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
Just as this newsletter was being sent out, the Supreme Court issued its ruling on the constitutionality of Mississippi’s abortion ban, striking down the federal right to an abortion enshrined in Roe v Wade. The historic announcement confirms the draft opinion leaked in May, and will lead to the removal of reproductive rights for millions of women across the country. Over the next week, keep an eye on the 13 Republican states with trigger laws who are expected to immediately enact bans of their own. Protests, rallies, and renewed calls for legislative action also expected.
Former socialite Ghislaine Maxwell faces sentencing on Tuesday (June 28), six months after she was convicted of sex trafficking at her high-profile trial in December. The former girlfriend and longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein was found guilty of helping the disgraced pedophile financier recruit and groom underage girls to engage in illegal sexual activity at his homes in the United States, US Virgin Islands, and Britain between 1994 and 2004.
Maxwell also faces two counts of perjury that are yet to be tried and could add up to ten more years of jail time. Those charges stem from a 2016 deposition where she allegedly lied under oath about Epstein’s scheme to recruit underage girls. That case was brought by Virginia Giuffre, who in February settled a civil sexual abuse case against Britain’s Prince Andrew. According to court documents, Giuffre, along with five other victims, may speak at Maxwell’s sentencing.
Maxwell has been in custody since her initial arrest in July 2020, and prosecutors are seeking a punishment of 30 to 55 years behind bars. At 60, this would amount to a life sentence for Maxwell.
Voters in Colorado, Utah, Illinois, New York and Oklahoma head to the polls for a busy day of primaries on Tuesday (June 28). Run-offs also take place in South Carolina and Mississippi, plus there’s a special election in Nebraska. Consistent across almost all of Tuesday’s Republican races is the dominance of Donald Trump, the 2020 election, and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, all of which continue to divide GOP candidates.
This split is particularly evident in Colorado, where Republicans Joe O’Dea and Ron Hanks are competing to take on Democratic Senator Michael Bennet. While O’Dea rejects the notion that the 2020 election was stolen, Hank attended the Jan. 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ rally and has refused to confirm whether he will accept Tuesday’s election results. In the 3rd Congressional District, the anti-Trump wing of the GOP is being bolstered by Democrats. Knowing that the district is almost certain to remain in Republican hands, thousands of Democrats have registered as unaffiliated in order to vote in the Republican primary. They are supporting State Senator Don Coram, who is staging a primary challenge against controversial far-right Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. A similar strategy is underway in Utah, where over half of Democratic delegates, including Salt Lake City Mayor Jenny Wilson, are supporting Republican veteran Evan McMullin in his bid to unseat Senator Mike Lee.
In Illinois, the impact of redistricting is being felt in congressional races across the state. The 6th Congressional District sees Democratic incumbent Sean Casten up against Congresswoman Marie Newman. Newman switched to the 6th District after her home was redrawn into the 4th, where she was unlikely to win against the state’s second-ever Hispanic member of Congress, Chuy Garcia. Another member-on-member race takes place in the 15th District, where Trump-endorsed incumbent Mary Miller faces Congressman Rodney Davis after they were redrawn into the same area.
New York’s gubernatorial primaries will be among the most closely-watched races on Tuesday. Governor Kathy Hochul, who replaced Andrew Cuomo following his resignation amid sexual harassment allegations, is running for a full term. She holds a commanding lead over Congressman Tom Suozzi and public advocate Jumaane Williams. Meanwhile in the Republican primary, Andrew Giuliani, son of the former Mayor, is neck-and-neck with Congressman Lee Zeldin. Despite never actually receiving an endorsement from Trump, Giuliani has aligned himself with the former president, while Zeldin has accepted the endorsement of Trump’s potential 2024 rival, former Vice President Mike Pence. Whichever candidate emerges victorious will face an uphill battle come November.
Lastly, a special election takes place in Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District. Former Congressman Jeff Fortenberry resigned in March after being found guilty of receiving an illegal campaign donation from a foreign national. Fortenberry is coincidentally due to be sentenced Tuesday, though he may avoid prison time. Democrat Patty Pansing Brooks faces Republican Mike Flood, both of whom are also running for a subsequent full term.
Facing criticism at home over high gas prices and baby formula shortages, President Joe Biden will be hoping to highlight his statesmanship during his visit to Europe, in a week where the conflict in Ukraine looks set to dominate the international agenda yet again. On Monday (June 27), he will be at the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in Germany, where attendees hold a session with President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is participating virtually. Later that day, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who both took part in the BRICS summit earlier this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, will join G7 leaders in person for talks with so-called outreach partners on global food security. Tuesday (June 28) is the final day of the G7, and Biden will likely hold a press conference to discuss the outcomes from the gathering.
Many of those present will then be heading to Madrid for the NATO leaders’ meeting, though the main discussions are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday (June 29-30). Zelensky will be addressing the NATO summit, where attendees also include membership candidates Finland and Sweden as well as partner countries Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. Hopes that Finland and Sweden’s bids to become full NATO members could be signed off at the summit have faded amid continued opposition from Turkey, whose objections center around allegations that they are overly sympathetic towards Kurdish nationalists. The decision to invite Asia-Pacific leaders to the gathering, meanwhile, is viewed as an indication that NATO remains wary of China’s rising global influence. Biden is likely to hold bilateral meetings with counterparts throughout the week, including a rumored trilateral meeting with leaders from South Korea and Japan in Madrid.
On the other side of the equation, Vladimir Putin, who has not traveled abroad since the invasion began, heads to Tajikistan on Tuesday (June 28) and then Turkmenistan on Wednesday (June 29) to attend a summit of states bordering the Caspian Sea, including Iran. He’s also due to meet next week – likely on Thursday (June 30) – with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who will chair the G20 summit later this year. Widodo is also expected in Kyiv for talks with Zelensky, though it remains unclear exactly when that trip will take place. Finally, Turkish reports suggest a four-way meeting between Turkey, the UN, Russia and Ukraine may take place as soon as next week in Istanbul to try to reach an agreement on establishing corridors allowing for Ukraine to export its grain stocks even as the conflict grinds on.