In This Episode
- Republicans have failed, again, to select a new House speaker. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio – the far-right Republican who’s already lost two full floor votes – said he will continue his bid for the role, despite failing to convince the holdouts from his own party.
- About 20 trucks carrying vital humanitarian aid for Gaza are waiting on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, though it’s not clear when they will be allowed to enter. Meanwhile, President Biden, in a live address from the Oval Office, called on Americans to stand with Israel and Ukraine – making the case that the U.S. must help on both fronts.
- And in headlines: Former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell pleaded guilty for her role in the Georgia election interference case, California Senator Laphonza Butler said she will not run for a full term in 2024, and SAG-AFTRA has some Halloween costume advice for its members on strike.
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, October 20th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi. And this is What a Day. On today’s show, a prominent Trump ally could end up testifying against him in the Georgia election interference case. Plus, the Hollywood Actors Union has some Halloween costume advice for its members on strike.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, we have confirmation once again that the Republican Party is full of messy girlies who live for drama.
Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely.
Tre’vell Anderson: They still have not selected a speaker of the House after the ousting of Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago. As Juanita mentioned on yesterday’s show, Representative Jim Jordan has lost two votes to become the next House speaker. He hasn’t been able to muster the required 217 votes to assume the position. Now, if that wasn’t already messy, here’s where it gets worse. Yesterday morning, Jim Jordan actually said he would not pursue a third vote to become speaker, at least not at this time. And that was because he was endorsing this plan that surfaced to give acting Speaker Patrick McHenry of North Carolina more power to conduct the vital business of the government while a longer term solution was worked out. The thinking by Jordan and others was that McHenry could lead for now, while Jordan would be working on garnering more support of his Republican colleagues. But then, hours later, apparently the broader collective of Republicans in the House, they weren’t having it. Here’s Jim Jordan shortly after he was told yet again nah.
[clip of Jim Jordan] So I’ll just say this. We made the we made the pitch to um members on the resolution as a way to lower the temperature and get back to work. We decided that wasn’t where we’re going to go. I’m still running for speaker and I plan to go to the floor and get the votes and win this race. But I want to go talk with a few of my colleagues, particularly, I want to talk with the 20 individuals who voted against me um so that we can move forward and begin to work for the American people. [chaos of many reporters speaking at once]
Priyanka Aribindi: All right then. Okay. [laughter] So does this mean that there will be a third vote? What is happening here?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, there will be a third vote. As of our record time Thursday evening. It’s set for 10 a.m. Eastern today. But I imagine that Jim Jordan doesn’t want to have egg on his face anymore. So I’m sure he and his allies are doing all kinds of wheeling and dealing behind the scenes to try to make that successful. But then I remember that Jordan is an election denier and his name was all up and through the January 6th committee’s report investigating the insurrection. So, you know, maybe he does like being embarrassed. Who knows? We’ll find out shortly. [laugh] But I want to zero in briefly on this alternative plan that they were considering to expand the powers of the current acting Speaker McHenry. Right now, all he can do in this position is oversee floor debate and voting about the election of a new speaker. But if the House wanted to change these rules, they could with a simple majority vote. But as we just heard Jim Jordan say, the Republicans can’t even agree on that measure as a means of getting them back to work, to, for example, vote on aid for Israel and Ukraine, or maybe agree on a spending bill to avoid the government shutting down next month. So we find ourselves still waiting for them to get their shit together. I feel like we’ve been saying that for the entire last two weeks and they have yet to deliver on that.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I don’t know if I will hold my breath here, but thank you–
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: –so much for that update Tre’vell. Now back to the latest on the war between Israel and Hamas. Though an agreement has been reached in the efforts to get desperately needed humanitarian aid into Gaza from Egypt. That aid could actually be delayed. Organizations on the ground had originally been told that the Rafah border crossing would open this morning, but as of our recording time on Thursday evening, it’s not yet clear if that will happen or if that timing will end up being delayed. Some details that we do know, though, the U.N. flag will be raised at the crossing between Egypt and Gaza. And at Israel’s request, international observers will inspect the trucks before they are allowed to enter Gaza.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, Got it. So what do we know about the aid itself that will be sent in this initial delivery?
