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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to temporarily transfer duties as he undergoes medical procedure

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(WASHINGTON) -- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will undergo what the Pentagon is describing as "a scheduled, elective and minimally invasive follow-up non-surgical procedure related to his previously reported bladder issue" on Friday night that will lead him to temporarily transfer his authorities to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks.

Austin will undergo the procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, said Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon's top spokesman, who announced the procedure in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

"The procedure is related to a bladder issue Austin suffered as a result of a surgery he underwent to treat prostate cancer earlier this year," said Ryder.

"The Secretary has determined he will be temporarily unable to perform his functions and duties during the procedure, so Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks will assume the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense and serve as the Acting Secretary of Defense," Ryder added.

Ryder noted that the bladder issue is not related to Austin's prostate cancer diagnosis and "has had no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis."

Ryder added that the "White House and congressional notifications have occurred."

Friday's announcement continues the transparency about Austin's health and potential treatments that he committed to undertake in the wake of the controversy surrounding his secret hospitalization on New Year's Day.

Austin had been hospitalized from complications arising from a surgical procedure he had undergone in late December to treat his prostate cancer.

Neither President Joe Biden nor his top advisors were made aware that Austin had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, that he underwent a surgical procedure to treat it, and that he had been hospitalized in early January as he suffered complications from that procedure.

While Austin remained hospitalized for days in early January, his duties had temporarily been transferred to Hicks though she was not made aware of the reason why until days later. It was after she learned that he had been hospitalized that the White House was first informed that Austin had been hospitalized for days.

The furor surrounding the lack of proper notifications led to an internal Pentagon review that resulted in changes in who should be notified of the secretary's health status, when a transfer of authorities had occurred and why the temporary transfer was taking place.

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Trump continues to demonize migrants, falsely claims they're 'building an army'

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(NEW YORK) -- Former President Donald Trump ratcheted up his anti-immigrant rhetoric at a rally in the South Bronx, where he claimed, without evidence, that migrants coming to the U.S. are forming an "army."

The comments are part of the dark narrative Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, is advancing on the 2024 campaign trial that what is occurring at the southern border amounts to an invasion.

With New York as his backdrop, a city that's reckoned with housing a surge of migrants seeking asylum in recent years, Trump continued to demonize immigrants.

"They come from Africa. They come from Asia. They come from all over the world. They come from the Middle East, Yemen ... Large numbers of people are coming in from China," he said. "And if you look at these people, did you see them? They are physically fit. They’re 19 to 25. Almost everyone is a male, and they look like fighting age."

"I think they're building an army ... they want to get us from within," he said.

"They're building something," Trump repeated. "They have something in mind. We're gonna end all of that stuff."

Trump went on to reiterate his threat to lead the “largest criminal deportation operation in our country's history because this situation is unsustainable." Though experts told ABC News his plan would be extremely difficult to carry out, and would have adverse consequences on the nation if it were to be implemented.

The comments prompted the crowd to begin chanting, "Send them back."

Trump previously made similar comments specifically about migrants from China, telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt last month they, too, were "probably building an army." Again, he didn't provide any evidence to back up his claim.

Trump at his campaign rally also continued to claim, without evidence, that many migrants are coming from the "jails" and "mental institutions" of other nations and are committing a new category of "migrant crime."

But studies have shown U.S.-born citizens more likely to be arrested for violent crimes.

Trump's rally comments came hours after lawmakers on Capitol Hill held a showdown vote on border security, with the Senate again failing to advance a package negotiated earlier this year by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The bill was largely quashed by Trump, who told Republicans earlier this year not to accept it -- prompting Democrats to accuse conservative lawmakers of caring more about appeasing Trump than fixing issues within the immigration system.

"By blocking the bipartisan border agreement, Republicans in Congress said no to legislation that would hire more Border Patrol Agents, add more immigration judges and asylum officers to process cases in months and not years," President Joe Biden said in a statement. "They said no to new technology to detect and stop fentanyl from entering the United States, and no to resources to go after drug traffickers. They rejected an agreement that would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to temporarily shut down the border when the system is overwhelmed."

