Happy Tuesday! In what can only be described as the most heartbreaking split of 2024, professional golfer Tiger Woods announced the end of his 27-year partnership with Nike on Monday. The partnership spawned some memorable ads—and arguably the best example of product placement in sports history.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Lebanese Hezbollah claimed on Monday that a commander in their Radwan forces, Wissam Tawil, had been killed in a suspected Israeli strike on southern Lebanon. Tawil was reportedly a key leader of Hezbollah’s operations in the border region, where Israel and the Iranian-backed terrorist organization have traded rocket fire since the war began in October. The report comes on the same day that Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the Israeli military would shift to a more targeted phase of the war against Hamas in Gaza, utilizing fewer airstrikes and troops. At a campaign speech on Monday at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, President Joe Biden was interrupted by protesters calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. “I understand their passion,” he said, responding to the protesters and seemingly confirming his role in Israel’s recent willingness to shift strategies. “I’ve been quietly working with the Israeli government to get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza.”
- French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday that Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne had resigned, giving the president a chance to refresh his government ahead of European Parliamentary elections in June. Borne was just the second woman in France to hold the position, and her cabinet—and Macron’s government—has fractured over contentious efforts to overhaul the country’s pension and immigration systems. “You implemented our project with the courage, commitment, and determination of women of states,” Macron tweeted on Monday. “With all my heart, thank you.” She will continue to run the government until a successor is named.
- The White House and the Pentagon announced an investigation on Monday into why top government officials, including Biden and Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, were not immediately informed of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization on New Year’s Day. The White House was reportedly not made aware of the situation until January 4, though the Pentagon reported that four aides were informed of Austin’s situation on January 2 but did not update the White House until two days later. “[I] understand the media concerns about transparency and I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed,” Austin said in a statement over the weekend. “I commit to doing better.” Politico reported Monday that Biden is not considering firing Austin over the situation, and would not accept his resignation should he submit it.
- Former President Donald Trump requested on Monday that election interference charges brought against him in Georgia be thrown out, claiming that he is protected by presidential immunity—echoing claims his legal team has made in the federal election interference case brought against him. “The [president’s] absolute immunity shields him from criminal prosecution as well as civil suit,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in the filing. “The text of the Constitution and early authorities confirm that the exclusive method to proceed against a [president] for crimes allegedly committed in office is by impeachment in the House of Representatives and trial in the Senate.” Also on Monday, Trump asked a Maine judge to halt proceedings blocking his name from appearing on the ballot in the state until the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the issue as raised by the Colorado Supreme Court. Both Maine and Colorado have removed Trump from their primary ballots, alleging he violated Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment by participating in an insurrection on January 6, 2021. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to review the Colorado Supreme Court ruling, with oral arguments set to be heard on February 8.
- GOP Rep. Larry Bucshon of Indiana announced on Monday that he will retire at the end of his seventh term next year. “For over 230 years, men and women have chosen to serve our nation in the Congress—in many cases through very trying times in our history—and I’m honored to be included among their ranks,” he said in a statement. “Recent disputes in Congress and difficulties advancing policy on behalf of the American people have not soured my faith in our Constitutional Republic form of government. In fact, it has strengthened that faith.” Bucshon joins nearly 40 other lawmakers not seeking reelection to the House in 2024.
- The Michigan Wolverines defeated the Washington Huskies 34-13 on Monday night to cap an undefeated, 15-0 season and secure their first college football national championship since 1997.
Negotiating on a Thin Line
House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reached a tentative deal on Sunday to fund the government in 2024—exactly one year to the day from when Kevin McCarthy secured his speakership after a marathon 15 votes. Now, Speaker Johnson faces the same challenge that precipitated his predecessor’s downfall: joining forces with Democrats while corralling enough House Republicans to avoid a government shutdown on a tight deadline.
Johnson and Schumer reached an agreement over the weekend on a $1.59 trillion topline spending number, which includes $886.3 billion in defense spending and $704 billion in non-defense spending. It also leaves in place a $69 billion side agreement for additional non-defense spending that McCarthy negotiated with President Joe Biden last May as part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling—a bargain that strained McCarthy’s relationships with some GOP lawmakers and contributed to his eventual ouster. With the side deal included, topline spending would be $1.66 trillion for fiscal year 2024.
“It’s a good deal for Democrats and the country,” Schumer said on a call with his colleagues. The Senate majority leader and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries both emphasized the spending left intact under the agreement. “It will also allow us to keep the investments for hardworking American families secured by the legislative achievements of President Biden and Congressional Democrats,” the pair said in a joint statement. Schumer was even more explicit in a floor speech on Monday. “When we began negotiations, our goal was to preserve a non-defense funding level of $772 billion, the same level agreed to in our debt ceiling deal last June, and that $772 billion was precisely the number we reached,” he said. “Not a nickel—not a nickel—was cut.”