Will The House GOP Really Throw Its Lot In With Jim Jordan And All He Represents?

INSIDE: Donald Trump ... Tanya Chutkan ... Jack Smith
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) speaks briefly to reporters as he departs a House Republican Caucus at the U.S. Capitol October 16, 2023 in Washington, DC. House Republicans are holding a caucus m... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) speaks briefly to reporters as he departs a House Republican Caucus at the U.S. Capitol October 16, 2023 in Washington, DC. House Republicans are holding a caucus meeting Monday night to continue their search for a new Speaker of the House, which they hope to elect on Tuesday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

A Reader’s Guide To Today In The House

Let’s start with an assessment that violates the No. 1 rule of political reporting (posturing as knowing what’s about to happen): No one really knows whether Jim Jordan is going to win the speakership today. I certainly don’t, and rather than pretending otherwise it’s a good time to sit back and observe, report, and stay a bit humble.

It’s hard though, given the conventions of political reporting. A sample of the headlines gives you some sense of how opaque things are in the House GOP right now.

The vague way of saying we just don’t know:

The pretending to know (in totally opposite directions):

And my least favorite genre, the kinetic “things are moving!” headline:

The “things are moving” framing is my least favorite because there’s really no such thing as momentum in politics. It’s a perception, and perceptions can be gamed. Flacks and consultants regularly foster the illusion of momentum in order to close deals, lock down support, and cow adversaries. The sense that the train is leaving the station and you better get aboard can be fostered and manipulated.

I don’t know if that was deliberately being done by Jordan and his supporters over the last 24 hours (as one House Dem aide suggested), but the point is that it can be done and should make you skeptical about stories that use “momentum” as a framing device.

Smart Reads On Jim Jordan

  • TPM’s Kate Riga: Legislative Terrorist’ Jim Jordan Spins Himself As Great Uniter
  • Jamelle Bouie: The Apotheosis of Jim Jordan Is a Sight to Behold
  • Aaron Blake: Jim Jordan’s remarkably thin legislative track record
  • TPM’s Josh Marshall: Speaker Jordan’s Toxic Baggage

Chutkan Gags Trump … A Little

It’s a pretty limited gag order. It doesn’t prevent Trump from campaigning or from criticizing Joe Biden and the Justice Department. It doesn’t even come close to revoking his pretrial release. It’s hard to imagine any other defendant getting off so easy after suggesting publicly that a chief witness against him be executed. But here we are.

The gag order prevents Trump from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, and court staff in the Jan. 6 case against him. The immediate result was an extended and carefully orchestrated PR and campaign fundraising effort – in which Trump loudly proclaimed he was being censored by Joe Biden and victimized by the Deep State – that generally explored the full scope of the new gag order without necessarily violating it.

The most striking thing from the hearing was the lengths Trump lawyer John Lauro is willing to go to parrot Trump’s transparent bullshit in court, for which he got called out more than once by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan.

Pretty Big Deal

The Justice Department is appealing the sentences of the five Proud Boy convicted in the Jan. 6 attack. The sentences were among the harshest meted out to Jan. 6 rioters and instigators, but they were below what the government had sought. The Justice Department is similarly appealing the sentences of the Oath Keepers convicted for Jan. 6.

Sedition Hunters

Let me put in a quick plug for TPM alum Ryan Reilly’s new book, Sedition Hunters: How January 6th Broke the Justice System, which goes on sale today.

Ryan has the deepest knowledge of anyone on the prosecutions of the Jan. 6 rioters, an encyclopedic understanding of the individual rioter cases.

Proud of him for his dogged coverage, his relentless bad jokes, and his new book.

Aileen Cannon Is Ready For Round 2

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has scheduled for Friday the resumption of the Garcia hearing for Trump co-defendant Walt Nauta in the Mar-a-Lago document case. You’ll recall she aborted the previous hearing when she accused prosecutors of making arguments to the court that they had not previously briefed. I took a pretty dim view of her claims, but Roger Parloff was in attendance at the hearing and was a bit more sympathetic in his extensive dispatch for Lawfare on how it went down.

Jack Smith Tries To Fight Off Trump Delay Tactics

For the truly obsessed, a new filing from Special Counsel Jack Smith Monday shows the lengths Trump is going to impede and delay his prosecution in the Mar-a-Lago case – but it also shows Smith fiercely fighting each attempt by Trump to buy a few more days or weeks. This will be a battle of attrition, with Judge Cannon clearly a big obstacle for Smith.

Trump Sues Over Steele Dossier

Donald Trump is seeking legal redress in London against Christopher Steele and his firm for the notorious Steele dossier. Specifically, Trump is seeking damages for alleged violations of Britain’s data protection laws.

Hate To See It

Rep. George Santos’ campaign is hemorrhaging cash.


How the tax returns of Donald Trump and other high earners were leaked.

Israel-Gaza Watch

  • Israel’s bombardment of Gaza continues.
  • Israel evacuated 20 cities along the northern border with Lebanon.
  • The U.S. deployed to the eastern Med the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, which includes some 4,000 Marines and sailors, and a second carrier strike group. The USS Eisenhower joins the USS Ford, which arrived in international waters off Israel earlier this week.
  • CENTCOM commander, Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, arrived in Tel Aviv for a previously unannounced visit with his Israeli counterparts.
  • Biden will visit Israel and Jordan on Wednesday. The stop in Jordan will include meetings with Jordanian King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
  • The announcement of Biden’s visit to Israel came after a long negotiation session between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which commitments on a humanitarian package were obtained.
  • The head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service has taken responsibility for not foreseeing the Hamas attack.

News consumer alert: News reports that view international conflicts through the prism of the American president’s personal political prospects are among the least useful and most contrived out there. Don’t waste your time on the “Hamas Attack Deals Blow To Biden’s …” type stories.


The Justice Department has launched a federal hate crime investigation into the fatal stabbing in Illinois of a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy and the grievous wounding of his mother by their landlord.

Keep An Eye On This

NYT: “A man who was wrongfully convicted and spent more than 16 years in prison before being released in 2020 was fatally shot on Monday by a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia during a traffic stop, the authorities said.”

‘It Would Be A Good Idea For Us To Do It’

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett voices public support for an ethics code for the high court.


Biden joins Truth Social.


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