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.
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Leading the week
With the GOP Iowa caucuses a month away next Friday (December 15), frontrunner Donald Trump is set to testify for the second time as part of his ongoing civil fraud trial in New York on Monday (December 11) as proceedings enter their final phase. Despite being warned by Judge Arthur Engoron during his last appearance not to use proceedings a campaign platform, Trump is likely to do just that given many think he has long since abandoned hopes of securing a favorable outcome from the trial. The former president then hits the campaign trail proper for events in Iowa on Wednesday (December 13), New Hampshire on Saturday (December 16), and Nevada on Sunday (December 17).
After another inconclusive debate this week that saw Nikki Haley’s opponents focus their attention on the former South Carolina governor, who is increasingly viewed as the primary alternative to Trump, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy are scheduled to take part in CNN town halls live from Iowa on Tuesday (November 12) and Wednesday (December 13) respectively. Chris Christie is back in New Hampshire for another town hall on Wednesday (December 13), while Haley has yet to announce her schedule after spending the weekend campaigning in Iowa. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, heads to Philadelphia on Monday (December 11), though the White House has yet to release details of his program while there.
Having had his offer to testify in a public setting rejected, Joe Biden’s son Hunter is scheduled to appear for a closed-door deposition next Wednesday (December 13) as part of the House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into the president. But Biden’s lawyers have pushed back at the private deposition over concerns about his testimony being manipulated, raising the possibility that he could refuse to appear and end up being held in contempt of Congress. The threat of criminal charges was leveled just as news emerged that the Department of Justice has filed a tax evasion case against Biden, this time for allegedly failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes in California.
The House hearing follows Speaker Mike Johnson’s announcement on Tuesday that the House will vote at some point next week to formally authorize the impeachment inquiry, something Johnson’s predecessor Kevin McCarthy faced criticism for failing to do. As it happens, both men are scheduled to speak at the annual WSJ CEO Council next week. Johnson is up first on Monday (December 11) evening while McCarthy, who this week announced he will not be seeking re-election, speaks on Tuesday (December 12).
For those more focused on economics than politics, the more interesting speakers on Tuesday may be Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chevron CEO Mike Wirth, though the real highlight of the week will be the post-FMOC press conference on Wednesday (December 13) with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who will inevitably face questions about when anticipated rate cuts next year might come. Fortunately for Powell, the Fed board will have been able absorb November’s consumer price inflation figures, which come out on Tuesday (December 12) and should provide clarity on whether stubborn inflation has at last been brought under control.
With the conflict in the Middle East having drawn much attention away from Ukraine’s fight against Russia, the Biden Administration sought to remind Congress this week of the urgent need to pass funding for security assistance to Kyiv. But Wednesday’s defeat of a procedural vote in the Senate to progress the $106 billion national security supplemental request, which also includes additional funding for Israel following October’s attack, provided the latest evidence that Republicans are prepared to use the conflict as leverage to secure concessions on border security
Nevertheless, a number of events taking place next week may help focus minds on what’s at stake, starting on Monday (December 11) when the UN Security Council meets on Ukraine to discuss Russian concerns over Western arms supplies with ‘a very interesting person’. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba joins European Union counterparts at a meeting in Brussels on Monday ahead of the last gathering of the year for European leaders on Thursday and Friday (December 14-15), when Ukraine is hoping a decision will be made on opening accession negotiations, despite opposition from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Vladimir Putin, who made a rare foreign visit this week to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, is scheduled to hold his big end-of-year press conference on Thursday alongside ‘Direct Line with Putin’, another annual tradition that sees hm answer questions from members of the public. None of the questions are expected to challenge Putin, though his fans may take the opportunity to ask about his future plans following confirmation today that he will run in next year’s presidential election.
Sticking with the region, Monday (December 11) marks an important moment following October’s inconclusive parliamentary elections in Poland, as parliament holds a vote of confidence in a proposed new government led by incumbent Mateusz Morawiecki of the Law and Justice (PiS) party. If, as many expect, Morawiecki is unable to secure enough votes, lawmakers are expected to move quickly to nominate former European Council President Donald Tusk, who now leads an opposition coalition. Assuming votes go as expected, Tusk could be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday (December 13) or Thursday (December 14).
An eventful COP28 ends with the final agreement due to be presented on Tuesday (December 12) as world leaders struggle to find a consensus on plans to curb rising temperatures. The final text may prove controversial, after a draft version published by the UN included various options either calling for or omitting mention of plans to phase out fossil fuels.
While major oil producers and carbon emitters are lobbying against the language and campaigners have highlighted a record number of fossil fuel delegates at this year’s meeting, the conference has also suffered from mixed messaging from its leadership. After being forced to row back on comments questioning the science showing fossil fuel phase-out will reduce global warming, the UAE’s COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber is publicly calling for the text to include language on fossil fuels – despite previously saying a phase-out would ‘take the world back into caves’. Should negotiators agree the third option of the draft text, where fossil fuel reductions simply don’t feature, the already-questionable legacy of COP28 will be thrown into the spotlight again.