ABC News' Lalee Ibssa, Kelsey Walsh and Soorin Kim contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Missouri attorney general race emerges as new front in GOP civil war

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(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) -- The GOP civil war has reached a new beachhead: blood-red Missouri.

The state's Republican attorney general primary is pitting incumbent Andrew Bailey against Will Scharf, a lawyer for Donald Trump. And while intraparty battles elsewhere in states such as Texas and Idaho have ostensibly focused on issues like school choice and vaccine mandates, the Aug. 6 primary in Missouri is centered largely around allegiance to the former president and who counts as a member of the oft-maligned "establishment."

Bailey, who was appointed to his position in 2022 and has never had to defend himself at the ballot box, has used his office to toss red meat to the base, filing lawsuits on issues such as transgender athletes and immigration and demanding the Justice Department provide documents and communications regarding investigations into Trump.

Scharf, meanwhile, is promoting his ties to Trump just as the former president stands trial in New York while casting Bailey as an insider of Jefferson City -- a capital city with a Republican governor and GOP supermajorities in both state legislative chambers.

"I think this is going to be a lot of those factors here as far as a microcosm on establishment versus outsider, Trump versus traditional Republican," said one unaffiliated Missouri GOP strategist. "This is definitely going to be a race that's going to show how poignant one side or the other is and if anyone is able to fend off a funded Trump candidate without a lot of baggage at this point, in Scharf's case."

"I don't think you're gonna see a lot of policy differences between the two," added the operative, who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke anonymously to discuss the race. "I think it's just, is being affiliated with Trump more important, ultimately, than anything Bailey could have even done as AG?"

To break through, both campaigns are seeking Trump's endorsement. A source familiar with the race confirmed to ABC News that Scharf and the former president have discussed the primary, and Mike Hafner, a Bailey campaign consultant, said that the attorney general's camp and Trump's team have talked about the race.

Yet it's unclear if Trump plans on getting involved in the race, leaving the candidates to fight it out among themselves. And with such little ideological daylight between Bailey and Scharf, the race is largely revolving around who is Trumpier and more of a fighter -- with early signs of an ugly race brewing.

A super PAC supporting Scharf, who is backed by well-heeled outside groups such as the Club for Growth and the Concord Fund, went up with an early ad saying that "Trump relies on Will Scharf as one of his lawyers to defend him from legal persecution and election interference" and that Scharf is "taking on the entire legal and media establishment."

Bailey has fired his own shots, dubbing Scharf "Wall Street Willy," noting his affluent, East Coast upbringing and ties to wealthy outside benefactors through his PAC.

Although Bailey is technically the incumbent, operatives compared the primary to one for an open seat given that neither candidate has appeared on a general election ballot before, and both contenders are anticipated to hold nothing back to cast themselves as the right choice for primary voters just getting up to speed on the race.

"Both candidates have shown a willingness to attack, and I think this is going to be a no-holds-barred race," a second Missouri GOP strategist said. "Whenever [you've] got an open seat, it's important to define yourself, but it's also important to find your opponent. And I think both of the candidates are going to try to do that to the best of their abilities."

Observers speculated that Scharf has the upper hand in a more national knife fight given his legal representation of the GOP leader at a time when polls show Republican voters believe Trump is being treated unfairly by the legal system -- a message that can be blitzed across the airwaves by millions in outside spending.

"If you're a Missouri Republican, or I'd say, Republican voter in general, they believe that Trump, a lot of these various cases and charges are a stretch or reach," said a third Missouri GOP strategist. "And Will Scharf's ability to say, 'I'm a Trump lawyer,' the primary voters will say he is at the tip of the spear fighting and defending liberty."

"... It will resonate, and it will be probably all Will Scharf needs to say," the strategist added.

Some Scharf allies insisted the race has less to do with Trump and more to do with frustration with what voters view as broader inaction in Jefferson City on issues near and dear to the GOP faithful -- warranted or not.

