Wednesday Briefing: McCarthy Ousted as House Speaker

The vote to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker leaves the House without leadership.Credit…Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times

Speaker McCarthy is ousted from his post

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his leadership position. The vote was instigated by a group of hard-liners from his own Republican Party.

It was the first time in the modern history of the House of Representatives that such a vote passed. The House speaker is second in line to the president after the vice president.

The vote passed 216-210.

The effort to oust the speaker, led by Representative Matt Gaetz, was incited by McCarthy’s reliance last weekend on Democrats to pass a temporary spending bill to keep the government open until mid-November. The rebellion prompted an extraordinary Republican-against-Republican debate on the House floor over McCarthy’s future before the final vote. There was no groundswell of support from Democrats to give the Republican leader an easy way out.

Background: In January, McCarthy made concessions to hard-line conservatives to get elected as speaker, allowing any member to move to vacate the position — virtually assuring this day would come.

What’s next: There is no clear replacement for McCarthy, and the vacancy essentially paralyzes the House until one is chosen, according to multiple procedural experts. The House and Senate must pass appropriations bills to fund the federal government before mid-November or there will be a shutdown.

Related: Gaetz’s effort has drawn attention to a long-running House ethics investigation against him into allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, among other accusations.

Sam Bankman-Fried at a bail hearing in New York in August.Credit…Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

FTX founder’s trial begins in New York

Sam Bankman-Fried is accused of siphoning billions of dollars from customers of FTX, his digital currency exchange, which collapsed in November.The trial opened with jury selection yesterday and opening statements are expected today.

The 31-year-old founder faces seven counts, including wire and securities fraud, as well as money laundering. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could receive what would amount to a life sentence.

It’s not yet clear whether Bankman-Fried will testify. It’s also not clear what his defense will be, but after FTX filed for bankruptcy, Bankman-Fried blamed an accounting error for causing billions of dollars of user funds to vanish without his knowledge.

The big picture: The charges against Bankman-Fried have made him into a symbol of the unrestrained hubris and shady deal-making that turned cryptocurrencies into a multi-trillion-dollar industry during the pandemic. Crypto insiders have been trying to distance themselves from Bankman-Fried and are united in their zeal to see him held to account. They are rooting for his downfall.

An armed police officer at the Siam Paragon shopping mall in Bangkok yesterday.Credit…Narong Sangnak/EPA, via Shutterstock

14-year-old fatally shoots two in Bangkok

A teenager opened fire in the Siam Paragon luxury mall in downtown Bangkok yesterday, the authorities said. The 14-year-old killed two people and injured five in one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations.

The authorities said that the suspect, who was taken into custody, had a history of mental illness and had been receiving treatment in a hospital, but that he had not taken his medication.

Thailand has one of the highest gun homicide rates in Southeast Asia and lacks mental health services for the young. But mass shootings are very rare, and most high-profile gun homicides have been personal disputes involving former army or police officers who can buy their weapons at a steep discount from the government.


Asia Pacific

Security officers with confiscated material after a raid at the office of the website NewsClick in New Delhi on Tuesday.Credit…Dinesh Joshi/Associated Press
  • The police in New Delhi raided the homes and offices of journalists working for NewsClick, a news site that has criticized the Indian government. A Times investigation had linked the site to a pro-China network.

  • Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, a decade of relative calm in Pakistan has been broken by violence.

  • A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is expected to visit Beijing next week.

  • The Cricket World Cup kicks off tomorrow in India and runs through Nov. 19.

  • Taiwan prepared for rain and strong winds ahead of Typhoon Koinu, which is expected to make landfall tomorrow.

Around the World

Russian Central Bank headquarters in Moscow.Credit…Alexander Nemenov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • The Russian ruble briefly weakened to an exchange rate of 100 against the U.S. dollar for the first time since mid-August.

  • A New York judge placed a limited gag order on Donald Trump after the former president posted a message to social media targeting the judge’s law clerk.

  • Little ground has changed hands during the war in Ukraine in recent weeks, as Russia falls back on “elastic defense.”

  • After 140 years, the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona is almost done.

Other Big Stories

  • Hunter Biden, the president’s son, pleaded not guilty to charges of lying about his drug use on a form he filled out to purchase a handgun.

  • Three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work exploring the world of electrons inside atoms and molecules.

  • No country is more deadly for journalists than Mexico. In one town, reporters tried to fight back.

A Morning Read

A vessel fitted with a sail like a kite on the Atlantic Ocean.Credit…Maxime Horlaville/polaRYSE/Airseas

In order to cut emissions, global shipping is using an old fuel source: The wind.

One vessel uses a giant kite, flying 1,000 feet up in the sky. Another has steel and composite-glass sails the height of three telephone poles. They’re not in wide use yet, but one expert said he expected 10,700 merchant ships to be using wind propulsion by 2030.


Credit…Xinmei Liu

China’s brain drain

China’s young people, tech professionals and entrepreneurs are leaving.

My colleague Li Yuan, who writes our New New World column, found that many started thinking about emigrating after China amended its constitution to let President Xi Jinping effectively rule for life. Others mentioned the years of constant lockdowns and quarantines under its “zero-Covid” policies.

The U.S. isn’t benefiting from this exodus. Some said that was because of America’s complicated and unpredictable visa process. Others said emigrants choose Canada and European countries because they offer better social benefits, work-life balance and gun control laws.

Most of the tech professionals took a pay cut when they emigrated. “I feel like I’m paying for liberty,” said Zhou, who quit his job at a start-up in Beijing and now works at an automobile company in Western Europe. “It’s worth it.”


Credit…Linda Pugliese for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

Cook a luxurious mattar paneer that is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Read Viet Thanh Nguyen’s memoir, “A Man of Two Faces,” which blends polemic and family history.

Travel to San Francisco, where you can find Korean barbecue or burritos from our list of the 25 best restaurants.

Glow with a simple skin care routine from the experts.

Play Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all our games here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Justin

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