1/ The Supreme Court rejected special counsel Jack Smith’s request to immediately decide whether Trump is immune from prosecution for bid to overturn his 2020 election loss. The decision raises the possibility that Trump’s federal 2020 election trial will be delayed beyond its scheduled March 4 start date – the day before the Super Tuesday primary contests. A federal appeals court, meanwhile, is simultaneously considering the issue. Arguments before the court are set for Jan. 9, and the losing party will likely appeal and send the matter right back to the Supreme Court early in the new year. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal NPR / Axios / Politico)
2/ Trump urged a federal appeals court to dismiss special counsel Jack Smith’s criminal election subversion case, arguing – again – that he is “absolutely immune” from prosecution because plotting to overturn the 2020 election was related to his official duties as president. Trump argued that no current or former president may be criminally prosecuted for “official acts” unless they have been impeached and convicted by the Senate. Since he was twice impeached but acquitted, Trump claims he has “absolute immunity.” The move came a day after the Supreme Court refused to fast track consideration of whether Trump should be immune from prosecution. (NPR / Politico / CNN / Bloomberg / New York Times)
3/ The Michigan Supreme Court rejected an attempt to keep Trump off the state’s 2024 primary ballot based on the Constitution’s “insurrectionist ban.” The ruling contrasts a recent ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court, which removed Trump from its primary ballot because of his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot – the first time in history that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment has been used to disqualify a presidential candidate. That decision has been paused pending an appeal, which the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear. (Associated Press / CNN / New York Times / Bloomberg / Axios)
4/ Trump endorsed a voter survey describing his potential second term political goals as “dictatorship,” “revenge,” and “power.” Earlier this month, Trump refused to rule out abusing power if re-elected president, saying he would not be a “dictator” if elected in 2024 “other than day one.” Trump has also praised authoritarian leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un. (Politico / Axios)
- Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco decried Republican claims that the Justice Department has been politicized against Trump, saying those accusations have contributed to an “unprecedented rise” in threats against law enforcement and other officials. “On a weekly basis — sometimes more often — I am getting reports about threats to public officials, threats to our prosecutors, threats to law enforcement agents who work in the Justice Department, threats to judges,” Monaco said. (NBC News / Politico / ABC News)
5/ Rudy Giuliani filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after being ordered to immediately pay the $148 million he owes for defaming two former Georgia election workers. Giuliani listed his net worth between $1 million and $10 million, but claims he owes as much as $500 million to various creditors. The decision allowed Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss to go after Giuliani’s assets in New York and Florida. (ABC News / Washington Post / Bloomberg / NBC News)
6/ The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the state’s legislative maps, which favor Republicans, are unconstitutional and ordered new maps ahead of the 2024 elections. Under the now-tossed legislative maps, Republicans controlled 64 of the 99 seats in the state Assembly and 22 of the 33 in the state Senate. While the ruling likely won’t swing Republican control of either legislative chamber to Democrats, it will weaken the Republican’s 12-year hold on both. (New York Times / CNN / NBC News)
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