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- Buttigieg’s 2020 donors are talking 2024. They aren’t happy with Kamala Harris’ performance and think a contingency plan should be ready in case Biden backs out.
- Investigators say Democratic lawmaker’s stock trades most likely violated federal law
- Alec Baldwin fatally shot a person on a movie set with a prop gun, authorities say
With Phil Rosen.
1. ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Some Democrats are already sharpening their 2024 elbows. Officially, President Joe Biden, who is already the oldest US president to be sworn in and would be 82 years old by January 2025, is still flirting with a reelection campaign. Unofficially, top donors to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg are already trashing Vice President Kamala Harris’ chances.
Insider has some exclusive details on what’s being said at informal dinners:
“There’s no map in the universe that exists in which Kamala Harris could possibly win a national election,” a Democratic strategist who was informed by people who attended the dinners told Insider of the tone of the room.
- Still, some of Buttigieg’s top supporters don’t expect a challenge: If Biden doesn’t run, Harris is clearly the party’s heir apparent. “In their estimation, it would take the masses gathering to push him to do it, meaning the donors of the world, the political elites,” the strategist said of Buttigieg supporters’ feelings.
More than two dozen Buttigieg donors have been attending the dinners: They’ve been held in traditional Democratic money-raising hubs including Washington, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley. Most of the attendees were “bundlers,” meaning they gathered large donations for Buttigieg and later Biden from other megadonors. One Buttigieg donor said the transportation secretary himself had cut off donor contact.
2. Key moments from Biden’s town hall: Biden gave an unusually candid assessment of where things stood with his massive social-spending plan, telling viewers during a CNN town hall that he’d been forced to drop his plans for free community college and probably wouldn’t be able to raise the corporate tax rate, The Washington Post reports. Asked about his infamous profane statement about how big a deal Obamacare was, Biden said his economic plan would actually be a “bigger darn deal” than Obama’s signature law. More from Biden on where talks stand.
Some key highlights:
An audience of two: Biden went out of his way to try to avoid criticizing the centrist Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, whose votes he cannot lose. “Joe’s not a bad guy – he’s a friend,” Biden said of Manchin. “She’s smart as the devil,” he added later of Sinema.
- But there was some prodding: Biden said he’s trying to sway Manchin on a compromise for the major climate-related proposals in the legislation, saying, “There’s a lot of things Joe is open to my convincing him.” Biden also said he opposed Manchin’s pursuit of a work requirement for the expanded child tax credit. As for Sinema, Biden said “where she’s not supportive is she says she will not raise a single penny in taxes on the corporate side and/or on wealthy people.” (The White House later clarified that Biden was talking only about raising the corporate tax rate of 21%, which was lowered by the GOP’s 2017 tax overhaul.)
The Taiwan tango: Biden pledged that the US would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked the self-governing island, which it’s long claimed as its own, the BBC reports. Historically, the US has been intentionally vague on what it would do if Beijing attacked Taiwan. The White House later said Biden was “not announcing any change in our policy.” More on the eyebrow-raising comments.
3. House votes to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt: Lawmakers voted to hold Bannon in contempt after he defied a subpoena from the January 6 select committee, calling on him to provide documents and testimony in connection to his actions before, during, and after the insurrection. The Justice Department will now make the final decision on whether to bring charges against him. Just nine House Republicans broke with their party to support holding Bannon in contempt.
4. CDC head expands booster-shot availability: An influential advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously voted to recommend booster shots for some Moderna vaccine recipients and all Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky then gave the final OK, meaning shots can now start going into millions of more arms. Here’s how to know whether you should get a COVID-19 booster shot.
5. Investigators say Democratic lawmaker’s stock trades probably violated federal law: Investigators found “substantial reason to believe” Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski of New Jersey violated federal laws designed to promote transparency and defend against conflicts of interest. The House Ethics Committee will further examine whether Malinowski failed to properly disclose dozens of personal stock trades he made during 2019 and 2020, which Insider first reported in March. This year, 43 congressional lawmakers have been found to have violated a law meant to stop insider trading.
6. White House warns of national security threats related to the climate crisis: The Biden administration sounded a dire warning over the knock-on effects of the climate crisis. US intelligence agencies and the Pentagon prepared the 37-report, which warns of increasingly severe weather events that could directly or indirectly worsen tensions between nations and spur unprecedented mass migration. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said understanding climate change was necessary to help “deter war.”
7. Alec Baldwin killed a person on a movie set with a prop gun: Baldwin discharged a prop firearm that killed one person and injured another on the set of the movie “Rust” at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday, authorities said. The film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, 42, died after being transported to a local hospital. The film’s director, Joel Souza, 48, is believed to have left the hospital after being treated. Journalists with the Santa Fe New Mexican saw Baldwin looking distraught late Thursday. Here’s what else we know.
8. FBI says it found Brian Laundrie’s remains: Authorities confirmed that Laundrie’s remains were found in the Florida reserve where he was reported missing last month. A comparison of dental records confirmed his identity. Laundrie was the sole person of interest in the killing of his fiancée, Gabby Petito, during a road trip. More on the news.
9. A reckoning for YouTube? YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki built a $US1 ($AU1) trillion video empire by not being like Facebook. While other Big Tech firms have fallen under scrutiny time and again, YouTube has managed to avoid pitfalls and stave off controversy. But insiders say pressure is growing for Google’s fastest-growing business.
10. Ransomware gang strikes Halloween giant: The largest candy-corn manufacturer in the US was hacked by a ransomware gang. Fortunately, Ferrara Candy – which produces Sweet Tarts, Nerds, and Brach’s Candy Corn – doesn’t expect the hack to affect the availability of its Halloween candy. Company-wide hacks have become more common during the coronavirus pandemic – apparently not even candy makers are safe.
Today’s trivia question: Speaking of Manchin, which college football coach is lifelong friends with the senator? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at [email protected].
- Yesterday’s answer: Woodrow Wilson is the only president to be buried at the National Cathedral. He’s also the only president to be buried in Washington, DC.
That’s all for now, have a great weekend!