The Supreme Court will decide if Donald Trump can be kept off 2024 presidential ballots
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Friday it will decide whether former President Donald Trump can be kept off the ballot because of his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, inserting the court squarely in the 2024 presidential campaign.
The justices acknowledged the need to reach a decision quickly, as voters will soon begin casting presidential primary ballots across the country. The court agreed to take up Trump’s appeal of a case from Colorado stemming from his role in the events that culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Underscoring the urgency, arguments will be held on Feb. 8, during what is normally a nearly monthlong winter break for the justices. The compressed timeframe could allow the court to produce a decision before Super Tuesday on March 5, when the largest number of delegates are up for grabs in a single day, including in Colorado.
Trump, speaking at a campaign event in Iowa, said: “All I want is fair. I just hope that they’re going to be fair.”
The court will be considering for the first time the meaning and reach of a provision of the 14th Amendment barring some people who “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office. The amendment was adopted in 1868, following the Civil War. It has been so rarely used that the nation’s highest court had no previous occasion to interpret it.
Ex-cop gets 14 months in jail in death of Elijah McClain, whose mom calls him ‘bully with a badge’
DENVER (AP) — A judge sentenced an ex-Colorado police officer to 14 months in jail for his role in the death of Elijah McClain after hearing the young Black man’s mother on Friday call the officer a “bully with a badge” who will always have blood on his hands.
The officer, Randy Roedema, was the most senior law enforcement member to initially respond to the scene and the only one found guilty. A jury convicted him in October of criminally negligent homicide, which is a felony, and third-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor.
The 23-year-old’s killing on Aug. 24, 2019, received little attention at the time but gained renewed interest the following year as mass protests swept the nation over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. McClain’s death became a rallying cry for critics of racial injustice in policing.
In a separate trial, two paramedics were recently convicted for injecting McClain with an overdose of the sedative ketamine after police put him in a neck hold. Sentencing for the paramedics will come in March.
Before Judge Mark Warner handed down the sentence, McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, raged against Roedema after he expressed remorse but stopped short of apologizing.
Biden warns against Trump reelection after Jan. 6 Capitol riot, a day ‘we nearly lost America’
BLUE BELL, Pa. (AP) — President Joe Biden warned Friday that Donald Trump’s efforts to retake the White House in 2024 pose a grave threat to the country, the day before the third anniversary of the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol by then-President Trump’s supporters aiming to keep him in power.
Speaking near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, where George Washington and the Continental Army spent a bleak winter nearly 250 years ago, Biden said that Jan. 6 2021, marked a moment where “we nearly lost America — lost it all.” He said the presidential race — a likely rematch with Trump, who is the far and away GOP frontrunner — is “all about” whether American democracy will survive.
The speech, the president’s first political event of the election year, was intended to clarify the expected choice for voters this fall. Biden, who reentered political life because he felt he was best capable of defeating Trump in 2020, believes focusing on defending democracy to be central to persuading voters to reject Trump once again.
“We all know who Donald Trump is,” Biden said. “The question we have to answer is who are we?”
Biden, laid out Trump’s role in the Capitol attack, as a mob of the Republican’s supporters overran the building while lawmakers were counting Electoral College votes that certified Democrat Biden’s win. More than 100 police officers were bloodied, beaten and attacked by the rioters who overwhelmed authorities to break into the building.
Hezbollah leader says his group must retaliate for suspected Israeli strike in Beirut
BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah said Friday that his group must retaliate after a presumed Israeli strike hit a Beirut neighborhood this week, killing a senior Hamas official, or else all of Lebanon would be vulnerable to Israeli attack.
Hassan Nasrallah appeared to be making the case for a response to the Lebanese public, even at the risk of escalating the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel. But he gave no indication of how or when the militants would act.
The strike that killed Hamas’ deputy political leader, Saleh Arouri, threatened months of efforts by the United States to prevent the war in Gaza from spiraling into a regional conflict.
Nasrallah said it was the first strike by Israel in the Lebanese capital since 2006.
“We cannot keep silent about a violation of this seriousness,” he said, “because this means that all of our people will be exposed (to targeting). All of our cities, villages and public figures will be exposed.”
Supreme Court allows Idaho to enforce its strict abortion ban, even in medical emergencies
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Friday allowed Idaho to enforce its strict abortion ban, even in medical emergencies, while a legal fight continues.
The justices said they would hear arguments in April and put on hold a lower court ruling that had blocked the Idaho law in hospital emergencies, based on a lawsuit filed by the Biden administration.
The Idaho case gives the court its second major abortion dispute since the justices in 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed states to severely restrict or ban abortion. The court also in the coming months is hearing a challenge to the Food and Drug Administration’s rules for obtaining mifepristone, one of two medications used in the most common method of abortion in the United States.
In the case over hospital emergencies, the Biden administration has argued that hospitals that receive Medicare funds are required by federal law to provide emergency care, potentially including abortion, no matter if there’s a state law banning abortion.
The administration issued guidance about the federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA, two weeks after the high court ruling in 2022. The Democratic administration sued Idaho a month later.