Priyanka Aribindi: According to President Biden, earlier this week, up to 20 trucks will be allowed into Gaza initially with the potential for more if they are able to safely and successfully distribute aid to civilians. One detail of note, though, is that fuel is not included among the supplies that these trucks will bring in. As a reminder, Gaza’s entire population of over 2 million people has been cut off from electricity, food, water and fuel for nearly two weeks now after Hamas’s attack on Israel. And in the time since, the situation in Gaza has become increasingly dire, the United Nations has called it an unprecedented catastrophe on top of labeling it a humanitarian crisis. Thousands of people in Gaza have been injured by Israeli airstrikes and fuel is desperately needed to power the overwhelmed hospitals where these people are being tended to. And by yesterday night, Gaza’s health ministry was asking anybody with a spare liter of fuel to help out the area’s hospitals. That is where they are at now, just desperate for fuel to keep these places powered. As of now, the death toll in Gaza is over 3700 people and hundreds of thousands more have been displaced from their homes. Those numbers will almost certainly continue to rise in the coming days. And at this time, it is not yet known if or when Israel will stage a ground invasion of Gaza. It’s something that’s been discussed for some time now. Israel’s defense minister actually told troops stationed at the border yesterday that they would, quote, “soon see Gaza from the inside.” But the world continues to wait really just in agony.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, and I know there have been some new developments here at home related to all of this as well. Can you tell us more about that?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. So the U.S. State Department yesterday issued a worldwide travel advisory that urges all U.S. citizens overseas to, quote, “exercise increased caution.” This kind of global travel warning is not particularly common at all. It comes now amid increasing tensions and demonstrations across the Middle East and Europe and an increased death toll of Americans within Israel. Since the latest iteration of this conflict began. 32 Americans have been killed in Israel and another 11 are unaccounted for, according to a State Department spokesperson. President Biden addressed the nation in a live address last night about the conflict connecting the war in Israel to the war in Ukraine and making the case for the necessity of U.S. aid in both efforts. As part of the address, he announced that he asked Congress to approve $100 billion dollars in aid to support Ukraine and Israel, along with Taiwan and the U.S. border with Mexico. Obviously, this all is complicated by the situation that you just filled us in on Tre’vell that’s going on in the House. Not good at all. And Biden made an appeal to Americans to band together in this time and reject the rise in hate that has followed these recent events. Take a listen.
[clip of President Joe Biden] You know, in moments like these and when fear and suspicion, anger and rage run hard then we have to work harder than ever to hold on to the values that make us who we are. We’re a nation of religious freedom, freedom of expression. We all have a right to debate and disagree without fear of being targeted in schools or workplaces or in our communities. And must renounce violence and vitriol. See each other not as enemies but as fellow Americans and here in America. Let us not forget who we are. We reject all forms, all forms of hate, whether against Muslim, Jews or anyone.
Priyanka Aribindi: President Biden said a lot during it was around 15 minutes or so this address. But those lines about banding together as Americans and kind of inspiring this feeling, especially amid this rise in hate that we have seen all over the world I think is really important, I think is a place that President Biden is particularly emphatic and particularly convincing when he speaks. It really is.
Tre’vell Anderson: I agree.
Priyanka Aribindi: Is a message I hope that people take to heart.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely.
Priyanka Aribindi: We will obviously continue to follow this situation. More on all of this very soon. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after a short break for some ads. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: Grab some popcorn, dust off your opera glasses and get ready for a show because yet another member of Team Trump has flipped on him. Sidney Powell, a former member of Trump’s legal team, pleaded guilty yesterday for her role in the sweeping Georgia election interference case. You may remember how she spread baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud. She even kept tweeting about those lies up until Tuesday of this week. Then, lo and behold, a day before jury selection was set to begin in her case, she changed her tune.
Priyanka Aribindi: How quickly?
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. Okay. Powell is one of 19 defendants, including Trump, who were indicted this summer for allegedly trying to overturn Trump’s election loss in Georgia. She’s now the second defendant to strike a plea deal in the case. And as part of her agreement with prosecutors, she’ll be on probation for six years and pay some fines. But more importantly, she will turn over any documents or evidence she has in the case. She also agreed to testify against any co-defendants, including Donald Trump himself. It is going to get interesting, Priyanka.
