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The Supreme Court on Friday struck down a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, the rapid-fire gun accessories used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, in a ruling that threw firearms back into the nation’s political spotlight.

The high court’s conservative majority found that the Trump administration overstepped when it changed course from predecessors and banned bump stocks, which allow a rate of fire comparable to machine guns. The decision came after a gunman in Las Vegas attacked a country music festival with semiautomatic rifles equipped with the accessories.

The gunman fired more than 1,000 rounds into the crowd in 11 minutes, sending thousands of people fleeing in terror as hundreds were wounded and dozens killed.

The ruling thrust guns back into the center of the political conversation with an unusual twist as Democrats decried the reversal of a GOP administration’s action and many Republicans backed the ruling.

The 6-3 majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas found the Justice Department was wrong to declare that bump stocks transformed semiautomatic rifles into illegal machine guns because, he wrote, each trigger depression in rapid succession still only releases one shot.

The ruling reinforced the limits of executive reach and two justices — conservative Samuel Alito and liberal Sonia Sotomayor — separately highlighted how action in Congress could potentially provide a more lasting policy, if there was political will to act in a bipartisan fashion.

Originally, imposing a ban through regulation rather than legislation during Donald Trump’s presidency took pressure off Republicans to act following the massacre and another mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Prospects for passing gun restrictions in the current divided Congress are dim.

President Joe Biden, who supports gun restrictions, called on Congress to reinstate the ban imposed under his political foe. Trump’s campaign team meanwhile, expressed respect for the ruling before quickly pivoting to his endorsement by the National Rifle Association.

As Trump courts gun owners while running to retake the presidency, he has appeared to play down his own administration’s actions on bump stocks, telling NRA members in February that “nothing happened” on guns during his presidency despite “great pressure.” He told the group that if he is elected again, “No one will lay a finger on your firearms.”

The 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas was carried out by a high-stakes gambler who killed himself, leaving his exact motive a mystery. A total of 60 people were killed in the shooting, including Christiana Duarte, whose family called Friday’s ruling tragic.


President Joe Biden said that he would not supply offensive weapons that Israel could use to launch an all-out assault on Rafah — the last major Hamas stronghold in Gaza — over concern for the well-being of the more than 1 million civilians sheltering there.

Biden, in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, said that the U.S. was still committed to Israel’s defense and would supply Iron Dome rocket interceptors and other defensive arms but that if Israel goes into Rafah, “we’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used.”

Biden acknowledged that “civilians have been killed in Gaza” by the type of heavy bombs that the U.S. has been supplying -- his first validation of what administration critics have been loudly protesting, even if he still stopped short of taking responsibility. His threat to hold up artillery shells expanded on earlier revelations that the U.S. was going to pause a shipment of heavy bombs.

The U.S. has historically provided enormous amounts of military aid to Israel. That has only accelerated in the aftermath of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which killed some 1,200 people in Israel and led to about 250 being taken captive by militants. Biden’s comments and his decision last week to pause the shipment of heavy bombs to Israel are the most striking manifestations of the growing daylight between his administration and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Biden said Wednesday that Israel’s actions around Rafah had “not yet” crossed his red lines, but has repeated that Israel needs to do far more to protect the lives of civilians in Gaza.

The shipment was supposed to consist of 1,800 2,000-pound (900-kilogram) bombs and 1,700 500-pound (225-kilogram) bombs, according to a senior U.S. administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter. The focus of U.S. concern was the larger explosives and how they could be used in a dense urban area.


President Joe Biden is calling for a tripling of tariffs on steel from China to protect American producers from a flood of cheap imports, an announcement he planned to roll out Wednesday in an address to steelworkers in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

The move reflects the intersection of Biden’s international trade policy with his efforts to court voters in a state that is likely to play a pivotal role in deciding November’s election.

The White House insists, however, that it is more about shielding American manufacturing from unfair trade practices overseas than firing up a union audience.

In addition to boosting steel tariffs, Biden also will seek to triple levies on Chinese aluminum. The current rate is 7.5% for both metals. The administration also promised to pursue anti-dumping investigations against countries and importers that try to saturate existing markets with Chinese steel, and said it was working with Mexico to ensure that Chinese companies can’t circumvent the tariffs by shipping steel there for subsequent export to the U.S.

“The president understands we must invest in American manufacturing. But we also have to protect those investments and those workers from unfair exports associated with China’s industrial overcapacity,” White House National Economic Adviser Lael Brainard said on a call with reporters.

Biden was set to announce that he is asking the U.S. Trade Representative to consider tripling the tariffs during a visit to United Steelworkers union headquarters in Pittsburgh. The president is on a three-day Pennsylvania swing that began in Scranton on Tuesday and will include a visit to Philadelphia on Thursday.

