1/ Prosecutors in the Georgia election fraud case signaled they’re seeking prison sentences for Trump and his top allies for allegedly violating racketeering laws as part of their efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia despite the fact that Biden won the state. “We have a long road ahead,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis wrote in an email to Trump’s lawyer Steve Sadow. “Long after these folks are in jail, we will still be practicing law.” Willis’s team has reached plea deals with several co-defendants in the case, including Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, and Scott Hall. Prosecutors, however, are not expected to offer plea agreements to Trump, Mark Meadows, or Rudy Giuliani. Fulton County prosecutors, meanwhile, listed several senior Trump administration officials and Georgia’s top elected leaders, as possible witnesses during the election interference trial, including Pence, Bill Barr, Jeffrey Rosen, Richard Donoghue, Scott Perry, Steve Bannon, Gov. Brian Kemp, Attorney General Chris Carr, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. (The Guardian / Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- 🤷♂️ Why should I care? This Georgia election fraud case is a direct challenge to the pillars of American democracy. It’s not just about Trump and his allies; it’s about preserving the sanctity of our elections and the rule of law. The case sends a clear message: no one is above the law – not even the highest officials. If we fail to hold them accountable, we risk normalizing election interference and undermining democracy as a whole. The implications are straightforward: If influential figures can overturn election results without consequence, it signals to future leaders that such actions are acceptable. As a result, the case is a litmus test for the resilience of our democratic institutions and their ability to withstand internal threats. It’s about setting a precedent that safeguards our democratic norms and ensures that future attempts to undermine the electoral process are deterred. We’re not just deciding the fate of a few individuals; we’re deciding the future of our democratic principles.
- 💡 How Trump would build his loyalty-first Cabinet: Pre-vetted loyalty to him and a commitment to stretch legal and governance boundaries. (Axios)
- 💡 Trump allies craft plans to give him unprecedented power if he wins the White House. “That includes more power to crack down on immigration and overhaul the Justice Department to punish opponents.” (NPR)
2/ Georgia’s Republican-controlled Legislature approved a new congressional map that likely violates a federal judge’s order requiring an additional majority-Black district. State lawmakers were ordered by District Judge Steve Jones to establish an additional Black-majority district to provide for fair representation of the state’s Black voters. Instead, the Republicans’ map dismantled one minority-majority district – by moving it farther into Republican territory – and then created a new court-ordered Black-majority district. Jones’ order stated that “the State cannot remedy the Section 2 violations described herein by eliminating minority opportunity districts elsewhere in the plans.” The map is expected to be signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, which would safeguard Republican control of Georgia’s General Assembly. Jones will determine whether the new maps comply with his order on Dec. 20. (NBC News / CNN / Associated Press / Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
3/ Trump appealed a judge’s ruling that he doesn’t have “absolute immunity” from prosecution in his federal election case and demanded that all proceedings be halted while a higher court considers his appeal to dismiss the criminal case. The back-to-back motions threaten to upend Trump’s March 4 trial date in the case. Prosecutors, meanwhile, have argued that Trump is just using every possible avenue to disrupt the case in the hopes of delaying the matter beyond the 2024 election. (The Hill / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / Bloomberg / Associated Press)
4/ Kevin McCarthy will resign and leave Congress at the end of the year. Between the expulsion of George Santos last week and McCarthy’s departure, Republicans will have a three-vote majority in the House to pass key legislation, including two government funding deadlines. McCarthy was the first speaker in history to get ejected from the position. It took him 15 rounds of voting over four days to secure the job for just nine months. (NPR / Washington Post / Axios / Associated Press / Politico / New York Times)
5/ A Texas judge granted an emergency order to allow an abortion despite state law banning nearly all abortions with limited exceptions. Judge Maya Guerra Gamble granted permission for Kate Cox to have the abortion because the fetus has a genetic condition with very low chances of survival and her own health and fertility were at risk if she carried the pregnancy to term. The judge also issued a temporary restraining order blocking the enforcement of the state’s abortion ban and enforcement of S.B. 8, which allows civil lawsuits to be filed against those who help patients receive abortions. The case is believed to be the first of its kind since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year and allowed states to enact their own abortion restrictions. Since then, more than a dozen states have banned abortion or no longer have facilities where women can receive the procedure. Compared with a similar period in 2020, more than twice as many people traveled out of state for abortion care in the first half of 2023. (NPR / NBC News / Associated Press / New York Times / Axios)
6/ One of the world’s largest oil producers suggested that renewable energy is a threat to Earth’s climate. While at the 2023 COP28 U.N. Climate Change Conference, Saudi Arabia raised concerns about the “lifecycle” emissions produced by renewable energy sources, which are exponentially lower than that of the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels. Nevertheless, the Saudis emphasized that costly and novel methods of carbon removal from wind turbines, solar panels, and other renewable energy are needed to combat climate change. (Politico / Rolling Stone)
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