Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Morning Report — New legal problems for Trumpworld in Arizona

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun4,2024

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Today, former President Trump will present the Supreme Court with a novel legal argument as justices consider his claim to absolute immunity from prosecution.

At the same time, Arizona’s top prosecutor is countering Trump’s argument that his decisions as president provide him a broad legal shield. Trump in Arizona Wednesday was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to interfere with the 2020 election.

According to Arizona felony charges handed down Tuesday and unsealed Wednesday, former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows are alleged to have attempted to prevent the lawful transfer of power in 2020 as part of a “fake electors” scheme for Trump. 

Seven Trump aides are charged alongside 11 pro-Trump Arizona Republicans who signed documents purporting to be the state’s valid electors in 2020 (The Hill). The charges include fraud, forgery and conspiracy.

Also indicted: former Trump attorney John Eastman and lawyer Boris Epshteyn, a Trump adviser and member of his 2024 campaign team (ABC News). The 11 defendants in the indictment whose names are visible on the court document are Kelli Ward, Tyler Bower, Nancy Cottle, Jacob Hoffman, Anthony Kern, James Lamon, Robert Montgomery, Samuel Moorhead, Lorraine Pellegrino, Gregory Safsten and Michael Ward.

Arizona is the fourth state to file criminal charges against “fake electors” who allegedly announced they were ready to pledge electoral votes to Trump in their respective states during the 2020 election, although Trump lost to Joe Biden.

Separately, the Arizona House on Wednesday added to the ongoing political and legal debate about terminating pregnancies with a vote to repeal a Civil War-era ban on nearly all abortions. The legislation is set to take effect as early as June 8. The repeal measure now heads to the state Senate, which could grant final passage next week (The Hill and The Washington Post).

Reacting to Arizona’s abortion ban and the repeal effort in the state House, the Biden campaign repeated the Democratic Party’s favorite attack against Trump, who boasts that he made the end of Roe v. Wade possible with his conservative appointments to the Supreme Court.

“Donald Trump is responsible,” campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodríguez said in a statement. “President Biden and Vice President Harris are the only candidates who will stop him.”

Also on Wednesday, an abortion case heard by the Supreme Court underscored how frequently justices in a post-Dobbs world are asked to rethink the wrinkles of federal authority, statutory meaning and the geographic dramas of 50 states that treat female patients and their physicians so differently.

At issue is whether Idaho’s near-total ban on abortion is so strict that it violates a federal law requiring emergency care for any patient, including providing abortions for pregnant women in dire circumstances. Idaho’s ban allows abortion to save the life of a pregnant woman, but not to prevent her health from deteriorating.

The Hill: The female justices, including conservative Amy Coney Barrett, pushed back most strongly during Wednesday’s questioning.

The administration argues that abortion care must be allowed in those cases under a law that requires hospitals accepting Medicare to provide emergency care regardless of patients’ ability to pay. The justices appeared divided, and their ruling, expected in late June, could impact at least half a dozen other states beyond Idaho.

The court’s decision could also reach beyond abortion to whether states can legally restrict other types of emergency medical care, and it may open a legal door for claims of fetal personhood, supported by many conservatives (The New York Times).

The New York Times: “Unborn child,” “fetus” and “embryo” are terms used in legal arguments that carry political aims.

3 THINGS TO KNOW TODAY:

▪ Pope Francis said Wednesday that “a negotiated peace is better than a war without end,” referring to wars in Gaza and Ukraine during an interview with CBS News. The full conversation will air May 19 on “60 Minutes.” 

▪ ✈️ Airlines must show the full price of travel and fees before passengers pay for tickets and must promptly and automatically refund customers in cash rather than vouchers when flights are canceled or significantly changed, the Transportation Department announced as part of new regulations.

▪ In 2023, the fertility rate in the United States dipped down to the lowest it’s been in more than a century.

👉 World Central Kitchen plans an invitation-only celebration of life at Washington National Cathedral at 11 a.m. for seven aid workers killed in Gaza April 2 by Israeli airstrikes. Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will attend for the White House. WCK founder José Andrés will speak, cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform and Muslim, Jewish and Christian clergy will present readings to honor victims Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, Jacob Flickinger, Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, John Chapman, James (Jim) Henderson, James Kirby and Damian Soból. World Central Kitchen plans a livestream HERE.