"Conservatives … want a proactive, activist, conservative attorney general who is going to take the fight to the left. And there's a belief and a perception, and I believe it to be true, that that's not Bailey, but that very much is Will, someone who's gonna upset the applecart, someone who's going to be an agent of change, rather than just another Jefferson City person who's gonna go along to get along and not get much done," said one Scharf campaign aide.

Multiple sources who spoke to ABC News said voters perceive Jefferson City to be a "swamp" -- despite it being a seat of unified Republican power -- and said the perception extends to those who work there, including Bailey, who was appointed to his role by a governor he previously served as general counsel, regardless of policy.

"[Bailey] is a good pro-Trump, pro-Second Amendment, pro-life conservative," the third GOP strategist said. "I don't think you can really find anything wrong with his record as attorney general."

Bailey's campaign has highlighted the litany of lawsuits he's filed against the Biden administration and action on culture war issues, including local lightning rods such as going after former St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner and defending Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker over controversial remarks he made about women.

"I think that Andrew Bailey is doing all the right things that you'd want to see in a conservative fighter, and I think Missourians will respond well to that in August," Hafner said.

"We've been as pro-Trump as Scharf has been," he added. "There's not going to be a whole lot of daylight where we're at ideologically, but man, there's a whole lot of character issues that we're gonna make a pretty significant contrast with Will Scharf on."

To be certain, Bailey is not the only conservative to be targeted in Missouri this year. The state's Republican National Committee members, all of whom ran with Trump's endorsement, were ousted this year. And the GOP primary to replace term-limited Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, is also divisive.

But the attorney general primary offers particularly incisive tea leaves given the way Bailey has performed in office -- and, strategists said, in a race dominated by national trends, overcoming Scharf's proximity to Trump will be no small feat.

"I'm not sure if he can do anything," the third strategist bluntly said.

"He's going to attempt to say that Will Scharf is this kid from New England who's a private-equity kid who went to Harvard … and he's a carpetbagger," the source added. "Will that persuade some voters? Yes. But at the end of the day, in Missouri, I think statewide Trump with Republicans has nearly an 80% favorable rating. And so, if you're Will Scharf, you can kind of write off the 20% that maybe don't like Trump and still win."

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What Haley donors, voters think about her saying she'll vote for Trump in November

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(WASHINGTON) -- Former Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley's supporters are still split after she said she will be voting for former President Donald Trump, some seeing it as a "greenlight" for them to vote for Trump as well, while others are still not convinced.

After Haley suspended her campaign in March, Trump immediately became the presumptive GOP nominee but was faced with the task of bringing back Haley's supporters and reuniting the Republican Party without her endorsement, especially after months of bitter rivalry.

Haley's announcement on Wednesday that she will be voting for Trump appeared to soften the lingering animosity between the two, with Trump himself saying during media interviews on Thursday that he appreciated Haley's comment – even saying he thinks she's "going to be on our team," while not specifying what he meant by "our team."

The latest comments from the two is a move that could unite their support base, especially for Haley's donors after earlier this year Trump "permanently barred" them from his MAGA movement, saying, "We don't want them, and will not accept them," as the rivalry between the two escalated in the primaries.

"Anybody that makes a 'Contribution' to Birdbrain, from this moment forth, will be permanently barred from the MAGA camp," Trump wrote on his social media platform in January. "We don't want them, and will not accept them ..."

Eric Levine, a New York-based Haley fundraiser who had vowed not to vote for Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol but had recently announced he would be voting for Trump, said: "What was her alternative?"

He told ABC News voting for Biden instead of Trump is not an option right now when the United States needs to "support Israel, confront our enemies and support our allies." Levine also said that Haley's public comment -- even if it's not a full endorsement -- could persuade a lot of her supporters who felt "lost" inch toward Trump.

"I think this gives a lot of people permission to not just not vote for Joe Biden, but to vote for Donald Trump," Levine said. "I think this is a very important statement that she made."

Longtime Haley ally David Wilkins, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada under the Bush administration, also praised Haley's announcement as "a good move," saying, "Republicans need to be united as best we can."

