Donald Trump doubles down on anti-immigrant rhetoric after Supreme Court decision
In a ranting New Year’s message on Truth Social, the former president wrote: “As the New Year fast approaches, I would like to wish an early New Year’s salutation to Crooked Joe Biden and his group of Radical Left Misfits & Thugs on their never ending attempt to DESTROY OUR NATION through Lawfare, Invasion, and Rigging Elections.”
“They are now scrambling to sign up as many of those millions of people they are illegally allowing into sour Country, in order that they will be ready to VOTE IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 2024,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump is reportedly concerned that some conservative justices on the Supreme Court – half of which he appointed – may rule against him after he was removed from the ballots in several states under the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists holding public office.
Advisers to Mr Trump are prepping to file challenges as soon as Tuesday to the decisions in Colorado and Maine, according to The New York Times.
It will be far harder for Trump to try to overturn a loss in 2024 than in 2020
The upshot is it will be far harder for Trump to try to overturn a loss in 2024 than in 2020. The most likely way he returns to the White House is by winning the election outright.
“It’s not to say the risks are gone,” said Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It’s to say we’ve successfully fought the last war.”
History is full of examples of authoritarians who first came to office by winning a legitimate democratic election. But the risk to democracy of someone legitimately winning an election is different than the risk of a candidate trying to overturn an election loss.
When Trump began to falsely claim he had won the 2020 election and urged Republicans to overrule their states’ voters and send his electors to Congress, every GOP official with the power to do that refused. The Republican leaders of the Michigan Legislature turned down his request to overrule voters.
In Georgia, where the presidential ballots were counted three times and affirmed Biden’s win, Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger earned Trump’s fury by rejecting him. So did then-Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the Republican leaders of that state’s legislature.
Some Republicans did try to aid Trump. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led a group of 17 GOP attorneys general in filing a lawsuit urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the election. The high court swiftly dismissed the case. Trump lost all but one of more than 60 lawsuits he and his allies filed in states to overturn the election, sometimes before judges he had appointed.
Trump in weaker position compared to 2020
It seems unlikely that Trump could return to the White House if he loses the election. That’s what he failed to accomplish in 2020, and he’s in a weaker position now.
His strategy then was to use Republican dominance in swing state legislatures, governorships and secretary of state offices to try to send slates of fake electors to Congress even though Democrat Joe Biden won those states and captured the presidency.
Since then, Republicans have lost two of those swing state secretary of state offices — in Arizona and Nevada — as well as the governor’s office in Arizona and control of the state legislatures in Michigan and Pennsylvania. In Congress, lawmakers passed a bipartisan bill closing some of the loopholes in the counting of Electoral College votes that Trump tried to exploit to stay in office, making it harder to challenge state certifications on the House floor.
Trump allies have been planning to seed the government with loyalists
Trump is running for the White House again and has been dominating the Republican primary as the first votes approach. He has called for pardoning those prosecuted for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, continues to insist falsely that the 2020 election was “stolen” and says he will use the federal government to seek revenge on his political enemies.
Trump has used increasingly authoritarian rhetoric as he campaigns for the GOP nomination. If he wins, allies have been planning to seed the government with loyalists so the bureaucracy doesn’t hinder Trump’s more controversial plans the way it did during his first term.
It’s gotten to the point that Trump was recently asked by conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt whether he planned to be a dictator: “Not at all,” Trump responded. “No, I’m gonna rule as somebody that’s very popular with the people.”
The 2024 election could cause all sorts of conflict, including scenarios that have notably not materialized despite widespread concern since 2020: violence at the polls, overly aggressive partisan poll watchers or breakdowns in the ballot count.
American democracy has overcome big stress tests since the 2020 election. More challenges are ahead
Over the past three years, the world’s oldest democracy has been tested in ways not seen in decades.
A sitting president tried to overturn an election and his supporters stormed the Capitol to stop the winner from taking power. Supporters of that attack launched a campaign against local election offices, chasing out veteran administrators and pushing conservative states to pass new laws making it harder to vote.
At the same time, the past three years proved that American democracy was resilient.
Former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results failed, blocked by the constitutional system’s checks and balances, and he now faces both federal and state charges for those efforts. Then the voters stepped in. In every presidential battleground state, they rejected all candidates who supported Trump’s stolen election lies and were running for statewide offices that had some oversight of elections.
The election infrastructure in the country performed well, with only scattered disruptions during the 2022 midterms. New voting laws, many of which are technical and incremental, had little discernable impact on actual voting.
“Voters have stepped up to defend our democracy over the past few years,” said Joanna Lydgate, chief executive officer of States United, which tracks those who refuse to believe in the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. “State and local officials have done a tremendous job in protecting our free and fair elections.”
