Kevin McCarthy ousted from House Speakership, gag order for Donald Trump: 5 Things podcast

Kevin McCarthy ousted from House Speakership, gag order for Donald Trump: 5 Things podcast


Taylor Wilson
 USA TODAY

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Kevin McCarthy has been ousted as speaker of the House. A judge hits former President Donald Trump with a gag order in his New York real estate fraud case. News Journal Courts Reporter Xerxes Wilson has the latest after Hunter Biden appeared in Delaware court. Another COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized. USA TODAY National Correspondent Elizabeth Weise looks at research into same-sex sexual behavior in animals.

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Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below.  This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things You Need to Know Wednesday the 4th of October 2023.

Today, Kevin McCarthy has been ousted as Speaker of the House. Plus Hunter Biden appears in court. And there’s new research about same-sex sexual behavior in animals.

Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy has been ousted as Speaker of the House. His 269-day reign as speaker came to an end with a 216 to 210 vote. Hardline Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz led a group of eight Republicans who voted to remove the speaker. Gaetz’s motion to vacate came after anger at McCarthy for working with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. McCarthy initially made a deal with the party’s Hardline faction to get the speaker’s gavel in January. Gaetz said he went back on his word.

Matt Gaetz:

It’s the benefit of this country that we have a better Speaker of the House than Kevin McCarthy. Kevin McCarthy couldn’t keep his word. He made an agreement in January regarding the way Washington would work and he violated that agreement.

Taylor Wilson:

Now, former Speaker McCarthy said yesterday that the vote represented an institutional problem since only a small minority of the House GOP Conference voted to oust him along with Democrats. The House has now adjourned until next Tuesday with the Chamber frozen without a speaker. House Republicans will decide on candidates for speaker next Tuesday and a speaker election is expected to take place next Wednesday.

A state judge hit former president Donald Trump with a gag order yesterday in his New York real estate trial. That’s after he publicly attacked the integrity of a court official during the second day of the bank fraud trial. Judge Arthur F. Engoron said that personal attacks on members of his staff are not acceptable. Earlier in the day, Trump on his Truth Social website posted a picture of a court clerk standing with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, describing her as Schumer’s girlfriend and demanding that the case be dismissed. The post was later removed. The gag order capped today when he and his allies pushed unsuccessfully for the dismissal of the trial.

Hunter Biden appeared in front of a federal judge in Delaware yesterday for his second court appearance of the year. I spoke with News Journal courts reporter Xerxes Wilson for more from Wilmington. Xerxes, thanks for hopping on the podcast.

Xerxes Wilson:

Glad to be here.

Taylor Wilson:

So Hunter Biden appeared in front of a federal judge in Delaware yesterday. What charges is he facing and how did he plead here?

Xerxes Wilson:

Yesterday, it was a fairly extraordinary hearing. It is unprecedented for the child of a sitting president to be charged with a crime. Specifically, he is charged with three federal firearm felonies. Prosecutors allege in October 2008, he purchased a revolver at a gun shop here in Wilmington. And when you purchase a firearm, there are various applications and forms you have to fill out, one of those applications you have to certify that you are not a drug user. Hunter Biden has been open about his battles with drug addiction during that time period and so prosecutors allege that he lied on that form and that he possessed for 11 days this illegally purchased firearm that ended up in a trash receptacle outside of a local grocery store. Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to each of the charges he faces, setting up the potential for a criminal trial in Delaware if the case makes it that far.

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Taylor Wilson:

What penalties could he face if convicted?

Xerxes Wilson:

There are three felonies. It’s a maximum of 25 years in prison. If he’s convicted, you should note someone with Hunter Biden’s minimal record does not receive the maximum penalty for these types of crimes if he’s convicted.

Taylor Wilson:

And Hunter Biden’s legal team plans to file motions to dismiss this case. What’s their strategy here and how might it relate to the collapsed plea deal we saw this summer?

Xerxes Wilson:

Yesterday’s hearing was pretty standard. That stands in contrast to, there was a hearing on this in July in which prosecutors and defense attorneys had come to an agreement where prosecutors would not pursue these gun charges in return for Hunter Biden agreeing to abstain from drug use for a period and plead guilty to some tax misdemeanors. Now during that July hearing, that agreement that both sides had going into the hearing unraveled during the hearing and since then the portion of the agreement that would have seen the gun charges not prosecuted, federal prosecutors have argued in court documents that that is null and void. However, Biden’s legal team say that that agreement still holds. So their reliance on that agreement will be one of the aspects that they use to try to dismiss these current criminal charges that Hunter Biden faces.