LEADING THE DAY

© The Associated Press / Evan Vucci | President Biden on Wednesday signed a $95 billion foreign aid package into law that includes assistance for Ukraine and Israel.

CONGRESS

THE SENATE APPROVED a $95.3 billion international aid package late Tuesday, and Biden called it a welcome investment in “world peace” as he signed the long-stalled legislation Wednesday. Yet, peace after years of war still appears a long way off in both Israel and Ukraine.

The U.S. is rushing the first $1 billion in supplemental weaponry to Ukraine to battle Russia, including shoulder-fired Stinger surface-to-air missiles and other air defense munitions, 155-mm shells, Javelin anti-tank guided missiles, cluster munitions and battlefield vehicles, the Pentagon said. 

“It was a difficult path [to my desk] and it should have been easier, and it should have gotten there sooner,” Biden said at the White House. “But in the end, we did what America always does: we rose to the moment, came together and we got it done. Now we need to move fast, and we are.”

The $61 billion in assistance for Ukraine might be the last to clear Congress for a while, The Hill’s Alexander Bolton and Al Weaver report. Will Democrats hold the Senate majority? The White House? Flip the House? Future funding from the U.S. for Ukraine may hinge on those answers after Nov. 5. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says future help would need to be structured as a loan. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. last week secretly shipped a new long-range missile system to Ukraine and the country’s forces immediately took advantage of its 190-mile-range capability to attack a Russian military airfield in Crimea, The New York Times reported.

RIP: Six-term Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), 65, who suffered a cardiac episode early this month, died this week, House and New Jersey officials confirmed. “Representative Payne will be remembered by all those who knew him for his kindness and generosity,” the Congressional Black Caucus said in a statement.

TIKTOK

BIDEN SIGNED A BILL that could lead to a ban on TikTok, but the video-sharing app won’t be cut off from its millions of American users just yet. The bill included in a foreign aid package heading to the president’s desk would force TikTok’s Chinese parent company to sell the app or face a ban on U.S. app stores.

ByteDance will have up to a year to find a buyer, though the process may be bogged down by Chinese rules, and the law is likely to face a court challenge like previous ban attempts have run into. The Hill’s Rebecca Klar explains what to expect next as the bill is slated for law. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said Wednesday that the company would go to court to fight the bill. In a video posted on the app, Chew denounced the potential ban, saying, “Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere” (NBC News).

“We are confident, and we will keep fighting for your rights in the courts,” he said. “The facts and the Constitution are on our side, and we expect to prevail.”

WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. Friday.

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. Biden will travel to Syracuse, N.Y., to speak at 2 p.m. about the CHIPS and Science Act at Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology. He will travel to New York City and then headline a campaign event in Westchester County at 6:15 p.m. before returning to the White House.

Vice President Harris will host a roundtable at 2:30 p.m. as part of Second Chance Month. She will mark the annual “Take Your Child to Work Day” with remarks to White House employees and their offspring at 3:30 p.m.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in China through Friday. He meets in the morning with Chinese Communist Party Secretary Chen Jining in Shanghai, then participates in a discussion with New York University-Shanghai students, followed by a discussion with business leaders. In the afternoon, the secretary will meet with employees and families of the U.S. consulate in Shanghai. He’ll travel to Beijing and join a discussion with academics in the evening.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at 10 a.m. sits down with the editor-in-chief of Reuters for a newsmaker conversation.

Economic indicators: The Bureau of Economic Analysis at 8:30 a.m. will issue its initial estimate of gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year. The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. will report claims for unemployment benefits filed in the week ending April 19.

ZOOM IN

© The Associated Press / Stefan Jeremiah | Students assembled a pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University, pictured Monday, which administrators want removed.

POLITICS

STUDENT-LED PROTESTS of Israel’s war against Hamas continued to spread on Wednesday, breaking out at dozens of campuses across the country, from Ivy League institutions to large public schools in the Midwest and South and at universities up and down California. Tensions over the war in Gaza, which is now in its seventh month, have swept across campuses as universities struggle to balance the right to protest and freedom of speech with campus rules and safety.

Pro-Palestinian protests at colleges have demanded that their universities divest from corporations they say are profiting from the war in Gaza and provide amnesty to demonstrators, some of whom have been suspended or arrested by police.

