1/ Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito refused to recuse himself from cases involving Trump and the Jan. 6 insurrection despite revelations that flags associated with Trump’s far-right supporters flew at his homes in Virginia and New Jersey. Alito told lawmakers he had “nothing whatsoever to do with the flying of” an upside-down U.S. flag at his Virginia home days before Biden’s inauguration. Alito also said he had “no involvement” in flying a flag bearing the “Appeal to Heaven” symbol, a flag associated with the “Stop the Steal” movement. Alito blamed his wife for flying the controversial flags, saying “She was solely responsible for having flagpoles put up at our residence and our vacation home and has flown a wide variety of flags over the years” and that he was powerless to remove the flags because his wife “has the legal right to use the property as she sees fit.” The Supreme Court is currently weighing Trump’s presidential immunity claim in the federal election interference case brought by special counsel Jack Smith, and an appeal brought by a man prosecuted for his role on Jan. 6. Rulings are due by the end of June. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Axios / NBC News / Associated Press / CNBC / Bloomberg)

  • 📌 Day 1217: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito flew an upside-down American flag at his home after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. At the time the symbol of the so-called “Stop the Steal” movement was flying outside Alito’s home, the court was still considering whether to take up a Republican challenge to the presidential election results. Although the court declined to consider the case, Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch said it deserved the court’s attention and “a decision would provide invaluable guidance for future elections.” Alito denied any involvement “whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” but instead blamed his wife for “briefly” flying the upside-down American flag “in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.” The Supreme Court is currently deciding two cases related to Trump and his supporters efforts to overturn the results of the election. The decisions will affect the 350 pro-Trump rioters involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and whether Trump has immunity from prosecution on election interference charges. Notably, the wife of Clarence Thomas attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally to protest Biden’s election. (New York Times / CNN / ABC News / USA Today / CNBC)
  • 📌 Day 1220: A second flag carried by rioters on Jan. 6 was flown outside Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s vacation home in New Jersey. The “Appeal to Heaven” flag has been embraced by Christian nationalists and, like the inverted U.S. flag, was carried by rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6. It dates back to the Revolutionary War. The flag was displayed at Alito’s New Jersey vacation home in July and September of 2023. An upside-down American flag – a symbol of the “Stop the Steal” movement – was hung outside Alito’s home days after the Jan. 6 attack. Democrats, meanwhile, called for Alito to recuse himself from cases related to Trump and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will rule on whether those who stormed the Capitol can be prosecuted for obstruction, and whether Trump is immune from prosecution for actions he took while president. (New York Times / Associated Press / CNN / Axios)

2/ Jury deliberations began in Trump’s election interference trial involving falsified business records. The 12 New Yorkers deliberated for several hours, asking Judge Juan Merchan to re-read testimony from David Pecker and Michael Cohen, before being dismissed for the day without reaching a verdict. Previously, the prosecution used closing arguments to meticulously describe the scheme to falsify business records to bury unflattering stories as part of a conspiracy to influence the 2016 election, which they called a “subversion of democracy.” The defense claimed Trump’s actions were merely common business practices and that Trump wasn’t reimbursing Cohen for the Stormy Daniels payment, but instead was paying for general legal services. Trump is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with a $130,000 hush-money payment to Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election. If Trump is found guilty of any of the 34 counts, the next step is for Merchan to sentence him, which may or may not include prison time. A conviction does not prevent Trump from being the Republican nominee, nor does a conviction disqualify him from serving as president if elected. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / Axios / Associated Press / Politico / NPR / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Trump and Elon Musk have discussed a possible advisory role for the Tesla CEO in a second Trump administration. The two have discussed ways for Musk to have “formal input and influence” over economic and border security policies. Musk, who runs the social media platform X as well as SpaceX and Tesla, has said he will not donate to any presidential campaign this election, but instead has kept Trump apprised about his ongoing influence campaign aimed at convincing business leaders not to support Biden. In 2017, Musk resigned from a pair of White House business advisory councils after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. Nevertheless, Musk and his companies have received around $19 billion in government subsidies, including grants, tax breaks, discounted loans, and EV incentives. (Wall Street Journal / Axios)

poll/ 49% of voters under 30 agreed that elections in the U.S. don’t represent people like them; 51% agreed that the political system in the U.S. “doesn’t work for people like me;” and 64% agreed that “America is in decline.” 65% agreed that “nearly all politicians are corrupt, and make money from their political power” — only 7% disagreed. (Semafor)