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Steve Scalise drops out of House speaker race: The Morning Rundown, Oct. 13, 2023

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Congressman Steve Scalise says he is no longer in the running to be speaker of the House a day after being nominated. And Israel warns residents of Gaza City to vacate as the country continues to retaliate against Hamas – these stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Friday, Oct. 13, 2023.  

Steve Scalise ends bid for speaker after nom

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., has dropped out of the race to become the next speaker, just a day after House Republicans nominated the Louisiana congressman for the position during a private ballot.

Scalise told reporters on Thursday, Oct. 12, his decision came after realizing he would not be able to secure the 217 votes needed to become speaker, following an hourslong meeting with House Republicans earlier in the day.

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“I just shared with my colleagues that I am withdrawing my name as a candidate for speaker designee. If you look at over the last few weeks, if you look at where our conference is, there is still work to be done,” Scalise said. “Our conference still has to come together. And it is not there. There are still some people who have their own agendas.”

Scalise defeated House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to be the GOP’s choice for speaker. However, some Republicans said they were going to stick with Jordan despite Scalise winning the nomination.

Speaking to reporters Thursday night, Oct. 12, Jordan, who is also the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, said he expects House Republicans to come together Friday on an agreement for a candidate.

The House remains without a speaker after Kevin McCarthy, R-Ky., was voted out last week, leaving Congress in limbo with several issues, such as supporting allies in wars overseas and preventing a government shutdown.

The Senate has been out on recess this week but returns on Monday, Oct. 9.

Israel tells Gaza City residents to evacuate; 27 Americans killed

Israel is ordering the evacuation of over 1 million Palestinians from northern Gaza, which includes Gaza City, telling residents to relocate to the south within 24 hours as the Israeli army is expected to launch a ground invasion.

Though not confirming a ground attack, Israel Defense Forces says it is planning to “operate significantly” in Gaza City in the coming days and wants to “avoid harming civilians.”

Israel has been attacking Hamas through airstrikes in retaliation for the terrorist attack last weekend, which killed over 1,200 people.  

More than 1,500 have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Hamas countered Israel’s evacuation orders by calling it a ploy and telling residents to stay home. Some news outlets report Hamas is forcing residents not to evacuate.

The United Nations says Israel’s order would be impossible without devastating humanitarian consequences.

United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Tel Aviv Friday, Oct. 13, to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as another show of support for Israel from the United States.

The U.S. confirmed Thursday, Oct. 12, the death toll of Americans killed in Hamas’ attack has risen to 27. Americans were also among the 150 hostages taken by Hamas back to Gaza.  

Echoing comments from President Joe Biden a day earlier, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told ABC News that the U.S. is exploring all options for getting those Americans back home.  

Hamas has called on supporters to hold a day of rage protests on Friday, Oct. 13, leading the Israeli government to issue a warning for all Israelis to stay vigilant.

In the United States, police departments are on high alert. The FBI says it is working to identify any threats that may emerge.

For Americans living in Israel, the U.S. Embassy says it will offer transportation out of the country either by air or sea beginning Friday, Oct. 13.

Reports: U.S., Qatar stop Iran from getting $6 billion

In response to Hamas’ attack on Israel, the United States and Qatar have agreed to stop Iran from accessing the $6 billion in funds that was part of a prisoner exchange in September, according to sources speaking to several news outlets. A U.S. official tells Reuters, “Iran will not be able to access the funds for the foreseeable future.”   

While in Tel Aviv on Oct. 12, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Iran had not accessed the $6 billion as of yet, and America continues to have strict oversight of the funds. Blinken said the U.S. retains rights over the funds.

The $6 billion was transferred to Qatar as a part of the deal to free five Americans detained in Iran. Following Hamas’ assault, there were bipartisan calls to freeze the funds due to Iran’s backing of the militant group. Though U.S. officials have said there is no evidence of Iran’s direct involvement in the terrorist attack.

Sen. Menendez accused of being agent of Egypt  

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., faces new charges. Prosecutors accuse the New Jersey Democrat of acting as an agent of Egypt while serving as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Menendez and his wife were charged in September with accepting bribes, including cash, a luxury car, and gold bars, from businessmen in exchange for the senator’s help in foreign affairs. They pleaded not guilty, and the senator stepped down as committee chair.

