U.S. Supreme Court Grants Broad Presidential Immunity in Closely Watched Case, and Other Headlines of the Day

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Broad Presidential Immunity in Closely Watched Case, and Other Headlines of the Day

The Daily News Brief

July 2, 2024 11:35 am (EST)

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Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Welcome back to today’s edition of the Daily News Brief, CFR’s flagship morning newsletter summarizing the top global news and analysis of the day. Written by Catherine Osborn and edited by Mariel Ferragamo, with support from Diana Roy.

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Top of the Agenda

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Broad Presidential Immunity in Closely Watched Case

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United States

In a 6–3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that former President Donald Trump has at least presumptive legal immunity for official acts in a case charging him with efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The ruling establishes precedent for presidents to be shielded from prosecution in the future. President Joe Biden criticized the decision in a speech yesterday, saying it “fundamentally changed” the principle of equality before the law and left “virtually no limits on what the president can do.” Trump, meanwhile, called the outcome a “big win for democracy” on his social media platform Truth Social. 

Yesterday’s decision sent the case over Trump’s actions back to a lower court to determine which were taken as a private citizen and thus warranted prosecution. This will likely delay any final verdict until after election day on November 5. In the Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice John Roberts said that presidential immunity is needed to protect an “independent executive” in the ability to make unpopular decisions when needed. The three dissenting judges voiced concern about the ruling’s implications; Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that it “makes a mockery of the principle” that no one is above the law. “With fear for our democracy, I dissent,” she concluded. (NYT, NPR, CNN, NBC, WaPo)

ANALYSIS

“The Supreme Court’s radical decision handing the president broad immunity from criminal prosecution on Monday will rightly be understood as enormously increasing the power and enormously reducing the accountability of the president,” the University of Pennsylvania’s Kate Shaw writes for the New York Times. “[The court] has removed a major check on the office of the presidency at the very moment when Mr. Trump is running for office on a promise to weaponize the apparatus of government against those he views as his enemies.”

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“The decision isn’t about Donald Trump so much as it is about protecting the presidency itself; future occupants of that office, including President Biden; and the ability of the government to function,” Baker Hostetler’s David B. Rivkin Jr. and Florida International University’s Elizabeth Price Foley write for the Wall Street Journal. “Immunity is therefore crucial to protect the independence of the executive branch.” 

Pacific Rim

Southeast Asia Manufacturing Giants Hike Wages

Vietnam lofted its minimum wage by 6 percent yesterday, while Thailand plans to raise its own by around 14 percent starting in October and the Philippines plans a hike of 6 percent in the metro Manila area starting later this month. The changes are being closely watched by multinational firms that looked to the countries as places to diversify their supply chains in the region and away from China. (Nikkei)

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United States

China: Beijing appeared to stop publishing data about how much solar and wind power is being wasted in the country. Previous months’ data showed that the amount of unused energy had been increasing. China’s National Energy Administration did not immediately comment. The halt adds to China’s record of quietly choosing not to publish numbers showing economic weakness; Beijing temporarily stopped releasing youth unemployment rates last year. (Bloomberg) 

South and Central Asia

India’s Gandhi Cites Religious Tensions in First Speech as Opposition Leader

In his address yesterday, Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party of spreading religious intolerance. Ghandi’s new post as opposition leader in parliament had gone unfilled for ten years because opposing parties had not earned enough seats. Parts of his remarks were later expunged from the congressional record, which Gandhi objected to in a letter to the speaker. (Bloomberg, The Hindu)

Kazakhstan/Ukraine: Kazakh journalist and government critic Aidos Sadykov, who had been living in Ukraine since 2014, died today after being shot by people that Ukraine believes were Kazakh nationals less than two weeks ago. Kazakhstan’s president said the government is ready to cooperate with Ukraine in investigating the case. (Reuters)

Middle East and North Africa

Militants Fire Rockets From Gaza Into Israel, IDF Orders Khan Younis Evacuation

Militants in the southern Gaza Strip city Khan Younis fired at least twenty rockets across the border into Israel yesterday, the Israeli military said, in what was the biggest strike in seven months. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also ordered new evacuations of part of Khan Younis, where they had previously invaded and then withdrawn. (Times of Israel, NYT

U.S./Palestinian territories: U.S.-based antisemitism watchdog the Anti-Defamation League sued Iran, Syria, and North Korea in a Washington court yesterday on behalf of the victims of Hamas’s October 7 attack, saying the countries had given material support to Hamas. (CNN)

Sub-Saharan Africa

Mauritania President Comfortably Wins Reelection 

President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani won more than 56 percent of Saturday’s vote, election authorities said, securing him another five years in office. Mauritania has stood out in the Sahel region for its political stability in recent years; the country has not had a major insurgency attack since 2011. (AFP)

Ethiopia/Somalia/Turkey: Ankara held the first in a series of mediation talks yesterday between Ethiopia and Somalia over a controversial port deal that Addis Ababa signed with the breakaway region of Somaliland earlier this year, Turkey’s foreign minister said. The other countries did not immediately comment. (Reuters)

This Backgrounder by Claire Klobucista and CFR’s Mariel Ferragamo details Somaliland’s larger fight for sovereignty

Europe

Hungary’s Orbán Visits Kyiv for First Time Since Start of War

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is in the Ukrainian capital despite previous reluctance to back aid to Ukraine in the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). His visit comes as the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that NATO plans to establish a civilian post in Kyiv as part of long-term measures to support Ukraine. (FT, WSJ

Brussels: EU regulators said yesterday that social media giant Meta violated the bloc’s digital competition rules by requiring Instagram and Facebook users to pay if they want to avoid their data being used by advertisers. The firm could be fined up to 10 percent of its global revenue if the European Commission approves the assessment in its final decision. (WaPo)

Americas

Panama Leader Says He Will Restrict Darién Crossings, U.S. to Pay for Migrant Repatriation 

President José Raúl Mulino said that Panama “will no longer be a transit country for illegals” at his inauguration yesterday. Separately, the Panamanian government said it had signed a deal with Washington in which the United States will pay for the repatriation of undocumented migrants who enter the country through the Darién Gap, Panama’s jungle border with Colombia. A U.S. National Security Council spokesperson said the deal is designed to reduce the number of migrants being smuggled through the crossing as levels have only continued to rise. (CNN, AP)

This photo essay by CFR’s Sabine Baumgartner and Diana Roy explores the treacherous journey through the Darién Gap.

Peru: The trial of Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, began in Lima, yesterday. She faces charges of laundering millions of dollars as part of multiple failed presidential campaigns. She denies any wrongdoing. (Bloomberg) 

U.S. Campaign 2024

Russian Diplomat Says War ‘Cannot Be Solved in One Day’ in Response to Trump

When Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia was asked about former Trump’s claims that he could settle the war within twenty-four hours if elected president, Nebenzia said “the Ukrainian crisis cannot be solved in one day.” In last week’s presidential debate, Trump said Russia’s current demands that it retain all land it currently occupies were unacceptable; Nebenzia countered yesterday that any peace deal would need to reflect conditions on the ground. (Reuters, CNN)

In this YouTube Short, CFR expert Christopher Tuttle unpacks the big takeaways from the presidential debate

 

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