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Former President Trump plans to speak on Tuesday from Mar-a-Lago about his indictment after returning to Florida from his hometown. He’s poised to become the first former or current president to be booked on criminal charges, in this case, stemming from ties to a porn star and his alleged efforts to keep her from talking.
Trump on Tuesday afternoon will be arraigned in New York City at a hearing on charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat who has received death threats following his announcement of the indictment (Media Matters and RadarOnline).
After voluntarily turning himself in to the court, the former president — responding to “indictment No. 71543-23” — will enter a plea of not guilty, according to his lawyers. Trump and prominent Republicans have described the case as a partisan vendetta.
The indictment “is not even legally sufficient, factually it’s a joke and it won’t survive a challenge of law,” Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina, who has not seen the charges against Trump, told ABC’s “This Week.”
Trump, officially a candidate since mid-November with a practiced history of asserting victimhood, will face multiple charges of falsifying business records, including at least one felony offense, The Associated Press reported on Sunday.
▪ The Hill: Trump lawyer anticipates motion to dismiss charges.
▪ The Hill: Trump lawyer hopes surrender is “painless and classy” in Manhattan.
▪ Rolling Stone: Trump’s team blasts former president’s lawyer, Tacopina, as “dumb,” “loudmouth.”
Former Trump administration Attorney General William Barr told “Fox News Sunday” that Bragg abused the function of prosecutions by “pursuing a person rather than pursuing a real crime.” While leading the Justice Department, Barr was criticized by detractors for pursuing phantom crimes in service to his then-boss before Barr resigned in December 2020.
Trump’s campaign — which last week fired off fundraising emails under the former president’s name with messages such as “I am not afraid” — told reporters that more than $5 million poured in from donors over two days (Axios).
The Manhattan case is one of a trio of ongoing criminal probes, including one in Georgia related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, and a two-track probe by the Justice Department into Trump’s actions and false assertions tied to the election plus his retention of classified materials at his Mar-a-Lago club.
The Washington Post: DOJ’s probe of Trump’s possession of classified documents may be focused on obstruction. The government is said to have more evidence of Trump’s personal defiance at Mar-a-Lago of a subpoena for materials that had been removed from the White House.
Trump’s legal jeopardy in the Stormy Daniels hush-payments controversy likely will stretch into 2024 and perhaps beyond. The former president and other down-ballot GOP candidates will be tasked to cater to die-hard Trump loyalists, a minority of the Republican base, and conservatives and moderates who tell pollsters they are open to a nominee next year who has less baggage and can carry the party into the future, The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports. As with every Trump drama since 2015, the political terrain is unpredictable.
Trump struggled with swing suburban voters in the past. “An indictment like this, with two more potentially coming down in the future, really hurts his chances to win back these suburban voters,” one GOP strategist told The Hill. “For any Republican candidate to succeed in a presidential race, they need to bring these right-of-center voters back into the fold and this latest development really hurts his chances to be the best candidate to do that,” he added.
If the Georgia prosecutor or the Justice Department announce separate criminal complaints against the former president, he could be ensnared in legal battles for years. Nevertheless, Trump is not barred from candidacy or election while under indictment.
Experts believe there are restrictions under election law that bar a declared presidential candidate from using PAC funds to pay legal bills, as Trump did in 2022 before officially launching his bid for a return to the Oval Office (The New York Times).
The former president’s campaign team, in a fundraising memo that included poll numbers, said Sunday that the “Trump campaign and our grassroots supporters will not be distracted from our mission of securing the votes and delegates needed to win the Republican nomination in Milwaukee, and ultimately evict Joe Biden from the White House.”
The first poll conducted post-indictment, by Yahoo News/YouGov, shows Trump’s support over Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis at 57 percent to 31 percent in a hypothetical primary head-to-head matchup — up from 47 percent to 39 percent two weeks ago.
▪ CBS News: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), interviewed on Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” said, “Democrats support, even Joe Biden, the president himself, supports children being sexualized and having transgender surgeries. Sexualizing children is what pedophiles do to children.”