Taylor Wilson:

Xerxes Wilson covers the courts and government in Northern Delaware. Great insight for us here. Thank you so much, Xerxes.

Xerxes Wilson:

Glad to help.

Taylor Wilson:

A study has found that same-sex sexual behavior among animals is not only common but also helps to support social relationships and reduce conflict. I spoke with USA Today national correspondent Elizabeth Weise to learn more tody. Howdy, Beth.

Elizabeth Weise:

Hey, how’s it going?

Taylor Wilson:

Good. Thanks for hopping back on. So Beth, what exactly did this study reveal?

Elizabeth Weise:

This is a really broad study that looked at, I think it was more than 1,500 examples of same-sex sexual behavior among not just mammals, they looked at insects, amphibians. I mean, it pops up in a lot of different creatures. This is not homosexuality, humans are different than non-humans. This is same-sex behavior, which is similar to how animals like to groom each other like otters and kittens and puppies, nuzzling, sleeping together. Everything from that to mounting behavior to long-term pair bonding, which some penguins and seagulls do.

And what they found is that this sort of same-sex sexual behavior occurs in creatures that typically have two things happening. One is that they are social animals. So non-social animals, animals which go off and tend to spend much of their lifetimes alone are less likely to evolve this sort of same-sex sexual behavior. Also, animals in which adults tend to kill each other. What they found is that same-sex sexual behavior in the creatures they looked at in females tends to be about confirming and cementing relationships and in males it tends to be about basically keeping them from killing each other by allowing them a different outlet to establish hierarchies or to allow groups of young males to bond. It’s a fascinating study.

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Taylor Wilson:

Absolutely fascinating study. Beth, I’m curious how researchers got to these conclusions. What does the research look like? And what’s the history behind research like this?

Elizabeth Weise:

Again, this is a really big study where they went and they combed the scientific literature for every example of this type of same-sex sexual behavior they could find among a really broad range of critters out in the world. The question they’re trying to answer is, in a Darwinian world where animals that reproduce are the ones that throw their genes down to the next generation, same-sex sexual behavior doesn’t make sense. So why would something which ostensibly doesn’t contribute to a species doing well evolutionarily, why does it occur in so many species? And it looks like even if it dies out in one species, it pops up again later. There’s clearly something in same-sex sexual behavior that positively promotes survival. Because what it does is it allows individuals to better navigate their communities so that they survive and thrive and then are able to go on and have sexual relationships with the opposite sex, which lead to offspring, which leads to Darwinian success.

Taylor Wilson:

Was this a shock to the scientific community or have there been inklings of this for generations?

Elizabeth Weise:

Yeah, it’s not really a shock. I mean, there’s no way that you could be a scientist who studies a lot of these species and not have seen this sort of same-sex sexual behavior. It happens across the animal kingdom. What’s interesting here is they said, “It does, but it’s actually only in the social species, the antisocial species tend not to do that.” But people have been reporting on behavior like this for decades and decades.

Taylor Wilson:

Elizabeth Weise, fascinating stuff as it always is when you’re on the show. Thank you so much.

Elizabeth Weise:

Thank you. Bye.

Taylor Wilson:

A third COVID-19 vaccine will soon be available in pharmacies and doctor’s offices. The FDA yesterday authorized use of the Novavax vaccine, which uses a different type of technology than the other two currently available. Both types of shots train the immune system to identify and target the spike protein found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA technology, while the Novavax vaccine uses a protein to do the same thing. Studies show that a healthy immune system produces about as many neutralizing antibodies after a boost with either type of vaccine. According to John Moore, a virologist at Cornell University, the FDA authorization enables the Novavax shot for those aged 12 and up.

And Happy International Walk to School Day. The event involves dozens of countries around the world and in much of the US, students are encouraged to get out and enjoy the early fall weather while promoting the benefits of walking. Thanks for listening to 5 Things. If you like the show, please subscribe and leave us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. And if you have any comments, you can reach us at [email protected]. I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA Today.

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