparations are being made for a visit by President Biden to Israel on Wednesday or Thursday.

“Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered about 2,000 more U.S. troops to prepare to deploy to the Middle East in support of Israel, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, as Israeli forces prepare to launch a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip,” the New York Times reports.

“The troops are currently stationed in the United States and other locations, including Europe… If deployed, they would likely not serve in combat roles but would provide advice and medical support to Israeli forces.”

Daily Beast: Iran threatens to drag U.S. into regional holy war.

“The White House has been discussing the possibility of using military force if Hezbollah joins the war in Gaza and attacks Israel with its huge arsenal of rockets,” Axios reports.

“Lebanon-based Hezbollah joining the war would dramatically escalate the Middle East’s worst conflict in decades — raising the likelihood of mass civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon and possibly drawing in the U.S.”

“The United States is already heavily involved in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and must be held to account, an Iranian official said on Monday,” Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports Iran said that an expansion of the war between Israel and Hamas “is increasingly becoming unavoidable.”

Palestinian officials say hundreds have been injured due to a suspected Israeli airstrike on the al-Ahli Hospital in the middle of Gaza City Wednesday evening. A Gaza civil defense chief said that more than 300 people were killed, while a Gaza Health Ministry official estimated that at least 500 people were killed and wounded. Many victims are still trapped under rubble.

The Israeli military has denied involvement and says the attack was due to a misfired rocket from Hamas.

Hamas said that one of its top military commanders, Ayman Nofal, was killed in an Israeli airstrike at the Bureij refugee camp in Gaza, the AP reports.

“As Israel’s military prepares for a massive, unprecedented ground war in Gaza that carries huge risks for the Middle East and beyond, it’s important to understand why: Israelis haven’t felt this threatened since their war of independence in 1948,” Axios reports. “Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel killed more Jews in one day — more than 1,300 — than any other day since the Holocaust. For a country that vowed ‘never again,’ the brutal killings and video-documented kidnappings were a shock to the national psyche — and a stunning breach of a trusted security system.”

Judge Tanya Chutkan has issued her formal gag order on Donald Trump, prohibiting “interested parties” — including Trump — from attacking the special counsel, witnesses or court staff.

“A judge imposed a limited gag order on former President Donald Trump on Monday, restricting Mr. Trump from making public statements attacking the witnesses, prosecutors or court staff involved in the federal criminal case in which he stands accused of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election,” the New York Times reports.

“But the narrowly tailored order by the judge, Tanya Chutkan, left Mr. Trump free as he pursues his campaign to be re-elected president to continue disparaging the Justice Department, President Biden and other political adversaries so long as the remarks are not directly connected to the case.”

“Judge Chutkan imposed the gag order at the end of a two-hour hearing in Federal District Court in Washington, which was one of the most contentious public proceedings to have arisen so far in any of the criminal cases Mr. Trump is facing.”

Federal judge Tanya Chutkan said she will not move the trial date for Donald Trump’s federal election interference case, NBC News reports.

It’s set for March 4, 2024 — the day before Super Tuesday.

Donald Trump responded to the gag order imposed on him today by a federal judge: “Will appeal the gag order ruling. Witch hunt!”

“I am willing to go to jail if that’s what it takes.”— Donald Trump, at a speech in Iowa. Good.

The Justice Department has launched a federal hate crime investigation into the fatal stabbing in Illinois of a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy and the grievous wounding of his mother by their landlord.

A 6-year-old Palestinian American boy in Illinois died Saturday after being stabbed 26 times with a serrated military-style knife, allegedly by his 71-year-old landlord, in what police say was an anti-Muslim hate crime.

The boy’s mother was stabbed a dozen times and remains hospitalized in serious condition. The landlord was charged with state-level hate crimes, first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

President Biden said he was “shocked and sickened” by the attack and deplored Islamophobia.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) told Fox News that he would lead the Republican opposition to President Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Israel over his record on Iran.

“The Ukrainian military on Tuesday used U.S.-supplied longer-range missiles to strike nine Russian helicopters in eastern Ukraine, after Washington secretly shipped the weapons in recent weeks,” Politico reports.

“The delivery and use on the battlefield, marks a major ramp up of the administration’s defense of Ukraine, for the first time providing Kyiv’s forces with the ability to strike Russian targets far behind the front lines.”

“A current Trump Organization executive’s three-day stint on the witness stand during the former president’s civil fraud trial ended on Monday with a bombshell exchange,” The Messenger reports.

“Grilled by an attorney for New York Attorney General Letitia James, the company’s assistant vice president Patrick Birney agreed that former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg told him that Trump wanted to puff up his net worth on his statements of financial condition.”