▪ CBS News: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tells “60 Minutes” that immigration at the U.S. southern border is a “significant challenge” but he turns aside an oft-used GOP description, “crisis.”
▪ The Associated Press: How to run against Trump? GOP considers lessons from 2016.
▪ NBC News: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), 75, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he’ll decide by the end of the year whether he will run for president, leaving his party identification for a possible White House bid up in the air.
▪ The New York Times: Manchin and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), both of whom voted for Trump’s impeachment after Jan. 6, question the motives behind his indictment.
▪ The Hill: Former Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, 72, who announced he’s running for president in 2024, told ABC’s “This Week” that Trump should drop out of the White House race.
▪ The Hill’s The Memo: Trump’s political woes deepen with female voters.
▪ The Hill: DeSantis faces political peril with Trump’s indictment.
LEADING THE DAY
➤ MORE IN POLITICS
Republicans are grappling with their weaknesses with Generation Z voters as the voting bloc continues to flex its strength ahead of 2024, writes The Hill’s Julia Manchester.
Generation Z voters overwhelmingly align with Democrats on issues like gun control, abortion, climate change and LGBTQ issues, posing a challenge for the GOP as it looks to appeal to the younger demographic. According to a Pew Research study released late last year, 77 percent of Generation Z voters said they voted for a Democratic candidate for Congress, compared to only 21 percent who said they voted for a Republican. John Della Volpe, the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of politics, argued that the GOP’s problem with Generation Z and millennial voters is rooted in the party’s differences with the generation over values.
“Republicans don’t have a messaging problem with younger voters, they have a values problem with younger voters,” Della Volpe told The Hill. “The problem is their values and vision are misaligned and the messengers are not trustworthy currently.”
Tensions are running high in the final days of Chicago’s mayoral race, in a contest that has laid bare divisions between local Democrats over some of the party’s most contentious national issues, write The Hill’s Hanna Trudo and Caroline Vakil. As Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson vie to become the next leader of America’s third-largest city, supporters have ramped up their rhetoric, with one police union official warning of “blood in the streets” if Johnson, a progressive, wins. The Tuesday race, one of the most closely watched of the 2023 cycle, has highlighted fundamental disagreements within the party over visions on policing and education, while also underscoring long-simmering frustrations among Black voters.
▪ CNN: Chicago mayoral runoff tests Democrats’ racial and ideological divides.
▪ Slate: Chicago mayoral race: How the teachers union became a political force.
A $70 million effort by the centrist group No Labels to get presidential ballot lines in all 50 states for 2024 has set off major alarm bells in Democratic circles and raised concerns among Republican strategists, who have launched their own research projects to figure out the potential impacts. The group — led by former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) — calls its efforts an “insurance policy” against the major parties nominating two “unacceptable” candidates next year.
“The only way you can justify this is if you really believe that it doesn’t really matter if it is Joe Biden or Donald Trump,” Stuart Stevens, a former Republican presidential campaign strategist who now works with the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, told the Post. “So it is sort of a test. If you live in a world where it doesn’t matter, this is kind of harmless. If you live in a world where it does matter, it is dangerous.”
Asked if Biden, who has not formally announced his reelection bid, would be an unacceptable candidate, Lieberman told the Post the answer was uncertain, saying “It might be that we will take our common-sense, moderate, independent platform to him and the Republican candidate and see which one of them is willing to commit to it. And that could lead to, in my opinion, a No Labels endorsement” (The Washington Post).
▪ The New York Times opinion: Tuesday’s Wisconsin Supreme Court election could be the beginning of the end of former Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) legacy in Wisconsin.
▪ The Washington Post: Northern Virginia’s clout is fading amid General Assembly retirements.
Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) spoke with CBS’s “Sunday Morning” about suffering from clinical depression, complicated by hearing deficits following a near-fatal stroke in May. Fetterman, 53, who was elected last year and expects to return to work in the Senate later this month, described his “downward spiral” before he voluntarily entered Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in February for treatment.
