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Senate briefing on Ukraine aid becomes heated as Republicans demand border policy change: The Morning Rundown, Dec. 6, 2023

Dec 06, 2023

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Senate Republicans seeking border changes walk out of a classified briefing on Ukraine aid. And, Panera faces another wrongful death lawsuit over its caffeinated lemonade. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023.

Republican senators walk out of classified briefing

A classified briefing between senators on Capitol Hill to discuss funding for additional aid to Ukraine became “heated” on Tuesday, Dec. 5, with attendees saying it turned into a screaming match, with at least a dozen Republicans walking out. The briefing came hours before a test vote is set today in the Senate on President Biden’s $106 billion emergency funding bill.

The briefing was held to allow senators time to ask senior Biden administration officials questions, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Charles Q. Brown Jr.

The talks, however, fell apart, with senators from both parties saying the group of Republicans walked out after wanting answers on border security, while the Democrats were looking to keep the focus on Ukraine, as the White House said the funding would run out by the end of the year.

Republican Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., criticized his Democratic colleagues, saying, “Their lack of preparedness to discuss border security policy…was not just an oversight, but a political decision.”

After leaving the briefing, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of “hijacking” the meeting and trying to steer the conversation to border negotiations. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said some senators walked out because Democrats were unwilling to discuss the border to get the deal done.

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., called the briefing a waste of time. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was expected to speak to the senators via video but canceled a short time before the briefing began. A reason was not released. 

Hundreds of military promotions pushed through the Senate after Tuberville drops hold

Hundreds of military promotions pushed through the Senate on Tuesday, Dec. 5, after Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., dropped his months-long blockade. The Senate wasted little time, approving 425 promotions by voice vote just hours after the blockade was lifted.

Sen. Tuberville had been blocking the votes in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion policy, which allows military members time and reimbursement for travel out of state to seek an abortion. The block delayed promotions for hundreds of military personnel, creating a backlog.

Tuberville faced increased pressure to drop his hold from senators on both sides of the aisle, citing the threat to military readiness and national security as some officials were forced to take on multiple roles with promotions stalled.

Tuberville said he still has holds on about a dozen four-star officers. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby expressed the importance of the Senate pushing those confirmations through so they can lead troops in “critical military missions.”

Trump responds to ‘dictator’ reports during Fox News town hall

Tonight, four Republican presidential hopefuls will make their case at the fourth GOP primary debate. But the frontrunner – former President Donald Trump – will not be one of them. As he has done with the past three debates, Trump, who is leading the polls, is skipping the debate. This time, he’s holding a private fundraiser.

Trump did field questions during a town hall that aired last night on Fox News. Moderator Sean Hannity asked the former president to respond to recent reports from multiple outlets, including The Atlantic, Washington Post, and New York Times, warning that a second term would lead to a “Trump dictatorship.”

Hannity: “Under no circumstances, you are promising America tonight you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?”

Trump: “Except for day one,” Trump said. “I want to close the border, and I want to drill, drill, drill.”

Hannity: “That’s not retribution.”

Trump: “I love this guy; he says, ‘You’re not going to be a dictator, are you?’ I said no, no, no, other than day one. We’re closing the border, and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator.”

Earlier in the day, President Biden, speaking at a fundraising event outside Boston, told supporters if Trump wasn’t running, he wasn’t sure if he’d be running for re-election. Trump addressed those comments during the town hall, saying someone must have given the president talking points.

As for the fourth GOP primary debate, it will air tonight at 8pm EST on NewsNation.

Panera faces second wrongful death suit over caffeinated lemonade

Panera Bread is facing a second wrongful death suit related to its “Charged Lemonade” as a Florida family says the caffeinated drink led 46-year-old Dennis Brown to go into cardiac arrest as he walked home from the restaurant in early October. The lawsuit claims that the ‘charged lemonade’ was not advertised as an energy drink, and there were no warning labels.

According to the suit, Brown, who avoided energy drinks due to his high blood pressure, had ordered several “Charged Lemonades”‘ in the days leading up to his death. In late October, the company issued warnings about its caffeinated lemonade following a similar lawsuit claiming that a 21-year-old woman died after drinking one of the beverages.

According to Panera’s menu at the time of the first lawsuit, a 30-ounce glass of the “Charged Lemonade” contained 390 milligrams of caffeine, which is 10 milligrams less than the daily amount recommended by the USDA for  “healthy adults.”

In a statement to ABC News, Panera said it expressed sympathy for Brown’s family but added following an investigation, it does not believe his death was caused by its “Charged Lemonade” and that, like the first lawsuit, it found it to be “without merit.”

