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
Monday (February 12) marks the deadline for Donald Trump to challenge the DC Court of Appeal’s rejection of his claim to immunity from prosecution over his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. While Trump is almost certain to appeal to the Supreme Court, opinion is divided as to what is most likely to happen next. Some, including a former acting solicitor general, believe Tuesday’s ruling was so thorough that the Supreme Court will reject the case outright and send it back to District Court, which would then be able to set a new trial date in short order. Others argue such an outcome is unlikely, teeing up various scenarios that could result in SCOTUS hearing arguments in March or April and delaying any trial until July at the earliest.
The Fulton County judge overseeing the racketeering case against Trump and 14 others in Georgia over their alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election is set to hold a hearing on Thursday (February 15) on a motion to have the case thrown out over the now-confirmed relationship between District Attorney Fani Willis and Nathan Wade, a prosecutor on her team. Willis and Wade have both been subpoenaed to appear at the hearing, though the Fulton County DA’s office challenged whether their presence is necessary or appropriate in a separate filing earlier this week. Trump, for his part, continues to argue that Willis should be disqualified from the case and charges dismissed over what his lawyers describe as her ‘egregious misconduct’ over a speech she gave at a church in January.
Following the House vote in December to expel indicted former Rep. George Santos from Congress, Tuesday (February 13) will see the special election to fill New York’s 3rd Congressional District. The district, which covers Long Island’s Nassau County as well as a small part of the New York City borough of Queens, is viewed as a potential bellwether, adding another dimension to the buzz that already surrounded the election given the national coverage of Santos’ expulsion. The race is looking close: Democrat former Congressman Tom Suozzi (pictured above) appears to be leading Republican Mazi Pilip, who was born in Ethiopia and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces, but there are signs that polling is tightening in the final days of the campaign.
Following a week where developments in the Middle East have to a degree overshadowed the conflict in Ukraine, expect a renewed focus on Kyiv’s efforts to withstand Russia’s military campaign, starting on Wednesday (February 14) when the defense ministers from the US-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group are due to meet in Brussels. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will chair the gathering and hold a news conference after, as he makes his first foreign trip since returning to work following his secretive treatment for prostate cancer in December. The talks come after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a long-mooted shakeup of the armed forces yesterday amid calls for a change in approach, replacing commander in chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi with General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the country’s land forces.
The conflict is likely to feature prominently at the NATO defense ministers’ meeting taking place on Thursday (February 15), when Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov will join alliance counterparts for the afternoon session, as well at the Munich Security Conference – dubbed the ‘Davos of Defense’ – which opens on Friday (February 16) and lasts through the weekend. Although the final program is usually only announced just before the conference opens, confirmed speakers already include Vice President Kamala Harris, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Israeli president Isaac Herzog.
Presidential and legislative elections take place Wednesday (February 14) in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world by population and the world’s third-largest democracy. Incumbent President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo is term-limited, though his 36-year-old son Gibran Rakabuming is the running mate of leading presidential candidate and current defense minister Prabowo Subianto, who’s hoping the third time’s the charm after being defeated by Jokowi in 2014 and 2019. Although Prabowo, who has vowed to build on Widodo’s policies, has a comfortable lead in polls, it’s not clear he has enough votes (50 per cent overall and at least 20 per cent in each province) to avoid a runoff that wouldn’t be held until June 26. The new president will take office in October.