Tuesday, May 23, 2023

5/23 WAKE-UP CALL: Biden, McCarthy Can't Make a Deal

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy appeared to make progress but did not reach an agreement during a pivotal White House meeting Monday evening on raising the debt ceiling 10 days before a potential default.

“I felt we had a productive discussion," McCarthy told reporters following the roughly one-hour meeting. "We don’t have an agreement yet.” The high-stakes Oval Office meeting, which lasted about an hour, came after negotiations took a step backwards over the weekend amid long-standing disagreements on spending cuts sought by Republicans. McCarthy commended the "professionalism" and "honesty" in the meeting but it wasn't immediately clear which areas produced headway. McCarthy said he's unwilling to consider tax increases on the wealthy, which Biden supports, or defense cuts pushed by some liberal Democrats.

➤BEWARE A WOMAN SCORNED: Writer E. Jean Carroll asked a court Monday to impose "very substantial" new damages on Donald Trump for his verbal attacks on her after a jury found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation. "Trump’s defamatory statements post-verdict show the depth of his malice toward Carroll," said the filing by the plaintiff's attorneys. They added that "it is hard to imagine defamatory conduct that could possibly be more motivated by hatred, ill will, or spite." A day after a jury this month assessed Trump $5 million in damages for sexual abuse and defamation, Trump said during a CNN town hall that Carroll was a "whack job" who told a "made-up story;" he called the trial a "rigged deal." Trump has appealed the verdict and the $5 million judgement against him.

➤DeSANTIS SAYS HE'LL SERVE 8 YEARS: Ron DeSantis, who is expected to announce his 2024 candidacy this week, on Monday told a crowd in Orlando that he intended to serve eight years, unlike Trump, and would swing the Supreme Court. DeSantis told the crowd that four of the Supreme Court justices may retire in the next eight years: Clarence Thomas, 74; Samuel Alito, 73; Chief Justice John Roberts, 68; and Sonia Sotomayor, 68. 'It is possible that in those eight years, we have the opportunity to fortify justices Alito and Thomas as well as actually make improvements with those others, and if you were able to do that, you would have a 7-2 conservative majority on the Supreme Court that would last a quarter century,' he said.

➤TIM SCOTT JOINS THE GOP RACE: Tim Scott, the lone Black Republican senator who showcases himself as a “sunrise” conservative, declared his campaign for president Monday by saying he can revive a nation that is receding from greatness. “Every single one of us are here because of an American journey where there were obstacles that became opportunities,” Scott said in kicking off a historic and underdog bid. “But unfortunately, under President Biden, our nation is retreating away from patriotism and faith.” Scott joins an expanding field of GOP contenders looking to knock out Donald Trump, the former president who remains a muscular front-runner despite qualms that he isn't the best to challenge President Joe Biden, the Democratic incumbent.

➤JOE DOES IT AGAIN: President Joe Biden, 80, once again falsely claimed that his son Beau Biden was killed while serving in Iraq, while visiting with United States troops stationed in Japan Monday. 'My son was a major in the US Army. We lost him in Iraq,' Biden told the troops in Iwakuni on Thursday. Beau Biden, who served as Delaware 's attorney general and in the Delaware Army National Guard in the Iraq War, died at age 46 in 2015 from brain cancer at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

➤NOW THERE ARE TWO: A second IRS whistleblower in the criminal investigation of first son Hunter Biden emerged Monday in documents sent to Congress following the purge of the entire investigatory team looking into President Biden’s son for tax fraud and related crimes. The new whistleblower is a special agent in the IRS’s international tax and financial crimes group and worked on the Hunter Biden case since it opened in 2018 — until he was ousted without explanation last week. The agent joins his supervisor, who plans to testify behind closed doors before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday, in publicly registering concerns about how the Justice Department has handled the investigation. Both IRS whistleblowers expressed concerns internally for years about the case being swept under the rug but got nowhere, and they lay out extensive claims of retaliation in new disclosures to Congress. Hunter, 53, allegedly failed to pay taxes on millions of dollars he received from foreign associates who in some instances interacted with then-Vice President Biden.

➤SURVEILLANCE FOOTAGE SHOWS WOMAN KEYING 400 CARS: A woman was caught on security cameras repeatedly keying cars at dealerships in Canada, hitting an estimated 400 vehicles 'one by one' over the span of four months. The video shows a woman covered head to toe in warm clothing and wearing a mask, slowly moving from car to car and making small scratches on each vehicle. The exact amount in damage done is unknown at this time but police say it could be in the range of half a million dollars. The woman is described as white, roughly 40-50 years old with shoulder-length blonde hair and a heavy build and is believed to drive a 2008-2013 Ford Escape. Police believe she is acting alone and her motive in this matter is unclear.

