In This Episode
- Israeli forces said they were closing in on Gaza City as of Monday night. Meanwhile, Palestinian health officials said more than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began. Israel said it will not agree to a ceasefire, although White House officials said there might be “tactical pauses” on the table to allow for humanitarian efforts.
- Former President Donald Trump took the stand on Monday in his New York civil fraud trial. During his testimony, Trump called New York Attorney General Letitia James a political hack and scolded the case’s judge. He also acknowledged his role in putting together the company’s annual financial statements.
- The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in United States v. Rahimi, a case that could shape limitations on gun ownership in the future. This is the second major gun rights case this Court has taken, and it’s shaping up to be even more consequential – and contentious – than the first.
- And in headlines: a jury found a Colorado police officer not guilty in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, teachers in Portland, Oregon were back on the picket line, and Gannett announced its new Taylor Swift beat reporter.
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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, November 7th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson and this is What a Day. On today’s show, Trump took the stand in the fraud case against him and things did not go well. Plus, we’ll tell you what you need to know about today’s Supreme Court hearing on whether domestic abusers should have access to guns.
Josie Duffy Rice: But first, let’s bring you a quick update on the Israel-Hamas war. We’re recording this on Monday night at 9:30 Eastern and at the moment, Israeli forces say they’re closing in on Gaza City and will enter it soon. We talked a little bit about this yesterday. Meanwhile, Palestinian health officials said yesterday that more than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its offensive. That’s after Hamas militants killed 1400 people in Israel and kidnapped hundreds more one month ago. In reaction to that latest number, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres had this to say to reporters in New York.
[clip of António Guterres] Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children. Hundreds of girls and boys are reportedly being killed or injured every day. More journalists have reportedly been killed over a four week period than in any conflict in at least three decades. More United Nations aid workers have been killed than in any comparable period in the history of our organization. I salute all those who continue their life saving work despite the overwhelming challenges and risks. And the unfolding catastrophe makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, so we have the U.N. calling for a ceasefire now. That’s what I heard from that clip. And we mentioned yesterday that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is basically avoiding the calls for a ceasefire. However, I guess there might be some new news on that front regardless.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s not a cease fire per se, but White House officials said that there might be, quote, “tactical pauses on the table.” So now we’re starting to use all this jargon that means different things, even though they kind of sound the same. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talked yesterday about pauses in the fighting so there could be windows where humanitarian aid is delivered to Gaza as well as the possible release of hostages. However, that’s like hours long windows, not like indefinite cease fire. Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: And roughly 70% of Gaza’s residents have fled their homes since the war began. And so important supplies like food and water and medicine are running really low. So if Israel agrees to pause, it will open up an important opportunity for civilians to get necessary help, at least in theory. We heard yesterday about how sometimes there have been attacks during those pauses or at places that are supposed to be safe, so people don’t always take advantage of them. And Netanyahu told ABC News yesterday that Israel will not allow a cease fire until Hamas releases all hostages. So that still seems not on the table. But it’s good to hear the U.N. secretary general calling for it. And we will bring you more as it develops. That is the latest on the war in the Middle East.
Tre’vell Anderson: Thanks for that, Josie And now on to another quick update, this one on former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York in which he took the stand yesterday.
[clip of Donald Trump] This is a sad. I think it’s a very sad day for America. But anyway, this is a case that should have never been brought, and it’s a case that should be immediately dismissed. Thank you. Thank you very much. [sound of reporters yelling after Trump]
Tre’vell Anderson: So that was Trump moments after exiting the courtroom. As a reminder, this is the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James that accuses him and his business of inflating their net worth by billions of dollars in order to defraud banks and insurers. And as you might expect, Donald Trump did Donald Trump for literally four friggin hours in the courtroom. The words that The New York Times used to describe his behavior on the stand tell the full story in my eyes. They called him, quote, “belligerent and brash, unrepentant and verbose.”
Josie Duffy Rice: Donald Trump? [laughter] Unrepentant and verbose. I have never been so sad to not have video from a court case, I have to say.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: What did our esteemed former president have to say for himself?
Tre’vell Anderson: Esteemed is a strong word. [laughter] But he called Attorney General Letitia James a political hack, one of his favorite words. Like you mentioned.
Josie Duffy Rice: He loves hack.
Tre’vell Anderson: He loves hack, honey.
Josie Duffy Rice: He’s kind of bringing it back for me, to be honest. Like, let’s use hack again. That’s like, the one good thing this man has given us. [laughter]
Tre’vell Anderson: He also called the case, quote, “a very unfair trial, and he even scolded the case’s Judge Arthur Engoron, saying quote, “He called me a fraud and he doesn’t know anything about me.”
