We begin with the first of two big stories starting with Tony Romm, Theodoric Meyer, Leigh Ann Caldwell, and Mariana Sotomayor of The Washington Post reporting that a tentative deal has been reached regarding the debt ceiling between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden.
The agreement offers Congress a road map for averting a fiscal crisis: It preserves the country’s ability to borrow money into 2025, resets the budgets at a broad swath of federal agencies and institutes new work requirements on some Americans who receive federal nutrition assistance known as food stamps.
The full details were not immediately clear Saturday night, as lawmakers had yet to introduce any legislative text. But it arrives more than four months after Republicans assumed control of the House in January and plotted a strategy to leverage the debt ceiling to achieve their policy agenda — ignoring repeated warnings that their brinkmanship could plunge the country into a recession.
The fate of the deal now rests in the hands of a restive Congress, where Democrats and Republicans began raising objections hours before their leaders struck their bargain. The blowback underscores the difficult task Biden and McCarthy face to muscle any legislation through the pitfall-prone, narrowly divided House and Senate with roughly a week to spare.
The other big story yesterday was the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton becoming the
first second attorney general in United States history to be impeached. The Editorial Board of the Houston Chronicle says that Republicans in the Texas House shouldn’t give themselves too much of a pat on the back.
After slightly more than four hours of debate, the final bipartisan vote – 121 to impeach, 23 in opposition – was both shocking and almost anti-climactic. Shocking that the GOP itself finally collared the long-indicted Paxton after tolerating his blatant misdeeds for years; anticlimactic that the splash of green that lit up the voting board left no doubt about the outcome. (Texas Republicans on Saturday showed what their national counterparts could have done a couple of years ago had they had the fortitude under similar circumstances,) [...]
On Saturday afternoon, Paxton’s fellow Republicans did the right thing, and yet they can’t take too much credit. They’ve known for years what Paxton was up to, and yet they were happy to look the other way while his scandalous behavior embarrassed his fellow Texans.
We’re glad he’s gone, and yet we have to acknowledge that we Texans have much to answer for. We elected the man, then re-elected him twice more, despite the fact that his opponents in the Republican primary – former Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman – were credible candidates and would have been capable AGs. For citizens of a self-governing democracy, that’s called dereliction of duty.
I wasn’t surprised that Paxton was impeached but I was surprised at the number of Republican representatives that voted for impeachment.
Paxton is from Collin County, Texas.
Christopher Hooks of Texas Monthly look at a lot of different aspects of what led to Paxton’s impeachment and Paxton’s chances of surviving a trial in the Texas state Senate.
Paxton has survived so long in part because of his ability to frame his opposition as a liberal mob, and to frame himself as the nation’s foremost warrior for conservative values. That view still has real support among the Republican base. On Thursday night, right-wing representative Steve Toth, from the Woodlands, recorded a live stream in which he said Paxton’s impeachment would set back the conservative cause and let the Biden administration, which Paxton sues regularly, off the hook at a critical moment in the nation’s history. That’s still a pretty common sentiment among conservatives.
It’s also exactly backward, 100 percent wrong. As attorney general, Paxton has two responsibilities to perform for his party. He can take the fight to the Democrats in the White House and big Texas cities, and he can prosecute criminals to win positive headlines. But he’s extremely bad at both of those things. He can’t even keep the office of the attorney general staffed anymore. After he fired the whistleblowers, he had to bring in whomever would agree to work for him. As the AP reported, one of those B-team legal experts was quietly fired after he intentionally showed child pornography at a meeting.
Patrick Svitek of the Texas Tribune looks at who Texas Gov. Greg Abbott might consider to replace Paxton.
Abbott himself is a former attorney general, preceding Paxton in the seat. And he has built deep connections in the conservative legal world and is known to lean on former aides for high-profile appointments.
He’s named five Republicans to the state Supreme Court during his tenure: Jimmy Blacklock, Rebeca Huddle, Jane Bland, Brett Busby and Evan Young. Blacklock served as general counsel for Abbott prior to moving to the court.
If Abbott chooses to temporarily place someone in Paxton’s seat, he faces all kinds of considerations, including whether to pick someone who would be just a placeholder until the next election.
The list of people interested in the job may include Paxton’s 2022 primary opponents: former Land Commissioner George P. Bush, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and former U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler. Former state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Tyler, also briefly entered the race, but he dropped out after Gohmert entered the race.
Jim Rutenberg, Michael Schmidt, and Jeremy Peters of The New York Times write about Fox News overlooking warning sign after warning sign its case against Dominion Voting Systems.
In the month since the settlement, Fox has refused to comment in detail on the case or the many subsequent setbacks. That has left a string of unanswered questions: Why did the company not settle earlier and avoid the release of private emails and texts from executives and hosts? How did one of the most potentially prejudicial pieces of evidence — a text from Mr. Carlson about race and violence — escape high-level notice until the eve of the trial? How did Fox’s pretrial assessment so spectacularly miss the mark?
Repeatedly, Fox executives overlooked warning signs about the damage they and their network would sustain, The Times found. They also failed to recognize how far their cable news networks, Fox News and Fox Business, had strayed into defamatory territory by promoting President Donald J. Trump’s election conspiracy theories — the central issue in the case. (Fox maintains it did not defame Dominion.)
When pretrial rulings went against the company, Fox did not pursue a settlement in any real way. Executives were then caught flat-footed as Dominion’s court filings included internal Fox messages that made clear how the company chased a Trump-loving audience that preferred his election lies — the same lies that helped feed the Jan. 6 Capitol riots — to the truth.
Toby Helm of the Guardian writes about new polling that shows that a majority of Britain wants to forge closer ties with the European Union.
Even in those constituencies that recorded the highest votes to leave the EU in 2016, more than twice as many voters now believe the best route forward is to move in the opposite direction – and forge closer ties with Brussels.
The survey of more than 10,000 voters, for the internationalist campaign group Best for Britain
, accompanied by detailed MRP (multilevel regression and poststratification) analysis based on new constituency boundaries, will provide sobering reading for Rishi Sunak, who backed Brexit as a route to greater economic success.
Erdoğan, who since 2003 has served first as prime minister and then as head of state, has the clear upper hand in what has been a highly polarizing contest, taking place against the backdrop of the devastation caused by the huge earthquake Turkey suffered in February.
“Erdoğan’s incumbency advantages allowed him to get ahead in the first round and the same advantages will help him get to the finishing line,” said Soner Çağaptay, director of the Turkish research program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The main theme of the tight race has been the country’s economic troubles due to Erdoğan’s unorthodox policies that led to high inflation and a plunging currency.
The president won the first round vote with 49.5 percent and 27 million votes — 2.5 million more than his rival. The coalition headed by his AK party also secured control of Turkey’s parliament.
Have the best possible day everyone!