Push to remove Kevin McCarthy and abducted New York girl found safe: Morning Rundown

Democrats are torn on whether to save Kevin McCarthy as his fate as House speaker hangs in the balance. New York officials reveal what led police to an abducted 9-year-old girl. And every cellphone in the U.S. will get the same text message this week.

Here’s what to know today.

Democrats face an unusual decision. Will they save McCarthy?

An effort to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House was set in motion when conservative Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a resolution yesterday to force a vote. Gaetz had said he would try to oust McCarthy if the speaker brought a short-term government funding bill to the floor, which happened over the weekend.

The House now has until tomorrow to vote on whether to keep McCarthy as speaker, putting Democrats on track to make an unusual decision: Will they help McCarthy keep his job? 

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Democrats will have to decide whether to join McCarthy’s foes and vote to topple him or side with the speaker’s allies and bail him out. It’s a situation that presents high risks and rewards, depending on how House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and other Democrats play their cards.

Some in the party see the vote as an opportunity to try and get concessions from McCarthy, but there’s the question of whether they can trust the Speaker to honor any agreements. Plus, it’ll be on McCarthy to reach out if he wants to make an arrangement with Democrats, a source said. And he hasn’t done that yet.

If all Democrats vote against McCarthy, it would take just four Republicans to oust him. Gaetz claimed after filing yesterday’s motion that he had the votes to do just that. 

Read the full story here.

Fingerprints and a ransom note led to missing New York girl

Fingerprints left on a ransom note helped lead police to a suspect in the search for 9-year-old Charlotte Sena, who was found safe and uninjured, Gov. Kathy Hochul said last night. “He literally drove up to the family’s mailbox” to drop off the note, Hochul said of the suspect, 47-year-old Craig Nelson Ross. Authorities found Sena in a cupboard at an RV trailer where Ross lived.  

Sena seemingly “disappeared almost into thin air” over the weekend while she rode her bike around a state park, her aunt said. The girl’s disappearance launched a two-day search that involved about 400 certified search and rescue personnel and spanned 46 linear miles. A news conference about the case is planned for today.

Read More:   122 anglers rescued from ice floe in northern Minnesota lake, no injuries reported

Trump rails against judge on first day of civil fraud trial

The $250 million civil fraud trial against Donald Trump, his company and two of his children kicked off yesterday with the former president in attendance and, at times, appearing to get angry. After opening statements, he shot a glare at New York Attorney General Letitia James. During a lunch break, Trump complained to reporters about Judge Arthur Engoron, suggesting Engoron should be “disbarred” and “out of office.” He turned beet red while he whispered to his attorneys during testimony in the afternoon.

Trump is expected to attend the second day of proceedings today.

In his opening statement, attorney Kevin Wallace said Trump and officials at his company engaged in “persistent illegal acts,” using inflated financial statements with values that were “determined by Donald Trump.” Trump’s attorney Christopher Kise said evidence would show he “made many billions of dollars being right about real estate investments” and built a successful empire. Read more about the arguments made on the first day of trial.

Trial of ex-FTX head Sam Bankman-Fried kicks off

Jury selection in the trial of one-time crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is set to begin today, to be followed by a trial that is expected to last six weeks. It’s the next chapter in Bankman-Fried’s fall after the collapse of his digital currency exchange, FTX, last year.

The former CEO once promoted himself as the ethical face of cryptocurrencies. But now he faces federal charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering that allegedly defrauded customers of FTX and lenders to his cryptocurrency hedge fund, Alameda Research. Here’s what to know about the trial, as well as a refresher on SBF’s rise to prominence and his companies’ swift collapse.

Pope Francis signals openness to blessings for same-sex couples

Pope Francis opened the door for some Catholic priests to bless same-sex unions, hinting at a reversal of the official Vatican position that has put it at odds with many of its own progressive followers. However, Francis outlined some major caveats, including that they should be decided on a case-by-case basis and not seen as equivalent to heterosexual wedding ceremonies.

“We cannot be judges who only deny, reject, and exclude,” the pope said in a letter to five conservative cardinals who asked for clarity on the issue ahead of amajor global gathering on the future of the Churchthat begins tomorrow.

Today’s Talker: All U.S. cellphones will receive the same…

… text message from FEMA as part of a nationwide test to make sure warning systems are working in the event of a national emergency. The alert is expected to go out at 2:20 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, and a separate message will be sent to radios and TVs. So when your phone blares at the same time as everyone else’s tomorrow, just stay calm. It’s only a test.

Read More:   North Korea confronts a modern-day challenge: a declining population

Politics in Brief 

Trump’s statements: Donald Trump has ramped up the violent rhetoric in the past week, according to an analysis of Trump’s public remarks and social media posts.

Supreme Court: Justice Clarence Thomas for the first time recused himself from a case involving the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, in an appeal brought by former Trump legal adviser John Eastman.

Mark Milley interview: The former top U.S. military officer during the Trump administration spoke to Nightly News’ Lester Holt about why he said more than once the military would play “zero role” in the 2020 election.

Consumer watchdog: The Supreme Court will weigh the fate of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal agency set up to protect people from predatory lenders and other unlawful financial services practices, as justices consider a constitutional challenge. 

Abortion rights: Yelp and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are suing each other over Yelp’s descriptions of crisis pregnancy centers, which aim to dissuade people from having abortions.

Staff Pick: How a Twitter game plan may influence Musk

When public records revealed Elon Musk had become Twitter’s biggest shareholder, the billionaire received a text message that recommended an anonymous 3,000-word article suggesting he purchase Twitter and take a series of actions. Musk ended up purchasing the social platform — and many of the decisions he has made appear to closely follow that road map. Reporter Ben Collins dives deeper into the game plan that might provide a clue about Musk’s Twitter strategy. — Elizabeth Robinson, newsletter editor

In Case You Missed It

  • The Powerball jackpot is now the third-largest in the game’s history at $1.2 billion after no one won last night’s drawing.
  • The police chief of a small Kansas town who directed searches of a newspaper publisher and his newsroom has resigned.
  • All 27 European Union leaders made a historic show of support for Ukraine after the passage of the U.S. funding bill that contained no new aid for the country’s fight against Russia.
  • A Philadelphia journalist and community advocate was fatally shot in his home.
  • An average of 27 million people tuned into the Kansas City Chiefs-New York Jets game (which Taylor Swift also attended), making it the most-watched Sunday TV show since the Super Bowl. 
  • A waterslide at Disney World caused a dangerous “wedgie” that left a woman with severe injuries, according to a lawsuit.

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Target has officially kicked off Target Circle Week, during which the retailer offers discounts on products for its loyalty program members. Our Select team rounded up the best deals to take advantage of this week, including discounts a Kitchenaid stand mixer and a Dyson vacuum.

Sign up to The Selection newsletter for exclusive reviews and shopping content from NBC Select.

Thanks for reading today’s Morning Rundown. Today’s newsletter was curated for you by Elizabeth Robinson. If you’re a fan, please send a link to your family and friends. They can sign-up here.

Elizabeth Robinson

Elizabeth Robinson is a newsletter editor for NBC News, based in Los Angeles.