Trump’s mounting legal woes

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The Big Story 

The former president’s historic criminal trial in New York is colliding with presidential immunity arguments before the Supreme Court and a ‘fake elector’ indictment for Trump allies in Arizona.  

© Jennah Moon/Pool/AFP

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in a case with significant implications for Trump – who argues that, even as a former executive, he’s protected from prosecution for official actions he took while in office.  


Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked a hot hypothetical: If a president ordered the assassination of his rival, would that be protected by presidential immunity?  


“That well could be an official act,” Trump attorney John Sauer responded. Read more live coverage of the high court arguments here.  


Today’s arguments mark the first time the conservative-majority court – with three justices Trump nominated during his White House tenure – are weighing an appeal that stems from one of Trump’s four criminal indictments.  


The justices are expected to rule on the issue before their term ends in June, The Hill’s Zach Schonfeld and Rebecca Bietsch report, and the timing of the decision could impact whether Trump’s other criminal cases go before jurors ahead of this year’s Election Day.  


Meanwhile, in Manhattan, witness testimony resumed today in the first of Trump’s criminal cases to reach a jury.  


Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker retook the stand in the case that centers on a hush money payment made by Trump’s ex-fixer, Michael Cohen, to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential cycle – in order to silence her allegations of an affair with Trump a decade prior.  


Pecker’s testimony has helped lay out a timeline of his agreement to bury bad news about then-candidate Trump. Read more from The Hill’s Ella Lee about the hush money trial, which is expected to continue for several more weeks.  


Over in Arizona, a grand jury on Wednesday charged Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows and other Trump allies for alleged efforts to prevent the lawful transfer of power after President Biden won the 2020 election. 


Trump is not charged in the case, but listed as an unindicted co-conspirator, Lee and Schonfeld report. Prosecutors are accusing 18 defendants of scheming to raise false election fraud claims to pressure Arizona officials to overturn Biden’s narrow 2020 win in the Copper State.  


The mounting legal woes come as Trump continues campaigning for another four years in the Oval Office. The former president has already secured the delegates he needs to be his party’s presumptive nominee, but a conviction in any of the cases he faces could roil his 2024 bid.  


Essential Reads 

Key election stories and other recent campaign coverage:

President Biden’s reelection campaign trolled former President Trump for golfing on his day off from court on Wednesday. “We found out where Trump was. He was golfing. Not campaigning. Golfing,” Biden campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement, citing a CNN report that he was at his New Jersey golf club Bedminster.  “But, when your entire campaign is about enacting revenge and retribution for yourself …

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The Biden campaign is going after Republicans who voted for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley after the former presidential candidate received more than 150,000 votes in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Pennsylvania. Haley, who dropped out of the race two months ago, took more than 16 percent of the total votes. Former President Trump still easily won the primary, with more than 80 percent of the vote as of the latest …

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Pennsylvania received its first electric school buses funded by the Biden administration Thursday, an effort in the critical battleground state that is expected to highlight the president’s climate agenda. First Student, which is the leading school transportation provider in North America, is set to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday in Harrisburg, Pa. The event will celebrate the deployment of the buses that are funded …

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The Countdown 

Upcoming news themes and events we’re watching:

  • 80 days until the Republican National Convention

  • 115 days until the Democratic National Convention

  • 194 days until the 2024 general election

In Other News 

Branch out with a different read from The Hill:

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Former President Trump in a new poll is leading President Biden by 2 points in his home state of Florida, which is a longtime swing state but has been seen as relatively safe territory for Republicans in recent elections. The poll from the University of North Florida (UNF), published Thursday, found 47 percent of likely voters said they would vote for Trump, while 45 percent said they will vote for Biden. About 4 percent said …

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Former President Trump late Wednesday swiped at his one-time attorney general, Bill Barr, after Barr said he would support the GOP presidential ticket despite his criticisms. “Wow! Former A.G. Bill Barr, who let a lot of great people down by not investigating Voter Fraud in our Country, has just Endorsed me for President despite the fact that I called him ‘Weak, Slow Moving, Lethargic, Gutless, and Lazy’ (New …

Around the Nation 

Local and state headlines regarding campaigns and elections:

  • Was Nikki Haley‘s Pennsylvania primary performance a warning signal for Trump? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • Vice President Kamala Harris to visit Florida to talk about abortion rights (Tampa Bay Times)

What We’re Reading 

Election news we’ve flagged from other outlets:

  • Ohio lawmakers negotiate to assure Biden makes the state’s fall ballot (Associated Press)

  • Can an independent candidate like RFK Jr. win the presidency? (The Washington Post)

  • Warren gets a second crypto-friendly Republican Senate challenger (Politico)

Elsewhere Today 

Key stories on The Hill right now:

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After Texas state troopers arrested more than 50 people at a University of Texas at Austin protest this week, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is facing accusations that the state went too far. Police in riot gear broke up an unsanctioned but nonviolent demonstration at the state’s flagship university Wednesday. Among those arrested was a journalist … Read more

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Former President Trump is having a busy legal day as the Supreme Court weighed presidential immunity arguments while his criminal hush money case continues in New York. David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, is back on the stand in Manhattan where he continues providing a timeline of his agreement to bury bad news … Read more

You’re all caught up. See you next time! 

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