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s so funny because what he knows about Trump is just like all his financial records, it’s like that’s actually all we need to know to know if you’re a fraud.
Tre’vell Anderson: Literally. Trump, though, right, is, of course, referencing with that statement the fact that even before the case went to trial, Judge Engoron ruled that Trump’s financial statements were indeed filled with fraud. Trump said, quote, “The fraud is on the court, not me.” And the judge right has been fairly unfazed by all this commentary, perhaps just annoyed more than anything, even saying at one point, quote, “You can attack me, you can do whatever you want, but answer the question.”
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. And that’s not what you want to hear when you’re on stand.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And you know, the funny thing is, when Trump did actually answer the questions presented to him, I’m not sure he actually did himself any favors. At one point, for example, he actually acknowledged his role in putting together the company’s annual financial statements. He said, quote, “I would look at them, I would see them, and I would maybe on occasion have some suggestions.” Now, that sounds like an admission to me.
Josie Duffy Rice: Just like the one time this man decided to tell the truth.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. But then he went on to sort of kind of minimize the importance of those very documents, basically saying that they’re, quote unquote, “worthless” because banks paid very little attention to them. Trump also said that some of those bankers would be testifying in his defense in the trial. So I guess we have that to look forward to, maybe? [laugh]
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I feel like that’s probably news to them. [laughter] So what happens next in this case?
Tre’vell Anderson: So his daughter Ivanka is set to take the stand on Wednesday. Her brothers, Eric and Don Jr already have. And after Ivanka, it’s expected that Trump’s defense lawyers will begin calling their own witnesses as early as Thursday. They’ve said that their projected schedule would have the case concluded by December 15th, which is a week before the trial is set to end. Now, in terms of what Trump’s punishment could be, Attorney General James would like a few things, including Trump paying a $250 million dollar penalty and permanently banning him from doing real estate business in the state. No matter the punishment, though, this trial ending in mid to late December I think is perfect timing to ensure all of the Trumps get a little coal in their stockings for Chrismahanukwanzakah, whichever of the above they celebrate.
Josie Duffy Rice: I can tell you it’s not Kwanzaa.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] Well, listen, you never know what they’re doing at Mar-a-Lago.
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s true. [laughter] It is chaotic in so many ways. Ugh. If you know anything about a Mar-a-Lago Kwanzaa party, [laughter] please contact us immediately. I mean, I can’t offer you money, but we will buy you dinner or something. Okay. Thank you for that Tre’vell. Another story we’re following could have implications for gun rights. Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments, the United States versus Rahimi. A case that could shape limitations on gun ownership in the future. This is the second major Second Amendment case that this court has taken, and it’s shaping up to be even more consequential and much more contentious even than the first.
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, I don’t like the sound of that. Tell us a little bit about the case.
Josie Duffy Rice: The facts here are a doozy. According to SCOTUSblog, in 2019 Zackey Rahimi allegedly, quote, “dragged his then girlfriend back to his car when she tried to leave after an argument.” She said he also pushed her into the car, causing her to hit her head on the dashboard. And then when he realized that someone had witnessed this like domestic violence incident, he allegedly fired a gun at the bystander. Do not recommend doing that. His then girlfriend got a restraining order, which among other things, prohibited him from having a gun, and he allegedly soon violated that restraining order. And over the next two months, was involved in five shootings, including one where he fired into the air after his friend’s credit card was declined at a fast food restaurant.
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, wow.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Eventually he was arrested for violating his restraining order. And Rahimi and more accurately, the activist gun rights organizations driving this litigation claim that the law banning him from having a gun was unconstitutional.
Tre’vell Anderson: Interesting.
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s the beginning of how we got to where we are.
Tre’vell Anderson: All right. Scratching my head.
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: Obviously, this is a very high stakes case. Many of the gun rights ones end up being in this era of the court. What can we expect from them on this?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s going to be pretty tough because even for people accused of domestic violence, Rahimi’s behavior is on the extreme end. Right. Like he was involved in six shootings between the inciting incident for the restraining order and his subsequent arrest two months later. So it’s a little difficult when you have a case like this to say like, no, it’s illegal to tell this guy he can’t shoot at the fast food restaurant.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Doesn’t sound good. But this is also the most pro gun rights court we’ve seen in a very, very, very long time I mean generations. Right. So we’re really going to have to see. The Supreme Court swears they don’t care about PR, they only care about the Constitution. But it’s a little hard for me to see how they are going to argue that it’s like completely okay for people accused of abuse to have unfettered access to weapons, because that’s not what Thomas Jefferson wanted or whatever, you know. It’s going to be hard to make that kind of like originalism case, but the court has managed to subvert my expectations many times, so I wouldn’t put it past them.