So why all the worry? As Lydgate and anyone else who works in the pro-democracy field quickly notes, the big test — what Lydgate calls “the Super Bowl” — awaits in 2024.
Marjorie Taylor Greene claims both of her daughters’ homes have also been swatted
This comes after several similar incidents involving Ms Greene and a number of other public officials.
“Both my [daughters’] houses just got swatted today. Big thanks to the police who responded! We appreciate you and support you! Whoever is doing this, you are going to get caught and it won’t be funny to you anymore,” she wrote on X, tagging the FBI.
Ms Greene has called for the defunding of the agency.
A swatting incident is when someone makes a prank call to the emergency services to set up a response to a specific location, such as the home of a politician or other public figure, with the aim of getting the authorities, possibly a SWAT team, to appear at the address.
A number of recent false reports of shootings at the home of political leaders may now be leading to harsher penalties for those making the calls.
Those who have recently been targeted include Florida Senator Rick Scott, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Ms Greene, and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
Presidential candidate Haley cheers on Iowa hoops star Caitlin Clark in between campaign stops
Haley walked into Carver-Hawkeye Arena alongside her son, Nalin, wearing an Iowa button on her jacket. The former South Carolina governor called Iowa coach Lisa Bluder a “rock star” and made a reference to her home-state Gamecocks, the current No. 1 team.
“We are used to women’s basketball in South Carolina,” Haley said. “We’re excited, so glad to be here. Go Lady Hawkeyes.” Last March, in an NCAA tournament semifinal, Clark scored 41 points as Iowa ended the perfect season of defending champion South Carolina.
Haley and her son sat with David Bluder, the coach’s husband.
Even as some fans approached Haley as she took her seat, all eyes were on Clark, the reigning Associated Press national player of the year.
Clark, who has earned fame and fortune with her once-in-a-generation game, has about 20,000 more followers on Instagram than does Haley, a former U.N. ambassador.
Special counsel Jack Smith hits back at Trump’s immunity claims
Mr Smith’s office argued in a Saturday filing that Mr Trump’s claim “threatens to license Presidents to commit crimes to remain in office.”
“The defendant asserts (Br.1) that this prosecution ‘threatens … to shatter the very bedrock of our Republic.’ To the contrary: it is the defendant’s claim that he cannot be held to answer for the charges that he engaged in an unprecedented effort to retain power through criminal means, despite having lost the election, that threatens the democratic and constitutional foundation of our Republic,” Mr Smith wrote.
“This Court should affirm and issue the mandate expeditiously to further the public’s — and the defendant’s — compelling interest in a prompt resolution of this case,” he added.
Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty to four counts, including conspiring to defraud the United States and to obstruct an official proceeding.
The one-term president has appealed a district court’s ruling that he is not entitled to immunity for any crimes committed while he was in the White House.
In his filing, the special counsel’s office stated that it would be dangerous to give a president that kind of broad immunity.
Senior Democrat says Clarence Thomas should recuse himself in Trump case
Maryland Democratic Rep Jamie Raskin has called on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from the court’s hearing on former President Donald Trump’s claim that he’s immune from prosecution on charges stemming from his actions as commander-in-chief.
“The Supreme Court has developed what they’re describing as a code of ethics. It’s not binding in the sense that they’re not going to anyone else,” Mr Raskin, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, told CNN on Sunday. “They could have gone to for example circuit court justices, so they’re deciding for themselves again whether they’re in violation of their code of ethics.”
“But anybody looking at this in any kind of dispassionate, reasonable way would say, ‘if your wife was involved in the big lie, in claiming that Donald Trump had actually won the presidential election and had been agitating for that and participating this the events leading up to January 6th, that you shouldn’t be participating’,” Mr Raskin, a former constitutional law professor, added.
“He absolutely should recuse himself. The question is, what do we do if he doesn’t recuse himself?” he said regarding Justice Thomas.
‘Trump is now promoting the nonsense idea that he wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act amid the violence on Jan 6'
Trump to hold rally in Iowa on third anniversary of Capitol riot
The former president will hold a “Commit to Caucus Rally” in Newton, Iowa, on 6 January 2024, three years after a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol, resulting in five deaths and several injuries. More than 1,000 people have been arrested in connection to the riot, and more than 500 have been sentenced.
Mr Trump is currently facing four federal counts regarding his role in the January 6 riots: obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights. In Maine and Colorado, Mr Trump has even been removed – pending any appeals – from the 2024 ballot for his role in the 6 January riots.
Thad Nearmyer, chair of the Jasper County, Iowa Republican party, told The Daily Beast he didn’t initially think anything of the date.
“And then a little bit later it kind of occurred to me that that date has some significance,” Mr Nearmyer said.
He went on to minimize the impact of the deadly insurrection: “It wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as it was made out to be.”
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