GOP candidates get fiery in third debate


On today’s episode of The Excerpt podcast: GOP presidential candidates faced off in Miami for a third debate. USA TODAY Justice Department Correspondent Aysha Bagchi recaps Ivanka Trump‘s testimony in the New York civil fraud trial. Negotiations begin to reach a temporary cease-fire in Gaza. USA TODAY National Correspondent Elizabeth Weise looks at how a bill could help farmers fight climate change. The actors strike is over.

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Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson, and today is Thursday, November 9th, 2023. This is The Excerpt, formerly 5 Things.

Today we recap a fiery Republican debate, plus what Ivanka Trump said in her testimony at the New York Fraud Trial surrounding the Trump organization, and how a bill could help farmers fight climate change.

Republican presidential candidates faced off in Miami last night for the third primary debate. It was a smaller crowd from the previous two events with five candidates on stage, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott all qualified. GOP front-runner, former president Donald Trump, again, skip the debate. More than half of the two-hour-long debate focused on foreign policy. Several candidates called on Hamas to release hostages, and DeSantis said he would cancel visas for students aligning themselves with Hamas.

Ron DeSantis:

I was the first presidential can to say, “If you are here on a student visa as a foreign national, you’re making common cause with Hamas, I’m canceling your visa and I’m sending you home.”

Taylor Wilson:

For his part, former governor Chris Christie recalled his time leading New Jersey after the 9/11 terror attacks protecting synagogues and mosques with police presence. He said that you must work with both sides. Senator Tim Scott suggested that federal funding for universities and visas for foreign students could be revoked if they don’t show sufficient support for Israel. All the candidates on stage pledged to ban TikTok, claiming it helps China spy on the US. Things got heated when Ramaswamy took a personal shot at Haley.

Vivek Ramaswamy:

In the last debate, she made fun of me for actually joining TikTok while her own daughter was actually using the app for a long time. So you might want to take care of your family first-

Nikki Haley:

Leave my daughter out of your voice.

Vivek Ramaswamy:

… before preaching to anybody else. Your adult daughter. The next generation of Americans are using it, and that’s actually the point. You have her supporters crapping her up. That’s fine. Here’s the truth.

Nikki Haley:

You’re just scum.

Vivek Ramaswamy:

The easy answer-

Taylor Wilson:

Beyond foreign policy, candidates went back and forth on migration and the southern border with Tim Scott calling for stricter surveillance and Ron DeSantis saying he would send the military to the border. On abortion, Ramaswamy said he was upset that voters in Ohio passed an amendment to enshrined abortion rights in the state’s constitution. Haley said she considers herself pro-life, but that she believes abortion is a personal issue for every woman and every man. You can read a full recap of last night’s debate on usatoday.com.

Meanwhile, in New York, Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial continued yesterday and it was his daughter Ivanka Trump’s turn to Testify. I spoke with USA Today Justice Department correspondent Aysha Bagchi for a recap.

Aysha, thanks for hopping on.

Aysha Bagchi:

I’m glad to be here, Taylor.

Taylor Wilson:

So Ivanka Trump took the stand in this fraud trial and she unsurprisingly was grilled about all kinds of financial statements. Aysha, I know you’re still there at the courthouse. Did we learn anything new here?

Aysha Bagchi:

Well, I think a big priority for the state when it was questioning Ivanka Trump was just to get her answers on the record about what she knew about her father’s financial statements. She didn’t say much that was very different from her two brothers on this issue. They were grilled about what they knew about the details in his financial statements, specifically about his claims, about the value of his assets and about his net worth. They said they didn’t know much about the details. That’s what Ivanka Trump said as well. She was asked specifically about inquiries that were made on a project she worked on when she was at the Trump organization and what those inquiries had to do with the financial statements, and she said she didn’t know anything about that.

Taylor Wilson:

Yeah. You were on earlier in the week talking about Donald Sr’s testimony and how contentious it was. What was the vibe like during Ivanka’s testimony compared to that?

Aysha Bagchi:

The atmosphere for Ivanka’s testimony was really different from her father. She had a very calm demeanor. She smiled a lot. She never got riled up about anything. Her father’s testimony couldn’t have been more different in all those ways. He was very combative. He showed total disdain for the proceedings and what was happening in the trial. Ivanka was very calm, very subdued. She answered questions. She was very polite.

Taylor Wilson:

So we’ve now heard from Donald Trump himself and the three Trump children. What’s next for this trial going forward?

Aysha Bagchi:

The state is resting its case. There will be some motions being heard later this week. And then next week the defense is going to be able to put on really its case. Donald Trump has made it very clear that he cares about what happens in this case. He’s prioritized it even though it’s a civil case, it doesn’t involve any threat of him going to jail or prison. But a lot is on the line in terms of his business operations in the state of New York and in terms of money. The state of New York wants him and other defendants to cough up hundreds of millions of dollars, and it’s very clear that the defense is going to put on a case. So that’s what we’re going to start to see next week.

Taylor Wilson:

All right, Aysha Bagchi covers the Justice Department for USA Today. Thank you, Aysha.

Aysha Bagchi:

Thanks, Taylor.

