A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
President Joe Biden will pay his first visit to Florida in over a year on Tuesday (September 27) when he visits Fort Lauderdale for a speech on lowering health care costs and then Orlando for a DNC rally, where he is likely to throw his weight behind Rep. Val Demings’ bid to unseat Senator Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist’s bid to defeat Governor Ron DeSantis in November. The trip follows De Santis’s controversial decision earlier this month to send two chartered planeloads of undocumented migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Former President Donald Trump, who has a rally on Michigan on Saturday (October 1), was reportedly furious that DeSantis, viewed as a threat to his path to securing the Republican nomination in 2024, had ‘stolen’ the idea of sending migrants to liberal states to boost his profile among GOP voters.
The special House committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 holds a further public hearing on Wednesday (September 28) though details remain scant in terms of what will be covered and who might appear as witnesses. The hearing, which may be the last before the panel publishes its final report before the end of the year, follows news that Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has agreed to be interviewed by members in the coming weeks.
Another major outstanding question is whether former Vice President Mike Pence, or indeed Trump himself, will appear before the panel. Pence’s potential testimony has been the focus of much speculation since he announced in August that he would ‘consider’ providing testimony ‘if there was an invitation to participate’.
In what has become a time-honored tradition, the threat of a government shutdown looms ahead of a midnight deadline on Friday (September 30) to pass a funding bill, almost certain to take the form of a stopgap continuing resolution. Although the lack of appetite for a shutdown just weeks before the midterm elections makes it an unlikely scenario, there are outstanding issues to be resolved. On the one hand, Republicans have been calling for a ‘clean’ stopgap while the Biden administration wants to include emergency funds for COVID-19 and Ukraine support. There are also tensions among Democrats over energy permitting reform, promised to Senator Joe Manchin in exchange for his vote on the Inflation Reduction Act.
Hastily-organized referenda in four partly-Russian controlled areas of Ukraine on whether to come part of Russia are due to finish on Tuesday (September 27) with the results widely viewed as a foregone conclusion. The votes in the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republics, and in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, were announced in quick succession on September 20, a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization amid significant territorial losses in Ukraine.
Western leaders were quick to denounce the referenda as a sham but, coupled with Putin’s menacing language in his September 21 speech, they have reignited fears that Russia could make good on threats to deploy nuclear weapons to defend ‘Russian’ territory.
In Japan, a rare state funeral takes place on Tuesday (September 27) for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot on July 8 by an assassin allegedly motivated by a grudge against the South Korean-based Unification Church.
The strong links that have subsequently emerged between members of Abe’s LDP party and the church have contributed to a growing controversy over the government’s decision to hold (and fund) a state funeral, with one man setting himself on fire at a protest earlier this week. US Vice President Kamala Harris will be leading the US delegation to the funeral, which is set to be attended by a number of world leaders.
Brazilians head to the polls to choose their next president on Sunday (October 2), with leftist former president Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva looking likely to defeat far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, though the race may yet head to a runoff at the end of the month. There are fears that Bolsonaro, who has never shied away from comparisons to Donald Trump, could contest the results. He has spent months alleging, without evidence, that electronic voting machines in Brazil are prone to fraud and suggesting ominously that he and his supporters would be prepared to ‘go to war’ if needed.