10 things you need to know today: October 4, 2023

Kevin McCarthy ousted as House speaker, judge imposes a partial gag order in Trump fraud trial, and more

Kevin McCarthy
Kevin McCarthy lost his gavel
(Image credit: Ricky Carioti / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

1. Kevin McCarthy ousted as House speaker in historic vote

A small group of far-right Republicans pushed through a vote Tuesday to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as House speaker — the first time in U.S. history House members voted out the chamber's leader. Eight GOP hardliners, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), voted for the resolution to remove McCarthy, complaining he worked with Democrats to pass a short-term spending measure to prevent a government shutdown over the weekend. Ironically, McCarthy's GOP critics also relied on Democrats to give him the boot in the 216 to 210 vote. Democrats had wrestled with how to vote. In the end, House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told his caucus not to save McCarthy because of his "unwillingness to break from MAGA extremism." The New York Times, Reuters

2. Judge imposes gag order in Trump fraud trial

New York Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over Donald Trump's civil fraud trial, imposed a limited gag order on the former president Tuesday, ordering him to delete a social media post critical of the judge's law clerk. Hours earlier, Trump had posted a picture of Engoron's principal law clerk posing with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) during a public event. Trump has claimed the case is a political "witch hunt" pushed by New York's Democratic attorney general, Letitia James. Engoron warned everyone involved in the case they would face "serious sanctions" if they smear court personnel. "Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, not appropriate, and I will not tolerate them," Engoron said. The Associated Press

3. Biden affirms Ukraine support after aid stripped from spending deal

President Biden spoke by phone with U.S. allies on Tuesday to assure them that Washington would support Ukraine "as long as it takes as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity" against a Russian invasion, the White House said. Other leaders also expressed their ongoing commitment to provide military and humanitarian assistance to Kyiv during the call, which included U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, President Andrzej Duda of Poland, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and leaders of the European Commission and NATO. Biden's reassurances came after far-right Republicans insisted on removing Ukraine funding from the temporary spending measure that averted a government shutdown. Bloomberg, The New York Times

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4. Kari Lake files paperwork to run for Sinema's Senate seat

Former TV news anchor Kari Lake, an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump, filed paperwork Tuesday to run for the Senate seat held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.). The race could be critical in determining control of the Senate. It is one of eight Democrat-aligned seats considered to be at risk in 2024. Sinema won the seat as a Democrat but in December switched her affiliation to independent. If she seeks re-election, it could be a three-way race. Lake, a Republican, lost the 2024 gubernatorial election to Democrat Katie Hobbs, 50.3% to 49.6%, and refused to accept the result. An Arizona judge dismissed the last of her legal challenges in May. Arizona Republic, Bloomberg

5. India police raid news website accused of China links

Police in India on Tuesday raided the offices of the news website NewsClick and the homes of 40 journalists associated with the outlet, which is under suspicion of receiving money from China. "Payouts have been made to so-called journalists to spread Chinese propaganda," an Indian official told the Financial Times. Media advocacy groups called the crackdown a sign of eroding press freedom in India. NewsClick is one of India's few remaining independent news organizations, a rare outlet willing to criticize Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NPR reported. At least two journalists described the raids on social media, saying officers were seizing their cellphones and laptops. Financial Times, NPR

6. 8 Chinese companies accused of supplying chemicals for fentanyl, meth

Federal officials on Tuesday announced criminal charges against eight Chinese companies accused of supplying chemicals for illegal production of synthetic drugs, including fentanyl and methamphetamine. Twelve executives also face charges. This was the Biden administration's second major wave of indictments against companies in China for allegedly providing Mexican drug cartels with the chemicals. The finished drugs are fueling a U.S. overdose epidemic that kills more than 100,000 people a year, The Washington Post reported. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a Justice Department news briefing that the "global fentanyl supply chain, which ends with the deaths of Americans, often starts with chemical companies in China." The Washington Post

7. 5 injured by gunfire during Morgan State University homecoming festivities

Gunfire broke out at Morgan State University in northeast Baltimore on Tuesday, injuring five people age 18 to 22, including four students. None of the injuries were life-threatening. Police did not find a suspect. The shooting occurred outside a fine arts auditorium where a packed crowd was leaving after the crowning of Mr. and Miss Morgan State University, part of the historically Black university's homecoming festivities. "We were outside of our coronation... and then we see two gunshots hit the front window and everyone just started running. It was chaos," one student told CNN affiliate WBAL. The administration canceled classes for Wednesday. "This is our homecoming week," sophomore Ray Issy told The Baltimore Sun. "It's like, Bro, why can't we ever have anything nice?" The Baltimore Sun, CNN

8. Report slams Liberty University's handling of sexual violence, crime reporting

Liberty University, a prominent Christian college, has created a culture in which people who endured sexual violence feared they would face reprisal if they reported it, according to a preliminary Department of Education report obtained by USA Today. "Victims of sexual assault felt dissuaded by Liberty administration's reputation for punishing sexual assault survivors rather than helping them," federal investigators said in the report, which was written in May and described by USA Today on Tuesday. The preliminary report said officials at the Lynchburg, Virginia, university underreported crimes and didn't warn people of threats, failing to comply with federal safety requirements. Liberty University said it "remains fully committed" to meeting federal safety requirements, adding that there were "significant errors" in the government report. USA Today, The Washington Post

9. Bus crash kills 21 in Italy

A bus plunged off a bridge Tuesday in Mestre, Italy, near Venice, killing at least 21 people. Two children were among the dead. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro told state media RAI that the vehicle was traveling from Venice to nearby Marghera, "full of people returning home from work." In a Facebook post, Brugnaro described the accident scene as "apocalyptic," saying the bus "completely went off the road, it flew off the bridge." The local fire brigade said "the vehicle caught fire" after crashing through the wall of an overpass and plunging between a warehouse and the Mestre train station. Luca Zaia, president of Italy's Veneto region, called the accident "a tragedy of enormous proportions," and said "the victims and injured are of various nationalities, not just Italians." CNN

10. 3 scientists win Nobel physics prize for work tracking electron movement

Three scientists — Pierre Agostini of Ohio State University, Ferenc Krausz of Germany's Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, and Anne L'Huillier of Sweden's Lund University — won the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for their contributions to understanding how electrons behave inside atoms and molecules. Their research has been applied in health care to improve diagnostics, and could be used to create tests detecting minute changes in the level of molecules in blood. Electrons move at 43 miles per second, a speed that long made it impossible to study them at all. The three scientists' experimental techniques used short light pulses to track electrons' movement in frozen moments in time. Stat News, The New York Times

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