The year 2023 was winding down, and 2024 – along with the resulting, increasingly complex presidential election – is fast approaching.
Between the historic ouster of the House Speaker and the discovery of cocaine in the White House, 2023 is proving to be an eventful year in America.
Here are the six most important political stories of 2023.
Colorado’s Democratic-appointed justice says Trump’s ballot ban undermines America’s “foundation” of fiery opposition
McCarthy’s ouster and Speaker’s brawl
Arguably the biggest political story of the year, the House of Representatives saw its leader ousted for the first time in American history last October.
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, was removed from office by eight Republicans, led by Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz.
House Republicans who voted for McCarthy were joined by every Democrat in the chamber in the vote.
McCarthy’s ouster led to a nearly month-long battle to determine which House Republican would take the gavel.
Three top House Republicans — Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota — maneuvered for the gavel, but were all brought down by their conference.
The speaker’s battle culminated in the election of House Speaker Mike Johnson, Republican of Los Angeles, to the position.
Screenshots released on January 6th
Just weeks after being elected Speaker, Johnson made a huge step forward in terms of congressional transparency. He released 40,000 hours of footage from the January 6 Capitol riot.
“When I ran for Speaker of the House, I promised to make available to the American people 44,000 hours of video from Capitol Hill security captured on January 6, 2021,” Johnson said in a statement. “Truth and transparency are crucial.”
“Today, we will immediately begin publishing the video on a public website and move as quickly as possible to add almost all of the footage to the site, that is, more than 40,000 hours. In the meantime, the public viewing room will ensure that every citizen can watch every minute of the video without censorship.” for censorship.”
He continued: “This decision will provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media the ability to see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely on the interpretation of a small group of government officials.”
Johnson said that approximately 5% of the footage would likely be redacted due to “sensitive security information related to the building’s architecture,” and that some faces would be blurred “to avoid anyone being targeted for retaliation of any kind.”
Snowstorm at the White House in July
Although drugs may not be far from politics, they usually do not appear in public in the White House.
However, that is exactly what happened this July as Americans prepared to celebrate Independence Day.
While President Biden and his family were at Camp David, the Secret Service found a bag of cocaine in a White House closet.
Experts puzzled by White House invoking Hatch Act to question Dodge Hunter cocaine: ‘Ridiculous’
The Secret Service launched an investigation into how the July blizzard destroyed the White House.
Speculation mounted about how nose candy ended up in the White House, and legal experts were baffled when the Biden administration invoked the Hatch Act to dodge a question about former President Trump’s claim that cocaine belonged to the president or Hunter Biden.
The Secret Service investigation was closed 11 days later with no identification of the cocaine.
Hunter Biden’s tax charges
Overall, Hunter Biden has been at the center and side of many controversies throughout 2023. The president’s son is also facing several criminal tax charges as his father seeks re-election in 2024.
The younger Biden’s federal charges relate to an alleged “four-year scheme” in which he failed to pay federal income taxes from January 2017 to October 2020 while also filing false tax reports.
Special Counsel David Weiss alleged that Hunter “engaged in a four-year scheme to fail to pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes owed for the tax years 2016 through 2019, from January 2017 or so through October 15, 2020 or so.” “. and evading tax assessments for the 2018 tax year when he filed false returns in or around February 2020.”
Weiss said Hunter spent millions to fund an extravagant lifestyle rather than pay his tax bills.
Hunter is scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court in California on nine tax-related charges on January 11, 2024.
Mr. Santos goes to Washington, and is fired
In another precedent, former New York Republican Party representative George Santos became the first Republican to be expelled from the House of Representatives.
The House voted to impeach Santos after a damning report by the House Ethics Committee of alleged campaign finance violations and that the congressman “engaged in fraudulent conduct.”
Expelling a member of Congress requires a two-thirds majority. The last time a House lawmaker was expelled was more than two decades ago, when the late former Rep. Jim Trafficant, D-Ohio, was voted out of Congress in 2002.
Before his ouster, Trafficant had been convicted of ten criminal charges, including racketeering and taking bribes.
Santos was not convicted of a crime, but was charged with 23 counts of wire fraud, identity theft, falsifying records, credit card fraud and other charges. Santos has been accused of using campaign funds on a number of luxury goods and treatments such as Botox. He pleaded not guilty.
The vote was bipartisan, 311-114, although slightly more Republicans voted to retain Santos rather than oust him.
Republican Rep. George Santos was evicted from his home
Criminal charges against Trump
Former President Trump faces criminal charges of his own in Georgia after the former president was indicted on state charges from Fulton County related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the battleground state in the southeast.
The current GOP presidential primary candidate faces charges that include violating Georgia’s RICO law – the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; Petition for violation of oath by a public employee; Conspiracy to commit impersonation of a public official; Conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree; Conspiracy to commit false statements and writings; Conspiracy to provide false documents; Conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree; Submitting false documents; and petition for violation of oath by a public employee.
However, Trump also faces criminal charges elsewhere.
Trump was first charged in March by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s years-long investigation into secret cash payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign.
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Bragg alleged that Trump “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that concealed damaging information from the electorate during the 2016 presidential election.”
Trump has pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts of first-degree falsification of business records in New York.
Fox News Digital’s Brandon Gillespie, Cameron Cawthorn, Elizabeth Elkind, Brooke Singman, Joe Schoffstall, Paul Steinhauser, Luis Casiano, Chris Pandolfo, Anders Hagstrom and Andrew Mark Miller contributed reporting.