➤META FINED OVER PRIVACY RULES: EU regulators fined Meta a record $1.3 billion for violating the bloc’s privacy rules. The ruling raises pressure on the U.S. to complete a deal that would allow thousands of multinational companies to keep sending European user information stateside, where many of them have their main data centers. Most large international companies—not just tech firms—rely on a relatively free flow of data across the Atlantic. The steep fine highlights EU privacy regulators’ increased enforcement of the GDPR privacy law five years after it took effect. Meta said it would appeal the decision, saying it “is flawed, unjustified and sets a dangerous precedent,” and would seek a stay of part of the order suspending the data transfers. Meta has said that if so ordered, it might have to stop offering services in the EU, where it has more than 255 million Facebook users. The broader European region accounts for nearly a quarter of Meta’s revenue.

🛫AIRPORTS EXPECTING CROWDS: Travelers should brace for large crowds at airports as the busy summer travel season begins this Memorial Day weekend, with as many as 10 million people expected to pass through the nation’s airports during the holiday period.

The Lakers unexpected postseason run came to a screeching halt on Monday night as the Nuggets beat LA on its home court 113-111 to send the 2020 champions packing and move onto the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. The Lakers led by 15 at halftime but scored just 38 second half points as a virtuoso, 40-point performance from LeBron James was squandered.  After a massive third quarter where Denver outscored the Lakers by 20, the visitors found themselves up six with less than three minutes to play in LA, but James and Co. clawed their way back to to tie the game with 1:13 remaining. James turned in a vintage performance, scoring 31 of his team-leading 40 points in the first half, but neither he nor his teammates could prevent the Nuggets from rallying from a 15-point halftime deficit to take a 113-111 victory from the Lakers and complete a four-game sweep.

🏀NBA'S CARMELO ANTHONY RETIRES: Ten-time All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist Carmelo Anthony announced on social media Monday that he is officially retiring from professional basketball. "Now the time has come for me to say goodbye," Anthony, 38, said in a video he posted on his personal Twitter account. "Basketball was my outlet. My purpose was strong, my communities, the cities I represented with pride and the fans that supported me along the way. I am forever grateful for those people and places because they made me Carmelo Anthony." 

🏈NFL OWNERS APPROVE EMERGENCY 3RD QB PROPOSAL: NFL owners approved a rule Monday that allows teams to designate an emergency quarterback on game day, a rule they revived after the San Francisco 49ers ran out of quarterbacks during their loss in the NFC Championship Game last season to the Philadelphia Eagles. The rule applies only to quarterbacks who are on a team's 53-man roster. Practice squad players are not eligible to be emergency quarterbacks, not even if they are elevated for that week's game. But it allows a team to avoid counting the emergency quarterback as one of its active players on game day, a modest incentive for teams who otherwise would have chosen to go into a game with only two available quarterbacks.

🏈COLTS RESOLVE LUCK TAMPERING DISPUTE WITH COMMANDERS: The tampering inquiry into the Washington Commanders' alleged attempts to seek information on the availability of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been resolved to the Colts' satisfaction. It has been determined that the Commanders never spoke to Luck or anyone in his immediate circle and therefore did not violate the NFL's anti-tampering policy.

✞LONGTIME ST. LOUIS CARDINALS, MLB WRITER RICK HUMMEL DIES AT 77: Rick Hummel, an esteemed writer who covered the St. Louis Cardinals and Major League Baseball over five decades for the Post-Dispatch until his retirement last year, has died. He was 77. Hummel died in his sleep at his St. Louis-area home early Saturday after a short, aggressive illness.

⚾MLB RAYS 6 TO BLUE JAYS 4: Jose Siri, Randy Arozaena and Luke Raley homered, as the major league-leading Tampa Bay Rays beat the sliding Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 on Monday night. Tampa Bay leads the major leagues with 94 home runs. The Rays opened a three-game lead over Baltimore in the AL East. After opener Trevor Kelley pitched two scoreless innings, Josh Fleming (1-0) allowed two runs and five hits over the next six as the Rays improved to 22-4 at home.

MLB Dodgers 8 Braves 6: Freddie Freeman's three-run homer in the fifth inning gave Los Angeles the lead, J.D. Martinez had four hits, including two homers, and the Dodgers rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves 8-6 on Monday night.


  • Diamondbacks 6 Phillies 3
  • Rays 6 Blues Jays 4
  • Guardians 3 White Sox 0
  • Pirates 6 Rangers 4
  • Red 6 Cardinals 5
  • Dodgers 8 Braves 6
  • Tigrtd 8 Royals 5
  • Astros 12 Brewers 2
  • Giants 4 Twins 1
  • Rockies 5 Marlins 3
  • Angels 2 Red Sox 1
  • Mariners 11 Athletics 2

🌞HOW HOT WILL SUMMER GET? Summer's officially less than month away - and forecasters expect large swathes of the country will be hotter than average this year. The National Weather Service has released its latest seasonal outlook which predicts much of the country will bask in above average temperatures between June and August. The southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico have the greatest probability of above normal temperatures, with a roughly 69 percent chance they'll exceed averages. The east coast will also enjoy warmer weather. But the predictions also show it'll be wetter than usual on the east coast and around the Upland South.

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