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Republican frontrunner Donald Trump cast himself as the party’s best shot to retake the White House even as he faces another criminal indictment.
“The 2024 election is our last shot to save America, and there’s only one candidate, and you know who that candidate is,” the former president said Friday at the Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, a gathering of Republicans in early-voting Iowa that brought together much of the 2024 field, including his chief rival for the nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In his speech, Trump listed the accomplishments from his term, including renegotiating a trade deal with Mexico and Canada and appointing three justices to the Supreme Court cementing a conservative majority that repealed Roe v. Wade. The former president rattled off a series of polling numbers that showed him beating President Joe Biden and highlighted his wide lead in early-voting states.
“While DeSanctous is losing to Biden in all cases, I wouldn’t take a chance on that one,” Trump said.
The dinner was the first time Trump and DeSantis were in the same venue in Iowa since the governor entered the race as a less polarizing alternative. But DeSantis has struggled to chip away at Trump’s lead, with the RealClearPolitics average of polls showing him trailing by 34 percentage points.
Read more: DeSantis Blasts Biden at Iowa Dinner
DeSantis, who spoke earlier at the event, avoided mentioning Trump, instead touting his record in Florida. Stephanie Lai recaps the remarks.
Trump’s appearance at the event comes as he braces for yet another indictment, this time in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s probe into the aftermath of the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Trump’s polling and fundraising have spiked after prior indictments as his fervent base and prominent Republicans have rallied to his support.
Today however, political group Save America is set to disclose that Trump’s political action committee spent $40.2 million on legal costs in the first half of 2023 to defend the former president, his advisers, and others, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The figure is substantial enough that the PAC has requested a refund on a $60 million contribution it made to another group supporting Trump, signaling a potential money crisis for the campaign. Mario Parker previews the PAC’s report.
- Biden has no public events scheduled today.
Coming Up on Capitol Hill
Congress adjourned for August recess last week with significant work still ahead to fund the government before Sept. 30 or risk a government shutdown.
- The Veterans Affairs Department, military construction projects, and related agencies would receive $155.7 billion in discretionary funding for fiscal 2024 under the House-passed version of H.R. 4366, $1.5 billion more than the fiscal 2023 enacted level and $799.4 million more than requested. Read the BGOV Bill Summary.
Rep. María Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) ran for Congress with her eye on the seemingly impossible task of updating the nation’s antiquated immigration laws. It’s a good thing she believes in miracles — and has experience dealing with difficult personalities. She’ll have to lean on both to break through the congressional logjam on immigration.
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is calling to create a select investigative committee after three ex-military officers detailed their encounters with unexplained flying objects earlier this week and one asserted that the government is hiding evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Wall Street banks and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have finally found something they can agree on: the need to crack down on crypto.
Apple is facing renewed scrutiny over concerns that its app store practices are curbing competition, this time related to cryptocurrency trading and non-fungible tokens.
Politics, Probes, and 2024
Republican presidential contender Ron DeSantis will call for faster growth, unleashing US energy production, and further decoupling from China, outlining his economic vision in a speech today aimed at reviving his flagging campaign.
Biden said the US was experiencing a surge in manufacturing that was delivering higher wages to American workers as he sought to improve his standing on the economy with skeptical voters.
- Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris urged Black Americans to vote and cast Republicans as extremists on everything from abortion, voting rights, and gun reform. Read more.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says Congress has no power to force a binding ethics code on the high court, stressing there’s nothing in the Constitution giving lawmakers such authority.
Rep. George Santos’s (R-N.Y.) campaign has no paid legal adviser as he faces court battles and a potentially contentious re-election bid.
What Else We’re Reading
The US and Australia reached an agreement to expand the US military footprint on the southern continent, as both countries bolster defense ties to respond to an increasingly assertive China.
- Additionally, the US will supply Taiwan with $345 million in defense equipment, services, and training. Read more
The Biden administration is pressing carmakers to sharply increase fuel economy by early next decade in a bid to cut gas usage and accelerate the country’s transition to cleaner or zero-emission vehicles.
Biden will host Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol for a trilateral leaders summit at Camp David on August 18, according to a statement from the White House.
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