The GOP Debate in Milwaukee Approaches

Republican presidential candidates during the Fox Business Republican presidential debate on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Happy Friday! Especially if your name is Doug. As Politico’s Sam Stein notes, we’re living through “an era of unadulterated political nirvana for the wider political Doug community.” 

Up to Speed

  • Prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith’s office issued a search warrant to obtain Donald Trump’s social media account on Twitter, now called X, on January 17 amid his investigation into the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, court records show. A unanimous ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a lower court’s order that held X in contempt of court and ordered the social media company to pay a $350,000 fine for failing to immediately comply with the court’s three-day deadline to turn over the requested information.
  • An FBI agent shot and killed a man in Utah on Wednesday who threatened to kill Joe Biden ahead of the president’s visit in Salt Lake City this week, court documents show. The fatal shooting took place after the man allegedly brandished his weapon while officials were trying to serve a warrant in connection to his threats.* The incident coincided with a federal investigation involving the 75-year-old man Craig Robertson’s threats to FBI officials and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The FBI is currently investigating the incident.
  • President Biden unveiled a $40 billion supplemental spending package on Thursday that includes $24 billion to bolster U.S. military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and replenish U.S. weapons already sent to help defend against Russia’s unprovoked invasion, intensifying a government funding fight that’s already meeting pushback from a sizable wing of the House GOP.
  • Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who is up in 2024 and has not yet declared he will run for reelection, told veteran broadcaster Hoppy Kercheval he is still strongly considering leaving the Democratic Party to become an independent. “I’ve been thinking about that for quite some time,” Manchin said. “The brand has become so bad. The ‘D’ brand and ‘R’ brand. In West Virginia, the ‘D’ brand because it’s nationally bad. It’s not the Democrats in West Virginia. It’s the Democrats in Washington or the Washington policies of the Democrats. You’ve heard me say a million times that I’m not a Washington Democrat.”
  • Retiring GOP Gov. Chris Sununu said Wednesday that if Trump is the nominee, Republicans will lose the governorship in New Hampshire. “We don’t just lose the presidency. We lose everything,” Sununu told a local news outlet. “We lose the Senate, the House, the governorship. Trump costs us on our ballot. He costs us school board seats, for goodness sake. So at least if we’re going to have a candidate who ‘may win-may lose’ in November, let’s at least have someone who can stand on their own and not drag everybody else down with them.”

Will Trump Show Up to the Debate?

With less than 12 days out from the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, no one is sure whether the frontrunner and former president plans to attend. 

What we do know is that as of this morning, Donald Trump does not intend to sign the Republican National Committee’s debate pledge to back the eventual nominee—one of the party’s requirements for getting onstage on August 23. “I wouldn’t sign the pledge,” he told Newsmax on Wednesday. “I can name three or four people that I wouldn’t support for president.”

Meanwhile at least seven other candidates say they’ve met the RNC’s debate criteria—which include getting 40,000 unique donors, hitting 1 percent in three qualifying national polls (or two national and two early state polls), and signing the debate pledge. 

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