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Former President Donald Trump walks out of the courtroom following the first day of jury selection at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, NY on Monday, April 15, 2024.

Jabin Botsford/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Supreme Court considers laws that could affect Jan. 6 charges

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear a case that could eliminate some of the federal charges Donald Trump is facing in the case accusing him of plotting to subvert the 2020 election and the prosections of the hundreds of rioters involved in the Jan. 6 attack. This comes just a day after jury selection began in the People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump, with dozens of potential jurors being excused after they told the judge they could not be impartial.

The high court judges will consider whether the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, enacted in the wake of the energy giant Enron’s collapse, can be used against Joseph W. Fischer, a former police officer who participated in the Capitol assault.

The law makes it a crime to obstruct, influence, or impede any official proceeding. It was enacted to prohibit the destruction of evidence, but in this case, it is being argued that by entering the Capitol, rioters like Fischer obstructed the counting of electoral ballots.

The law is involved in two of the federal charges against Trump in his election subversion case. If the Supreme Court rules that it does not apply to Fischer, Trump is almost certain to argue it does not apply to his conduct either.

Former President Donald Trump attends a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, on Dec. 19, 2023.

REUTERS/Scott Morgan

Colorado's Supreme Court disqualifies Trump from state primary ballot

The Colorado Supreme Court accepted the argument that the 14th Amendment disqualifies former President Donald Trump from running in 2024 after determining that he played a role in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. The game-changing decision — which will inevitably be taken to the Supreme Court — mandates that Colorado’s secretary of state exclude Trump from the state’s Republican primary ballot.

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Bharara: Clarence Thomas' donor trips may not be illegal, but not a good look
Clarence Thomas non-disclosure broke no rules, but optics aren't good | GZERO World

Bharara: Clarence Thomas' donor trips may not be illegal, but not a good look

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has come under fire for failing to disclose taking luxury trips paid for by a billionaire Republican donor. How big of a problem is this for him, SCOTUS, and the judiciary?

Preet Preet Bharara, former US attorney for the Southern District of New York, says that Thomas probably didn't violate any actual rule related to conflicts of interest. But the optics are bad — especially coming on the heels of his wife's involvement with the Jan. 6 insurrectionists. "At a time when confidence and trust in the integrity of the court is low, it's not a great thing to do," Bhararara tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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Brazil insurrection over, but not the threat to democracy
Anti-Democracy Riots in Brazil | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Brazil insurrection over, but not the threat to democracy

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and a Quick Take to kick off your week.

And my god, Brazil, January 8th. We've seen something like that before. Yes, we have, if you're the United States. This was a large number, thousands of Brazilians wanting to stop the steal, that fake election that they had in Brazil just a couple months ago that Lula won, won it legitimately. But former President Bolsonaro refused to concede, made his chief of staff do it. And his supporters believe that the election was unfair, was rigged. And they've been in encampments for a couple of months now, thousands of them, and decided over the course of the weekend, a week after the inauguration, to forcibly occupy the headquarters, the most important buildings for the legislature, the Congressional palace, the executive, the Presidential palace, and the Supreme Court. And as a consequence, you saw all this damage, this vandalism being done, furniture being destroyed, windows being broken, art being stolen, you name it. And it's just an incredible shame, day of sadness for Brazil.

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January 6th Committee votes on criminal referrals against Trump.


What We're Watching: Jan 6. panel's final report, Japan's nuclear U-turn, Fiji's unresolved election, Venezuela's opposition shakeup  ​

Jan. 6 committee suggests Congress ban Trump from office

After an 18-month inquiry, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol has released its final report, blaming Donald J. Trump of a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and of failing to stop the insurrection when he knew the situation was spiraling out of control. The report also points fingers at some of Trump’s former wingmen – such as Mark Meadows, Trump’s final White House chief of staff, and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani – naming them as potential “co-conspirators.” So what now? The report lays out steps to prevent this sort of calamity from happening again, including a proposal to strengthen the 14th Amendment's ban on insurrectionists that would prevent Trump and his enablers from ever holding office again. Though the report – which Trump has called “highly partisan” – carries no legal weight, it sends a powerful message to the US Justice Department, which is conducting its own investigation into the Jan. 6 attack.

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The House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol holds their final meeting to vote on criminal referrals against former President Donald Trump.


What We’re Watching: Trump’s tough week, SCOTUS issues Title 42 stay, UK-Rwanda migrant deal is on

Jan. 6 panel recommends criminal charges for Trump

Donald Trump’s week got off to a rocky start on Monday, when the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol referred the former president to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. The referral is based on four alleged crimes related to the insurrection, including inciting or assisting an insurrection, obstruction of an official congressional proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and conspiracy to make a false statement. It remains unclear whether the Justice Department – which is conducting its own investigation into the events of Jan. 6 – will take up the committee’s referral, which holds no legal weight. The panel also notably referred four Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is vying to become the next House speaker, to the House Ethics Committee for having ignored subpoenas to testify. But this is likely to have little effect because the committee, which is split evenly along party lines, rules by majority vote. Today, meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Committee will discuss whether to release Trump’s tax returns, which it finally has in its possession following years of legal wrangling. With the clock ticking on the Democrat’s House majority, the committee is expected to release the returns before Republicans take control next month. Attorney General Merrick Garland must now decide whether to charge Trump based on the historic recommendation by Congress.

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