In this superseding indictment filed Oct. 12, Menendez was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. As a member of Congress, Menendez was prohibited from being an agent of a foreign government.

More than 30 Senate Democrats have called on Menendez to resign.

The senator issued a statement in response to the latest charge, saying in part:

“I have been, throughout my life, loyal to only one country — the United States of America, the land my family chose to live in democracy and freedom…Piling new charge, upon new charge, does not make the allegations true. … I again ask people who know me and my record to give me the chance to present my defense and show my innocence.”

NASA says humans might be living on moon by 2040

If you ever wished to live on the moon, your wish could come true sooner than you may have thought. NASA says Americans could be living on the moon by 2040.

In a recent New York Times article, seven NASA scientists say that goal is attainable if the agency continues to hit its benchmarks. Though the Times says, some in the scientific community are calling NASA’s vision overly ambitious.

NASA will send up a 3-D printer to build homes on the moon. It will use moon matter — fragments of dust, rocks, and other minerals — to create the structures.

NASA’s director of technology says this is a pivotal moment, one that “feels like a dream” but was “inevitable.”

But first things first. In November 2024, NASA will be sending four astronauts around the moon before we start living on it.

Swift leads theaters to waive no cell phone rule

Superstar Taylor Swift is known for her impact on the music industry — breaking streaming records and winning multiple awards — but now the singer is looking to leave her mark on movies and changing how theaters operate.

Moviegoers have been told to silence their mobile devices for decades during a film screening. But with the release of Swift’s “Era’s Tour” concert film, some movie theaters are relaxing the no cell phone policy.

AMC’s website says moviegoers should “feel free to take selfies and group photos, but you may not record the concert film on our big screen.”

A representative for Flix Brewhouse, which operates 10 theaters in the country, tells Variety that Swifties are going to want to record themselves having fun so they can use their phones during the movie, but also warns not to record the screen over privacy laws.

In what has been a cruel summer for the entertainment industry due to the writers’ strike and the ongoing actors’ strike, Swift’s film is expected to give a big boost. It’s projected to bring in at least $100 million in its domestic box office debut. In a recent Five for Friday, our business correspondent Simone Del Rosario looked at the top 5 highest-grossing concert films of all time.

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developing from the capitol — congressman steve scalise says he is no longer in the running to be speaker of the house a day after being nominated

and — israel warns residents of gaza city to vacate as the country continues to retaliate against hamas 

the morning rundown starts now.

today is friday, october 13th.

thank you for joining us.

i’m karah rucker.

we begin with developing news out of capitol hill –

house majority leader steve scalise has dropped out of the race to become the next speaker –

just a day after house republicans nominated the louisiana congressman for the position during a private ballot.

scalise told reporters thursday night – his decision came after realizing he would not be able to secure the 217 votes needed  –

following an hourslong meeting with house republicans earlier in the day.

“i just shared with my colleagues that i am withdrawing my name as a candidate for speaker designee. if you look at over the last few weeks, if you look at where our conference is, there is still work to be done. our conference still has to come together. and it is not there. there are still some people who have their own agendas.”

scalise defeated house judiciary chairman jim jordan to be the gop’s choice for speaker –

however, some republicans said they were going to stick with jordan despite scalise winning the nomination.

speaking to reporters last night – jordan — the leader of the hosue freedom caucus — said he expects house republicans to come together today on an agreement for a candidate.

the house remains without a speaker after kevin mccarthy was voted out last week – leaving congress in limbo —

with several issues such as supporting allies in wars overseas and preventing a government shutdown.

the senate has been out on recess this week but returns on monday.

and now to the latest on the war between israel and hamas — this morning israel is ordering the evacuation of over 1 million palestinians from northern gaza – including gaza city — telling residents to relocate to the south within 24 hours —  as the israeli army is expected to launch a ground invasion.

though not confirming a ground attack — israel defense forces says it is planning to operate significantly in gaza city in the coming days and wants to avoid harming civilians.

israel has been attacking hamas through airstrikes in retaliation for the terrorist attack last weekend which killed over 1,200 people.

more than 1,500 have been killed in gaza, according to the palestinian health ministry.

hamas countered israel’s evacuation orders – calling it a ploy and telling residents to stay home —

some report hamas is **forcing residents not to evacuate.

