The facts behind Thanksgiving arguments that could be a problem – The Washington Post

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Thanksgiving can be hard. When loved ones gather, it’s natural to reflect upon what’s happened since everyone last came together. That can be fertile ground for awkward conversations — whether with an uncle who only nourishes his brain with Facebook or a 14-year-old Redditor who has it all figured out. Let’s not turn Thanksgiving into a gobble squabble.

Whether at the adults table or the kids table, The Washington Post wants to help readers with a big helping of what we’re best known for: facts.

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We’ve compiled potential turkey-day topics for some of the year’s biggest stories in politics, pop culture, the economy, international news, sports and a smattering of leftovers.

Good luck.

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, voters have supported abortion rights in six states — including red Kansas, Kentucky and Ohio. A federal appeals court ruled in August that it would restrict access to mifepristone, a widely used abortion pill, because the Food and Drug Administration did not follow the proper process in 2016 when loosening regulations to make the pill more easily available.

Presidential age

President Biden would be 82 at his second inauguration in 2025, and former president Donald Trump would be 78. Biden is the oldest president in U.S. history, and if he served a full second term from 2025 to 2029 he would be 86 when he left office; Trump would be 82. A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that age affects perceptions of both candidates, though more often with Biden, with 74 percent of adults saying he would be too old to serve another term and 50 percent saying so of Trump. About 48 percent say both men are too old to serve another term, according to the survey. Many recent polls show Trump leading Biden in a head-to-head matchup nationally and in several swing states; analysts say the two significantly outpace the rest of the declared candidates with just under a year to go. Biden became a father about the time seat belts became federally mandated in America, and Trump became a father the year the first Star Wars movie hit theaters. The nation is divided on much more than age, though, and the presidential election will come down to much more than that next year.

Trump’s legal cases

Trump is the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges. He has been indicted in four criminal cases and has denied wrongdoing in each.

Trump and 18 others face racketeering charges in Georgia after a leaked recording allegedly showed Trump trying to pressure Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find” enough votes to reverse his 2020 electoral loss. Last week, The Washington Post obtained a recording of four defendants offering previously undisclosed details about the alleged effort. Those defendants have accepted plea deals.

Federal prosecutors are investigating the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol in which Trump is accused of knowingly spreading false claims about voter fraud and pressuring officials to block Biden’s certification. The trial is set to begin March 4.

Trump is charged with hoarding classified documents regarding some of the most closely guarded American secrets, and conspiring with aides to cover up his actions. The federal trial is slated to start in May.

The Manhattan district attorney charged Trump with falsifying business records of hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign. Trump could still run for president if convicted.

Other investigations

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) announced last week that he would not run for reelection after a House Ethics Committee report found “substantial evidence” that Santos violated ethics guidelines. Santos faces federal charges for allegedly defrauding donors and using donors’ credit cards. He has pleaded not guilty.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia Thomas, have been scrutinized for their interactions with and disclosure of gifts from billionaires. That includes private jet trips and vacations from Texas real estate developer and conservative donor Harlan Crow. Thomas has said that some omissions were misunderstandings and that others were related to personal gifts he was not required to report.

In the GOP-led House, the Oversight and Accountability Committee is investigating the Biden family’s finances. It has issued subpoenas for President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and brother James Biden. Investigators acquired more than 12,000 pages of financial records and conducted interviews, finding that Hunter Biden tried to leverage the family name. The committee hasn’t found evidence that Joe Biden benefited from his son’s business dealings, The Post has reported.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) faces federal charges of acting as an agent of the Egyptian government, allegedly accepting cash and gold bars for favor in his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has resisted calls to resign. Menendez pleaded not guilty, and a trial is set for May.

Averted shutdown

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) led a novel “laddered” effort to fund the federal government and avoid a shutdown this month, though he basically delayed the messy fights until early next year. A divided Republican contingent elected Johnson as speaker Oct. 25. He has never chaired a congressional committee.

Biden promised while campaigning not to build “another foot” of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. But in October, the administration fast-tracked the construction of roughly a dozen segments of barriers spanning 17 miles in South Texas. The Post reported that families crossing illegally hit an all-time high over the summer.

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