The candidates went after Biden — and Trump — at the second GOP debate. Follow live updates
The seven candidates on stage for Wednesday night's second presidential debate went after President Joe Biden, one another and the absent GOP front-runner.
The at-times chaotic event featured staple questions about immigration, economics and abortion but also spawned a new nickname for Donald Trump, included some cringey sexual references and kept our fact-checkers busy.
— An overview of tonight’s debate, where candidates went after Biden — and Trump. — Christie calls Trump “Donald Duck,” DeSantis knocks former president and other debate highlights. — Trump again skipped the debate. Here’s what he was doing instead. — See more of our 2024 coverage.
As the debate neared its end, moderator Dana Perino asked the candidates to write down which of their on-stage competitors should be voted off the 2024 GOP island.
But they didn’t bite. “With all due respect, I think that that’s disrespectful,” DeSantis said in response to the “Survivor”-style question.
House Speaker McCarthy is back to square one as the Senate pushes ahead to avert a federal shutdown
WASHINGTON (AP) — As the Senate marches ahead with a bipartisan approach to prevent a government shutdown, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is back to square one — asking his hard-right Republicans to do what they have said they would never do: approve their own temporary House measure to keep the government open.
The Republican speaker laid out his strategy Wednesday behind closed doors, urging his unruly Republican majority to work together. He set up a test vote for Friday, one day before Saturday's shutdown deadline, on a far-right bill. It would slash federal spending by 8% from many agencies and toughen border security but has been rejected by Democrats and his own right-flank Republicans.
“I want to solve the problem,” McCarthy told reporters afterward at the Capitol.
But pressed on how he would pass a partisan Republican spending plan that even his own right flank doesn't want, McCarthy had few answers. He rejected outright the Senate's bipartisan bill, which would fund the government to Nov. 17, adding $6 billion for Ukraine and $6 billion for U.S. disaster relief while talks continue. Instead, he insisted, as he often does, that he would never quit trying.
Congress is at a crossroads days before a disruptive federal shutdown that would halt paychecks for millions of federal workers, leave 2 million active duty military troops and reservists to work without pay, close down many federal offices, and leave Americans who rely on the government in ways large and small in the lurch.
Judge Chutkan denies Trump’s request to recuse herself in federal election subversion case
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said Wednesday she won’t recuse herself from Donald Trump’s 2020 election interference case in Washington, rejecting the former president’s claims that her past comments raise doubts about whether she can be fair.
Chutkan, who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama and was randomly assigned to Trump’s case, said in her written decision that she sees no reason to step aside. The case, scheduled for trial in March, accuses the Republican of illegally scheming to overturn his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
There’s a high bar for recusal, and legal experts had widely considered Trump’s request to be a long shot aimed at undermining the legitimacy of the case publicly that could only sour the relationship between the judge and the defense in court.
Lawyers for Trump did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
In seeking Chutkan's recusal, defense lawyers cited statements she had made in two sentencing hearings of participants in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol in which they said she had appeared to suggest that Trump deserved to be prosecuted and held accountable. They said the comments suggested a bias against him that could taint the proceedings.
Hollywood actors to resume negotiations with studios next week, as protracted writers strike ends
NEW YORK (AP) — With the Hollywood writers strike over, actors will now get a shot at cutting their own deal with studios and streaming services.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists announced Wednesday night that strike negotiations with studios would resume Monday. The guild said several studio executives will attend, much as they did during marathon sessions last week that helped bring the nearly five-month writers strike to an end.
Monday is the same day that network late-night hosts will return to the air.
Bill Maher led the charge back to work by announcing early Wednesday — hours after writers became free to work again — that his HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher” would be back on the air Friday. By mid-morning, the hosts of NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on CBS had announced they'd also return, all by Monday. “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver was slated to return to the air Sunday.
Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” which had been using guest hosts when the strike hit, announced Wednesday that it would return Oct. 16 “with an all-star roster of guest hosts for the remainder of 2023.” The plans for “Saturday Night Live” were not immediately clear.
US Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to pocketing bribes in a wide-ranging corruption case
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to federal charges accusing him of pocketing bribes of cash and gold bars in exchange for wielding his political influence to secretly advance Egyptian interests and do favors for local businessmen.
Menendez led his wife, Nadine, who also pleaded not guilty in the case, by the hand out of the courtroom after the brief hearing in the lower Manhattan federal courthouse days after prosecutors unsealed an indictment alleging vast corruption by the Democrat. The couple ignored shouted questions from reporters as they left the courthouse. Menendez gave a tight-lipped smile as he stepped into a car.
A defiant Menendez has said allegations that he abused his power to line his pockets are baseless. He has said he is confident he will be exonerated and has no intention of leaving the Senate.
Still, calls for Menendez to resign continued to mount on Wednesday with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, saying “he should step down.” More than half of Senate Democrats have now said that Menendez should resign, including fellow New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, speaking to reporters hours after Menendez's court appearance, did not call for Menendez to resign and said Menendez would address his Democratic colleagues on Thursday. “We all know that senators -- for senators, there’s a much much higher standard. And clearly, when you read the indictment, Sen. Menendez fell way, way below that standard,” said Schumer, D-N.Y.