Ozzie Palomo, a lobbyist and prominent GOP bundler who raised money for Haley, echoed that sentiment, saying, "I think it's the right call."

"All the statements she made about Trump was during the primary; primaries are over and I think the world has dramatically changed, probably faster and more significantly than anyone anticipated over the last five, six months," Palomo said, criticizing the Biden administration.

"Her saying she plans to vote for him probably gives cover to a significant portion of those that remain on the fence to feel comfortable enough to do the same," Palomo said while acknowledging there are still likely people who will not support Trump.

Palomo said her comment that she will vote for Trump is "about as close to a full-out endorsement as you're gonna get from her at least in the near term."

"She could have easily said I'm not voting for Biden and left that open ended," Palomo said. "However, she took the opportunity in a very public format to stress the fact that based on geopolitical matters and other policies like immigration, the economic mess, she's comfortable to pick one over the other in a clear binary choice."

Palomo stressed it's still "incumbent on the former presidential reach out to her supporters and try to lure them back," but noted the Trump campaign and the Republican Party's recent fundraising success is a sign that many are already moving toward Trump's direction — adding he himself has begun supporting Team Trump's high-dollar joint fundraising operation with the Republican National Committee.

However, another major Haley donor, who spoke under the condition of anonymity to talk freely, told ABC News that Haley's decision to vote for Trump did not change her mind about writing in her name in November instead of voting for the former president.

"I'm not voting for him -- I'll just tell you that," the donor said. "I know it's a binary choice, and I bravo and brava to those who take the binary choice seriously. I'll be writing in Nikki Haley."

The donor said the only way she's voting for Trump is if Haley is picked as his running mate, but the donor said she doesn't see that happening.

Earlier this month, Trump quickly shut down rumors about his team considering Haley as his running mate, writing on his social media platform, "Nikki Haley is not under consideration for the V.P. slot, but I wish her well!"

"I'm surprised how many of the bigger donors are coming to the same conclusion that Nikki has," the donor said, later adding, "Clearly, I'm a minority in the GOP."

Criticizing Biden's policies, the donor said she feels Biden's team's effort to court Haley's support base has not been enough, adding at the end of the day, Haley is "more at odds with Joe Biden than she is with Donald Trump."

Following Haley's withdrawal from the presidential race, the Biden campaign said there is room in their coalition for Haley supporters and has continued to reach out to the Haley Coalition.

Most recently, Biden's reelection campaign held a call with a group of supporters of former presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Wednesday night—after Haley said she would vote for former President Donald Trump in November. On the call, voters shared policy issues that were important to them heading into November, with much of the focus on the border and immigration.

"Does this help her? Does it hurt her? Maybe both," the donor said of how Haley's comment that she plans to vote for Trump could affect her future political aspirations.

"Some people that thought she was going to be the avatar of beating up Trump until he's in the grave are probably not coming back for more spoonfuls, so I think that is a potential loss," the donor said. "But there are a lot of Republicans that are 'real Republican' … That is support whoever the nominee is — then you're not a team player."

Those who voted for Haley in the GOP primary also reacted to her saying she'll vote for the former president, many of whom said that they didn't see her intent to vote for him as a complete endorsement.

Eli Raykinstein, a student at Michigan State University, told ABC News he thought it was inevitable that Haley would say she would be voting for Trump, but he also added that he doesn't see it as a complete endorsement of the former president.

"I've already begun leaning more towards Trump, and I agree with Nikki when she says that Biden has been a complete catastrophe," Raykinstein said. "I'm also looking to see who Trump chooses as his running-mate for 2024 cause I'm sure that will skew my thinking on the race, too."

Alissa Baker, a voter in Virginia who supported Haley, told ABC News that she felt relief when Haley said she would vote for Trump because now we can move on from anticipating who she would vote for in November.

Baker also shared Raykinstein's thoughts -- that Haley is not endorsing Trump and added that this won't impact her decision on who she'll vote for in November.

