Morning Report — Trump verdict could come this week; GOP lawmakers weigh in

A chronicle of Donald Trump's Crimes or Allegations

Morning Report — Trump verdict could come this week; GOP lawmakers weigh in

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Former President Trump’s legal fate will rest with New York jurors within days.

There is no clear consensus among legal experts who have followed the Manhattan trial closely about whether a hung jury, acquittal or conviction may be ahead for the defendant who faces 34 felony counts while campaigning to return to the White House.

Trump used social media Monday to describe President Biden and political opponents, including judges in his civil and criminal trials, as “human scum.”

Closing arguments are scheduled today for a trial in which charges are pegged to falsified expense documents in 2016 allegedly created to mask hush payments to adult film performer Stormy Daniels, paid through Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, allegedly at his boss’s direction. The jury is expected to begin deliberating Wednesday.

Cohen, previously convicted and disbarred for lying and tax violations, is a key defense witness whose credibility may figure prominently in jurors’ conclusions about whether prosecutors proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

A conviction and even imprisonment would not halt Trump’s campaign against Biden. And the former president’s anger — regardless of the verdict — is anticipated, based on his years of claims about election interference and “witch hunts” lurking within the judiciary. Trump began reprising those claims before his trial began in April.

“President Trump is innocent, and the American people know it,” a campaign spokesperson told The New York Times.

Forbes: What happens if Trump is convicted?

Biden’s campaign, too, is preparing for the verdict with a strategy to remind voters that “Donald Trump’s legal troubles are not going to keep him out of the White House. Only one thing will do that: voting this November for Joe Biden,” one source said while explaining the plan (NBC News).


▪ A United Airlines flight out of Chicago was aborted after an engine fire Monday, without passenger injuries. Memorial Day weekend travel challenges abounded.

▪ Some mothers report lasting trauma following maternity care that included disrespect and abuse.

▪ The administration today unveils federal agency guidelines about pollution reduction through a voluntary marketplace for carbon credits.


© The Associated Press / Mariam Zuhaib | The U.S. Capitol, pictured last fall.


Republican lawmakers are splintering over pledges to accept the presidential election results this year, The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports. The question has become a litmus test for Republicans jockeying to become Trump’s running mate, but that’s making their Senate GOP colleagues uncomfortable about the prospect of another Jan. 6-style standoff if he loses. Some Senate Republicans have publicly committed to accepting the results — sending a message to Trump and his allies that any attempt to challenge the results without clear evidence of misconduct won’t find much support in Washington.

“What happened in 2020 was something that most people never thought was possible — not only challenge the outcome of the election, question the legitimacy of the president and then work to stop the certification,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said about lingering anxiety from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, adding Republicans are being asked the question because of how Jan. 6 still weighs on the nation. “It’s not a question that’s out of the blue. It’s something that’s important for people to know.”

Republicans are increasingly optimistic that their Senate map, the party’s political issues and GOP candidates could combine to wrest Senate majority control from Democrats, reports The Hill’s Al Weaver, who describes 10 seats most likely to flip. The list begins with West Virginia, Montana and Ohio, but also unpacks the GOP outlook for Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Meanwhile, in New York, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is reaching out to politically influential labor leaders, a move seen by many as a clear sign the disgraced governor’s plans to engineer a comeback are picking up steam. Sources diverge about whether Cuomo would be averse to going head-to-head against New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) or is potentially willing to enter a primary. Adams’s term ends in January 2026. (New York Daily News). 


▪ Here are seven states where Trump could expand his 2024 map.

▪ Trump and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke at the Libertarian Party convention over the weekend. They didn’t get a warm welcome.

▪ The Libertarian Party nominated former Georgia Senate candidate Chase Oliver as its 2024 presidential candidate after a protracted vote Sunday, solidifying the ticket for a voter base that could play spoiler this November.

