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In today’s edition: 100,000 are expected in D.C. for a pro-Israel march as hostage negotiations near͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌ 
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November 14, 2023


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Today in D.C.
  1. Israel rallygoers arrive
  2. Biden scraps Asia trade pillar
  3. House plans stopgap funding vote
  4. Trump’s ‘vermin’ backlash
  5. House punts Mayorkas impeachment
  6. Supreme Court announces ethics code

PDB: Three more House members announce their exit

Biden to talk climate … Mike Johnson, Hakeem Jeffries, Chuck Schumer speaking at D.C. pro-Israel rally … New inflation data out today

— edited by Benjy Sarlin, Jordan Weissmann and Morgan Chalfant


Pro-Israel march comes to Washington as hostage negotiations near deal

REUTERS/Doaa Rouqa

Tens of thousands of pro-Israel marchers are expected in Washington today as Israel and Hamas may be closing in on a deal to trade civilian hostages for prisoners and a temporary ceasefire. The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, citing a “high-ranking Israeli official,” reports that the agreement would trigger a ceasefire of “perhaps five days,” during which Hamas would release as many as 70 women and children being held in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian women and young people held in Israeli custody. Hamas’ armed wing confirmed the offer was on the table, Reuters reported. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that negotiation efforts to free the hostages, which are being mediated by Qatar, are “continuing to make progress day by day, hour by hour.”

The news of the talks comes as Israel faces new pressure from President Biden to limit its operations around Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, which both Israeli and, per CNN, U.S. intelligence say houses an underground base for Hamas operations. “I have not been reluctant in expressing my concerns about what’s going on, and it’s my hope and expectation that it will be less intrusive action relative to the hospital,” Biden told reporters. The Associated Press reports that “hundreds of people, including medical workers, premature babies and other vulnerable patients” remain inside the Gaza hospital, citing staffers.


Biden admin delays Asian trade announcement after Democratic ire

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The U.S. is putting off a trade agreement with Asian countries amid domestic pressure from members of President Biden’s party who have raised concerns about worker protections. Speaking to reporters Monday evening following meetings at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen conceded that the trade portion of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework would not be finished this week as leaders gather in San Francisco, saying only that it is likely to “require further work.” It’s a blow to the Biden administration, which has pursued the pact to forge closer economic ties with Asian allies in part to help counter China’s influence in the region. Biden encountered pressure over the deal from Democrats like Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who called on the administration to remove the trade portion entirely from the framework due to a lack of enforceable labor standards. Democrats fear that former President Trump could assail the pact in the same way he did the Obama-era Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Washington Post reported, as he courts the union vote. Biden administration officials have signaled there will be progress on other pillars of the framework, which also cover supply chains and clean energy and technology.

Morgan Chalfant


Johnson does an end-run on conservatives

REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger/File Photo

Mike Johnson might be a conservative’s conservative, but it looks like he’ll need lots of Democratic help to avoid a government shutdown. The House is set to vote on the new speaker’s temporary spending bill later today, under what’s known as a suspension of the rules. The move will limit floor debate and amendments on the bill, but will require a two-thirds majority for it to pass instead of a simple majority. The procedure is typically used for non-controversial legislation, but in this case is being used to get around hardline conservatives who were threatening to sink the measure on a procedural vote for its lack of spending cuts or other right-wing policy riders. Johnson can almost certainly count on support from across the aisle, especially after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hit pause on a stopgap funding measure in the upper chamber. Working with Democrats to keep the government open is, of course, what cost Kevin McCarthy his speakership earlier this fall. But Johnson appears confident that he has more leeway, for now at least.


White House says Trump is talking like a fascist

REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

Donald Trump’s Veterans Day remarks describing his political opponents as “vermin” echoed fascist dictators like Mussolini and Hitler, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement Monday. “Using terms like that about dissent would be unrecognizable to our founders, but horrifyingly recognizable to American veterans who put on their country’s uniform in the 1940s,” he added. Trump spokesman Steven Cheung defiantly told the Washington Post that critics’ “entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House.” He later requested his quote be changed to “sad, miserable existence.”

But there were also some signs Trump world is concerned about renewed accusations that the former president is out to dismantle democratic institutions, a message Democrats have hammered home against MAGA-aligned candidates since Jan. 6. In an unusual statement Monday, the campaign’s top aides Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita pushed back against recent stories about efforts by allied groups to vet potential Trump administration staffers for loyalty and plan reprisals against enemies, calling the news “largely unfounded and an unnecessary distraction” and the outside operations “merely suggestions.” The New York Times noted, though, that “the most incendiary rhetoric and proposals have come from Mr. Trump’s own mouth” and aligned with reporting on his plans.


Another setback for MTG

REUTERS/Leah Millis

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. can’t seem to get a win these days. On Monday, the House rejected her effort to force a floor vote on impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by a tally of 209-201, opting to send her resolution to committee instead. That’s “where articles of impeachment go to die,” she fumed during a livestream on X shortly after. (She told CNN the eight Republicans who’d sided with Democrats were “gonna face their voters.”) Greene said last week that she was prompted to try and force the vote after two of her constituents were involved in a car crash with “human smugglers” while driving from Georgia to Mexico. This marks the second high-profile measure from Greene that Republicans and Democrats have teamed up to foil in recent weeks. Earlier this month, 23 Republicans helped thwart a censure resolution Greene introduced against Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., which accused the vocal Israel critic of “inciting an insurrection” in the form of a pro-Palestine protest at the Capitol. Republicans eventually censured Tlaib with a tamer resolution put forth by Rep. Rich McCormick, also from Georgia, instead.

