1/ A federal appeals court rejected Trump’s claim that he’s immune from federal prosecution for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. “We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power — the recognition and implementation of election results,” the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit wrote. “Nor can we sanction his apparent contention that the Executive has carte blanche to violate the rights of individual citizens to vote and to have their votes count.” Trump has repeatedly argued that his actions before and during the Jan. 6 insurrection were part of his official duties as president and therefore he can’t be prosecuted for those crimes without first being impeached and convicted by Congress. Since the Senate acquitted Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, Trump has claimed he’s now subject to “double jeopardy.” The D.C. Circuit panel, however, rejected the double jeopardy argument, writing that “the weight of historical authority indicates that the Framers intended for public officials to face ordinary criminal prosecution as well as impeachment.” The court concluded: “For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.” Trump has until Feb. 12 to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the decision or ask the appeals court’s entire judicial lineup to take up the issue. He faces four counts, including conspiring to defraud the U.S. and to obstruct an official proceeding. (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CBS News / ABC News / CNBC / CNN / Associated Press / Axios / Bloomberg)
2/ House Republicans now plan to vote on a standalone Israel aid bill after rejecting a bipartisan border deal they had previously demanded. It’s not clear, however, whether Speaker Mike Johnson has the two-thirds majority needed to pass the standalone bill to provide $17.6 billion in aid to Israel. Nevertheless, Biden called on congressional Republicans to “show some spine” and pass the $118 billion bipartisan package that paired strict border security measures with assistance to Israel and Ukraine. “All indications are this bill won’t even move forward to the Senate floor. Why? A simple reason: Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump thinks it’s bad for him politically,” Biden said, adding that Trump wants to “weaponize” the issues at southern U.S. border for his presidential race rather than “actually solve it.” (New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / Politico / Politico / ABC News / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN)
3/ Instead of passing the “toughest set of reforms to secure the border ever,” House Republicans plan to vote on a resolution to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas even though it’s unclear if they have enough support to charge the homeland security secretary. Republicans have a three-vote majority in the House and two Republicans are already on record opposing impeachment. The articles of impeachment accuse Mayorkas of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust” amid a surge in unauthorized migrant crossings. If the vote is successful, Mayorkas would be the first Cabinet member impeached by the House in almost 150 years. However, he is not expected to be convicted in a trial in the Democratic-led Senate. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Axios / Politico / ABC News / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)
- Why the GOP wants to impeach Mayorkas but not pass the border deal. “Despite the GOP-controlled House taking steps to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over immigration this week, there’s little appetite among the party for a bill that might be in the national interest but that could alienate the past and possibly future president.” (CNN)
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