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Saturday, Dec 03rd

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Hakeem Jeffries Elected To Lead House Dems' Next Generation

Hakeem Jeffries elected new House Minority LeaderEmboldened House Democrats ushered in a new generation of leaders on Wednesday with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries elected to be the first Black American to head a major political party in Congress as long-serving Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team step aside next year.

Showing rare party unity after their midterm election losses, the House Democrats moved seamlessly from one history-making leader to another, choosing the 52-year-old New Yorker, who has vowed to “get things done,” even after Republicans won control of the chamber. The closed-door vote was unanimous, by acclamation.

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US Senate passes bill protecting same-sex marriage

US SenateThe US Senate has passed the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation to protect same-sex unions that Democrats are hurrying to get to Joe Biden to be signed into law before Republicans take over the House next year.

The House must now pass the bill, a step the majority leader, Steny Hoyer, said could come as soon as Tuesday 6 December. Nearly 50 House Republicans supported the measure earlier this year. In the Senate, support from 12 Republicans was enough to override the filibuster and advance the bill to Tuesday’s majority vote, which ended 61-36.

Although the Respect for Marriage Act would not codify Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 supreme court decision which made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, it would require states to recognise all marriages that were legal when performed, including in other states. Interracial marriages would also be protected, with states required to recognise legal marriage regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin”.

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Mark Meadows ordered to testify in Trump investigation

Mark Meadows ordered to testify in SC election probe

South Carolina’s Supreme Court has unanimously ordered former White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows to testify to an Atlanta-area grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the election in Georgia.

“We have reviewed the arguments raised by [Meadows] and find them to be manifestly without merit,” South Carolina’s Supreme Court justices wrote in a brief opinion.

The decision affirmed a lower court’s ruling requiring Meadows to testify to the Fulton County grand jury investigation led by District Attorney Fani Willis. Meadows was initially scheduled to appear for testimony on Nov. 30, and it’s unclear if that appearance is still on track.

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U.S. beats Iran and advances to World Cup round of 16a

 Matt Turner of TeamUSA

The United States men's soccer team will be in Qatar for a little longer after defeating Iran in their final group-stage match of the 2022 World Cup on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The 1-0 result extends the team's first World Cup campaign in eight years. It's the seventh time the U.S. has reached the knockout round.

Context: The U.S. needed a victory against Iran to move onto the next tournament stage after drawing Wales (1-1) and England (0-0) in their previous matches.

  • With the victory, the U.S. will be one of the two Group B squads to enter the next round.
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Oath Keepers Trial Verdict Reached In Biggest Jan. 6 Case To Date

Oath Keepers verdictsStewart Rhodes, founder of the right-wing Oath Keepers militia group, was convicted by a jury on Tuesday of seditious conspiracy for last year's attack on the U.S. Capitol in a failed bid to overturn then-President Donald Trump's 2020 election loss - an important victory for the Justice Department.

Rhodes, a Yale Law School-educated former Army paratrooper and disbarred attorney, was accused by prosecutors during an eight-week trial of fomenting a plot to use force to block Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's election victory over Trump.

He was the best-known of the five defendants in the most significant of the numerous trials arising from the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. One co-defendant, Kelly Meggs, was also found guilty of seditious conspiracy on Tuesday, while three others - Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell - were acquitted of that charge.

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US courts ruling in favor of justice department turns legal tide on Trump

US Courts ruling against TrumpA spate of major court rulings rejecting claims of executive privilege and other arguments by Donald Trump and his top allies are boosting investigations by the US justice department (DoJ) and a special Georgia grand jury into whether the former US president broke laws as he sought to overturn the 2020 election results.

Former prosecutors say the upshot of these court rulings is that key Trump backers and ex-administration lawyers – such as ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows and legal adviser John Eastman – can no longer stave off testifying before grand juries in DC and Georgia. They are wanted for questioning about their knowledge of – or active roles in – Trump’s crusade to stop Joe Biden from taking office by leveling false charges of fraud.

Due to a number of court decisions, Meadows, Eastman, Senator Lindsey Graham and others must testify before a special Georgia grand jury working with the Fulton county district attorney focused on the intense drive by Trump and top loyalists to pressure the Georgia secretary of state and other officials to thwart Biden’s victory there.

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Ukraine war: Nato pledges to provide more weapons and fix power grid

NATO pledges arms to Ukraine

Nato has pledged to give more weapons to Ukraine and help fix critical energy infrastructure badly damaged by massive Russian missile and drone strikes.

At a summit in Bucharest, the secretary general of the military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, accused Moscow of "trying to use winter as a weapon of war".

The Russian strikes have left millions of Ukrainians without electricity and running water in freezing temperatures.

Ukraine has for months been asking Nato for more advanced air defence systems.

Under the Geneva conventions, attacks on civilians, or the infrastructure vital to their survival, could be interpreted as a war crime.

Mitt Romney Brutally Assesses How Low Donald Trump Will Go

Mitt Romney

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) measured the depths of Donald Trump’s audacity after the former president met with antisemitic rapper Ye and Holocaust-denying white nationalist Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago.

“I think it has been clear that there’s no bottom to the degree to which President Trump will degrade himself and the nation,” Romney told reporters on Monday after calling Trump’s meeting with the two figures “disgusting.”

Trump had dinner last week at home with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and Fuentes, denying that he invited Fuentes or knew who he was. But the former president, who last week announced his candidacy for 2024, didn’t renounce his guests’ hateful beliefs. (Ye and other sources reported that Trump actually praised Fuentes during their conversation.)

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The Supreme Court Stonewalls In Defense Of Samuel Alito

Justice Samuel Alito

A lawyer for the Supreme Court dismissed questions about ethics issues at the court in a terse reply to a letter from two top congressional Democrats on Monday.

Supreme Court legal counsel Ethan Torrey replied to the inquiry from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), each in charge of oversight of the courts in their respective chambers.

The two congressional investigators had pressed Chief Justice John Roberts to answer questions about how the court handles ethical breaches after news reports revealed a pressure campaign by the Christian conservative group Faith & Action, at the time run by Rev. Rob Schenck, that allegedly resulted in Justice Samuel Alito revealing the outcome of his 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby prior to its release.

Torrey did not answer any of Whitehouse and Johnson’s questions regarding ongoing or potential ethics inquiries into the court’s leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, or into Alito’s alleged leak of the Hobby Lobby outcome. Nor did he say which justices received gifts as part of the religious right pressure campaign.

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