Playbook: “Congress is just eight days out from a potential federal shutdown, and Republicans’ plans to force a confrontation with Democrats over government spending by passing all 12 fiscal 2024 spending bills is going nowhere fast. Johnson now has to settle on a strategy for passing a shutdown-averting stopgap without dividing his conference further.”
“The House has adjourned until next Monday for Veterans Day weekend, leaving lawmakers with just five days to get their proverbial ducks in a row.”
“House Republicans closed out the week by canceling votes on two party-line funding bills in the span of 48 hours, a setback for new Speaker Mike Johnson and a sign of persisting dysfunction in the chamber ahead of a key funding deadline,” NBC News reports.
“It’s a step backward for Speaker Mike Johnson. who had hoped to show progress on appropriations bills championed by his party’s conservative wing in order to secure their votes to pass a short-term bill that would keep the government open beyond the Nov. 17 deadline.”
Said Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX): “I don’t think the Lord Jesus himself could manage this group.”
Said another House Republican: “We’re still dealing with the same divisions we always have had. We’re ungovernable.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) exhorted House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) to “learn from the fiasco of a month ago” and work with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown next week, The Messenger reports.
Said Schumer: “No matter how negotiations evolve over the next week, one thing is not gonna change. The only way, the only way — let me say it a third time — the only way we avoid a shutdown is with bipartisan cooperation, just as it was true in September and it will be true in the future.”
Playbook: “No one seems quite sure what former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s next chapter will entail. But in a CNN interview yesterday, he gave strong hints that it will involve settling some scores with the eight Republicans who ousted him.”
“Thoughts and prayers to the former speaker as he works through his grief.”— Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), quoted by the Daily Beast, after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) unloaded on him in a CNN interview.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has been telling Republican colleagues, according to lawmakers, that Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) is a “whore,” the Daily Beast reports.
Said one GOP lawmaker: “Calling her a whore, that’s not new. She’s been doing that for a while.”
Punchbowl News: “Speaker Mike Johnson’s tenure, just over two weeks old, has brought a fascinating dynamic to the fore for the House Republican Conference — it’s now every member for themselves.”
“Gone are the days when House Republicans took difficult votes for the greater good of the party or to strengthen the speaker’s hand in a showdown with the Senate. The House is now akin to a battle royale, with every lawmaker acting purely out of self-interest.”
Playbook: “There are growing pains in the speaker’s office. New House Speaker Mike Johnson is having a hard time getting up to speed on the worst job in Washington.”
Molly Ball: “Tuesday’s off-year election offered devastating new evidence of the unpopularity of the Republican Party’s positioning on abortion. Yet even as the party collectively reeled from this setback, with lawmakers and operatives squabbling over how to move forward, the party’s presidential candidates struggled to offer an alternative approach.”
“Taken together, their responses on the issue were a revealing glimpse into the dilemma vexing the GOP after a series of bruising election losses.”
Barton Gellman: “It wasn’t clear at first why Peter Thiel agreed to talk to me.”
“He is, famously, no friend of the media. But Thiel—co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, avatar of techno-libertarianism, bogeyman of the left—consented to a series of long interviews at his home and office in Los Angeles. He was more open than I expected him to be, and he had a lot to say.”
“But the impetus for these conversations? He wanted me to publish a promise he was going to make, so that he would not be tempted to go back on his word. And what was that thing he needed to say, loudly? That he wouldn’t be giving money to any politician, including Donald Trump, in the next presidential campaign.”
“Voting for Trump was like a not very articulate scream for help. It was crazier than I thought. It was more dangerous than I thought. They couldn’t get the most basic pieces of the government to work.”— Peter Thiel, quoted by The Atlantic, on backing Donald Trump for president in 2016.
“President Biden and President Xi Jinping of China plan to meet in California on Wednesday, for a discussion that Mr. Biden’s advisers say is meant to stabilize relations even as it features a host of topics on which the two fiercely competitive countries disagree,” the New York Times reports.
Joyce Vance: “Americans, it turns out, like our form of democracy—a Constitutional Republic. So far, it has endured despite Trump, but it’s essential for people to be aware of what he intends to do if reelected. He is a malignant threat to democracy, and that has to be taken seriously. The singular challenge of the next election will be keeping the Republic in the face of Trump’s plans to take hold of power in a way that suggests he will never relinquish it.”
Jackie Calmes: “Anticipating widespread protests against his second term, Trump and allies reportedly are drafting plans to invoke the Insurrection Act in his first hours back in the White House — thereby confirming the expected protesters’ likely point: Trump is a danger to liberty and constitutional governance.”
