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House speaker Mike Johnson faces key test as government shutdown is days away with no deal in sight – US politics live | US politics

Key events

Lately, Donald Trump has been spending a lot of time in the New York City courtroom where a judge is deciding how much of a penalty to levy on his business empire for committing what he found to be civil fraud. Earlier this week, Trump took the witness stand for what the Guardian’s Lauren Aratani described as “his most expensive rally ever”. Here’s more:

When Donald Trump took the witness stand on Monday morning, he started what might turn out to be his most expensive rally ever.

This was supposed to be his chance to give his side of the case in a $250m fraud trial that threatens to end his business career in New York state. On the stand, Trump mentioned crime in New York City and “election interference” as if he were in front of a crowd.

“Many people are leaving New York … you have the attorney general sitting here all day long, it’s a shame what’s going on,” Trump said. “We have a hostile judge, and it’s sad.”

The former president’s appearance on the witness stand would feel familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a glimpse of Trump’s rallies. Outside a huge line of reporters waited to get in. Banks of TV cameras parked outside the venue. Protesters shouted. The trial judge is the sole decider of this case and the fine that is at stake. But when Trump comes to town, the circus follows.

Even his testimony was reminiscent of his rallies. His statements about his real estate company were wistful, boastful and bizarre. “If I want to build something, I built a very big ballroom, a big ballroom that was built by me, it was very large, very beautiful,” Trump said when talking about using the value of Mar-a-Lago. Talking about his Scottish golf club, he promised: “At some point, at a very old age, I’ll do the most beautiful thing you’ll ever see,” he didn’t reveal what.

Donald Trump will have a heavy schedule of court appointments early next year, right in the middle of primary season.

Here’s a rundown of all the trial dates and other proceedings scheduled in the criminal and civil suits the former president and current frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination is facing:

Federal judge declines to change trial date in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago case — for now

In a new legal filing, federal judge Aileen Cannon has decided to keep 20 May of next year as the start date for the trial of Donald Trump and his co-defendants on charges related to storing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and conspiring to keep them out of the hands of the government.

But Cannon did grant a request from defense attorneys to push back deadlines regarding the classified evidence in the trial, which could end up delaying the start date of the proceedings – though Cannon did not explicitly order that in today’s filing.

Trump mulls indicting political rivals if elected president in 2024

Donald Trump is facing 91 felony charges spread across four criminal indictments, but remains the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. In an interview, the former president suggested that if he is returned to the White House next year, he could order the FBI and justice department to indict his political rivals, arguing that he would merely be repeating what the Biden administration did to him.

Here’s more on that, from the Guardian’s Sam Levine:

Donald Trump has suggested he would use the FBI and justice department to go after political rivals should he return to the White House next year in a move which will further stoke fears of what a second period of office for Trump could mean.

Trump made the comments during an interview with the Spanish-language television network Univision. Host Enrique Acevedo asked him about his flood of legal problems saying: “You say they’ve weaponized the justice department, they weaponized the FBI. Would you do the same if you’re re-elected?”

“They’ve already done it, but if they want to follow through on this, yeah, it could certainly happen in reverse,” Trump replied. “They’ve released the genie out of the box.”

“When you’re president and you’ve done a good job and you’re popular, you don’t go after them so you can win an election. They’ve done indictments in order to win an election. They call it weaponization,” Trump added. “But yeah they have done something that allows the next party, I mean if somebody, if I happen to be president and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say go down and indict them, mostly they would be out of business. They’d be out. They’d be out of of the election.”

Moderate House GOP lawmakers call for backing off Biden impeachment inquiry, arguing president is unpopular enough – report

One piece of unfinished business before House Republicans is the impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden. Shortly before he was ejected from the speaker’s office, Kevin McCarthy green-lit an investigation into still-unproven allegations of corruption against the president, which center on the overseas business activities of his son, Hunter Biden, and other family members. After one hearing that didn’t go particularly well for Republicans, the investigation stagnated after McCarthy was ousted and the GOP spent weeks trying to find a replacement.

The new speaker Mike Johnson recently said he would decide soon on whether to continue the inquiry, and this past Wednesday, oversight committee chair James Comer sent subpoenas to Hunter Biden and two other people he believes can prove wrongdoing by the president. But today, the Washington Post reports that several moderate Republicans think impeachment is not worth pursuing because of the president’s poor poll numbers, and Johnson seems to agree.

Here’s more from their story:

“We’ll just go where the evidence goes and we’re not there yet,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said, paraphrasing Johnson’s comments on the inquiry at the Republican Governance Group’s weekly lunch on Tuesday. “Most of us are saying, look, we can’t even get a single Democratic vote on this right now. I think the voters will reject what they are seeing when it comes to Biden [policies] — but high crimes and misdemeanors? I don’t think we’ve seen that or enough data to really make a good case and I feel like [Johnson] really agreed with us on that.”

Johnson, who told reporters that he has been “intellectually consistent” in cautioning against a rushed investigation during a news conference last week, has previously accused Biden of bribing or pressuring a foreign leader. During a Fox News appearance over the summer, Johnson accused Biden of wielding taxpayer resources to fire Ukraine’s top prosecutor to benefit his son’s business dealings — an allegation widely disputed by both U.S. and foreign officials. And in another interview on Fox News last week, Johnson said that “if, in fact, all the evidence leads to where we believe it will, that’s very likely impeachable offenses.”

But in this week’s private meeting with moderates, Johnson appeared to agree with Republican lawmakers who argued that since Biden’s polling numbers have been so weak, there is less of a political imperative to impeach him, according to Bacon and others who attended the meeting.

“Is it pragmatic? Does it make sense? Connecting those dots matter,” Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Ore.) said after the meeting. “So I don’t think it makes sense to move down a road unless those dots can be connected, and I think that’s the message he was trying to send to us which we appreciated.”

All eyes on House speaker Johnson as US government one week out from shutdown

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Once again, the US government is days away from a shutdown, and there’s no concrete plan to avert it. Much of the focus today will be on Mike Johnson, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, who is tasked with getting legislation to fund the government through his unruly and deeply divided chamber. It’s a particularly perilous mission for him, since his predecessor Kevin McCarthy was forced out of his post after working with Democrats to keep the government open a few weeks ago, and several of the dynamics that ended his speakership still exist in the House.

Johnson reportedly wants to propose a bill to fund different parts of the government for different periods of time, but many lawmakers view that as too complicated, and it’s unlikely to get much traction in the Senate. In that chamber, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is said to be moving forward with his own bill to keep the government going, but it, of course, will need the OK of the House, where conservative lawmakers want spending cut dramatically. Lawmakers have quite the knot to unravel, and the stakes of failing to do so would be a shutdown starting after 17 November with unpredictable consequences for both parties, and Joe Biden.

Here’s what else is going on today:

  • Biden and Chinese president Xi Jinping will meet on 15 November, the White House just announced. It will be their first meeting in a year and the leaders “will discuss issues in the U.S.-PRC bilateral relationship, the continued importance of maintaining open lines of communication, and a range of regional and global issues”.

  • Senate Republicans managed to disrupt an attempt by Democrats on the judiciary committee yesterday to send subpoenas to two prominent conservative activists involved in arranging luxury travel for supreme court justices.

  • Derek Kilmer and Brian Higgins, both Democrats, and Republican Brad Wenstrup, announced they would retire from the House yesterday. None represent competitive districts.

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