US secures the release of the soldier who crossed into North Korea 2 months ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has secured the release of a U.S. soldier who sprinted across a heavily fortified border into North Korea more than two months ago, and he is on his way back to America, officials announced Wednesday. U.S. ally Sweden and rival China helped with the transfer.
Left unanswered were questions of why North Korea — which has tense relations with Washington over the North's nuclear program, support for Russia's war in Ukraine and other issues — had agreed to turn him over and why the soldier had fled in the first place.
North Korea had abruptly announced earlier Wednesday that it would expel Pvt. Travis King — though some had expected the North to drag out his detention in hopes of squeezing concessions from Washington at a time of high tensions between the two countries.
"U.S. officials have secured the return of Private Travis King from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. “We appreciate the dedication of the interagency team that has worked tirelessly out of concern for Private King’s wellbeing."
Officials said they did not know exactly why North Korea decided to expel King, but suspected Pyongyang determined that as a low-ranking serviceman he had no real value in terms of either leverage or information. One official, who was not authorized to comment and requested anonymity, said the North Koreans may have decided that King, 23, was more trouble to keep than to simply release him.
Over 50 arrested after mobs ransacked Philadelphia stores. Dozens of liquor outlets are shut down
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Dozens of people faced criminal charges Wednesday after a night of social media-fueled mayhem in which groups of thieves, apparently working together, smashed their way into stores in several areas of Philadelphia, stuffing plastic bags with merchandise and fleeing, authorities said.
Police said they made at least 52 arrests. Burglary, theft and other counts have been filed so far against at least 30 people, all but three of them adults, according to Jane Roh, spokesperson for the Philadelphia district attorney's office.
The flash mob-style ransacking Tuesday night at dozens of stores including Foot Locker, Lululemon and Apple came after a peaceful protest over a judge’s decision to dismiss murder and other charges against a Philadelphia police officer who shot and killed a driver, Eddie Irizarry, through a rolled-up window.
Those doing the ransacking were not affiliated with the protest, Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford said at a news conference, calling the group “a bunch of criminal opportunists.”
At least 18 state-run liquor stores were broken into, leading the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to close all 48 of its Philadelphia retail locations and one in suburban Cheltenham on Wednesday. No employees were hurt Tuesday night, but “some were understandably shaken,” said liquor board spokesperson Shawn Kelly.
Auto workers union to announce plans on Friday to expand strike in contract dispute with companies
DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union says it will announce on Friday how it plans to expand its strike against Detroit's three automakers.
The union says President Shawn Fain will make the announcement at 10 a.m. Eastern time in a video appearance addressing union members. Additional walkouts will take place at noon Friday without serious progress in contract talks, the union said.
The union went on strike Sept. 14 when it couldn't reach agreements on new contracts with Ford, General Motors and Jeep maker Stellantis.
At first it targeted one assembly plant from each company, and last week it added 38 parts distribution centers run by GM and Stellantis. Ford was spared the second escalation because talks with the union were progressing.
The union wouldn't say what action it would take on Friday, reiterating that all options are on the table.
Michigan State fires coach Mel Tucker for bringing ridicule to school, breaching his contract
Michigan State fired Mel Tucker on Wednesday, saying the suspended football coach failed to present adequate reasons why he should not be fired for cause after having what he described as consensual phone sex with an activist and rape survivor.
The school said it terminated what's left of Tucker's $95 million, 10-year contract for acknowledging actions that subjected the institution to ridicule, breaching his contract and moral turpitude.
Brenda Tracy, the activist and rape survivor, said Tucker sexually harassed her during the phone call in April 2022. Several months later, Tracy filed a complaint with the school’s Title IX office.
Michigan State informed the 51-year-old Tucker that it planned to fire him on Sept. 18 and gave him a week to respond, which he did on Monday.
“Simply put, Mr. Tucker’s response does not provide any information that refutes or undermines the multiple grounds for termination for cause set forth in the notice,” athletic director Alan Haller said. “Instead, his 25-page response, which includes a 12-page letter from his attorney and a 13-page ‘expert report,’ provides a litany of excuses for his inappropriate behavior while expressly admitting to the problematic conduct outlined in the notice.”
In Hollywood writers' battle against AI, humans win (for now)
NEW YORK (AP) — After a 148-day strike, Hollywood screenwriters secured significant guardrails against the use of artificial intelligence in one of the first major labor battles over generative AI in the workplace.
During the nearly five-month walkout, no issue resonated more than the use of AI in script writing. What was once a seemingly lesser demand of the Writers Guild of America became an existential rallying cry.
The strike was also about streaming-era economics, writers room minimums and residuals — not exactly compelling picket-sign fodder. But the threat of AI vividly cast the writers' plight as a human-versus-machine clash, with widespread implications for other industries facing a radically new kind of automation.
In the coming weeks, WGA members will vote on whether to ratify a tentative agreement, which requires studios and production companies to disclose to writers if any material given to them has been generated by AI partially or in full. AI cannot be a credited writer. AI cannot write or rewrite “literary material." AI-generated writing cannot be source material.
“AI-generated material can’t be used to undermine a writer’s credit or separated rights," the proposed contract reads.
The Associated Press