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After 3 days and 11 votes, McCarthy still can’t secure speakership, meets ‘basically all’ Freedom Caucus demands



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The House of Representatives has adjourned after a third day without selecting a Republican Speaker. After 11 rounds of ballots, Representative Kevin McCarthy has failed to secure the necessary 218 votes to be elected as Speaker of the House.

However, McCarthy and many of the GOP members who oppose his speakership have come to a tentative deal that meets “basically all” of the demands made by the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) reports Fox News.

The agreements could secure the speakership for McCarthy in the near future, but because some Republican members are expected to be absent on Friday, the deals and finalizing votes to elect the Speaker could be put off until next week.

Representative-elect Michael McCaul of Texas said Thursday he thinks only about half of the 20 Republicans will be swayed by the deal. However, “several GOP and Democratic lawmakers told Fox News” that meeting “basically all” of the demands “could get McCarthy to the 218 votes he needs in the near future.”

Fox News reports:

Under the agreement that’s still under review, McCarthy has agreed to give HFC members a stronger presence on key House committees, impose new controls on spending, and allowing a single member of the House to make a motion to remove the speaker, lawmakers said. That last item was one on which McCarthy initially offered a five-member minimum to “vacate the chair.”

The deal also includes a requirement that legislation must be introduced for 72 hours before it can be passed and a guaranteed vote on term limits, according to Rep.-elect Ralph Norman of South Carolina.

Lawmakers said they believe these changes could get McCarthy exactly 218 votes at some point, after a few remaining issues are settled with a handful of members. That implies that McCarthy’s side expects four GOP lawmakers to remain opposed to him, but he can lose that many and still win the speaker’s gavel if all others support him.

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DOJ says FBI informant on Biden had ‘high-level’ contacts with Russian intelligence



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In a memorandum filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada to support Alexander Smirnov’s continued pre-trial detention, the Department of Justice(DOJ) wrote that he claimed to have had “contacts with multiple foreign intelligence agencies…[who] could resettle Smirnov outside the United States if he were released.”

Smirnov, a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, was arrested and charged on Feb. 14 with making false statements to the FBI about Biden’s connections to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings Limited, which employed his son Hunter Biden as a member of the board with a monthly salary of $50,000 during his term as vice president.

“During his custodial interview on February 14, Smirnov admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story about [Hunter Biden],” wrote special counsel David Weiss in the filing. “Smirnov apparently attended a separate meeting with Russian Official 1, [an] individual who controls groups that are engaged in overseas assassination efforts.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation reports that Smirnov was a confidential human source who provided information that was used to prepare a report, known as an FD-1023, about Joe Biden’s alleged connections to the Burisma business partners of Hunter Biden. That report has previously served as evidence contradictingJoe Biden’s claim that he knew nothing of his son’s business dealings; a notion at the center of an impeachment inquiry against him.

The FD-1023 detailing Smirnov’s claims was released by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa on July 20, 2023, after it was provided to him by government whistleblowers. “[The] indictment confirms several points Senator Grassley has made repeatedly. The informant behind the FD-1023 was, indeed, a long-serving, trusted FBI source used by the agency for criminal investigations since the Obama administration. In fact, he was so trusted that the FBI provided him authorization ‘to engage in illegal activity for investigative purposes’,” a spokesperson for Grassley told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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