June 09, 2023

Welcome back to Sneak. Smart Brevity™ count: 897 words ... 3.5 minutes.

🚨 1 big thing: Trump's new court date

Former President Trump appearing in a Manhattan court in April. Photo: Seth Wenig/Associated Press/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Trump says he's been summoned to a federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday in the probe over his handling of classified documents, he wrote tonight on Truth Social.

  • "The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax."
  • “I'm an innocent man, I did nothing wrong. And we will fight this out just like we've been fighting for seven years," Trump said in a video released tonight.

The big picture: Trump would be the first former president in U.S. history to face federal charges.

  • Trump faces seven charges, according to The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN.
  • One of his GOP primary opponents, Vivek Ramaswamy, promised in a press release tonight that he'll pardon Trump on his first day in office if elected president.

The bottom line: The front-runner for the 2024 GOP nomination now faces two indictments, with the possibility of a third coming from an Atlanta grand jury.

Go deeper: Axios live coverage on the Trump indictment news

2. Unexpected 2024 flip

Lead counsel for the plaintiffs Deuel Ross speaks after oral arguments in the Merrill v. Milligan case at the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 2022. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats across the South got a surprise pick-me-up today from the Supreme Court, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the court's liberals in a 5-4 opinion.

Why it matters: The court ruled that Alabama Republicans violated Black voters' rights during redistricting after the 2020 census, Axios' Stef Kight and Andrew Solender report.

  • It will likely add a blue seat in Alabama, and could add more in Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.

Driving the news: The high court ruled that the GOP's congressional map in Alabama — where the population is 27% Black — violated the Voting Rights Act by slicing up majority-Black areas so that only one of the state's seven districts had a majority of Black residents.

  • "This could reverberate to LA, SC and/or GA, forcing creation of 2-4 new Black majority districts and netting Dems 2-4 seats," Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman tweeted.

The big picture: Court watchers were surprised, given the court's trend of rulings on the Voting Rights Act.

  • Kavanaugh wrote a concurring opinion, noting “the authority to conduct race-based redistricting cannot extend indefinitely into the future.”

The other side: Republicans argue the legal war to shape the 2024 House map is far from over. And they still may have a chance to flip up to four seats with new maps in North Carolina.

3. McCarthy's squeeze

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

The House GOP's structural problems are colliding all at once, with rank-and-file Republicans bewildered on how things will get back to normal.

Why it matters: House GOP rebels have embraced a tactic that broke 20 years of tradition and lets them hold the floor hostage.

  • This has sparked concerns about the optics of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ability to control his conference, with multiple sources referring to the situation as an “embarrassment” for leadership.
  • One Republican told Axios that McCarthy is trying to “solve one side of the Rubik's Cube” without addressing the macro problem.

The big picture: While conservative hardliners are in agreement that they want to renegotiate parts of the speakership deal, they haven’t publicly said what they want changed.

  • That's led to some moderates, furious at the House Freedom Caucus, threaten to embrace the rebels' tactic to shove their own bills to the front of the line.

The other side: McCarthy has now survived multiple short-term crises, including a 15-ballot speakership vote and a debt ceiling negotiation that looked hopeless at some points.

  • One GOP source noted that McCarthy has voiced that he will need the entire conference involved in talks as they look to address upcoming issues including investigations, reauthorizations of the Farm Bill and FISA and appropriations.
  • Multiple Republicans noted that tensions are running high after seven consecutive weeks of session, likening the current mood of the conference to a “long family road trip” where cooler heads are likely to prevail after a break.

4. Biden to LGBTQ+ kids: "This administration has your back"

President Biden shows an air quality chart caused by Canadian wildfires. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden condemned a wave of new anti-LGBTQ state laws during a press conference today, shortly after smoke from Canadian wildfires forced the postponement of a major Pride celebration at the White House.

  • “These are our kids. These are our neighbors. It’s cruel and it’s callous,” Biden said. “It matters a great deal how we treat everyone in this country.”
  • Speaking to LGBTQ+ Americans, Biden said: "You’re loved, you’re heard and this administration has your back."

📚 Biden will appoint a coordinator in the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to address book bans across the U.S., Axios' Sareen Habeshian reports.

  • Executive actions also aim to protect the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ individuals and support the mental health of youth, including those who are homeless or in foster care.

Go deeper: Wildfire smoke upends D.C. life

🥵 5. Pic du jour: D.C. tradition

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

It was Seersucker Day on Capitol Hill, the annual June tradition in which members of Congress put on the Southern attire that Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) compared to a "classy pajama."

  • Seersucker suits are a staple of the South, with the lightweight material helping beat the heat.
  • "[Y]ou’re in sync with the weather of the summer, as opposed to complaining about the weather this summer," Cassidy told the Federal Times.

The bipartisan tradition is led by Cassidy and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

  • About a dozen members participated this year, pictured above.

Thanks for reading tonight. This newsletter was copy edited by Kathie Bozanich.