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Biden impeachment inquiry and Kansas City's Taylor Swift fervor: Morning Rundown

People in Kansas City love to root for the Chiefs — but they might be rooting even harder for a Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce romance.
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Republicans clamored for the spotlight at the second presidential primary debate. The first hearing in President Biden's impeachment inquiry starts today. And Kansas City is enchanted by the love story that seems to be playing out between Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. 

Here's what to know today.

 6 key takeaways from the second Republican presidential debate

Donald Trump wasn’t in California last night — but his absence (and dominance) was hard to miss at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley as seven Republican candidates sparred in the second presidential debate.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the former president “missing in action,” while former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie looked into the camera and addressed Trump directly: “No one up here is going to call you Donald Trump anymore. We’re going to call you Donald Duck.” Soon, “Donald Duck” was trending on the social media platform X. 

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There’s no evidence that Trump, the GOP front-runner, paid a political price for skipping the first GOP debate, in fact his share of the primary vote grew afterward. It remains to be seen whether this time will be different. 

Last night’s debate also touched on the ongoing United Auto Workers strike, criticisms of President Joe Biden and issues like government spending and immigration. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley clashed over TikTok, funding for Ukraine and more. Senior politics reporter Sahil Kapur breaks down six key takeaways from a debate full of interruptions and insults.

More highlights and analysis

Travis King is back on American soil 

American soldier Travis King has arrived back on U.S. soil after being expelled by North Korea, months after he ran across the border into the reclusive state and sparked an international incident. The U.S. Army private landed in Texas early this morning, a defense official said.

King was expected to be taken to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio overnight, according to two defense officials. During his time there, he is expected to undergo post-isolation support activities, known as PISA, which are designed to help prisoners of war, hostages and wrongfully detained Americans reacclimatize to being in the U.S. and respond to any trauma or post-traumatic stress.

What to expect from the first Biden impeachment inquiry hearing

The House Oversight Committee is scheduled to hold its first hearing in the GOP’s impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden this morning, as they pursue bank records of the president and his son Hunter Biden. Republican lawmakers have claimed, without evidence, that the president engaged in a bribery scheme. Today’s hearing will feature evidence about President Biden’s “knowledge and role” in his family’s business practices, as well as testimony from legal and financial experts who will discuss “crimes the Bidens may have committed,” Republicans say.

But the hearing won’t be one-sided. Expect to hear a fierce defense from House Democrats on the Oversight panel, too. 

While many House Republicans have pushed for an impeachment inquiry, a new national NBC News poll found that 56% of registered voters do not believe the process should move forward. 

Arrest of suspect in murder of tech CEO to be announced

Authorities have arrested Jason Billingsley, the 32-year-old repeat violent offender suspected in the murder of tech entrepreneur Pava LaPere, a U.S. Marshall confirmed. Police are expected to release details of the capture, which followed a major manhunt, this morning. 

Billingsley is wanted on a first-degree murder warrant in the killing of LaPere, who was found dead in her apartment with blunt-force injuries. His mother told NBC News yesterday that she had spoken with her son over text message and urged him to surrender. “I don’t even know how he met that girl, where he met that girl, or how he got into her apartment,” she also said.

Colleagues and friends remembered LaPere, the 26-year-old CEO of software startup EcoMap Technologies, as a fixture in the local tech community who had big ambitions of disrupting the tech industry’s “good ol’ boys network.”

Actors and Hollywood studios head back to the bargaining table

Less than a day after a Hollywood writers strike ended, the union that represents thousands of screen actors and the trade association that bargains on behalf of entertainment companies said it will resume negotiations over a new contract on Monday. The thousands of film and television performers represented by SAG-AFTRA have been on the picket lines since mid-July, as they demand a bigger cut of the revenue from streaming shows, increased base compensations, improved working conditions and more.

Today’s Talker: The Powerball jackpot rose to… 

… an estimated $925 million after no one matched enough numbers to claim last night’s top prize. The jackpot would be the fourth-largest in Powerball history, and the hefty prize comes only a couple months after the third-largest prize ($1.08 billion) was claimed in California. The next drawing isn’t until Saturday, so there’s still time to snag a ticket. But your odds of winning? 1 in 292.2 million.

Politics in Brief

Government shutdown: The Senate ended the day passing a dress code resolution for men, and the House Republican Conference will meet this morning off-campus. Here’s what you missed from yesterday’s funding debates.

Trump investigations: Judge Tanya Chutkan, the federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s election interference case in Washington, D.C., denied his request that she recuse herself from the case.

Legal pot: The Senate Banking Committee took a historic step by advancing marijuana-related legislation to the floor for the first time. The bill would allow legal marijuana businesses to use major financial and banking institutions.  

Menendez indictment: Sen. Bob Menendez, charged last week with secretly aiding the Egyptian government in exchange for bribes, single-handedly blocked passage of bipartisan legislation in 2020 that would have strengthened the law regulating foreign lobbying in Washington, Senate records show. Yesterday, the New Jersey senator, as well as his wife and two other defendants, pleaded not guilty in the case. 

Staff Pick: KC loves TS and TK

People in Kansas City love to root for the Chiefs — but they might be rooting even harder for a Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce romance. My hometown is still buzzing from the pop star’s weekend visit to Arrowhead Stadium to cheer on the No. 87. There’s even merch in the works — and a rush to get it on shelves ASAP in case their love story fizzles quickly. So, Taylor, welcome to K.C., we’ve been waiting for you. — Jamie Knodel, news editor

In Case You Missed It 

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Amid Hispanic Heritage Month, Select rounded up 14 notable products from Latino-owned businesses and made a list of dozens of other Latino-owned businesses to support across categories like beauty and skin care, apparel and accessories and home and kitchen.

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