“I will be going home. [It will] be the first time ever to be in remission with my depression,” he said. “And I can’t wait to [see] what it really feels like, to take it all in, and to start making up any lost time” (CBS News).
▪ The Hill: Democrats, bedeviled by absences, hope to get back to full strength.
▪ Politico: From agitator to insider: The evolution of Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)
▪ The Hill: Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), 64, announced on Friday he has a “serious but curable form of cancer.”
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressed his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, for the release of recently detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in a Sunday phone call, the State Department said. Gershkovich was detained in Russia last week on espionage charges, and little is known about his condition since he was taken into custody by the Federal Security Service (FSB) while on assignment outside of Moscow. Blinken conveyed his “grave concern” to Lavrov over the detention of Gershkovich and another wrongfully detained American, Paul Whelan, calling it unacceptable and demanding their immediate release, according to a U.S. statement following the rare call between the two diplomats (The Wall Street Journal).
“The fact that Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to his counterpart today is hugely reassuring to us,” Journal Editor-in-Chief Emma Tucker said Sunday. “We know the U.S. government is taking this very seriously right up to the top, and as I say, that for us has been gratifying to know that they take it as seriously as they do.”
▪ The Washington Post: Vice President Harris, in Africa, puts a rare emotional emphasis on her identity.
▪ The Associated Press: Harris finds new connections in Africa as historic figure.
Julie Su, Biden’s nominee to succeed former Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, faces an uphill climb to confirmation as lawmakers prepare for a bruising battle when the Senate returns from a two-week break. As The Hill’s Alex Gangitano and Al Weaver report, Su has faced criticism from the right over her support of labor unions, her support of California’s Assembly Bill 5 law that introduced a three-stage test to prove a worker is an independent contractor rather than an employee, and her handling of the state’s unemployment insurance program when it paid out billions in fraudulent claims. Her stances have left a few moderate Democrats concerned whether she’s the right person for the job, which means her nomination could fall below the threshold of 50 votes needed for confirmation.
“I think it’s going to take some work,” Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said about Su’s situation. “It’s sort of what they used to say about the NFL — on any given Sunday.”
▪ Politico: Biden’s nominees hit the Senate skids. Democrats’ 51-seat majority isn’t stopping a growing line of presidential picks — from the federal bench to the Interior Department — from screeching to a halt.
▪ The Hill: Business lobbyists take aim at Biden labor nominee.
Biden today heads to Minnesota on another stop of what the White House is calling an “Investing in America” tour. Few details have been released of the president’s itinerary in the Minneapolis area. “President Biden will tout the fact that private companies have committed to invest over $2 billion in Minnesota since he took office,” Haris Talwar, a regional communications director for the White House, said in a statement (Star Tribune).
CNN: First lady Jill Biden is making a four-state “Investing in America” blitz in a preview of possible reelection deployments.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is blasting Russia’s leadership of the United Nations Security Council as “obviously absurd and destructive.” Russia assumed the chair of the Security Council last week, as member states take turns at the head of the body each month. The move prompted Zelensky to call out the global body’s move to allow a “terrorist state” to lead the influential council. The U.N. Security Council is composed of 15 member states, meant to help secure global stability and peace. Five spots on the council are held permanently by the U.S., France, U.K., China and Russia — all five of which enjoy veto power (The Hill).
“Today, the terrorist state began to chair the U.N. Security Council,” Zelensky said in an address on Saturday. “It is hard to imagine something evident that proves the complete bankruptcy of such institutions.”
Meanwhile, an international arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin raises the prospect of the man whose country invaded Ukraine facing justice, but complicates potential peace talks to end the war. In March, judges in The Hague found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Putin and his commissioner for children’s rights were responsible for war crimes, specifically the unlawful deportation and unlawful transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. While some have criticized the ICC’s actions, others foresee consequences for Putin as the primary desired outcome of international action (The Associated Press).