▪ Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) is best known as a Trump defender and potential vice presidential pick. But in Florida, the congressman and his wife made a name — and a business — in the charter school movement.

▪ The highly anticipated primary election runoffs in Texas are guaranteed to make waves today, as Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) seek to shut the door on the political careers of a select group of vulnerable Republicans who have wronged them in the past year.


The House will meet at 2 p.m. for a pro forma session.

The Senate will convene at 10:30 a.m. for a pro forma session.

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. Biden has no public events.

Vice President Harris will swear in Courtney O’Donnell at 12:30 p.m. as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with the rank of ambassador. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling to Chisinau, Moldova, to meet with Moldovan President Maia Sandu and other senior officials, then to Prague through Friday.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at 9 a.m. will join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Biden’s international climate policy adviser John Podesta and national climate adviser Ali Zaidi to describe voluntary carbon markets. Yellen at 1 p.m. will speak to the news media on a call about her department’s guidance to the public about federal tax credits aimed at boosting clean electricity investment and production.

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will speak at 2 p.m. at the National Press Club about the administration’s efforts through the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition to raise awareness of physical and mental health challenges affecting young people.

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m.


© The Associated Press / U.S. National Park Service photo | Mountain lion pictured in California’s Verdugos Mountains near Los Angeles in 2016.


California wildlife: The state is building the world’s largest wildlife bridge, traversing its 10-lane Highway 101, which drivers have called “the highway from hell.” The overpass is designed to give threatened animals a path over the freeway instead of through it, aimed at extending their lives and their habitat. Construction on a key phase of the $100 million structure began in April and it is expected to open in early 2026 (The Washington Post).

Severe weather: More than 450 million homes and businesses in the central, southern and eastern states were still without power late Monday after wild weather (CNN). At least 23 deaths were reported over Memorial Day weekend resulting from a series of severe storms and tornadoes that battered the South and the Great Plains. Arkansas reported eight storm-related deaths as of Sunday; at least seven deaths were reported in Cooke County, Texas, related to storms; two people died in Mayes County, Okla., and five deaths were reported in Kentucky as of Monday (CNN). One person was killed by a large tree that fell on a residential building in Alabama. Tornadoes hit Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee, creating heavy winds and flooding (NBC News).


House and Senate lawmakers are in their districts and states this week for the extended Memorial Day break. But when they return, House Republicans will press forward with aggressive plans to try to pass 12 annual funding bills for fiscal 2025 before the August recess. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), chair of the funding subcommittee that oversees dollars for the Department of Agriculture, predicts the party’s goal “won’t be any easier” than last year — when intraparty divides over spending and policy areas such as abortion dominated public attention as the conference struggled to unify behind its appropriations bills.

“We’re saying we’re going to get our 12 appropriation bills done,” Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), another spending cardinal, told The Hill’s Aris Folley.

At least two Republicans in the House privately cast doubt on current support for a planned GOP vote, possibly next week, to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has said he expects such a measure to pass “handily” following adoption of censure resolutions by two House panels last week. Conservative lawmakers have presented a confusing case about the need to hold Garland in contempt after he refused to turn over audio of the president’s interviews with special counsel Robert Hur dealing with Biden’s voluntary discovery and disclosure of classified documents dating to his time as vice president. House Judiciary Committee Democrats previously released transcripts of the October 2023 interviews HERE.

A bipartisan delegation of lawmakers, ignoring China’s warning, met Monday with Taiwan’s new leader, Lai Ching-te, the first such visit since Lai’s inauguration last week (The Washington Post).

The Hill: The GOP tempers expectations on fiscal 2025 appropriations bills.

The Hill: A pair of lawmakers on opposite sides of the aisle Sunday warned the decline in migrants at the U.S. southern border is likely not permanent and called for congressional action to maintain the reduction.

Politico: Reps. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) and Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.), two military veterans serving in Congress, said they are pushing to expand health-care benefits for the children of veterans.