the united nations said the order would be impossible without devastating humanitarian consequences.

united states defense secretary lloyd austin arrived in tel aviv today to meet with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu as another show of support for israel from the united states.

the us confirmed thursday the death toll of americans killed in hamas’ attack has risen to 27.

americans were also among the 150 hostages taken by hamas back to gaza.

echoing comments from president joe biden a day earlier, secretary of state antony blinken told abc news that the us is exploring all options at getting those u.s. citizens home.

hamas has called on supporters to hold a day of rage protests worldwide today – leading the israeli government to issue a warning for all israelis worldwide to stay vigiliant.

in the united states —  police departments are on high alert.

the fbi saying it is working to identify any threats that may emerge.

for americans living in israel — the us embassy says it will offer transportation out of the country —  either by air or sea — beginning today.

in response to hamas’ attack on israel – the united states and qatar have agreed to stop iran from accessing the six billion dollars in funds that was part of a prisoner exchange last month, according to sources telling several news outlets.

a us official tells reuters – quote – “iran will not be able to access the funds for the foreseeable future.”

while in tel aviv on thursday, secretary of state antony blinken said that iran had not accessed the six billion dollars as of yet —

and that america continues to have strict oversight of the funds.

blinken saying the us retains rights over the funds.

the six billion dollars were transferred to qatar as a part of the deal to free five americans detained in iran.   

following hamas’ assault – there were bipartisan calls to freeze the funds due to iran’s backing of the militant group —

though us officials have said there is no evidence of iran’s direct involvement in the terrorist attack.

senator robert menendez faces new charges– prosecutors accusing the new jersey democrat of acting as an agent of egypt while serving as the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee.

last month — menendez and his wife were charged with accepting bribes – including cash, a luxury car and gold bars – from businessmen in exchange for the senator’s help in foreign affairs.

they pleaded not guilty and the senator stepped down as committee chair.

in this superseding indictment filed thursday menendez was charged with violating the foreign agents registration act.

as a member of congress – menendez was prohibited from being an agent of a foreign government.

more than 30 senate democrats have called on menendez to resign.

in response to the latest charge – the new jersey senator issued a statement saying in part:

“i have been, throughout my life, loyal to only one country — the united states of america, the land my family chose to live in democracy and freedom”

“piling new charge, upon new charge, does not make the allegations true. … i again ask people who know me and my record to give me the chance to present my defense and show my innocence.”

if you ever wished about living on the moon – your wish could come true sooner than you may have thought.

nasa says americans could be living on the moon by 2040.

in a recent new york times article – seven nasa scientists say that goal is attainable if the agency continues to hit its benchmarks.

though the times says some in the scientific community are calling nasa’s vision overly ambitious.

to build the homes on the moon – nasa will send up a 3-d printer that will use moon matter — fragments of dust, rocks and other minerals — to create the structures.

nasa’s director of technology says this is a pivotal moment – one that feels like a dream – but was inevitable.

but first things first — in november 2024 – nasa will be sending four astronauts around the moon – before we start living on it.

finally this morning — superstar taylor swift is known for her impact on the music industry — breaking streaming records and winning multiple awards – but now the singer is looking to leave her mark on movies and changing how theaters operate.

for decades — moviegoers have been told to silence their mobile devices during a film screening.

but with the release of swift’s “era’s tour” concert film, some movie theaters are relaxing that no cell phone policy.

amc’s website says moviegoers should “feel free to take selfies and group photos, but you may not record the concert film on our big screen.”

a representative for flix brewhouse, which operates 10 theaters in the country, tells variety that swifties are going to want to record themselves having fun – so they can use their phones during the movie – but also says not to record the screen over privacy laws.

in what has been a cruel summer for the entertainment industry due to the writers strike and the ongoing actors strike, swift’s film is expected to give a big boost – projected to bring at least $100 million in its domestic box office debut.  in a recent five for friday, our business correspondent simone del rosario looked at the top 5 concert films of all time. you can find the report now on san.com.

these are your top stories for this friday.

now you can get the morning rundown in your inbox each weekday morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

visit our website — san dot com — and go to the rundown’s podcast page to sign up.

unbiased. straight facts. that’s straight arrow news.

we’ll see you back here monday.

until then i’m karah rucker. have a great weekend!