“Donald Trump will be back in court Tuesday for his New York civil fraud trial, but a face-to-face showdown with former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen will have to wait,” the AP reports. “Cohen, a key witness in the state’s case against the former president, postponed his testimony, saying he needed to attend to a health problem.”

Donald Trump, back in court for his civil fraud trial, viciously attacked New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), who he described as “ranting and raving like a lunatic.”

He also falsely claimed Mar-a-Lago is “the most expensive house, probably, in the world,” adding that it’s worth as much as $1.5 billion.

“Justice Amy Coney Barrett said on Monday that she favored an ethics code for the Supreme Court, joining the growing chorus of justices who have publicly backed adopting such rules,” the New York Times reports.

Said Barrett: “It would be a good idea for us to do it, particularly so that we can communicate to the public exactly what it is that we are doing in a clearer way.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) renewed calls for Sen. Bob Menendez (R-NJ) to resign but stopped short of seeking his expulsion, CNN reports.  Said Booker: “You’re asking a person that’s served with this guy for 10 years. Everything about this makes me feel uncomfortable. Having to call for his resignation makes me feel uncomfortable.”  He added: “I don’t know what’s involved in an expulsion but that sounds like moving before you’ve investigated all of the facts.”

“Former president Donald Trump, condemned by his Republican rivals and others last week for calling Hezbollah militants ‘very smart,’ responded Monday by proposing harsher restrictions on immigration based on ideology, targeting Hamas sympathizers and critics of Israel,” the Washington Post reports.

“In addition to blocking people from entering the country based on ideological screenings, Trump said he would revoke student visas and deport anti-Israel demonstrators. He also pledged to expand his travel ban on people from Muslim-majority countries and refuse refugees.”

“The Biden administration on Monday agreed to a court settlement that would bar U.S. authorities from referring migrant parents traveling with children for criminal prosecution for illegally entering the United States, a largely condemned practice used by the Trump administration,” the Washington Post reports.

“If approved by a judge, this provision in the proposed settlement would remain in effect for eight years, preventing an administration during that time from restoring a “zero tolerance” prosecution policy. That Trump policy forced the separation of thousands of parents and children at the southern border in 2018.”

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has scheduled for Friday the resumption of the Garcia hearing for Trump co-defendant Walt Nauta in the Mar-a-Lago document case. You’ll recall she aborted the previous hearing when she accused prosecutors of making arguments to the court that they had not previously briefed. I took a pretty dim view of her claims, but Roger Parloff was in attendance at the hearing and was a bit more sympathetic in his extensive dispatch for Lawfare on how it went down.

Charlie Sykes: “So why did we expect that the mythical Normie Caucus would rise up, find its rumored moral courage, and at long last stand athwart the GOP’s crazy and say, ‘Stop’? Why did anybody think that this time would be different?”

“This is, after all, a party that is apparently about to renominate Trump for the presidency. For many in the GOP, the greater crazy trumped the lesser crazy. Why, after all, worry about running under the deeply deplorable and absurd Jordan, when you will already be on the ballot with the twice-impeached, quadruply indicted Trump?”

“It’s Trump’s party, so why not give him control of the house GOP as well?”

“Why risk a mean tweet? Why make Sean Hannity mad?”

Olivia Beavers: “It is moments like these that you really see a difference in what some House Republicans are want to really do or say privately and what they end up doing for political safety.”

“Democratic lawmakers, operatives and ad-makers are preparing to make swing district House Republicans own Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on the campaign trail,” Axios reports.

“The House Judiciary Committee chair and GOP speaker nominee appears to be within striking distance of winning the speakership on Tuesday after flipping several of his Republican detractors.”

National Journal: Jim Jordan inches closer to speakership.

“The Justice Department on Monday filed notice it plans to appeal and seek harsher prison sentences for five members of the Proud Boys who are already incarcerated for their convictions tied to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol,” The Messenger reports.

The federal judge overseeing the defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani by Georgia election workers Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman ordered Friday that the jury in the upcoming trial could draw a whole series of negative inferences against Giuliani for his failure to have complied with discovery demands.

“I hate the double standard that exists. It’s because Democrats are always the adults. If this was Nancy Pelosi, do you think that anyone would be saying, ‘Hey, Republicans, go help Nancy?’ No one would be saying that. No one would even expect that. But they always expect us to fix their mess.”  — Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX), quoted by The Messenger.

Nearly two dozen species are being taken off the endangered species list because they are extinct, CBS News reports.

A Pennsylvania woman known as “Bullhorn Lady” for her efforts to encourage other rioters to enter the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was sentenced Tuesday to nearly five years in prison, WUSA reports.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) admitted to reporters that she didn’t know how the vote for speaker would turn out but suggested Republicans “take a lesson in mathematics and learning how to count.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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