An Appeals Court Rejected Trump’s Claim of Immunity

A panel of three federal appeals court judges today unanimously rejected Donald Trump’s claim that he was immune from prosecution on charges of plotting to subvert the results of the 2020 election because he was president at the time. The judges ruled that he was subject to federal criminal law and must stand trial.

It is unlikely that the appeals court will have the final word: Trump is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, and the result there could determine whether the former president will stand trial before the next election.

Still, the panel’s ruling signaled an important moment in American jurisprudence. Before today, an appeals court had never answered the question of whether former presidents can be held accountable for things they did while in office. And in their ruling, the judges, two appointed by Democrats and one by a Republican, cast Trump’s immunity claims as potentially dangerous.

“Former President Trump’s stance would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the president beyond the reach of all three branches,” they wrote.

In a televised speech from the White House this afternoon, President Biden called on congressional Republicans to “show some spine” and pass legislation that would increase border security and send funds to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, despite opposition from Trump and his allies.

Biden embraced a proposal crafted by senators from both parties, which ties $118 billion in foreign aid to tough border security measures. The compromise was initiated by Republicans, some of whom wanted to block Ukraine aid while attacking Democrats for refusing to deal with a border surge. Some of them are now repudiating the legislation, setting it up to fail.

There is now no clear path through Congress for Ukraine or Israel aid.

On Capitol Hill, the Republican-led House is set to vote tonight on impeaching Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, on charges that he has refused to enforce border laws. If a trial were to be held in the Senate, he would very likely be acquitted.

An internal Israeli intelligence report concluded that at least 30 of the remaining 136 Israeli hostages had died. That’s about a fifth of all the hostages who were captured by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attacks.

In addition to the confirmed deaths, the report estimated that at least 20 other hostages may have been killed. The news is likely to add fuel to the push by the families of many hostages for Israel to prioritize a new hostage deal, instead of pressing ahead with its invasion of Gaza.

In related news, Hamas responded to a cease-fire framework that could free hostages in Gaza, though Secretary of State Antony Blinken cautioned that there was still “a lot of work to be done.”

A jury in Michigan found Jennifer Crumbley guilty of involuntary manslaughter today for killings committed by her son, who carried out the state’s deadliest school shooting. She was convicted on four counts, one for each of the students who were killed by her son at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021.

Prosecutors argued that she and her husband “didn’t do any number of tragically small and easy things that would have prevented all of this from happening.” Her son, Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 at the time of the killings, was sentenced last year to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Her husband will be tried separately next month.

Toby Keith, the singer-songwriter of No. 1 country hits like “Who’s Your Daddy?” and “Made in America” and one of the biggest stars to come out of Nashville in three decades, died yesterday at 62. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Keith will probably be most remembered for a string of chest-pounding songs of American exceptionalism that he released soon after the Sept. 11 attacks. The tracks made him a culture-war champion, but they overshadowed the work of a musician who was funnier, subtler and more politically slippery than they let on, our critic Jon Caramanica wrote.

This weekend, when tens of millions of Americans will gather around televisions to watch the Super Bowl, many are sure to be dunking chips in guacamole, scarfing down jalapeño poppers or serving themselves a warm plate of nachos.

The popularity of Tex-Mex expanded as processed food companies added recipes to their labels that were shortcuts for more traditional dishes. With the big game closely tied to corporate advertising, it’s no surprise that foods like Fritos and Velveeta reign supreme.

Julia Lippman and Mathew Eapen purchased an 1820s-era rowhouse in Salem, Mass., because it met almost all of their requirements: It was large, charming and historic. But they wanted more color.

Working with a designer, the couple picked out eye-catching vintage furniture, adapted the backyard cottage into a work space and wallpapered the ceilings. Check out how their home looks now.

Have a tasteful evening.

Thanks for reading. Sean Kawasaki-Culligan was our photo editor today. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew

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