10 Things in Politics: Trump 2024 could happen — even behind bars

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10 THINGS IN POLITICS YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics, your weekday look at the biggest stories in DC and beyond. Sign up here to receive this newsletter.

Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here's what we're talking about:

One thing to look out for today: The actor Nick Offerman is scheduled to testify before House lawmakers at 11 a.m. ET on building confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.


Donald Trump handcuffed and in an orange prison jumpsuit speaking at a podium with

1. HAIL TO THE PRISONER?: It's difficult to land in prison as a sitting president. But an indictment or even a conviction wouldn't automatically disqualify someone from seeking or even holding the highest office in the land. Tuesday's news, first reported by The Washington Post, that Manhattan's district attorney had convened a grand jury at the very least brings more legal headaches for former President Donald Trump's namesake company and inner circle. At most, it brings Trump one step closer to another inglorious distinction. (Trump called the investigation a "witch hunt.")

But legal experts point out that the Constitution wouldn't stop Trump from running in 2024 even if he were to be behind bars.

Here's a look at why that is and what it would mean if the nuclear football were just a cell away:

  • The Constitution has only basic requirements to run for president: In fact, running from prison has been attempted at least twice before. The socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs ran in 1920 and won about 3.5% of the national vote. Lyndon LaRouche also ran for president in 1992 from a prison cell after he was convicted of mail fraud in 1988.
  • Actually running from prison would be another story: From prison, Trump "would be subject to the same rules as other prisoners, which could restrict their communications and ability to appear at events," said Barbara McQuade, a law professor at the University of Michigan who is a former US attorney.
  • States could try to step in to add their own requirements: Eighteen states weighed requiring presidential candidates to disclose their taxes to get on the ballot — a clear move to force Trump's hand — but even Democrats conceded passing such a law would trigger a court fight. The Supreme Court has expressed skepticism over past state efforts to go beyond the Constitution's federal office requirements, especially when it struck down congressional term limits.

What happens if Trump doesn't run but is still sent to prison: Former members of the Secret Service previously told Insider he would still most likely receive protection while in state or federal custody.

  • What about those postpresidential perks?: It's also unlikely that Trump would lose his federal pension, from which he has already taken $65,000 in payments. The only way for presidents to lose their benefits is by impeachment and conviction. (There are ways for a former member of Congress to lose benefits for crimes committed while serving as president, but that obviously doesn't apply here.)

More on the complications of running the country from prison.


2. HHS secretary calls for follow-up inquiry into the pandemic's origins: Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told a World Health Organization gathering that experts needed to be given "the independence to fully assess the source of the virus and the early days of the outbreak," The Washington Post reports. Becerra's comments come as renewed attention is being devoted to the theory that the coronavirus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.


3. House GOP leadership condemned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for her Holocaust analogies: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his top two deputies broke their silence, criticizing the Georgia Republican for her repeated comparisons of public-health measures in the US to the Nazis' treatment of Jews. McCarthy called Greene's comments "appalling" while also arguing that "antisemitism is on the rise in the Democrat Party." Top Republicans have stopped short of punishing Greene for her remarks, but one House Democrat said he would push for a formal rebuke.


gianna floyd

4. George Floyd's family calls for action on police reform on the first anniversary of his death: The Floyd family and their legal team, led by the civil-rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, met with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "If you can make federal laws to protect the bird, which is a bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color," said Philonise Floyd, one of Floyd's brothers.

PHOTOS: How the anniversary was marked around the world.


5. Biden to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16: The White House announced the summit between the two world leaders on Tuesday, a meeting that comes during a historic low point in US-Russia relations. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters there were no preconditions for the meeting, which is expected to include discussion of everything from nuclear arms to Belarus' interception of a civilian plane that was carrying a dissident.


6. Key aide testifies that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wanted to be infected with COVID-19 on live TV: "In February the PM regarded this as just a scare story," the former aide Dominic Cummings told members of Parliament this morning. Cummings had been expected to use his appearance to set out a series of potentially damaging claims about his former boss. According to Cummings, Johnson also resisted initially refused a second lockdown because "'I'm going to be the mayor of 'Jaws.'"


7. The GOP is prepared to increase its infrastructure offer by $500 billion: Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi told reporters a new offer close to $1 trillion would be brought to the table Thursday. Republicans continue to oppose using tax increases to cover the cost. Wicker told reporters the GOP would push to repurpose stimulus funds, rather than spend any new money.

Nearly 30 lawmakers want more stimulus checks in the infrastructure plan: This year, a growing number of Democrats have come out in support of recurring direct payments.


8. CDC head urges caution for unvaccinated Americans ahead of Memorial Day: "If you are not vaccinated, our guidance has not changed for you, you remain at risk of infection. You still need to mask and take other precautions," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters. The holiday weekend, per The New York Times, "comes amid a national decline in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths."


Greater Idaho

9. "Greater Idaho" took one step closer toward being a real thing this week: Seven rural Oregon counties have already voted in favor of an effort to leave Oregon and become part of Idaho, and organizers of the Greater Idaho movement say more counties will soon have the option on the ballot. More on the long-shot effort here.


10. Introducing: Ford's Mega Power Frunk. More specs of the Ford F-150 Lightning have emerged, a week after Biden test-drove (and approved of) the new electric truck. The pickup is fairly similar to its gas-fueled F-Series trucks, but with a few added twists — including a quirky giant touchscreen, and the biggest "frunk," or front trunk, in the industry. The Mega Power Frunk adds 400 liters of storage space (which could hold two sets of golf clubs or three suitcases), and has power outlets and USB plugs. Check out five of the EV's other cool features.


Today's trivia question: The Dow marks 125 years today. What was the last of the original 12 companies on the index to be kicked off? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

  • Yesterday's answer: It took 150 years for the historian John Clement Fitzpatrick to reveal that Jacob Shallus was the person responsible for writing down the entire US Constitution by hand. Shallus was paid $30 for his efforts.
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