"This was a personal decision of a private citizen, not an endorsement. Nikki has told her voters to vote their conscience and in November, that's exactly what I will do," Baker said.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Trump, RFK Jr. in split-screen showdown at Libertarian National Convention

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(WASHINGTON) -- A split-screen showdown between the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will occur this weekend at the Libertarian National Convention in Washington, D.C., as each hopeful seeks to court the party's base.

It's unlikely the two candidates will face off directly, however, despite calls from Kennedy for a debate between them. Kennedy is set to address the convention Friday afternoon -- a day ahead of Trump's Saturday night appearance.

The Libertarian Party, which has access to the ballot in at least 37 states, is a non-interventionist political party that has seen a number of variations since its inception in the 1970s. Its members are best known for being largely socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

The party is expecting to confirm its presidential and vice presidential nominees on Sunday.

"Libertarians are some of the most independent and thoughtful thinkers in our Country ... We must all work together to help advance freedom and liberty for every American, and a second Trump Administration will achieve that goal. I look forward to speaking at the Libertarian Event, which will be attended by many of my great friends," Trump said in a statement to ABC News.

Trump and Kennedy are both looking to court voters where they can as Election Day nears. Polls show that Trump is narrowly ahead of Biden -- 41% to about 40%, respectively -- while Kennedy trails with just shy of 10%, according to 538's national polling average.

The Libertarian Party, which said they had extended speaking invitations to both Trump and Biden, called the former president's acceptance "momentous."

"This momentous occasion will mark the first time a former President directly addresses our members, candidates, and executive committee. Don't miss this opportunity to hear insights from a prominent figure in American politics and watch him engage with Libertarian ideals," the party wrote in a press release.

Kennedy later accepted a speaking slot at the convention, and then challenged Trump to a debate there, calling the venue "perfect neutral territory" for their meeting.

"You yourself have said you're not afraid to debate me as long as my poll numbers are decent... So let's meet in a couple of weeks and show the American public that at least two of the major candidates aren't afraid to debate each other," Kennedy wrote on X earlier this month.

Trump has not addressed that invite, but has separately since expressed being willing to share the debate stage with Kennedy if the latter qualified for the upcoming televised presidential debates scheduled for this summer.

Mark Rutherford, who is running to be the Libertarian Party chair, said that some Libertarians have objected to Trump and Kennedy coming to their convention, as they are not candidates of the party.

"This is the national convention for the Libertarian Party to nominate our Libertarian Party presidential and vice presidential candidate. He is the presumptive Republican nominee. It's inappropriate for him to be here speaking to it. We need to be concentrating on our own candidates," Rutherford said about Trump.

He said the same thing about Kennedy.

"Again, he's running against our candidates … So it's just not appropriate for them to be here," Rutherford said.

"[Libertarian Party leadership] are bragging about bringing these people in. I think it's confusing the public and confusing people. Why are they here at our presidential nominating convention?"

Chase Oliver, one of the Libertarian presidential candidates, called Trump and Kennedy's attendance at their convention "confusing."

"When they see Donald Trump speak with a Libertarian banner behind them, that is going to confuse our brand of the average voter ... we're gonna have to climb out of that hole and really present a real contrast, which I'm happy to do, but it would be much easier if we didn't have them on our stage," Oliver said in an interview with ABC News White House Correspondent MaryAlice Parks on Friday.

But another Libertarian delegate, Garrett Steele of Nashville, Tennessee, said that he was excited to have both Trump and Kennedy at the convention because "they've brought attention" to the party and its platform.

Oliver joins Michael Rectenwald, Mike Ter Maat, Lars Mapstead, Jacob Hornberger, Joshua Smith, Joseph Collins, Charles Ballay, Toad, Art Olivier and Jody Jones as the party's candidates at the convention.

"There's a lot of people running," said Rutherford, indicating that there was not a clear front-runner in the race.

There is a chance that Kennedy could be nominated by the delegates at the Libertarian National Convention when they vote on Sunday.

