Kevin McCarthy Was Ousted as House Speaker


Members of the House of Representatives voted this afternoon to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his leadership position. The extraordinary move, which has never before happened, leaves the chamber without a leader and plunges it into dysfunctional chaos.

Democrats and a small group of right-wing rebels in McCarthy’s own party voted to strip the California Republican of the speaker’s gavel in a 216-to-210 vote. It was the culmination of a bitter power struggle between McCarthy and members of a far-right faction who tried to block his ascent to the speakership in January and who have tormented him ever since.

Before the vote, a surreal Republican-against-Republican debate played out on the House floor, as members of the hard-right clutch of rebels railed against their own speaker and verbally sparred with McCarthy’s defenders.

Democrats had wrestled with whether to help McCarthy survive. But in a closed-door meeting this morning, Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, instructed fellow Democrats not to do so, citing Republicans’ “unwillingness to break from MAGA extremism.”

A vacancy in the speaker’s chair essentially paralyzes the House until a successor is chosen, according to multiple procedural experts. The vacuum tees up another potentially messy speaker election, as Congress faces another deadline in just over 40 days to avert a government shutdown.

What’s next: House Republicans will meet tonight to choose a new speaker nominee. It’s unclear how quickly they will move, but here are some of the names being discussed.

The criminal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the collapsed FTX cryptocurrency exchange, began today after a yearlong corporate saga that devastated the digital asset industry. Bankman-Fried is accused of orchestrating a vast scheme to siphon billions of dollars of FTX customer money. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud and money laundering. If convicted, he could receive what would amount to a life sentence.

The trial is a signature moment for the cryptocurrency industry. Bankman-Fried, 31, has emerged as a symbol of the unrestrained hubris and shady deal making that turned cryptocurrencies into a multitrillion-dollar industry during the pandemic. Many in the industry are now rooting for his downfall.

Separately, Michael Lewis’s highly-anticipated book about Bankman-Fried was released today. Our critic wrote that “you soon get the sense that Lewis felt unusually flummoxed by his material.”

The New York Supreme Court judge presiding over Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial chastised the former president today after he posted a message on his Truth Social site targeting the judge’s law clerk. In the post, which was quickly taken down, Trump included a picture of the clerk, mocked her and said that the case against him should be dismissed.

“Personal attacks on my members of my court staff are unacceptable,” Justice Arthur Engoron said. “I will not tolerate them under any circumstances.” He said that his statement should be considered a gag order forbidding any posts, emails or public remarks about members of his staff.

U.S. federal prosecutors have invoked a 200-year-old law to detain thousands of undocumented immigrants as so-called material witnesses without charging them with a crime. The migrants are compelled to testify against the people accused of helping them enter the country. Some witnesses have been jailed for six months or more, and despite their significant numbers — nearly 104,000 have been detained since 2003 — they register as little more than a footnote in the rancorous debate over unauthorized immigrants.

For the first time in five months, all of the major late night hosts were back on television last night, after the writers’ strike ended last week. The hosts all used their monologues to celebrate and to laugh about the extended absence.

“We’ve been gone so long, ‘The Bachelor’ is now a grandfather,” Jimmy Kimmel joked.

See what else happened in the Best of Late Night, our daily rundown of late night shows.

A study published today found that same-sex relationships in mammals could offer evolutionary advantages, such as smoothing over conflicts.

Researchers found that same-sex behavior evolved when mammals started living in social groups — setups that can offer benefits, such as better protection from predators, but also internal conflict, which can cause a group to fracture. Same-sex sexual behavior might have evolved as one of the ways that mammals manage these unstable social worlds, as a way to form bonds or to divert aggression into courtship.

Dorothy Hoffner, born in 1918, has survived both the Spanish flu and Covid pandemics, which might explain why she was so calm before backflipping out of an airplane over the weekend.

“What are we having for dinner?” she recalled thinking in the moments before the jump.

It was Hoffner’s second plunge (her first was at age 100), but this one broke the previous Guinness World Record for oldest person in the world to sky-dive. She said she was focused on recapturing the feeling of gliding in the air with her hair whipping in the wind.

Have an exhilarating evening.


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