But the protests have become a facet of a larger battle between the right and left about the role of higher education, the role of police in curtailing demonstrations and the right of students’ free speech. Biden on Monday told reporters en route from a speech that he condemns the “antisemitic protests,” but added “I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians,” referring to the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and other Republican members of Congress faced boos at Columbia University in New York on Wednesday as he criticized protesters after meeting with Jewish students. Johnson is the latest Republican trying to reap political advantage from the explosive cultural moment unfolding at universities across the country. Since Oct. 7, the GOP has put the academic left on the spot and sought to position itself as the party more concerned with the safety of Jewish students.

Johnson invoked the possibility of bringing in the National Guard and cutting funding to universities. Earlier this week, the university announced that it would shift to hybrid learning for the remainder of the semester as the protests continued. The Speaker said Jewish students at Columbia had told him of “heinous acts of bigotry,” and he called for university President Minouche Shafik to resign “if she cannot immediately bring order to the chaos.” The Speaker said there could be an appropriate time for the National Guard to be called in, and that Congress should consider revoking federal funding if universities can’t keep the protests under control.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Wednesday statement described the protests as “horrific” and reminiscent of events at German universities in the years before the Holocaust.

As the protests continue, experts told The Hill’s Lexi Lonas that schools will need to take steps to repair campus culture and consider harsher actions at private schools such as not allowing the public onto campus.

▪ Politico: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said Johnson should be focusing on Washington instead of “politicizing” the ongoing situation at Columbia University.

▪ The Columbia Spectator: The policy and planning committee of Columbia’s faculty of arts and sciences in a Tuesday statement criticized “sensational and inaccurate” reporting by unaffiliated media outlets that “do not represent” the university.

▪ Austin American-Statesman: More than 20 people were arrested by state troopers in riot gear at a peaceful, pro-Palestinian protest Wednesday at the University of Texas.

▪ The Hill: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said the pro-Palestine protesters on the University of Texas at Austin campus “belong in jail” and that arrests were being made.

▪ The Hill: What to know about pro-Palestine university protests, from Texas to California.

The protests are shaking up the political debate on Capitol Hill, pitting Israel’s closest allies in both parties against more liberal Democrats siding with the protesters in accusing Tel Aviv of orchestrating a genocide. The battle has emerged as a huge election-year challenge for Biden, who is attempting a tricky balancing act between demonstrating strong support for Washington’s closest Middle Eastern ally while simultaneously condemning Netanyahu for doing too little to protect civilian lives in Gaza. While the war in Gaza has exposed divisions in the Democratic Party, Republicans have remained united. The Hill’s Mychael Schnell and Mike Lillis report that GOP leaders, meanwhile, are aggressively seeking to highlight the college protests — and the Democratic divisions over them — in an effort to make the long-running Israel-Palestine conflict a campaign issue heading into November’s elections.

SPECULATION OVER BIDEN’S NEXT MOVE on immigration includes executive action on two fronts: expanded work permits and a crackdown on asylum at the border. While the administration is widely expected to do both, civil rights advocates told The Hill’s Rafael Bernal that action on work permits will do more to move the political needle in Biden’s favor. Meanwhile, a Data for Progress poll reviewed exclusively by The Hill found that voters overwhelmingly support a softer approach to asylum if it is framed as a choice between humane and punitive approaches.

“It’s not just good policy, it’s good politics. Recent polling shows that two-thirds of voters in swing states support expanding work permits for undocumented immigrants, including long term workers, farmworkers, dreamers without DACA and spouses of U.S. citizens,” said Deirdre Schifeling, the American Civil Liberties Union’s chief political and advocacy officer. “Today, President Biden has a remarkable opportunity to deliver on behalf of the American people and to uphold his campaign promise to ensure that immigrant families can stay together.”

2024 ROUNDUP:

▪ While Biden himself told supporters this week that polls don’t win elections, the president suggested recent trends in national polling were a positive sign.

▪ Trump is on a fundraising blitz with events scheduled in Miami; Lexington, Ky.; and Las Vegas in coming weeks.

▪ A bill to adjust the deadline in an Alabama law for political parties to certify their nominees for president and vice president passed the state Senate, allowing Biden to appear on the state’s November ballot.

▪ Trump’s “vendetta tour,” if he wins the presidency, would be a “scary thing” for the United States, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said in an interview published Wednesday.