“There will be no escape for the perpetrator and his henchmen,” European Union leader Ursula von der Leyen said Friday in a speech to mark the one-year anniversary of the liberation of Bucha, the Ukraine town that saw some of the worst atrocities in the war. “War criminals will be held accountable for their deeds.”
▪ Reuters: Ukraine says its forces fight on in Bakhmut despite Russian claim to have taken it.
▪ The Hill: Gen. Mark Milley says Ukraine victory over Russia is unlikely this year.
▪ The Wall Street Journal: Russian shelling kills six in Ukraine as Zelensky criticizes Moscow’s U.N. role.
▪ Reuters: Bomb kills Russian war blogger in St. Petersburg cafe.
👉 U.S. gasoline prices are likely to go higher based on this unwelcome news: OPEC+ made a shocking million-barrel cut in production, which presents a new inflation risk. The Biden administration calls the move ill-advised (Bloomberg News).
▪ The New York Times: China draws lessons from Russia’s losses in Ukraine and its gains. With an eye on a possible conflict over Taiwan, analysts have scrutinized the war for insights ranging from the importance of supply lines to the power of nuclear threats.
▪ Politico EU: French President Emmanuel Macron wants to charm China — after failing with Putin.
Sitting at the center of the divide between China and the United States, Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, has steered her country between the contradictory demands of the world’s two most powerful nations, one that claims the island under its authoritarian rule and another that views the democracy as one prong in a broader confrontation with China. Tsai’s visit to the U.S. this week, including an expected meeting with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), is not about diplomatic breakthroughs, but about solidifying the island’s status in the minds of U.S. leaders (The New York Times).
“She has earned a place in the eyes of Americans, but also other parts of the world, as being a reliable interlocutor,” Steve Yates, chair of the China Policy Initiative at the America First Policy Institute, told the Times. “It is very hard for China’s propaganda machine to paint her as some kind of maniacal attack robot on all things China.”
▪ The Washington Post: McCarthy’s meeting in California with Taiwan’s president puts U.S. on alert.
▪ The New York Times: Prime Minister Sanna Marin toppled in tight election as Finland prepares to join NATO.
▪ The Associated Press: Pope Francis, recently hospitalized with bronchitis, marked Palm Sunday in Vatican Square.
▪ The Washington Post: Bodies of eight, believed to be migrants, recovered in Canada near U.S. border.
■ To stop the next bank crisis, the Fed needs to fix itself, by The Washington Post editorial board. https://wapo.st/3G7vjnx
■ Too much of America is emptying out. More immigration can help, by Matthew Iglesias, Bloomberg Opinion columnist. https://bloom.bg/3zqbrrN
WHERE AND WHEN
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The House will hold a pro forma session at 2 p.m. Lawmakers will return to the Capitol in two weeks.
The Senate meets at 12:30 p.m. for a pro forma session.
The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9 a.m. Biden will travel from Delaware to Fridley, Minn., to talk about clean energy and tour the Cummins Power Generation facility, which manufactures generators and other power generation equipment. He will speak at 2:35 p.m. CDT at the Indiana-based company, which last year announced it will begin manufacturing electrolyzers, which help make hydrogen (Patch). The president will return to the White House at 8:05 p.m.
Vice President Harris is in Washington and has no public events today.
Secretary Blinken begins a three-day itinerary in Brussels to participate in a NATO foreign ministerial meeting and the 10th U.S.-EU Energy Council meeting.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at 2 p.m. will participate in a fireside discussion about the economy at Yale University (Yale Daily News).
First lady Jill Biden will be in Denver, Colo., and Bay County, Mich., to promote career-connected learning and workforce training programs. In Denver, she will join Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) at 9:30 a.m. local time at the Colorado State Capitol for remarks (The Denver Post). The first lady will visit Delta College at 4 p.m. local to discuss workforce training programs.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is in Phoenix today to champion the administration’s efforts to lower prescription drug costs and expand health coverage, including under Medicaid. He will tour Melrose Pharmacy at 11 a.m. MST, joined by Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego (D) and her ex-husband, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who is running for Senate, plus local stakeholders, followed by a press conference. Becerra will tour Ability 360 at 1:30 p.m. MST, participate in a panel discussion, and hold a press conference with local stakeholders.