The administration says China is distorting markets and eroding competition by unfairly flooding the market with below-market-cost steel.

”China’s policy-driven overcapacity poses a serious risk to the future of the American steel and aluminum industry,” Brainard said. Referencing China’s economic downturn, she added that Beijing “cannot export its way to recovery.”

“China is simply too big to play by its own rules,” Brainard said.

Higher tariffs can carry major economic risks. Steel and aluminum could become more expensive, possibly increasing the costs of cars, construction materials and other key goods for U.S. consumers.

Inflation has already been a drag on Biden’s political fortunes, and his turn toward protectionism echoes the playbook of his predecessor and opponent in this fall’s election, Donald Trump.


Donald Trump’s campaign is expecting to raise more than $40 million on Saturday when major donors gather for his biggest fundraiser yet.

The event at the Palm Beach, Florida, home of billionaire investor John Paulson is expected to bring in $43 million for the former president’s third run at the White House, according to Paulson.

The high-dollar event is expected to include about 100 guests, including more than a few billionaires, and top a new single-event fundraising record set by President Joe Biden, who raised $26 million recently at a gathering with former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

“The response to our fundraising efforts has been overwhelming, and we’ve raised over $43 million so far,” Paulson, a hedge fund manager, said in a statement. “There is massive support amongst a broad spectrum of donors.”

The event, billed as the “Inaugural Leadership Dinner,” sends a signal of a resurgence of Trump and the Republican Party’s fundraising, which has struggled to catch up to Biden and the Democrats.

Trump and the GOP announced earlier in the week that they raised more than $65.6 million in March and closed out the month with $93.1 million. Biden and the Democrats announced Saturday that they took in more than $90 million last month and had $192 million-plus on hand.

“While Donald Trump has been busy awarding himself golf trophies at Mar-a-Lago and palling around with billionaires, Joe Biden has been crisscrossing the nation connecting with voters and outlining his vision to grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out,” Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said in a statement, referring to Trump’s Florida residence.

Trump initially struggled to attract big donors in particular when he launched his campaign and some lined up to support the other Republicans who challenged him in the presidential primary. But as Trump racked up easy wins, leveled the field and became the party’s presumptive nominee, the GOP has solidified behind him.

Contributions to the event will go toward the Trump 47 Committee, according to the invitation, a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee, state Republican parties and Save America, a political action committee that pays the bulk of Trump’s legal bills. In an unusual arrangement, the fundraising agreement directs donations to first pay the maximum allowed under law to his campaign and Save America before the RNC or state parties get a cut.

Donors who give the suggested $814,600 per person or $250,000 per person will only have $5,000 of their donation go to Save America, sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cash-strapped RNC.


Michigan’s Supreme Court is keeping former President Donald Trump on the state’s primary election ballot.

The court said Wednesday it will not hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling from groups seeking to keep Trump from appearing on the ballot.

It said in an order that the application by parties to appeal a Dec. 14 Michigan appeals court judgment was considered, but denied “because we are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this court.”

The ruling contrasts with Dec. 19 decision by a divided Colorado Supreme Court which found Trump ineligible to be president because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. That ruling was the first time in history that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment has been used to disqualify a presidential candidate.

The Michigan and Colorado cases are among dozens hoping to keep Trump’s name off state ballots. They all point to the so-called insurrection clause that prevents anyone from holding office who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution. Until the Colorado ruling, all had failed.

The Colorado ruling is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has never ruled on the rarely used Civil War-era provision.

The plaintiffs in Michigan can technically try again to disqualify Trump under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment in the general election, though it’s likely there will be a U.S.

Supreme Court ruling on the issue by then. The state’s high court on Wednesday upheld an appeals court ruling that the Republican Party could place anyone it wants on the primary ballot. But the court was silent on whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment would disqualify Trump in November if he becomes the GOP nominee.

“We are disappointed by the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision,” said Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech for People, the liberal group that filed the suit to disqualify Trump in the state. “The ruling conflicts with longstanding US Supreme Court precedent that makes clear that when political parties use the election machinery of the state to select, via the primary process, their candidates for the general election, they must comply with all constitutional requirements in that process.”

Trump hailed the order, calling the effort to keep him off the ballot in multiple states a “pathetic gambit.”

Only one of the court’s seven justices dissented. Justice Elizabeth M. Welch, a Democrat, wrote that she would have kept Trump on the primary ballot but the court should rule on the merits of the Section 3 challenge. The court has a 4-3 Democratic majority.