ABC News' Oren Oppenheim, Soorin Kim, Lalee Ibssa, and Kelsey Walsh contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

How RFK Jr., Libertarian Party could team up to help his ballot access -- if he reverses a previous refusal

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(WASHINGTON) -- Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has previously ruled out joining the Libertarian Party -- but as he prepares to speak at the party's national convention on Friday, there's speculation that they could join forces in a move that could be a boon to Kennedy's ballot-access efforts.

In April, Kennedy told ABC News that "we're not gonna have any problems getting on the ballot ourselves so we won't be running Libertarian."

But the Libertarian Party, whose national convention takes place in D.C. this weekend and culminates with the party's delegates voting on Sunday to determine who it will nominate for the party's presidential ticket, had openly explored the possibility of nominating Kennedy as its candidate.

If the party's delegates vote for Kennedy, and if Kennedy reconsiders his recalcitrance to join with the party, it would mean he could possibly get on the ballot in enough states to theoretically net the 270 Electoral College votes needed to potentially qualify for the presidential debate state -- and even win the presidency.

ABC News has confirmed, through state election offices' websites or spokespeople, that the Libertarian Party has 2024 election ballot access in at least 37 states, including key battlegrounds such as Pennsylvania and Arizona.

With those 37 states, the party's nominee could theoretically get a maximum of 380 Electoral College votes if the candidate won them all.

The Libertarian Party has previously qualified for the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., in some previous elections, including the 2020 election. Candidates and parties alike still have time to qualify for many state ballots, with some deadlines months away and some filing windows not even open yet.

The Libertarian Party's 37 confirmed states is more than double the 15 states where the Kennedy campaign currently says it has taken the steps to make in on the ballot. Those states are Utah, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Nevada, Michigan, North Carolina, Idaho, Nebraska, Iowa, California, Delaware, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and New Jersey.

Elections offices in five of those states -- Utah, Michigan, Hawaii, Delaware, and Oklahoma -- have confirmed so far to ABC News that Kennedy or the party his campaign launched, "We the People," has qualified for the ballot.

Kennedy has ballot access in three additional states -- Georgia, Arizona and South Carolina -- thanks to the American Values 2024 super PAC, which supports Kennedy but cannot coordinate directly with the campaign.

With those 18 states, Kennedy could theoretically get a total of 237 Electoral College votes.

Having a path to 270 Electoral College votes is among the criteria needed to qualify for the upcoming June 27 presidential debate, which will air on CNN.

There are other requirements as well, including polling thresholds. Both CNN and ABC News, for its own upcoming debate, are also requiring candidates to place at 15% in four separate national polls in a specific window as part of their respective debate qualification requirements.

Kennedy may be close to achieving the polling requirement by CNN's standards. A national poll from Marquette University Law School published Thursday found former President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump effectively tied among registered voters in a five-way theoretical matchup, while Kennedy netted 17%.

The Marquette poll was likely the third poll that could help Kennedy qualify, after he polled over 15% in two April polls -- from CNN/SSRS and Quinnipiac University, respectively -- that also fall within CNN's stated window.

ABC News' Will McDuffie, Brittany Shepherd, Isabella Murray, and Soorin Kim, and 538's Geoffrey Skelley, contributed to this report.

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VP hopefuls modify their stance on abortion to more closely align with Trump

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(WASHINGTON) -- Following former President Donald Trump's announcement in April that he would leave the issue of abortion to the states, effectively saying that he would not sign a national abortion ban, some vice presidential hopefuls have had to walk a fine line when it comes to abortion, with many moderating their stance to fall in line with Trump, whose own stance on abortion has changed.

This comes following the impact of the Supreme Court's overruled Roe v. Wade in June 2022, allowing states to decide what abortion access would look like. While many states passed legislation to restrict abortion access, other states that had the issue on the ballot saw voters in both red and blue states rejected restrictions to abortion.

Trump's latest abortion statement came after months of dodging questions about his stance on the specifics of abortion restrictions, avoiding stating whether he supports or opposes a specific number of weeks when it comes to abortion bans. In private conversations with allies and advisers, however, Trump had expressed support for a 16-week national abortion ban with those same exceptions, ABC News reported in February, citing two sources.

