Trump attempts to further delay Stormy Daniels' hush money case

Plus, inside a secret fraternity dedicated to building a Christian autocracy in America.

Top Headlines 

Former President Donald Trump has requested that his March 25 trial, concerning the hush money he sent to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, be delayed until the Supreme Court has ruled on the nature of his presidential immunity. 

“President Trump respectfully submits that an adjournment of the trial is appropriate to await further guidance from the Supreme Court, which should facilitate the appropriate application of the presidential immunity doctrine in this case to the evidence the People intend to offer at trial,” Trump’s lawyers stated in a court filing directed at Manhattan Judge Juan Manuel Merchan. 

Trump petitioned the highest court in the land to assess his argument that his actions during the Jan. 6 Capitol riots are protected by his obligations to act in an official capacity as president. On Feb. 28, the Supreme Court announced they would examine Trump’s case. The court plans to begin deliberating on April 22, with a decision to come at as early as mid-May and as late as July. 

Regardless, such tactics are clearly designed to delay any definitive legal consequences. However in an interview last September, the one-time commander-in-chief claimed he would not pardon himself if reelected. 

"I think it’s very unlikely. What, what did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong," Trump told Meet the Press’ Kristen Welker. "You mean because I am contesting an election, they want to put me in jail?"

Inside the Right

New reporting has revealed the president of the Claremont Institute—a far-right think tank that helped Trump craft the 2020 fake presidential elector scheme—is a member of a secretive fraternal order called the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR).

Documents acquired by The Guardian found that SACR, an exclusive, men’s only group, aims to build a “‘brotherhood’ who will ‘form the backbone of a renewed American regime’ and who ‘understand the nature of authority and its legitimate forceful exercise.’’’  

The group also plans to “collect, curate, and document a list of potential appointees and hires for a renewed American regime.” 

Both Claremont President Ryan P Williams and its director of state coalitions, Scott Yenor, are members. Neither denied their ties to the group.

“I think that a fraternal order dedicated to civic and cultural renaissance and rooted in community, virtue, and wisdom is a very good thing,” Williams said when he was reached for comment.

SACR’s ideological commitments are aligned with the growing Christian nationalist movement, which believes that America is not, in fact, a pluralistic nation and that Christians should have special privileges in regards to how the government functions. In practice, this would mean establishing an authoritarian regime that would build an autocratic society by and for those with a strict commitment to their version of the Christian faith. 

Local Lens

In a recent hearing, a Republican state senator claimed that banning staff members in Minnesota schools from using chokeholds on students would create “an atmosphere where staff and principals” will “not discipline students.”

“The students understand this. And at times, they push teachers and staff to the point where … teachers don’t care what the law is. They’re not going to take it anymore. The direction we’ve gone actually create child abuse,” Minnesota state Sen. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) argued.  

Gruenhagen’s statements came after the Minnesota House voted 124-8 last Monday to allow student resource officers (SRO) to use certain “prone restraints” on students but continuing to prevent teachers and support staff from engaging in such techniques.

The legislation, known within the chamber as the "the SRO fix bill," was introduced by Rep. Cedrick Frazier (DFL-New Hope) and is intended to reform the use of SROs while also protecting them from criminal liability when operating within their official capacity. This would include allowing them to use prone restraint holds. 

But students from across the state have opposed the measure. "Kids don’t want to be restrained in school. Kids want to feel safe," one student, who is autistic, explained to local news reporters. "Using prone restraint never, ever helps a kid calm down. It just makes things worse."

The use of SROs in American public schools has faced significant criticism since the murder of George Floyd in 2020. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District fired more than 100 SROs following the fallout of the Floyd protests. In another case, Denver public schools attempted to phase out the use of SROs, but they have since begun returning them to the fold after an increase in juvenile violence inside schools. 

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Jamie Larson