SAG-AFTRA ratifies 3-year contract with studios

On Tuesday night, Dec. 5, SAG-AFTRA announced members have voted to ratify its three-year contract with studios, officially ending the longest labor dispute in Hollywood history. The union said 78% voted in favor of the deal, with only 38% of members turning out to vote.

After reaching a tentative deal about a month ago, SAG-AFTRA allowed its approximately 160,000 members to return to work, suspending its strike after 118 days. The agreement provides a 7% increase in minimum rates in the first year of the deal and the first-ever protection against the use of artificial intelligence, where actors must consent to being replicated.

Union President Fran Drescher called the contract “the dawning of a new era for the industry.”

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, congratulated SAG-AFTRA on the ratification of the deal, saying in a statement that the industry and the jobs it supports can now “return in full force.”

ChatGPT tops list of most popular Wikipedia articles of 2023

Wikipedia says it received over 84 billion page views over the past 12 months; that’s a lot of online searching! But what were the most popular subjects being looked up?

Wikipedia has the answers. On Tuesday, Dec. 5, it released its list of the most popular articles of the year. The most popular topic was ChatGPT. Wikipedia says the AI chatbot, launched just over a year ago and dominated headlines worldwide, registered over 50 million pages on the English version of its site.

The second most-read article in 2023 was Wikipedia’s annual list of deaths of notable and public figures, which sees high traffic each year. Entries about the sport of cricket made the list for the first time, taking four spots in the top 25, including number three.

That dynamic Hollywood duo known as Barbenheimer – the films “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” – were popular searches this year, coming in at number five and 13, respectively. And, with a tour, an album, a film, and a new romance, Taylor Swift constantly made headlines throughout 2023. The singer added one more accolade this year, having the 12th most popular entry on Wikipedia.  

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SENATE REPUBLICANS SEEKING BORDER CHANGES WALK OUT OF A CLASSIFIED BRIEFING ON UKRAINE AID

AND — PANERA FACES ANOTHER WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT OVER ITS CAFFEINATED LEMONADE

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6TH

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

A CLASSIFIED BRIEFING BETWEEN SENATORS ON CAPITOL HILL TO DISCUSS FUNDING FOR ADDITIONAL AID TO UKRAINE BECAME “HEATED” TUESDAY — WITH ATTENDEES SAYING IT TURNED INTO A SCREAMING MATCH – AND AT LEAST A DOZEN REPUBLICANS WALKING OUT.

THE BRIEFING CAME HOURS BEFORE A TEST VOTE IS SET TODAY IN THE SENATE ON PRESIDENT BIDEN’S $106 BILLION EMERGENCY FUNDING BILL.

THE BRIEFING WAS HELD TO ALLOW SENATORS TO ASK QUESTIONS TO SENIOR BIDEN ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS INCLUDING SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD AUSTIN, AND JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF CHAIRMAN CHARLES Q. BROWN JR.

THE TALKS HOWEVER FELL APART.

A GROUP OF REPUBLICANS WALKED OUT AFTER WANTING ANSWERS ON BORDER SECURITY – WHILE DEMOCRATS WERE LOOKING TO KEEP THE FOCUS ON UKRAINE – AS THE WHITE HOUSE SAID FUNDING FOR UKRAINE WILL RUN OUT BY THE END OF THE YEAR IF NO ACTION IS TAKEN.

SOME REACTION —

REPUBLICAN SENATOR TODD YOUNG OF INDIANA SAYING  “THEIR LACK OF PREPAREDNESS TO DISCUSS BORDER SECURITY POLICY…WAS NOT JUST AN OVERSIGHT, BUT A POLITICAL DECISION.”

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER ACCUSED MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL OF “HIJACKING” THE MEETING AND TRYING TO STEER THE CONVERSATION TO BORDER NEGOTATIONS.

REPUBLICAN SENATOR ERIC SCHMITT OF MISSOURI CALLED THE BRIEFING A WASTE OF TIME.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY WAS EXPECTED TO BRIEF THE SENATORS VIA VIDEO BUT CANCELED A SHORT TIME BEFORE THE BRIEFING BEGAN.

A REASON WAS NOT RELEASED.

HUNDREDS OF MILITARY PROMOTIONS  PUSHED THROUGH THE SENATE ON TUESDAY, AFTER REPUBLICAN SENATOR TOMMY TUBERVILLE DROPPED HIS MONTHS-LONG BLOCKADE.