— Kadia Goba


New Supreme Court ethics rules leave key questions unanswered

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

Senate Democrats aren’t impressed with the Supreme Court’s brand-new ethics rulebook. The justices announced they would adopt a formal code of conduct for the first time in their history on Monday, following a months-long public outcry over the justices’ failure to disclose gifts that included luxury travel paid for by conservative donors. “For the most part these rules and principles are not new,” the justices said in a joint statement, but added it would clear up a “misunderstanding” that the court was not governed by any code. Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill. said the code “fell short,” noting it “did not appear to contain any meaningful enforcement mechanism.” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who has been pushing his own ethics reform legislation, quipped in a statement that “the honor system has not worked for members of the Roberts Court.” Journalist David Bernstein offered a counterpoint, arguing that the code subjects the justices “to future public pressure as an enforcement mechanism.” In the meantime, Democrats are planning a vote to subpoena GOP megadonor Harlan Crow and judicial activist Leonard Leo.


Beltway Newsletters

Punchbowl News: It’s possible more Democrats than Republicans ultimately vote for Speaker Mike Johnson’s proposed stopgap spending bill, raising questions about his approach. Democratic leadership is talking with its rank-and-file members before fully committing to voting yes; around 50 GOP House members have said they’ll vote against it.

Playbook: Democrats familiar with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ thinking say he will ultimately get on board because Dems’ concerns about the bill don’t justify “flirting with a shutdown.”

The Early 202: Despite GOP hardliners’ frustration over the proposed bill, Johnson’s job “doesn’t seem to be in jeopardy … yet.” Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., a member of the Freedom Caucus, said he’ll vote against the bill but wouldn’t push to oust Johnson because “he inherited a bad situation.”


White House

  • China’s Xi Jinping isn’t the only leader getting some one-on-one time with President Biden in San Francisco: The White House announced plans for a bilateral meeting between Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Friday. They’ll talk about migration and other issues.
  • Indonesia’s Joko Widodo, who represents a country with a large Muslim majority, implored Biden to “to do more to stop the atrocities in Gaza” during a Monday meeting where the two nations strengthened ties.
  • Biden will speak about the Fifth National Climate Assessment today before leaving for San Francisco and announce $6 billion in funding for climate-related projects.
  • First lady Jill Biden is steering a new White House initiative on women’s health research.


  • No, retiring Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah isn’t interested in a third-party bid for president.
  • Speaking of retirements, Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas is calling it quits after this term and — in a bit of an unusual move — Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas is leaving and running for his old position in the Texas Senate. “At the end of the day, the decision came down to, If we lose Texas, we lose the nation,” Fallon told the Texas Tribune.
  • Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. is forgoing a reelection bid and will instead run for Virginia governor in 2025. She is the first candidate to jump in the race to succeed current Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Spanberger’s video announcement highlights her CIA background and bipartisan work in Congress, while accusing Republicans of “banning abortion and books.”
  • The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold two separate hearings today on the Biden administration’s Afghanistan withdrawal. The first will feature testimony from Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko, and is expected to focus on issues like the fate of the country’s women and girls.
  • Rep. Gabe Amo, D-R.I. was sworn in after winning a special election last week.

Outside the Beltway

Spotted: U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. climate envoy John Kerry lunching at separate tables with their staff at San Francisco salad spot MIXT near the Moscone Center where APEC is being held. Kerry posed for a photo with one of the shop’s employees.



  • Former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis told prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga. that former Trump White House aide Dan Scavino informed her following the 2020 election that “the boss” would not leave the White House “under any circumstances,” according to a video obtained by the Washington Post. Ellis said “the boss” was understood by everyone to be former President Donald Trump.
  • Family members of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn pocketed “hundreds of thousands of dollars in leftover money from a legal defense fund that was set up for the retired general as he faced a federal investigation over the 2016 election,” according to testimony from his sister in a defamation case, Semafor’s J.D. Capelouto reports.


Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio says the data suggests freed-up supporters of Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. in Iowa are more likely to jump to Nikki Haley than Ron DeSantis. — Axios



  • Donald Trump’s older sister, former judge Maryanne Trump Barry, passed away at the age of 86. — NYT
  • Michael Tomasky argues in the New Republic that a Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. 2024 candidacy would hurt Trump more than it would hurt President Biden.


Stories that are being largely ignored by either left-leaning or right-leaning outlets, according to data from our partners at Ground News.

What the Left isn’t reading: House Republicans subpoenaed former White House counsel Dana Remus in connection with a probe into President Biden’s handling of classified documents.

What the Right isn’t reading: Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform has lost $73 million since its launch last year.


Principals Team

Editors: Benjy Sarlin, Jordan Weissmann, Morgan Chalfant

Editor-at-Large: Steve Clemons

Reporters: Kadia Goba, Joseph Zeballos-Roig, Shelby Talcott, David Weigel

One Good Text

Amy Rutkin is a longtime aide to Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. Nadler announced on Monday that Rutkin would leave her job in Congress after serving 25 years as his chief of staff and majority and minority staff director on the House Judiciary Committee.

Hot on Semafor
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  • As Israel intensifies its attack on the Gaza Strip and the enclave’s humanitarian situation deteriorates, questions are growing over the Israeli army’s war strategy.
  • Mike Johnson’s secret weapon? Deep ties that span across social, fiscal, and MAGA conservatives — each of which created trouble for prior speakers.
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