Taylor Wilson:

Negotiations are underway to reach a three-day humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for the release of around a dozen hostages held by Hamas. That’s according to officials from Egypt, the UN, and a Western diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity. The deal would crucially enable more aid to enter Gaza and is reportedly being brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the US. More than 10,500 Palestinians have been killed in the war. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, more than 1400 people in Israel have been killed, most of them in the October 7th Hamas attack when Hamas also took 239 hostages.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken yesterday called for a Palestinian led government for Gaza and the West Bank after the war ends. The comments seem to show US differences with Israel, a close ally for what the future should look like for the Palestinian Territories. Blinken outline for the future came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel’s military would likely hold security control of Gaza for an indefinite period.

This year’s farm bill could include significant measures to help fight climate change. I spoke with USA Today National Correspondent Elizabeth Weise to learn more. Hello, Beth.

Elizabeth Weise:

Hey, how’s it going?

Taylor Wilson:

Good. Thanks for hopping back on the show. So let’s just start here. What is the farm bill and what’s being proposed in this year’s version?

Elizabeth Weise:

Oh, the farm bill, it is so big, it’s really kind of hard to get your arms around. It is a every five year piece of legislation that basically undergirds agriculture and really food in the United States and has done so since 1933. It was starting during the depression to support farmers and food pricing. So it’s been around for a long time. It’s on this weird every five year cycle. It is big and it keeps getting bigger. In 2018, the last farm bill, it was about 425 billion. This year for the 2023 version, if in fact we get one, it could be over a trillion. And some people have estimated as high as a trillion and a half, though we don’t know yet because we haven’t seen any of the language and we don’t know what’s going to be in this year’s farm bill.

Taylor Wilson:

And why can the farm bill be such a critical part of the fight against climate change?

Elizabeth Weise:

So yeah, that’s interesting. So the farm bill, it undergirds the pricing for farmers. And the reason it’s important for climate change is most of us don’t think about this, but agriculture in the US produces 10% of all our greenhouse gas emissions. So that’s a good chunk of what we need to bring down to fight climate change. Scientists who study this, they say the other part is that as we increasingly decarbonize our transportation systems and our electricity systems, agriculture will be a larger and larger percent of US carbon emissions, which is why we need to bring it down.

The good news is we actually know how to do that. I feel like this is my constant refrain, “We have the technology, it’s the $8 million man scenario.” Farmers know how to do this. They plant cover crops, they do crop rotation. A lot of it’s around soil health. It’s also about the more judicious application of fertilizer, not just kind of throwing as much fertilizer as you possibly can on a field, but timing it and getting it at the right time and the right amount. So you’re only using what you need to grow your crops. Remember, fertilizer is nitrogen and that actually contributes to greenhouse gases.

There’s also some really intriguing work going on. Cow belches, actually cows, they have all those stomachs and they’re always chewing their cud and they’re busy digesting what they eat and they belch out a lot of methane. There’s interesting work being done to figure out are there ways that we can feed cows and other animals better such that they produce less methane, and that too would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So farmers can play a really big part in fighting climate change, but because farmers work on such a razor-thin margin of money, they need federal programs through USDA that let them implement the things that they already know how to do and in fact want to do, but they need federal help to kind of get them going, to jumpstart them.

Taylor Wilson:

Beth, we know these things can move slowly on Capitol Hill to say the least. What’s holding this up in Congress?

Elizabeth Weise:

Oh, what isn’t holding this up in Congress right now? Congress has been had dysfunctional of late. I mean, farm bills, they are huge, enormous pieces of legislation. The last one in 2018, it was over a thousand pages. They’re in multiple parts, they’re really complicated. What happened this year is so much of the farm bill actually ended on September 30th, and those programs kind of continue along their merry way for a little bit. Theoretically, Congress should go in and re-up the farm bill before December 30th when it goes up. To unclear if Congress has the wherewithal to do that this time round because they’re busy with other things right now, like perhaps funding the government, it’s very likely that what will happen is Congress will just do a one-year continuation at exactly the same funding levels we have right now for the farm bill and then deal with it next year. I mean, next year is an election year, and you also don’t want to be writing a really complex, nuanced piece of legislation in the middle of a presidential election because there’s a lot of ways that that could go wrong.

Taylor Wilson:

All right, Elizabeth Weise, thank you as always.

Elizabeth Weise:

So happy to be of help.

Taylor Wilson:

The actors strike is finally over. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artist, or SAG-AFTRA, agreed to a new three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and television producers representing major studios and streaming services. The agreement ends a historic 118-day strike that began in July. It allows studios to resume production of TV shows and movies that had largely been shut down for six months ever since a separate writer strike began in May. A SAG-AFTRA statement after the strike said, “The contract achieved pay raises on precedented provisions to protect members from the threat of AI and a new streaming participation bonus that helps actors get better compensated for work that ends up succeeding on streaming services.” The studio side called the agreement a new paradigm.

Be sure to stay tuned today at 4:00 PM Eastern time for a special edition of The Excerpt when my colleague Dana Taylor will take a look at politicians’ personal lives and whether they should matter to voters. You can catch the episode right here on this feed.

Thanks for listening to The Excerpt. You can find us every morning on whatever your favorite podcast app is. I’m Taylor Wilson and I’m back tomorrow with more of The Excerpt from USA Today.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The Excerpt podcast: GOP candidates get fiery in third debate



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