Tre’vell Anderson: So the court is going to be looking for what they call a quote unquote “historic analogue,” basically, whether or not there is anything in history similar to this restriction that they can use as a precedent of sorts. But as I understand it, you have some issues with that.
Josie Duffy Rice: I do have some issues with that, in part because and as people have pointed out, this is really tricky because for most of history, we didn’t have restraining orders for domestic violence, like spousal abuse was historically accepted. It wasn’t even until 1920 that domestic violence became illegal in all 50 states. So you can’t really go back to the founders when the founders thought it was kind of okay to beat your wife.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: But that being said, like, while this analogue argument is pretty absurd to me, there are points that Rahimi is making in this case or his lawyers are making that I think are important. Like the Biden administration has said that this restriction only applies to the most dangerous of people. And obviously this guy seems to be a bit of a loose cannon. But challengers argue that in actuality that’s not true, that this restriction applies to a whole swath of protective orders, including those where, quote, “there was no finding that the subject of the order had actually made threats or been violent.” In fact, many criminal defense organizations filed briefs in the case, saying that the government tends to enact far too broad criminal laws and be overly punitive. Something you may have noticed, I believe, and is part of the reason we have the biggest criminal justice system in the world. Right. So it’s hard to trust that the Biden administration is going to draw the right line or that any government is going to draw the right line.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, definitely another example of them trying to thread a needle of sorts on this issue and so many others. There’s also some news about Rahimi himself. What did he have to say?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, there’s a fun fact about our boy Rahimi. He doesn’t even want a gun anymore. In a handwritten letter from jail he decided that he wanted to, quote, “stay away from all firearms and weapons and never be away from my family again.”.
Tre’vell Anderson: Hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: I don’t know how sincere this is, but whether or not this proves to be true, his name will forever be on a major Second Amendment case, regardless of which way the court goes on it. So that is what you need to know about this important case. Make sure to listen to the latest Strict Scrutiny, too, because they go even deeper on this case and they are great at it. And the justices will issue their decision by next summer, if not sooner. But that is the latest for now. And we will be back after some ads. [music break].
Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: A jury yesterday found a Colorado police officer not guilty in the 2019 death of 23 year old Elijah McClain. Aurora officer Nathan Woodyard was the first on the scene and put McClain in a neck hold that left him temporarily unconscious. Over the 15 day trial, state prosecutors argued that Woodyard’s neck hold contributed to McClain’s death. He is the second officer to be acquitted for their use of force in the killing. Two other officers were tried jointly beginning in September. Randy Roedema was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and third degree assault and will be sentenced in January. Jason Rosenblatt, on the other hand, was acquitted of all charges. The two paramedics who injected an overdose of ketamine into McClain after his arrest have also been indicted. Meanwhile, Woodyard remains suspended from the department without pay, pending the outcome of the trial. In 2021, the city of Aurora agreed to pay a $15 million dollar settlement after McClain’s family sued the Aurora Police Department and paramedics.
Josie Duffy Rice: Teachers in Portland, Oregon, were back on the picket line yesterday after the district and its teachers union failed to reach a deal over the weekend. That means classes were canceled for a fourth day for about 45,000 students in the state’s largest school district. We told you last week that teachers and other school staffers walked off the job last Wednesday to demand higher wages, more planning time, and caps on class sizes, among other things. And according to their union, the Portland Association of Education, the action is the first ever teacher strike in district history. The two sides have been negotiating for months and are more than $200 million dollars apart in their proposals. Not a small amount. The union is asking for a salary increase of about 20% over three years, while the school district said that it can’t afford the union’s proposal. But during a news conference yesterday, some state legislators expressed discontent with that claim. Here’s state senator, Elizabeth Steiner:
[clip of Elizabeth Steiner] It’s frustrating. As others have mentioned, they’ve been in negotiations for the better part of a year. So when Superintendent Guerrero testified in front of the legislature that we should fund $10.3 billion dollars, which we did, it feels a little disingenuous to have them come back and say, actually, we can’t do it because you didn’t give us enough money.
Josie Duffy Rice: Meanwhile, the district and the union were set to return to the bargaining table again yesterday.