Priyanka Aribindi: The eyebrows are raised. We are ready. I have to get some opera glasses, but I’m prepared otherwise. California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to arrive in Israel today for a surprise one day visit. Newsom is making the stop on the way to a previously planned trip to China. While in Israel, Newsom will meet with victims of the Israel-Hamas war, though details about where he will be in that country have not been disclosed. Newsom’s office said that California will send medical supplies and aid to both Israel and Gaza. His visit follows President Biden’s brief trip to Israel on Wednesday. New York Governor Kathy Hochul also arrived in Israel that same day. California is home to the largest population of Arab Americans in the country and the second largest population of Jewish people in the U.S..
Tre’vell Anderson: And speaking of California, Senator Laphonza Butler who Newsom appointed to replace the late Senator Diane Feinstein, said she will not run in 2024 for a full term. In an interview with The New York Times, Butler said that she intends to use her time in office to be, quote, “the loudest proudest champion of the Golden State,” but added that the work itself is, quote, “not the greatest use of my voice.” Butler was tapped to become the second Black woman to represent California in the U.S. Senate less than three weeks ago. Newsom had previously promised to appoint a Black woman to Feinstein’s seat if it became vacant. But even without Butler’s name in the ring, the race for California’s second Senate seat will still be a crowded one. It includes Democratic Representatives Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee. Former L.A. Dodgers star Steve Garvey is also in the running as a Republican.
Priyanka Aribindi: Another American journalist has been detained in Russia. Alsu Kurmasheva, an editor with the U.S. funded Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty Network faces charges of failing to register as a foreign agent. Kurmasheva, who is a dual Russian American citizen, arrived in Russia back in May for a family emergency. But as she was waiting for her return flight back to the U.S., authorities detained her and confiscated her passports. News of the charges against her were announced on Wednesday. State Department spokesman Matt Miller yesterday said that the U.S. has been working quietly on Kurmasheva’s case for months and that Russian authorities never formally notified Washington about the charges against her. Miller also added this:
[clip of Matt Miller] This appears to be another case of the Russian government harassing U.S. citizens, which is why we continue to have a level four travel warning and encourage all U.S. citizens not to travel to Russia for any reason.”.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, those warnings not to be messed around with. This is the second time that Russia has detained an American journalist this year. Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal was detained in Russia back in March. He is still not home. So now we have not one but two journalists to bring home.
Tre’vell Anderson: And finally, as everyone is getting their costumes ready for Halloween, SAG-AFTRA is telling Hollywood actors to dress down. The union posted new guidelines for its picketing members this week, asking them not to wear costumes from struck film or television productions. The idea is to avoid giving the studios any free publicity. So that means no Barbie pink outfits, Oppenheimer suits or Carmy cosplays. Instead, SAG members have been asked to opt for generic, non-branded costumes like ghosts or zombies, or even choose something from a cartoon, since animation workers aren’t on strike. Shout out to the Powerpuff Girls in case somebody needs a suggestion. Cow and chicken also feels very simple and easy to do. So many options. That’s all I got to say. If actors just can’t resist the urge to dress up as something from a struck production, the union advises that they just don’t any photos of their costumes to social media.
Priyanka Aribindi: Best of luck with that.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. Okay. To be clear, the new guidance only applies to SAG members, not the general public. This all comes as the SAG strike is set to enter its 100th day tomorrow amid stalled negotiations with Hollywood studios.
Priyanka Aribindi: Can’t wait for Drew Barrymore to dress up as Barbie, post a crying [laughter] video to Instagram about why she should be able to dress up as Barbie. Five days later be like I shouldn’t have dressed up as Barbie. [laughter] This is not going to go well. This will not go well.
Tre’vell Anderson: This is going to be amazing. It’s going to be so much fun.
Priyanka Aribindi: They’re facing the real crisis of their lives. Do they abide by the rules and have a boring Halloween costume or do they not post? And I, I feel for them in this moment. That is real tough stuff, guys.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, we’re going to see what Heidi Klum and the rest of them do.
Priyanka Aribindi: She’s the only one who’s prepared. She’s the only one.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] Right? She’s going to do the worm again or–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: –or something like that.
Priyanka Aribindi: Another insect.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] And those are the headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers and our senior producer is Lita Martínez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka. [music break]