NRA chief, one of the most powerful figures in US gun policy, says he’s resigning days before trial
NEW YORK (AP) — The longtime head of the National Rifle Association said Friday he is resigning, just days before the start of a civil trial over allegations he treated himself to millions of dollars in private jet flights, yacht trips, African safaris and other extravagant perks at the powerful gun rights organization’s expense.
Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president and chief executive officer, said his departure is effective Jan. 31. The trial is scheduled to start Monday in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against him, the NRA and two others who’ve served as executives. LaPierre was in court this week for jury selection and is expected to testify at the trial. The NRA said it will continue to fight the lawsuit, which could result in a further shakeup of its leadership and the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee its finances.
“With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” LaPierre said in a statement released by the organization, which said he was exiting for health reasons. “I’ve been a card-carrying member of this organization for most of my adult life, and I will never stop supporting the NRA and its fight to defend Second Amendment freedom. My passion for our cause burns as deeply as ever.”
James, a Democrat, heralded LaPierre’s resignation as an “important victory in our case” and confirmed the trial will go on as scheduled. His exit “validates our claims against him, but it will not insulate him or the NRA from accountability,” James said in a statement.
Andrew Arulanandam, a top NRA lieutenant who has served as LaPierre’s spokesperson, will assume his roles on an interim basis, the organization said.
NY seeks $370 million in penalties in Trump’s civil fraud trial. His response: ‘They should pay me’
NEW YORK (AP) — New York state lawyers increased their request for penalties to over $370 million Friday in Donald Trump’s civil business fraud trial. He retorted, “They should pay me.”
The exchange came as lawyers for both sides filed papers highlighting their takeaways from the trial in court filings ahead of closing arguments, set for next Thursday. Trump is expected to attend, though plans could change.
It will be the final chance for state and defense lawyers to make their cases. The civil lawsuit, which accuses the leading Republican presidential hopeful of deceiving banks and insurers by vastly inflating his net worth, is consequential for him even while he fights four criminal cases in various courts.
The New York civil case could end up barring him from doing business in the state where he built his real estate empire. On top of that, state Attorney General Letitia James is seeking the $370 million penalty, plus interest — up from a pretrial figure of $250 million, nudged to over $300 million during the proceeding.
The state says the new sum reflects windfalls from wrongdoing, chiefly $199 million in profits from property sales and $169 million in savings on interest rates, as calculated by an investment banking expert hired by James’ office.
Florida can import prescription drugs from Canada, US regulators say
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration on Friday cleared the way for Florida’s first-in-the-nation plan to import prescription drugs from Canada, a long-sought approach to accessing cheaper medications that follows decades of frustration with U.S. drug prices.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the plan into law in 2019, but it required federal review and approval by the FDA, which controls prescription drug imports.
Democratic President Joe Biden has backed such programs as a way to lower prices, signing an executive order in 2021 that directed the FDA to work with states on imports.
The White House called Friday’s action “a step in the right direction,” and encouraged more states to apply for importation.
“For too long, Americans have been forced to pay the highest prescription drug prices of any developed nation,” White House spokesperson Kelly Scully said in a statement.
New gun law has blocked over 500 firearms from being bought by young people, attorney general says
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 500 gun purchases have been blocked since a new gun law requiring stricter background checks for young people went into effect in 2022, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday, the day after a school shooting in Iowa left a sixth-grader dead.
The bipartisan law passed in June 2022 was the most sweeping gun legislation in decades and requires extra checks for any gun purchases by people under age 21. Those denied a gun purchase include a person convicted of rape, a suspect in an attempted murder case and someone who had been involuntarily committed for mental-health treatment, according to the Justice Department.
President Joe Biden applauded the news, calling it an important milestone.
“Simply put: this legislation is saving lives,” Biden said in a statement where he also called for additional measures such as universal background checks and a ban on firearms often referred to as assault weapons. The Democratic president said he was “proud to have taken more executive action than any president in history to combat gun violence in America, and I will never stop fighting to get even more done.”
The news came the day after the country was rocked by another school shooting, this one carried out by a 17-year-old armed with a shotgun and a handgun who killed a sixth grader and wounded five others on the new year’s first day of classes at an Iowa high school, authorities said. The suspect, a student at the school in Perry, Iowa, died of what investigators believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Flu and COVID infections got worse over the holidays, with more misery expected, CDC says
NEW YORK (AP) — The flu season in the U.S. is getting worse but it’s too soon to tell how much holiday gatherings contributed to a likely spike in illnesses.
New government data posted Friday for last week — the holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s — show 38 states with high or very high levels for respiratory illnesses with fever, cough and other symptoms. That’s up from 31 states the week before.
The measure likely includes people with COVID-19, RSV and other winter viruses, and not just flu. But flu seems to be increasing most dramatically, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We expect it to be elevated for several more weeks,” said the CDC’s Alicia Budd. So far, though, this is a moderate flu season, she said.
Interpreting flu reports during and after the holidays can be tricky, she noted. Schools are closed. More people are traveling. Some people may be less likely to go see a doctor, deciding to just suffer at home. Others may be more likely to go.