Margaret Sullivan: “The public doesn’t understand the risks of a Trump victory. That’s the media’s fault.”
Donald Trump talked about turning ‘weaponized’ government against his political opponents, Semafor reports.
Said Trump: “Yeah. If they do this, and they’ve already done it, but if they follow through on this, yeah, it could certainly happen in reverse. It could certainly happen in reverse. What they’ve done is they’ve released the genie out of the box.”
“If I happen to be president and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say, ‘Go down and indict them.’ They’d be out of business. They’d be out of the election.”— Donald Trump, quoted by the New Yorker.
A new AP-NORC poll finds nearly half of Democrats disapprove of how President Biden is handling the Israel-Hamas conflict, showing a deep divide within his party over the war.
“A plumber, a maid, a chauffeur and a woodworker are among Mar-a-Lago staffers and contract workers who federal prosecutors may call to testify against former President Donald Trump and his two co-defendants at their upcoming criminal trial in Florida,” CNN reports.
“While some of the witnesses who may be called to testify hail from Trump’s inner circle, including his career in business, as a political candidate and from his time in the White House, other potential witnesses are the types of workers rarely noticed by Mar-a-Lago’s wealthy guests.”
Washington Post: “As Republican lawmakers have resumed regular business, the new speaker of the House, a former member of the Judiciary Committee where a part of the inquiry is being conducted, has staked out a different position than those leading the inquiry.”
“Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), a constitutional lawyer by training, has taken a more reserved tone, both publicly and privately, urging members to conduct a thorough and fair investigation with no predetermined outcome. In a closed-door meeting with House GOP moderates this week, he indicated that there is insufficient evidence at the moment to initiate formal impeachment proceedings, according to people who attended the meeting.”
“The Justice Department said Wednesday it is investigating politicians, military officers and government contractors for buying sex through a high-end brothel network operating in Massachusetts and the D.C. suburbs,” Politico reports.
“The defendants allegedly rented high-end apartments, paid for women’s flights and transportation, and advertised sexual services available for hourly rates that ranged from $350 to $600. Prospective buyers were instructed to fill out forms with detailed personal information, including their names, addresses, employers, and a ‘reference if they have one,’ prosecutors said in court papers.”
The Justice Department said it is investigating numerous people who may have paid for sex, including “politicians, high tech and pharmaceutical executives, doctors, military officers, government contractors that possess security clearances, professors, lawyers, scientists and accountants.”
Bloomberg on Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni : “Her what-you-see-is-what-you-get authenticity dovetails with a steeliness that just over a year ago catapulted her into power — a position no woman has ever held in Italy. In a country where, famously, many governments collapse after a year, few thought she would last. But Meloni is used to people underestimating her.”
Said one think tank director: “When she was elected, everyone feared a fascist leader, and it took a few months to realize that no, she is definitely not a fascist.”
“Indeed, it’s clear that the far-right label applied to Meloni for most of her career is too simplistic for a politician who has demonstrated her flexibility and pragmatism.”
“Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s deputy held meetings this week to plan changes to the UK Cabinet, people familiar with the matter said, amid growing calls for Home Secretary Suella Braverman to be fired,” Bloomberg reports.
“Sunak has been under pressure to reset his top team to boost the Conservative Party’s chances of catching the poll-leading Labour Party ahead of a general election expected in 2024. Those calls have ratcheted up this week after a series of controversial comments made by Braverman about the policing of pro-Palestinian protests.”
“She also accused homeless people of sleeping on the streets as a ‘lifestyle choice.’”
“Authorities on Thursday were trying to determine who sent suspicious letters, including some containing fentanyl or other substances, to local election offices, an attack that appears to have targeted multiple states in the latest instance of threats faced by election workers around the country,” the AP reports.
“Officials in at least three states — Georgia, Oregon and Washington — reported concerns over letters targeting election workers.”
“In his final days in the White House, President Donald Trump tried to launch a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan — only he wasn’t exactly the person giving the orders, according to a new book by ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl,” ABC News reports.
“Karl reports that aide Johnny McEntee, known as Trump’s ‘body guy,’ led a chaotic attempt to reshape the U.S. military posture abroad.”
FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said her Republican colleagues have effectively put Donald Trump “in a category by himself” by refusing to investigate at least 28 instances where the agency’s professional staff determined that Trump or his family members likely violated regulations, the Daily Beast reports.
“U.S. forces were targeted in three attacks in Iraq on Thursday but suffered no casualties, a U.S. military official and security sources said, in the most widespread single day of strikes on U.S. assets since the Israel-Hamas conflict started,” Reuters reports.