Tre’vell Anderson: Now we turn back to Maui, where the Lahaina wildfire continues to take a mental toll on survivors of the disaster that left 99 people dead. Maui’s director of mental health services told NBC News that the island’s behavioral health care system has been overwhelmed in recent weeks. Providers are struggling to accommodate an increasing number of patients seeking counseling and trauma informed care, and officials only expect that number to grow in the coming months as survivors of the disaster continue to heal. Local health care providers have reported an uptick in severe depression, trauma flashbacks, and even suicidal thoughts in recent weeks. Debbie Scott, a social worker and therapist on Maui, told NBC, quote, “Losing pets and losing every belonging, losing history, losing tradition has left souls pretty empty.” This all comes amid the reopening of West Maui to tourism, a move that many locals have called premature in the island’s recovery process. The wild fires, which erupted on August 8th of this year, have been deemed one of the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
Josie Duffy Rice: Switching gears now, if you or your little ones are consuming dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets or fruit pouches, listen up. Tyson Foods has recalled around 30,000 pounds of their fun nuggets out of an abundance of caution. That comes after some people found metal pieces in their breaded chicken nuggets. The recalled nuggets were produced at just one location back in September, but were shipped to distributors across nine states, including Tennessee, California and Illinois. So far, the USDA said it’s only received one report of a minor oral injury, but the agency is advising folks to toss the frozen nuggets for good or return them to where they were purchased. And separately, two more fruit puree pouches for kids are being recalled over possible lead contamination. In total, three companies have now issued recalls for their applesauce pouches. They include Schnucks Markets, Weis Markets and WanaBana. The FDA said people should not eat, sell, or serve the apple cinnamon fruit pouches and said that anyone who has consumed the purees should be tested for possible lead poisoning.
Tre’vell Anderson: Could you imagine? Your child is chewing on some nuggets and y’all discover some metal in your nuggets?
Josie Duffy Rice: I have to say my first thought was definitely in my house I’m the person most likely to be eating the chicken nuggets, so I’m the most [laughter] likely one to get the medal. If we’re being honest.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] Cut it out, Josie.
Josie Duffy Rice: And probably also the applesauce if we’re being real.
Tre’vell Anderson: That just means this impacts more people than just the children.
Josie Duffy Rice: True. It’s not just the kids.
Tre’vell Anderson: And Gannett is finally out of the woods.
[clip of Bryan West] Hi, my name is Bryan West and here are 13 reasons why you should hire me.
Tre’vell Anderson: That is the voice of Bryan West, the newly hired Taylor Swift beat reporter for the media company in his application for the job. The 35 year old journalist from Arizona was selected from a wide pool of applicants, ranging from veteran hard news reporters, including at least one very established White House reporter, to very online Swifties who wanted to cover all things Taylor Swift. Now West will be working out of the Tennessean’s newsroom for USA Today and the company’s over 200 local dailies. Gannett first announced the job opening in September, and it brought up mixed feelings. Some people worried about the position focused solely on the pop star when local news is suffering, and others were thrilled to see the innovation and creation of this new beat. And now, with the hiring complete, the controversy has taken on a new form. West is a self-proclaimed Swiftie, which some critics are saying goes against journalistic ethics when it comes to remaining unbiased in his coverage. Josie, I know you have thoughts.
Josie Duffy Rice: I do have thoughts. I’m sure Bryan West is a lovely person. But if someone writes in doing a video themed to the person that they’re supposed to be covering’s work, it might mean that they can’t really be super objective on reporting on this person.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, it’s interesting because he does have your typical journalism background, right, in terms of–
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: –credentials and–
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: –places he’s worked before.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m not really the one to be giving the whole unbiased objectivity in journalism–
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: –point, because I think objectivity is a machination of white supremacy.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s true.
Tre’vell Anderson: But.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s true.
Tre’vell Anderson: In this case it does seem like being an expressed fan–
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: –of this person who you in theory would be doing these deep dives. Maybe you’d be investigating, wasn’t there a story about Taylor Swift’s plane?
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: And like carbon emissions or something like that.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Correct.
Tre’vell Anderson: Like, if you’re a fan of hers, you’ve got a photo of hers. Is that a story that would be front of mind for you to tackle? I don’t know. I guess we’re going to find out.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not personal against Bryan.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s not.
Josie Duffy Rice: I just feel like this whole thing is kind of it’s a little dark.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, it’s not great. And those are the headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review and tell your friends to listen.
Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter, check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: 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 showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.