A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
Donald Trump is back in court on Tuesday (April 25) as his civil rape trial gets underway. Writer E. Jean Carroll has accused Trump of raping her in a New York department store in the 1990s, a claim Trump has denied. In addition to the battery charge, which was brought under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, Trump faces claims that he defamed Carroll in an October 2022 Truth Social post about the case, which he called a ‘hoax’ and a ‘scam’. Whether the former president will actually appear during the trial remains to be seen: while Carroll has confirmed she’ll be present throughout, Trump’s lawyer told the court that he ‘wishes to appear’, but wants to spare the city and the court the logistical ‘burden’ of his attendance. Trump has asked Judge Lewis Kaplan to excuse his absence to the jury if he skips the proceedings, but has left the door open to appearing if he’s called to testify during the week-long trial, raising the possibility of another Manhattan courthouse media circus.
Trump is less worried about the logistical burden in New Hampshire, where he’s scheduled a rally on Thursday (April 27) afternoon. He launched his 2024 campaign in the Granite State back in January with a smaller event, though this time he’ll be competing for attention – and funds – with fellow 2024 hopeful Nikki Haley, who begins a three-day swing through the state on Wednesday (April 26).
In Washington, the back-and-forth between the GOP and the Administration over the debt ceiling looks set to continue into next week as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy plans to bring his proposals for a $1.5 trillion increase to the floor. Announcing the Limit, Save, Grow Act on Wednesday, McCarthy called it a ‘clear plan for responsible debt limit increase’, which would put the fast-approaching default crisis off until next year. But President Joe Biden dismissed the plan, which targets spending measures in the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act and student loan forgiveness program, as cutting benefits for working and middle classes that MAGA Republicans ‘don’t seem to care much about’, setting the stage for more drawn-out negotiations as the June default looms.
While the debt machinations are ongoing, Biden’s future may take over the news agenda amid rumours that he’ll use the fourth anniversary of his 2020 bid announcement on Tuesday (April 25) to launch his 2024 re-election campaign. Tentative plans being floated today would see a video announcement followed by an address to the North America’s Building Trades Unions Legislative Conference the same day.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visits New York on Monday and Tuesday (April 24-25) to chair two meetings of the UN Security Council as part of Russia’s controversial presidency. Monday’s debate on effective multilateralism sees Moscow push back against what it says are attempts by some countries to ‘subordinate the UN exclusively to their interests’, while Tuesday’s session on the Middle East comes amid heightened tensions in Israel and Palestine. There’s currently no suggestion that Lavrov will meet Secretary of State Antony Blinken or other US officials during his visit (though Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said Lavrov would be ready for a meeting), but he does meet with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday, with talks expected to focus on the Black Sea Grain Initiative due to expire on May 18. Lavrov said yesterday that ‘practically nothing has been done’ to address Russian concerns over the deal, including restrictions on payments which Moscow says is hindering Russian exports, while Ukraine has accused Russia of stopping inspections to cause disruption.
Uncertainty over the Black Sea export route continues to have repercussions elsewhere, as the EU looks poised to announce preventative measures to bar direct imports of grains into Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria. All but Romania announced unilateral import bans this week, citing no action after weeks of complaints that a glut of cheap Ukrainian grains and suspended EU tariffs are driving down domestic prices. Exports and agriculture are also on the agenda on Wednesday (April 26), as Italy hosts a conference on Ukraine’s reconstruction. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine, but her coalition partner and erstwhile Putin-admirer Matteo Salvini has been critical of sanctions against Russia. Salvini is scheduled to speak at the conference alongside Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and a host of ministers from both countries.