THE SENATE WASTED LITTLE TIME, APPROVING 4-HUNDRED AND 25 PROMOTIONS JUST HOURS AFTER THE BLOCKADE WAS LIFTED.

SENATOR TUBERVILLE HAD BEEN BLOCKING THE VOTES IN PROTEST OF THE PENTAGON’S ABORTION POLICY. WHICH PAYS FOR MILITARY MEMBERS TO GET OUT OF STATE ABORTIONS.

THE BLOCK DELAYED PROMOTIONS FOR HUNDREDS OF MILITARY PERSONNEL CREATING A BACKLOG

TUBERVILLE FACED INCREASED PRESSURE TO DROP HIS HOLD FROM SENATORS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE CITING THE THREAT TO MILITARY READINESS AND NATIONAL SECURITY AS SOME OFFICIALS WERE FORCED TO TAKE ON MULTIPLE ROLES WHILE PROMOTIONS STALLED.

TUBERVILLE SAID HE STILL HAS HOLDS ON ABOUT A DOZEN FOUR-STAR OFFICERS.

NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON JOHN KIRBY EXPRESSED THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SENATE PUSHING THOSE CONFIRMATIONS THROUGH SO THEY CAN LEAD TROOPS IN QUOTE “CRITICAL MILITARY MISSIONS.”

TONIGHT – FOUR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS WILL MAKE THEIR CASE AT THE FOURTH GOP PRIMARY DEBATE.

BUT THE FRONTRUNNER – PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP – WILL NOT BE ONE OF THEM.

AS HE’S DONE IN THE PAST THREE DEBATES – TRUMP, LEADING IN THE POLLS – IS SKIPPING THE DEBATE.

THIS TIME, HE’S HOLDING A PRIVATE FUNDRAISER.

HE DID FIELD QUESTIONS DURING A TOWN HALL THAT AIRED LAST NIGHT ON FOX NEWS.

MODERATOR SEAN HANNITY ASKED THE FORMER PRESIDENT TO RESPOND TO RECENT REPORTS FROM MULTIPLE OUTLETS INCLUDING THE ATLANTIC, WASHINGTON POST AND NEW YORK TIMES WARNING THAT A SECOND TERM WOULD LEAD TO A QUOTE “TRUMP DICTATORSHIP.”

Hannity: “Under no circumstances, you are promising America tonight you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?”

Trump: “Except for day one,” Trump said. “I want to close the border and I want to drill, drill, drill.”

Hannity: “That’s not retribution.”

Trump: “I love this guy, he says, ‘you’re not going to be a dictator are you?’ I said no, no, no, other than day one. We’re closing the border and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator.”

Earlier in the day President Biden, speaking at a fundraising event outside Boston, told supporters if Trump wasn’t running, he wasn’t sure if he’d be running for re-election.

Trump SAID SOMEONE MUST HAVE GIVEN BIDEN TALKING POINTS — AND SAID HE’S NOT CONVINCED BIDEN WILL BE THE ONE HE’S UP AGAINST IN 2024.

the fourth GOP primary debate will air tonight at 8 p.m. EASTERN TIME on NewsNation.

PANERA BREAD IS FACING A SECOND WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT RELATED TO ITS “CHARGED LEMONADE” AS A FLORIDA FAMILY SAYS THE CAFFEINATED DRINK LED 46-YEAR-OLD DENNIS BROWN TO GO INTO CARDIAC ARREST AS HE WALKED HOME FROM THE RESTAURANT IN EARLY OCTOBER.

THE LAWSUIT CLAIMS THAT THE ‘CHARGED LEMONADE’ WAS NOT ADVERTISED AS AN ENERGY DRINK AND THERE WERE NO WARNING LABELS.

ACCORDING TO THE SUIT, BROWN — WHO AVOIDED ENERGY DRINKS DUE TO HIS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE — HAD ORDERED SEVERAL ‘CHARGED LEMONADES’ IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO HIS DEATH.

IN LATE OCTOBER THE COMPANY ISSUED WARNINGS ABOUT ITS CAFFEINATED LEMONADE, FOLLOWING A SIMILAR LAWSUIT CLAIMING THAT A 21-YEAR-OLD WOMAN DIED AFTER DRINKING ONE OF THE CAFFEINATED BEVERAGES.

ACCORDING TO PANERA’S MENU AT THE TIME OF THE FIRST LAWSUIT, A THIRTY-OUNCE GLASS OF THE CHARGED LEMONADE CONTAINED 390 MILLIGRAMS OF CAFFEINE — 10 MILLIGRAMS LESS THAN THE DAILY AMOUNT RECOMMENDED BY THE USDA FOR  “HEALTHY ADULTS.”

