The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Bannon sentenced; Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ album sparks chatter
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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.
NEWS OF THE MORNING
The least surprising part of the morning. Steve Bannon showed up in a Barbour-style jacket:
Former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon was sentenced to four months in federal prison and fined $6,500 for defying a congressional subpoena related to the investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.
For context: The Justice Department wanted Bannon to serve six months in prison, and the maximum fine Bannon faced for the charges was $200,000.
Bannon’s defense: “Bannon claimed that he was unable to comply with the committee’s subpoena due to executive privilege. However, the panel sought to speak to Bannon about events that occurred well after his short stint in the White House.” More from The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch
Did Bannon speak?: No. “My lawyers have spoken for me, your honor,” Bannon told the judge.
^ Yes, but: Bannon spoke with reporters outside the courthouse after his sentencing. Watch
Photo outside the courthouse: From C-SPAN’s Howard Mortman
Wow, check out the hoopla from Bannon’s arrival: Video from NBC News’s Ryan J. Reilly
This is disturbing: Check out this giant rat statue mocking former President Trump. Photo
Politico’s Kyle Cheney has been tweeting live updates from the court: His thread of tweets
IT’S A BUSY DAY IN FEDERAL COURT:
NBC News’s Ryan Reilly tweeted a list of what’s happening today in DC federal court.
– “Steve Bannon sentencing
– Jan. 6 rioter sentencing
– Oath Keepers trial
– Trial of Capitol Police officer who told Jan. 6 rioter to remove Facebook content about storming Capitol”
It’s Friday! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.
🕛 Talk of the morning
Why your family and friends may be a little groggy this morning:
Taylor Swift released her 10th studio album, “Midnights,” at midnight last night (!). It’s difficult to scroll on any social media platform without seeing lots of references to it.
Listen to the album on Spotify
Listen to the album on YouTube Music
A line from Swift’s new song ‘Anti-Hero’ that I keep seeing on social media: “Did you hear my covert narcissism I disguise as altruism, Like some kind of congressman? (A tale as old as time.)”
But wait, THERE’S MORE:
Taylor Swift released an additional seven songs at 3 a.m. Details from Elle
A FEW HEADLINES ON THE ALBUM:
From The Atlantic: “The Beautiful Banality of Taylor Swift’s Midnights”
From NPR: “In the haze of ‘Midnights,’ Taylor Swift softens into an expanded sound”
From The Washington Post: “Why Taylor Swift’s self-loathing ‘Anti-Hero’ already hit a nerve with fans”
From CNN: “Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ album is out. So, what’s the verdict?”
📍 In the U.K.
My retirement plan? Become the UK prime minister for a few weeks:
Outgoing British Prime Minister Liz Truss will be able to collect up to $129,000 a year for the rest of her life despite only serving roughly six weeks on the job.
How that works: “Despite the shortness of her tenure, she is entitled to receive payments under the Public Duty Costs Allowance (PDCA), a government-regulated program introduced in 1990 to ‘assist former Prime Ministers still active in public life.’ The allowance reimburses former prime ministers for office and secretarial costs arising from their public duties.”
OMG — ‘SO IT’S GONNA BE FOREVER, OR IT’S GONNA GO DOWN IN FLAMES’:
A Channel 4 segment on Truss’s resignation ends with a mention of her favorite song: “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift, followed by quite the montage. Watch
OK, THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE JOKE ABOUT THE NEWS:
I news’ Jane Merrick tweeted, “When a lettuce outlasts a Prime Minister, we have truly reached the endive days.”
‘LIZ TRUSS’S DOWNFALL SPARKS TALK OF DEMOCRACY’S DECLINE IN UK’:
From The Hill’s Tobias Burns and Laura Kelly
🐘 In the GOP
‘GOP WAVE THREATENS BLUE-STATE STRONGHOLDS’:
From The Hill’s Caroline Vakil
FIVE INVESTIGATIONS HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE PLOTTING IF THEY WIN THE MAJORITY:
1. “Hunter Biden and Biden family business activities.”
2. “Alleged politicization in the Department of Justice.”
3. “COVID-19 origins and policies.”
4. “Afghanistan withdrawal.”
5. “Handling of U.S.-Mexico border.”
What we know about each, from The Hill’s Emily Brooks
📱 In other news
This is likely not good news for anyone working at Twitter:
The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Dwoskin, Faiz Siddiqui, Gerrit De Vynck and Jeremy B. Merrill report that Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is planning to cut roughly 75 percent of Twitter’s staff after buying the company.
Keep in mind — cuts will likely happen regardless of Musk: “Even if Musk’s Twitter deal falls through — and there’s little indication now that it will — big cuts are expected: Twitter’s current management planned to pare the company’s payroll by about $800 million by the end of next year, a number that would mean the departure of nearly a quarter of the workforce.”
What we know about the pending deal and Musk’s plan
🦠 Latest with COVID
Pfizer’s looking at a pretty big price increase for the vaccine:
“Pfizer expects to roughly quadruple the price of its COVID-19 vaccine to between $110 to $130 per dose once the U.S. government’s purchasing program ends early next year, a company official said.”
What we know: “[Pfizer’s] Angela Lukin said during an investor call Thursday the company is still in discussion with insurers but that they are confident the price will ensure equitable access and reimbursement. The federal government currently pays about $30 a dose, and then distributes the vaccine to the public for free.”
The full story, via The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel
➤ THE COVID-19 NUMBERS
Cases to date: 97 million
Death toll: 1,065,152
Current hospitalizations: 21,062
Shots administered: 632 million
Fully vaccinated: 68.2 percent of Americans
Wow, this must have taken forever to film:
@AmberCadabra tweeted a TikTok posted by @kjp of “what your Home Depot giant skeleton does when you leave the house.” Watch — it has more than 2 million views so far
Probably not the ~best~ optics:
Politico’s Jonathan Lemire retweeted a Twitter exchange involving Elon Musk. Lemire added: “Oh, just Elon Musk joking around on Twitter with a powerful Kremlin official.” The back and forth
The House and Senate are out. President Biden is in Delaware. Vice President Harris is in Washington, D.C., with no public events scheduled.
- 9:30 a.m.: Biden received his daily briefing.
- 1:10 p.m.: Biden leaves for Dover, Del.
- 5:45 p.m.: Biden arrives in Rehoboth Beach, Del.
All times Eastern.
📺What to watch
- 11 a.m.: Biden delivered remarks on the deficit reduction his economic plan is achieving. Watch
- 1:45 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks with reporters aboard Air Force One. Livestream
- 3:15 p.m.: Biden delivers remarks on student debt relief. Livestream
🎃 In lighter news
Today is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day! Festive, I like it.
And to leave you on an entertaining note, here’s a dog with a remarkable talent.
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