Morning Headlines - Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023

U.S. & World and Wisconsin headlines, and today's meme.

Morning Headlines - Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

Rudy Giuliani Is Ordered To Pay $148M Immediately As Judge Warns Ex-mayor Could Try Hiding His Assets

The judge overseeing the defamation case brought by two Georgia election workers against Rudy Giuliani has ordered the former mayor pay up immediately - warning that he may try and hide his cash to avoid paying the pair.

Giuliani, 79, was ordered on December 15 to pay $148 million in damages to Ruby Moss and Shaye Moss.

His lawyers said at the time he was unable to pay, and on Tuesday petitioned the court to allow him to delay payment while he appeals.

On Wednesday, Judge Beryl Howell ordered Giuliani to pay up, saying there was a real risk he could try and defraud them.

'Giuliani has never denied that he has taken steps to hide his assets from judgment creditors, and has offered no affirmative pledge that he will take no steps to do so,' Howell wrote.

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Supreme Court Showdown With Trump

The Supreme Court is stuck with Donald Trump, whether the justices like it or not.

The court may not have any real way to avoid a starring role in the 2024 campaign, or to shield itself from the constant firestorm that swirls around Trump.

Almost no one in politics has managed to escape that maelstrom undamaged, and that's bad news for the court at a time when its seams are more visible than they've been in decades — already under fire from the left, divided internally on the right and losing its luster with the public. "There's no winning," Notre Dame law professor Derek Muller told Axios.

Legal experts from all over the ideological spectrum expect that the court will soon agree to hear the dispute over whether Trump can be on the ballot when Colorado holds its GOP primary.

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What's Behind The Recent Wave Of House Retirements?

As of Wednesday, 33 House members had announced their retirement or launched a campaign for another office (this does not include resignations). Democrats account for 22 of these departures, compared with just 11 Republicans. The gap between the parties has mostly come down to runs for higher office, as 12 Democrats are seeking another post, compared with just three Republicans.

Both parties have a similar number of retirements: Democrats have 10, Republicans eight.

The decision to leave office usually comes down to a mix of broader political considerations and individual circumstances.

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GOP Impeachment Strategy Bets Big On Bribery Allegations

Signals from the GOP that it plans to put bribery allegations front and center in its impeachment probe of President Biden have renewed questions over how Republicans can prove their most disputed claim.

In making their case for the impeachment inquiry approved by the full House last week, GOP leaders stressed their commitment to investigating one of the few crimes spelled out as an impeachable offense in the Constitution.

But it’s a pathway that also comes with pitfalls, and that adds pressure on the GOP to back allegations that have been swirling for years and have been scrutinized and debunked by fact-checkers.

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Minnesota Commission Chooses New State Flag Design To Replace Old One Deemed Problematic

A Minnesota commission tasked with redesigning the state's flag and seal announced its selection for the updated state flag on Tuesday.

The State Emblems Redesign Commission voted 11-1 to approve the new design. It features an eight-pointed star against a navy blue background shaped to resemble Minnesota, next to a solid light-blue field, which represents the state's waters, according to the commission.

The design was a modification of submission F1935, one of the three finalists selected by the commission.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Wisconsin Elections Commission Rejects Complaint Against Trump Fake Electors For A Second Time

Wisconsin’s bipartisan elections commission, for a second time, has unanimously rejected a complaint against fake presidential electors who attempted to cast the state’s ballots for Donald Trump in 2020.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission first rejected the complaint in March 2022. But a judge in May 2023 ordered the commission to rehear the complaint, this time without one of its members who served as one of the fake electors for the former president.

The commission released its unanimous 5-0 decision to reject the complaint on Dec. 20 without explaining why. The elections commission’s discussion of the complaint, as well as its vote on Tuesday, was conducted in closed meetings.

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Speaker Vos Doubles Down On Call To Review Diversity Positions In State Government, Calls For Formal Audit

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is calling for a formal audit of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and positions within state government.

He made the comments during an interview for Capital City Sunday.

"I think we have too many positions in state government to begin with, I think there's plenty of fat that we could cut," he said. "But this is an area where we need to redirect our efforts toward ensuring that everyone is successful, not just people of one certain race or one certain gender."

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Protesters Greet President Biden During Wisconsin Visit

President Joe Biden paid a visit to Milwaukee on Wednesday and was met by protestors.

According to our Milwaukee station, the protest was organized by the Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine. Protesters held signs and waved flags, demanding the president call for an end to the war in the Middle East.

President Biden was in Milwaukee to tout his economic policy agenda and ramp up campaign efforts for the 2024 presidential election.

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Wisconsin Leader Pivots, Says Impeachment Of Justice Protasiewicz Over Redistricting Is Unlikely

The Republican leader of Wisconsin’s Assembly who had threatened possible impeachment of a new liberal state Supreme Court justice over her views on redistricting now says such a move is “super unlikely.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos originally threatened to impeach Justice Janet Protasiewicz if she did not recuse herself from the redistricting challenge, which is backed by Democrats seeking to throw out Republican-drawn electoral maps. After Protasiewicz refused to step down from the case, Vos raised the possibility of impeachment based on how she rules.

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Kwik Trip To Invest $151M In Expansion To Boost Company's Continued Growth

Kwik Trip plans to spend over $151 million in Wisconsin to support the company’s continued growth. The move will create more than 500 jobs by 2027.

Those plans would qualify the La Crosse-based convenience store chain to earn an additional $15 million in state tax credits through an agreement established in 2017.

The company’s plan includes upgrading its production facilities in La Crosse, purchasing and renovating a commercial office building in Onalaska and constructing a new distribution center at a to-be-determined location.

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Last Update: Dec 21, 2023 7:35 am CST

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