IN A STATEMENT TO ABC NEWS, PANERA SAID IT EXPRESSED SYMPATHY FOR BROWN’S FAMILY BUT ADDED FOLLOWING AN INVESTIGATION IT DOES NOT BELIEVE HIS DEATH WAS CAUSED BY ITS CHARGED LEMONADE AND THAT — LIKE THE FIRST LAWSUIT — FOUND IT TO BE QUOTE “WITHOUT MERIT.”

LAST NIGHT — SAG-AFTRA ANNOUNCED MEMBERS HAVE VOTED TO RATIFY ITS THREE-YEAR CONTRACT WITH STUDIOS – OFFICIALLY ENDING THE LONGEST LABOR DISPUTE IN HOLLYWOOD HISTORY.

THE UNION SAID 78 PERCENT VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE DEAL – WITH 38 PERCENT OF MEMBERS TURNING OUT TO VOTE.

AFTER REACHING A TENTATIVE DEAL ABOUT A MONTH AGO SAG-AFTRA ALLOWED ITS APPROXIMATELY 160,000 MEMBERS TO RETURN TO WORK – SUSPENDING ITS STRIKE AFTER 118 DAYS.

THE AGREEMENT PROVIDES A 7 PERCENT INCREASE IN MINIMUM RATES IN THE FIRST YEAR OF THE DEAL AND THE FIRST-EVER PROTECTION AGAINST THE USE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE – WHERE ACTORS MUST CONSENT TO BEING REPLICATED.

UNION PRESIDENT FRAN DRESCHER CALLED THE CONTRACT – “THE DAWNING OF A NEW ERA FOR THE INDUSTRY.”

THE ALLIANCE OF MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION PRODUCERS – WHICH REPRESENTS THE STUDIOS – CONGRATULATED SAG-AFTRA ON THE RATIFICATION OF THE DEAL – SAYING IN A STATEMENT — THE INDUSTRY AND THE JOBS IT SUPPORTS CAN NOW “RETURN IN FULL FORCE.”

FINALLY THIS MORNING – WIKIPEDIA SAYS IT RECEIVED OVER 84 BILLION PAGE VIEWS OVER THE PAST 12 MONTHS – THAT’S A LOT OF ONLINE SEARCHING!

BUT WHAT WERE THE MOST POPULAR SUBJECTS BEING LOOKED UP?

WIKIPEDIA HAS THE ANSWERS. ON TUESDAY IT RELEASED ITS LIST OF THE MOST POPULAR ARTICLES OF THE YEAR.

THE MOST POPULAR TOPIC – CHATGPT.

WIKIPEDIA SAYS THE AI CHATBOT — WHICH LAUNCHED JUST OVER A YEAR AGO AND DOMINATED HEADLINES AROUND THE WORLD – REGISTERED OVER NEARLY 50 MILLION PAGES ON THE ENGLISH VERSION OF ITS SITE.

THE SECOND MOST-READ ARTICLE IN 2023 WAS WIKIPEDIA’S ANNUAL LIST OF DEATHS OF NOTABLE AND PUBLIC FIGURES – WHICH DOES SEE HIGH TRAFFIC EACH YEAR.

ENTRIES ABOUT THE SPORT – CRICKET – MADE THE LIST FOR THE FIRST TIME – TAKING FOUR SPOTS IN THE TOP 25 – INCLUDING NUMBER THREE.

THAT DYNAMIC HOLLYWOOD DUO KNOWN AS BARBENHEIMER – THE FILMS OPPENHEIMER AND BARBIE — WERE POPULAR SEARCHES THIS YEAR – COMING IN AT NUMBER FIVE AND THIRTEEN RESPECTIVELY.

AND — WITH A TOUR, AN ALBUM, A FILM AND A NEW ROMANCE — TAYLOR SWIFT CONSTANTLY MADE HEADLINES THROUGHOUT 2023 — THE SINGER ADDING ONE MORE ACCOLADE THIS YEAR — HAVING THE TWELFTH MOST POPULAR ENTRY ON WIKIPEDIA.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS WEDNESDAY.

YOU CAN NOW CONNECT WITH THE MORNING RUNDOWN IN A VARIETY OF WAYS — INCLUDING SUBSCRIBING TO OUR PODCAST OR SIGNING UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER.

JUST GO TO SAN DOT COM SLASH RUNDOWN FOR MORE DETAILS.

WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.

UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER. HAVE A GREAT DAY

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