Trump pressed two election officials in Michigan’s Wayne County not to certify 2020 vote totals, according to a recording of a post-election phone call disclosed in a Dec. 22 report by The Detroit News. The former president ’s 2024 campaign has neither confirmed nor denied the recording’s legitimacy.

Attorneys for Free Speech for People, a liberal nonprofit group also involved in efforts to keep Trump’s name off the primary ballot in Minnesota and Oregon, had asked Michigan’s Supreme Court to render its decision by Christmas Day.

The group argued that time was “of the essence” due to “the pressing need to finalize and print the ballots for the presidential primary election.”

Earlier this month, Michigan’s high court refused to immediately hear an appeal, saying the case should remain before the appeals court.


Democrats urged the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn Republican-drawn legislative maps Tuesday, with conservative justices questioning the timing of the redistricting challenge, while liberals focused on the constitutionality of the current maps and what the process should be for adopting new ones.

The fight comes ahead of the 2024 election in a battleground state where four of the six past presidential elections have been decided by fewer than 23,000 votes, and Republicans have built large majorities in the Legislature under maps they drew over a decade ago.

The lawsuit was brought by Democratic voters the day after the court flipped to majority 4-3 liberal control in August. They want all 132 state lawmakers to stand for election under new, more favorable maps in 2024.

Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley most aggressively questioned the motives of Democrats and repeatedly referenced newly elected liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz saying during her campaign that the current maps are “rigged.”

“Everybody knows that the reason we’re here is because there was a change in the membership of the court,” Bradley said.

Attorney Mark Gaber, from the Campaign Legal Center, said the timing of the lawsuit had nothing to do with the election result. He said the challenge over whether the districts are unconstitutionally not contiguous would have been filed, regardless of the makeup of the court.

“I don’t see that as a partisan issue,” Gaber said.

Taylor Meehan, attorney for the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature, said the lawsuit was meritless, brought too late, and that Democrats only filed it because control of the court flipped.


The ad sounds like something out of the GOP 2024 playbook, trumpeting a senator’s work with Republicans to crack down on the flow of fentanyl and other illegal drugs into the U.S., getting tough on Chinese interests helping smugglers, and noting how he “wrote a bill signed by Donald Trump to increase funding for Border Patrol.”

It’s actually a commercial for Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat facing a tough reelection fight that will help decide control of the Senate.

“Ohioans trust Sherrod Brown to keep us safe,” says the narrator of the ad, sponsored by the Democrat-aligned Duty and Country PAC. His campaign declined to comment.

The message is one more indication of the political and security challenges the U.S.-Mexico border has presented for President Joe Biden. Some Democrats across the country are distancing themselves from the White House, and polls indicate widespread frustration with Biden’s handling of immigration and the border, creating a major liability for the president’s re-election next year.

The Biden administration this week took two actions seen by many as moving to the right on immigration.

The Department of Homeland Security waived environmental and other reviews to construct new portions of a border wall in South Texas after Biden pledged during the 2020 campaign that he would build “not another foot” of wall. And U.S. officials said they would resume deportations to Venezuela not long after the administration increased protected status for thousands of people from the country.

Both moves inflamed conservatives and liberals alike. Many Republicans accused Biden of being too late to adopt former President Donald Trump’s ideas on a border wall, while liberals who oppose additional border restrictions accused the White House of betraying campaign pledges.

“My frustration has been that we are not addressing immigration in a holistic way as a country. We are depending on the president alone,” said Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas, a Democrat who represents the border city of El Paso and is a national co-chair of the Biden re-election campaign. “We are treating people from different nationalities in a different way. And the pathways that have been created are being challenged in court consistently.”

Biden has said his administration moved forward with the border wall because it was required by Congress during the Trump administration, even though he considers it ineffective. His reelection campaign pointed to Trump’s record at the border, including his administration’s practice of separating immigrant families as a deterrence measure and the temporary detention of children in warehouses in chain-link cells.

“MAGA Republicans are running on the legacy of Donald Trump’s playbook of family separation, caging kids, and shouting ‘border!’ without any serious solutions,” said Kevin Munoz, a spokesman for Biden’s reelection campaign, referring to supporters of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement.

Border crossings hit two-decade highs under Trump but fell during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, with immigration authorities expelling most border crossers using public health authority known as Title 42.

Upon taking office, Biden paused border wall construction and canceled the Trump administration’s “ Remain in Mexico ” program, but kept expelling many people under Title 42 until this past May.

Still, border crossings are now skyrocketing, which some observers blame on his administration for creating the perception that the border was open. The White House counters that migration has surged across the Western Hemisphere due to regional challenges out of the administration’s control.

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