➤ STATE WATCH
The death toll from severe thunderstorms in the South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic rose to 32 as authorities warn that extreme weather will likely return this week.
Residents across the South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic said the storms brought down trees and power lines, flattened homes and left debris strewn everywhere. Early Sunday afternoon, more than 310,000 households in storm-struck regions were without power (The Washington Post and Reuters).
According to the National Weather Service, Tuesday could be a particularly dangerous day, with severe thunderstorms “likely to develop late Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night across the lower Missouri Valley into southern portions of the Upper Midwest, and across parts of the southeastern Great Plains into portions of the Mid South,” and these thunderstorms could produce “a few strong tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind gusts.”
▪ AccuWeather: Deadly tornadoes produce catastrophic damage across Midwest, South, Mid-Atlantic.
▪ CNN: Communities face major destruction after large tornadoes tear through the South and Midwest.
▪ The New York Times: Another round of severe storms expected Tuesday from Texas to Illinois.
Schools are introducing new measures and drug prevention organizations are adding to their curricula to combat a disturbing rise in teen overdose deaths, writes The Hill’s Lexi Lonas. While drug use among high school students is in a historic decline, the particular substances teenagers are consuming are becoming more dangerous, including some laced with fentanyl — and fatal overdoses among teens have doubled over the last three years.
“I think that teachers — that all elementary, middle, high school and college professors — they have a responsibility to understand the environment now that we’re in,” Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America President and CEO Barrye Price told The Hill.
CNN: Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, New Hampshire and South Dakota will be the first states to kick residents off Medicaid starting this month. A pandemic-spawned prohibition on states’ authority to winnow Medicaid rolls based on eligibility ended on Saturday. States are expected to act through the fall. Some people who are qualified for Medicaid or have been beneficiaries are unaware they should enroll or re-enroll.
🏀 The Louisiana State University Tigers on Sunday won their first NCAA title in program history when they beat the University of Iowa Hawkeyes 102-85 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. In a game marred by questionable officiating, LSU Coach Kim Mulkey earned her fourth title as the Tigers set a record for the most points scored in a women’s title game. Meanwhile, Caitlin Clark, the national player of the year, and the Hawkeyes came up short in their first title game appearance (CBS Sports).
▪ The Washington Post: Mulkey delivers a national championship to LSU.
▪ Axios: NCAA women’s March Madness breaks records.
For the men’s championship title, the fourth seed University of Connecticut Huskies will face off against the fifth seed San Diego State University Aztecs tonight at 9:20 p.m. Before this season, San Diego State had never reached the Elite Eight, while it will be the first NCAA national championship game for UConn since 2014 (CNN).
USA Today: NCAA men’s Final Four recap: UConn continues March Madness domination, will play SDSU for the title.
And finally … Here’s the scoop of the morning: Thieves recently bypassed the Blizzards at the DQ in Phoenix, encouraging police to get hot on the trail of whoever nabbed an enormous red utensil.
What did thieves want with a giant spoon? The owners of a Dairy Queen in Phoenix remain perplexed — and slightly amused — as to why someone would steal the restaurant’s entrance decoration, which has a replacement sticker price of $7,000 (The Associated Press).
“We were kind of upset but then more puzzled,” Puja Kalra said last week. “What are they going to do with a spoon?”
She and her husband, Raman Kalra, say the spoon-snatching was caught on surveillance video, indicating that individuals apparently manipulated the fasteners that held the 15-foot spoon to the restaurant and then made off with it on a “small motorbike.”
“They were so precise about it like they had done it before,” Raman Kalra said. “They just wiggled their way through and made sure the spoon was not damaged.”
Phoenix police are looking for three suspects. One is seen on the video walking away with the spoon (AZ Family). There’s a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Taiwan leader’s visit to US seeks to project strength amid Beijing threats Depletion date for Social Security trust fund draws closer
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