1/ Trump refused to rule out abusing power if re-elected president. In a Fox News town hall, Sean Hannity asked Trump to deny that he would abuse power to seek revenge on political opponents if he returns to the White House. Trump initially dodged the question. “You are promising America tonight you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?” Hannity asked a second time. “Except for Day One,” Trump replied. Asked for clarification, Trump responded: “I want to close the border, and I want to drill, drill, drill.” Trump then doubled down on his comments: “I love this guy,” referring to Hannity. “He says, ‘You’re not going to be a dictator, are you?’ I said: ‘No, no, no. Other than Day One.’ We’re closing the border, and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator.” Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, warned Americans that Trump “has been telling us exactly what he will do if he’s re-elected, and tonight he said he will be a dictator on Day 1. Americans should believe him.” (Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post / The Guardian / Rolling Stone / Daily Beast / Politico)

  • 🔎 What’s at stake? The potential of Trump’s to return to power with intentions of abusing it for personal retribution and autocratic governance puts American democratic values at risk. The idea of a former president abusing power threatens the principles of fairness and justice central to democracy, which could lead to an erosion of democratic norms, undermining fairness, justice, and the rule of law. It’s not just about one leader’s actions but about the broader implications for democratic governance, accountability, and the rule of law. This situation tests the resilience of American democratic institutions and the commitment of its citizens to uphold democratic norms.
  • Trump and his allies are preparing for an aggressive expansion of his powers should he take back the White House. “The fiery language is not new, but he and a group of Trump insiders are working behind the scenes on plans to amass his power so that he can carry out an unprecedented restructuring of the U.S. government.” (NPR)
  • A second Trump administration will take action “criminally or civilly” against people in the media. “We will go out and find the conspirators, not just in the government, but in the media, yes, we’re going to come after the people in the media, who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig the elections, we’re going to come after you,” Kash Patel said on Steve Bannon’s podcast, referring to a potential second Trump leadership. “Whether it’s criminally or civilly, we’ll figure that out, but yeah, we’re putting you all on notice.” (CNBC)
  • 💡 Trump says he’ll be a dictator on “day one.” “This is a remarkable enough admission—practically every president abuses his power in some way, but few boast about it.” (The Atlantic)
  • 💡 Why Trump refuses to deny he plans to become a dictator. “It’s because he loves dictators.” (Intelligencer)

2/ The Colorado Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case challenging Trump’s eligibility to appear on the state’s ballot in 2024. At issue is whether Trump is eligible to run for president under section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after taking an oath of office to support the Constitution is forbidden from holding any public office. Last month, Colorado District Court Judge Sarah Wallace found that although Trump’s actions met the definition of engaging in an insurrection by inciting a riot at the Capitol, he isn’t subject to Section 3 because he is not an “officer of the United States.” The provision explicitly bans insurrectionists from serving as U.S. senators, representatives, and presidential electors, but it doesn’t say anything about the presidency. (CNN / Politico / NBC News / Associated Press)

3/ The 10 Wisconsin Republicans who posed as fake electors for Trump admitted that Biden won the state in 2020. As part of a legal settlement, the group agreed to withdraw their inaccurate filings, acknowledge that Biden won the presidency, and to not serve as presidential electors in any election where Trump is on the ballot. The agreement also requires the 10 Republican activists to provide “full cooperation” with any “ongoing or future” Justice Department probes related to the 2020 presidential election and the deadly Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol. The settlement also marks the first time that any Trump electors have revoked their filings sent to Congress purporting that Trump had won in seven battleground states. (Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

4/ A Nevada grand jury charged six Republicans who acted as fake pro-Trump electors in the scheme to overturn Biden’s 2020 election win. Nevada joins Michigan and Georgia as the third state to charge pro-Trump activists who falsely asserted that Trump had won the election in their state. In announcing the indictments, Attorney General Aaron Ford said: “We cannot allow attacks on democracy to go unchallenged. Today’s indictments are the product of a long and thorough investigation, and as we pursue this prosecution, I am confident that our judicial system will see justice done.” At least five states, including Nevada, are investigating efforts by Trump electors to overturn the 2020 election, with criminal charges already filed in Michigan and Georgia. (Washington Post / CNN)

  • 🤷‍♂️ Why should I care? The indictment of fake electors in Nevada serves as a wake-up call to the vulnerability and fragility of democracy. At stake is the integrity of the electoral system – fundamental to American democracy – because any attempt to manipulate or subvert the process undermines public trust and the legitimacy of governance. This incident also illustrates that democracy is a delicate structure that requires constant vigilance and protection, especially from internal subversions. It’s a direct assault on the principles of fair elections and the peaceful transition of power – both central to American democratic values. Moreover, the actions in Nevada – and the legal response to them – offer a civic lesson on the consequences of undermining democratic processes and the importance of each citizen’s role in upholding the values that form the bedrock of democracy. This incident, therefore, is not just about legal retribution but also about reinforcing the foundational principles that support and sustain the American democratic experiment for current and future generations.

5/ Humanity is in danger of crossing the point of no return for five of Earth’s natural systems because of human-caused climate change, according to a new study from an international team of more than 200 researchers. The collapse of Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, widespread coral reef die-offs in warm water, disruption of the North Atlantic subpolar gyre circulation, and the abrupt thawing of permafrost regions are all in danger of being irreversibly crossed at 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. Global temperatures have already risen between 1.1 and 1.3 degrees. “Tipping points in the Earth system pose threats of a magnitude never faced by humanity,” Tim Lenton said, lead author of the Global Tipping Points report. “They can trigger devastating domino effects, including the loss of whole ecosystems and capacity to grow staple crops, with societal impacts including mass displacement, political instability and financial collapse.” Lenton added that the report is a “tale of two future paths for humanity. We’ve basically left it too late for incremental action. Instead, we need to find and trigger what we’re calling some positive tipping points that accelerate action down an alternative pathway.” (Bloomberg / Politico / The Guardian / Associated Press)