© The Associated Press / Jehad Alshrafi | Dozens of people in Rafah died Sunday after Israel struck a tent encampment, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a day later called “a tragic accident.”


RED LINE?: Israeli tanks moved into the Gaza city of Rafah today, three weeks after Israeli forces began their ground invasion and a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Israel’s weekend strike on a tent encampment a “tragic accident” but vowed to gain “absolute victory” in Gaza (Reuters). The White House Monday began assessing whether a lethal Israeli airstrike late Sunday violated Biden’s “red line,” two U.S. officials told Axios. Biden threatened early in May to suspend delivery to Israel of some offensive weapons if Israel entered some population centers in Rafah in southern Gaza.

World leaders condemned the tent camp destruction, which killed at least 45 people, including women and children, and injured dozens more, according to health authorities in Gaza. Netanyahu’s comments to parliament came days after the International Court of Justice appeared to order Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah, and as diplomats are aiming to restart negotiations for a cease-fire and hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas (The Washington Post and The Hill).

The United Nations Security Council is today set to convene an emergency meeting about Israel’s offensive, called by Algeria. U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths pointed to the widespread warnings of civilian deaths that circulated ahead of Israel’s strikes in Rafah. “We’ve seen the consequences in [Sunday’s] utterly unacceptable attack,” he said (Yahoo News).

“To call it ‘a mistake’ is a message that means nothing for those killed, those grieving, and those trying to save lives,” he added.

The New York Times: Access to aid in Gaza was dire. Now, it’s worse.

IRAN HAS FURTHER INCREASED its stockpile of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels, according to a confidential report Monday by the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency. Iran has maintained its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, but the agency has previously warned that Tehran has enough uranium enriched to near-weapons-grade levels to make “several” nuclear bombs (PBS NewsHour). The Biden administration is pressing European allies to back off plans to rebuke Iran for the advances in its nuclear program, arguing against an effort by Britain and France to censure Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s member-state board in early June (The Wall Street Journal).

CBS News: More than 2,000 people are estimated to have been buried alive in the landslide that swept over villages in northern Papua New Guinea Friday.

The Hill: North Korea said its recent attempt to launch a new rocket, reportedly carrying its second military spy satellite, failed after an engine exploded midflight and crashed into the nearby water.


■ No, Americans are not completely stupid about inflation, by Peter Coy, opinion writer, The New York Times.

■ What the Libertarians are warning us all about Trump, by Dean Obeidallah, opinion contributor, CNN


© The Associated Press / Ron Edmonds | Former President Clinton, joined by then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, left, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who was the first elected leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization and died in 2004, came together at the White House during 1993 ceremonies marking the signing of a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians.

And finally … On this day in 1964, the Arab League founded the Palestine Liberation Organization. Five years later, Yasir Arafat, who died in 2004 at 75, was elected its leader. When he addressed the United Nations a decade after the PLO came into existence, Arafat had made strides toward establishing new respectability for the organization’s campaign for a Palestinian homeland. But gaining legitimacy hinged on curbing terrorism and Arafat found it increasingly difficult to reconcile the moderate and extremist segments of Palestinian politics.

A temporary five-year framework signed in Washington in 1993, known as the Oslo Accords, aimed for sufficient time to hammer out a final agreement granting limited autonomy to Palestinian territories. By July 2000, a Camp David summit hosted by then-President Clinton to bring together then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chair Arafat failed to establish a final peace deal (France 24). A significant sticking point was the Palestinian demand for a “right of return” of refugees to Israel.

Three days before Clinton left office, Arafat phoned him. “You are a great man,” the chairman said. “The hell I am,” Clinton later recounted to friends and colleagues. “I’m a colossal failure, and you made me one.”

The former president, in his telling a year after the Camp David summit, concluded that Arafat was unable or unwilling to make a deal. “He could only get to step five, and he needed to get to step 10,” Clinton said (Newsweek).

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