Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Super Tuesday preview and Supreme Court’s Trump ballot ruling: Morning Rundown

Donald Trump is expected to continue his path to the GOP presidential nomination today as 16 states and one territory vote in nominating contests. Jury selection begins in the trial of the Michigan school shooter’s father. And a large number of salmon died in California after their release. 

Here’s what to know today.

What to watch for on Super Tuesday: Haley faces long odds against Trump

The cold, hard realities of delegate math are catching up with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. The Republican presidential candidate has won just one primary — the contest in Washington, D.C. — and had a strong showing in New Hampshire. But today, on Super Tuesday, she faces two mighty headwinds. 

The first: Numerous contests are in states with demographic profiles decidedly unfavorable to Haley but right in Donald Trump’s white, working-class wheelhouse — such as Alabama and Oklahoma. Second: In states with Haley-friendly demographics (primarily affluent, college-educated suburbanites), such as California, party rules limit non-Republicans’ participation and all but require outright majorities to collect delegates. 

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So, what would it take for Haley to slow the former president’s path toward the Republican presidential nomination? Political correspondent Steve Kornacki crunched the numbers for every GOP primary taking place today and in the next wave of contests this month, assessing Haley’s best-case scenario and Trump’s. 

Even if Haley sees some successes, Kornacki notes, it seems likely that by the end of the night, Trump will find himself closing in on 1,215 delegates — the magic number he needs to officially end the contest.

Read the full story here.

More 2024 election coverage: 

  • Super Tuesday, explained: Which states are holding contests and what’s at stake.
  • Who will replace the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein? Whom will Texas voters choose to take on Sen. Ted Cruz? Here are 10 races (other than the presidential race) that our politics team is watching closely.
  • Trump defeated Haley yesterday in the North Dakota Republican caucuses.
  • A group of the GOP’s most prominent megadonors is pouring millions of dollars into a handful of primaries, targeting candidates who might join the far-right House Freedom Caucus or would align with the group. See who has caught donors’ attention.
  • Michelle Obama’s office says the former first lady will not run for president this year.

The part of the Trump ballot ruling that caught legal experts’ attention 

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that states cannot kick Trump off the ballot over his actions leading up to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, bringing a swift end to cases that had big implications for the 2024 election. The decision reversed Colorado’s ruling and brought swift ends to cases in Maine and Illinois. The Supreme Court said that Congress, not the states, has to set the rules on how a provision in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment can be enforced. 

One sentence in the Supreme Court’s ruling, about Congress’ role in certifying presidential election results, caught election legal experts’ attention because they fear it may now be harder for Congress to boot “oathbreaking insurrectionists” from ballots. Supreme Court reporter Lawrence Hurley explains their thinking.

Administration watered down Kamala Harris’ Gaza speech

The National Security Council watered down much of Vice President Kamala Harris’ speech over the weekend about the need for an immediate cease-fire, according to three current U.S. officials and a former U.S. official familiar with the speech. Harris’ office denied the allegation.

The original draft of Harris’ speech, when it was sent to the National Security Council for review, was harsher on Israel about the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the need for more aid than were the remarks she ultimately delivered, according to one of the current officials and the former official.

More on the Israel Hamas war: 

  • A United Nations team found “reasonable grounds” to believe that sexual violence, including rape and gang rape, occurred during the Hamas-led attack at the Nova music festival and at least two other locations in Israel, according to a report released yesterday. Follow our live blog for the latest.

Michigan school shooter’s father goes to trial

Jury selection begins this morning in the trial of James Crumbley — the father of the teenager who opened fire in 2021 at Oxford High School, killing four classmates. Last month, the shooter’s mother, Jennifer Crumbley, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, marking the first time in the United States that a parent was found criminally responsible for a school shooting carried out by their child.

James Crumbley at Oakland County Courthouse on Feb. 21, in Pontiac, Michigan.Clarence Tabb Jr. / Detroit News via AP

A Detroit attorney not affiliated with the case says that prosecutors are likely to use the same “playbook” against James Crumbley because it worked against Jennifer Crumbley. But there are a few obvious differences between each case that a new set of jurors will have to wade through.

Fentanyl-detecting machines are sitting unused

The U.S. has spent millions on new scanners that can help detect fentanyl as it crosses into the country, but many of them are sitting unused in warehouses because Congress hasn’t appropriated funds to install them, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Troy Miller said. During NBC News’ recent tour of the Nogales, Arizona, port of entry, he explained that the money to install the screeners had been in the supplemental funding request that Republicans blocked. Now, CBP must wait for the estimated $300 million it would need to install the technology. 

Miller said the screeners, called nonintrusive inspection, would allow agents to X-ray cars and trucks without drivers having to exit their vehicles — a process that could make the screening process more efficient, especially as agents continue to rely on their own intuition when something seems wrong.

California wildlife officials report large die-off of salmon fry

The first release of Chinook salmon fry in northern California didn’t go according to plan. According to a statement from California Fish and Wildlife, many of the around 830,000 salmon fry released last week into the Klamath River are believed to have died after suffering gas bubble disease, a condition that is caused by a severe change in pressure. The exact number of fish that have died is unknown, but wildlife officials described it as a “large mortality.”

Politics in Brief

Immigration and the border: The Supreme Court blocked a new Texas immigration law, freezing a lower court’s decision that allows police to arrest migrants suspected of crossing the border illegally.

First-of-its-kind event: A fundraiser featuring three Democratic presidents this month is shaping up to be among the most lucrative in party history, according to a key organizer. Here’s what we know so far.

Trump trials: An attorney for one of Trump’s co-defendants in Georgia seeks to enter testimony from a new witness in the ongoing effort to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

Want more politics news? Sign up for From the Politics Desk to get exclusive reporting and analysis delivered to your inbox every weekday evening. Subscribe here.

Staff Pick: Where a six-figure salary isn’t enough for a home

This story starts on a head-turning note: The city of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, can’t find someone to fill a job that offers a $167,000 salary because it’s not enough to afford a place to live. I’ve heard about places where the cost of living has risen dramatically since the pandemic, but I still found myself shocked while reading this story from senior policy reporter Shannon Pettypiece. The city has proposed a way to add low-cost housing to the area, but a battle is brewing between officials and residents. — Elizabeth Robinson, newsletter editor

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

 Whether you love long walks, hitting the trails or just strolling around town, these women’s walking shoes come highly recommended by podiatrists. 

Sign up to The Selection newsletter for exclusive reviews and shopping content from NBC Select.

Thanks for reading today’s Morning Rundown. Today’s newsletter was curated for you by Elizabeth Robinson. If you’re a fan, please send a link to your family and friends. They can sign-up here.

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