▪ Swing-state voters are open to several ideas to keep Social Security solvent for decades — as long as it’s the wealthy footing the bill, a new Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll shows.

ELSEWHERE

© The Associated Press / Mark Schiefelbein | Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns in Shanghai on Wednesday.

INTERNATIONAL

BLINKEN IN CHINA: Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday with U.S.-China ties on a steadier footing than last year, but a daunting array of unresolved issues still threatens the stability of relations between the two countries. While in China, Blinken will meet with business leaders and then head to Beijing on Friday for talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and a likely meeting with President Xi Jinping. His visit marks the latest high-level meeting between the two countries as they try to preserve the recent and delicate stabilization of ties as tensions over trade, territorial disputes and national security threaten to derail relations again.

Two major points of contention? Taiwan, and Congress’s recent passage of a TikTok ban, which would force its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app or be banned from U.S. app stores (The New York Times and Reuters).

CNN: Blinken is expected to issue a strong warning to Chinese leaders about the country’s support for Russia’s efforts to ramp up weapons production as the war in Ukraine continues.

THE WHITE HOUSE’S PLAN to begin operating a pier next month off the Gaza coast to enable millions of humanitarian aid packages a day still faces several unresolved logistical issues, including who will provide security to the United Nations aid workers willing to distribute the supplies. The project, which is scheduled to be up and running by early May, is being pushed down to the wire (ABC News).

“The safety and security of our humanitarian partners is the most important thing,” Sonali Korde, assistant administrator to the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development, told reporters this week. “It’s absolutely vital, and they need to feel safe and secure.”

Work on the pier comes as aid agencies have warned that Palestinians in Gaza were at high risk of famine. Children have died of malnutrition and dehydration, and Israel has blockaded the densely populated enclave. Last week, the U.N. World Food Programme said that three convoys carrying food and flour crossed into northern Gaza for the first time since the war began in October. The increase in aid is “nothing that we’re celebrating,” Ahmed Bayram of the Norwegian Refugee Council charity told NBC News on Sunday. But, he said, it was “an indication that diplomatic pressure can work.” In this case American pressure in particular has brought results.

The Associated Press: A top Hamas political official said the group is willing to agree to a truce of five years or more with Israel and that it would lay down its if an independent Palestinian state is established along pre-1967 borders. Israel is unlikely to consider the proposal.

OPINION

■ The ghost of the 1968 antiwar movement has returned, by Charles M. Blow, columnist, The New York Times.

■ If Trump gets convicted, what happens next? by Chris Truax, opinion contributor, The Hill.

THE CLOSER

© The Associated Press / uncredited photo | Anti-Vietnam War demonstrators in November 1969 marched from the Capitol to the White House.

Take Our Morning Report Quiz

And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Alert to demonstrations in this week’s headlines, we’re reminded of change-makers who made waves, one way or another, during their campus years.

Be sure to email your responses to [email protected] and [email protected] — please add “Quiz” to your subject line. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.

Which former member of Congress, then college age, became chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and helped recruit students to join civil rights demonstrations?

Joseph Rainey

John Lewis

Hiram R. Revels

J.C. Watts

A daughter of which lawmaker was among more than 100 protesters arrested Thursday on the campus of New York’s Columbia University during a pro-Palestinian student protest?

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Sen. Sherrod Brown

Which former senator and former presidential candidate told an alumni magazine interviewer, while reflecting on experience as student body president, “I stayed up all night to talk students out of staging a Vietnam War protest that would embarrass our college”?

John McCain

John Kerry

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Bob Dole

The late Tom Hayden, who became famous in his 20s while protesting the Vietnam War, also ______.

Earned a University of Michigan sociology degree

Ran for the U.S. Senate and California governor

Was sentenced to five years in prison for inciting a riot

Wed Jane Fonda

All of the above

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Morning Report — New legal problems for Trumpworld in Arizona”
  1. It’s concerning to see the legal troubles mounting for Trumpworld in Arizona. The latest developments show a web of deception and attempts to undermine the election process. The accountability must be upheld for the actions taken by the former President and his associates.

  2. It’s concerning to see the legal troubles mounting for Trumpworld in Arizona. The developments regarding absolute immunity claims and the alleged interference with the election process are alarming. Let’s hope for transparency and justice in the legal proceedings.

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