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The Morning Rundown™

Trump’s criminal cases see day of court filings on immunity claim, bids to delay

Apr 9


Special counsel Jack Smith urges the Supreme Court to reject former President Trump’s claims of immunity in the election interference case, and Tesla settles a lawsuit over a 2018 crash involving its Autopilot system. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

Court filings on immunity claim, bid to delay in Trump cases

Monday, April 8, saw significant developments in three of the four criminal cases involving former President Donald Trump. Smith, leading the federal charges against Trump for efforts to overturn the 2020 election, urged the Supreme Court to dismiss Trump’s claim of immunity from prosecution.

Smith argued against Trump’s “novel and sweeping” immunity claim, emphasizing that “no person is above the law.” Trump’s legal team had filed a brief with the court last month saying “the presidency cannot retain its vital independence, if the president faces criminal prosecution” after leaving office.  

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on this matter on April 25, with a ruling expected by early July.

In another case, an appeals court judge rejected Trump’s request for an emergency delay in the upcoming New York hush money trial. Trump’s lawyer had contended that a Manhattan jury would be biased due to extensive publicity.

Meanwhile, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals to affirm a judge’s decision allowing her to continue leading the state’s election interference case.

Trump and co-defendants argue for her removal, citing a conflict of interest, a claim Willis denies, highlighting the recent resignation of her top prosecutor, Nathan Wade.

In all cases, Trump has entered not guilty pleas.

DOJ rejects demands for Biden’s classified documents audio recordings

The Department of Justice has rejected a request by House Republicans for audio recordings of special counsel interviews with President Joe Biden concerning his management of classified documents, despite GOP threats to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress.

Officials maintain that they have provided all necessary information, stemming from Robert Hur’s investigation, which concluded with no charges against Biden for mishandling classified documents due to lack of evidence and Biden’s reported poor memory.

The House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, having sought the audio recordings after Hur’s report was released in February, were told by the DOJ that it has fully cooperated. The department suggests the GOP’s demands are politically rather than oversight driven.

Hamas says it rejected latest Israeli cease-fire proposal

Hamas officials said they have declined the latest Israeli proposal for a cease-fire in the ongoing six-month conflict in Gaza. This development occurred during talks in Cairo, involving mediators from Qatar and Egypt, alongside CIA Director William Burns.

Despite Egyptian sources indicating potential agreement concessions, a Hamas spokesperson stated no progress had been made towards a deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, actively monitoring the negotiations, emphasized Israel’s determination to secure the release of all hostages and defeat Hamas.

Netanyahu also mentioned preparations for military action in Rafah, hinting at a forthcoming operation, though the start date remains undisclosed.

NAIA bans transgender athletes from competing in most women’s sports

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) has implemented a new policy that significantly restricts transgender athletes’ participation in women’s sports.

On Monday, April 8, the NAIA Council of Presidents voted 20 to 0 in favor of the policy, which permits only those assigned female at birth and who have not started hormone therapy to compete in women’s sports.

Under this policy, students undergoing hormone therapy can join workouts and practices but are excluded from competing. Cheerleading and dance are exceptions to the rule, and transgender athletes retain eligibility to compete in men’s sports.

The NAIA, which represents about 83,000 athletes across 241 primarily small colleges in the United States, is believed to be the first collegiate sports governing body to enforce such a policy, set to take effect in August.

Tesla settles lawsuit over fatal autopilot crash of Apple engineer

Tesla has settled a lawsuit with the family of Walter Huang, a Silicon Valley engineer who died in a crash while using the company’s Autopilot semi-autonomous driving software in 2018. The lawsuit alleged that Tesla, along with CEO Elon Musk, had exaggerated the capabilities of its self-driving technology, misleading consumers into believing that constant vigilance while driving was unnecessary.

The incident, which occurred during Huang’s commute to work, has raised significant safety concerns regarding Tesla’s autonomous driving features. Tesla had contended that Huang was distracted by playing a video game on his phone at the time of the crash.

This settlement, the amount of which remains undisclosed, comes amid broader scrutiny over Tesla’s technology and a Justice Department inquiry into the company’s marketing of its self-driving capabilities.

UConn defeats Purdue to repeat as men’s NCAA National Champions

The University of Connecticut Huskies have clinched their second consecutive men’s NCAA National Championship, defeating the Purdue Boilermakers 75-60 in Glendale, Arizona, on Monday, April 8.

Led by Tristen Newton — who scored 20 points and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player — UConn secured its sixth national title. This victory marks the first time a team has won back-to-back titles since Florida in 2006 and 2007.

According to the NCAA, about 26% of brackets in its Challenge game this year had predicted the Huskies to repeat their championship win.

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