Trump -- and any potential running mates -- are working to solidify abortion stances in an election year when abortion and access to it remains a top issue for many voters. An outright abortion ban could be a losing stance for Republicans, and Trump has acknowledged the importance of not alienating voters with his position in order to win elections.

During his failed presidential run, Tim Scott said he supported a 15-week national abortion ban. Asked in May if he believed the former president was wrong for saying abortion access should be left to the states, Scott did not directly answer the question

"The Dobbs decisions sent [abortion] back to the states, so the Supreme Court has ruled [and] the leading candidate or Republican nominee has made it very clear that this is a state's issue," Scott said to NBC News.

On NBC's Meet the Press recently, Sen. Marco Rubio, who has called himself pro-life and co-sponsored Sen. Lindsey Graham's 15-week national abortion, was asked if he would support a federal abortion ban.

The Florida Republican danced around the questioning, never directly saying he would support a national abortion ban, but not shutting the idea down.

"I'm pro-life, and to me, this is not even a political issue," Rubio said. "I understand this is [political] for a lot of people, and I understand this as a divisive issue in our country, and not everybody shares my views on it. But I believe that human life is worthy of dignity and protection. And I support laws that protect our unborn human life."

In his new book, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson expressed support for a national ban on abortion, which is the opposite of Trump's current stance on the issue. Asked on CNN on Sunday if he could nudge the former president on abortion, Carson instead touted Trump as a champion of the pro-life movement.

"President Trump does not like to surround himself with yes people," Carson said. "He likes to have healthy discussions about things and recognize that in terms of saving the lives of unborn, he's done more than any other president. So, I give him much credit for that."

Pressed on whether he thinks Trump is wrong for not supporting a national abortion ban, Carson told CNN's Jake Tapper that he agrees with Trump "shifting" the issue to the states.

Joel Goldstein, a vice-presidential scholar, told ABC News that these vice presidential hopefuls are trying to "maximize" their chance of being picked by aligning more closely with Trump's perspective.

"And so that's put a number of them in sort of awkward situations during Sunday talk shows or other such media where they've been pressed to reconcile their articulated positions with [Trump's]," Goldstein said.

"In vice presidential selection, there's always the challenge of showing that you're politically compatible with the presidential candidate, but by the same token, oftentimes, there is some variation between presidential and vice-presidential candidates, and sometimes it's presented as a good thing."

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Trump courts Black, Hispanic votes in South Bronx rally: New York is 'going red very, very quickly'

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(NEW YORK) -- Former President Donald Trump pledged to turn New York red during a campaign rally in deep-blue South Bronx, New York, on Thursday evening as he worked to court the Hispanic and Black voters that make up a majority of the area's population.

"I'm here tonight to declare that we are going to turn New York City around and we are going to turn it around very, very quickly," he said to the crowd not long after taking the stage.

Several thousand Trump supporters turned up at Crotona Park in the South Bronx for the former president's rally -- on a day off from his New York hush-money trial -- where he gave his pitch for his supporters in New York to get out and vote.

"If you want to help, you must vote. I believe that we can win New York State," he said. " We have levels of support that nobody's seen before. … Don't assume it doesn't matter just because you live in a blue city. You live in a blue city, but it's going red very, very quickly."

Throughout his speech, which lasted around an hour and a half, the former president touched on a number of his campaign talking points, including bringing up crime in the city, his plans to deport undocumented immigrants, and praise for China's President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It would be a challenge for Trump to take New York -- a state that has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since 1988.

Trump's visit on Thursday marked his fourth campaign stop in New York City during his criminal trial. In the past couple of weeks, Trump has visited a Harlem bodega, Manhattan construction site and paid tribute to first responders in midtown Manhattan.

Trump is hoping to capitalize on Black and Hispanic voters -- a key demographic that the candidates need to harness for a November win.

Trump's rally took place in New York's 15th congressional district, a diverse and Democratic area. Anti-Trump protesters clashed with Trump supporters outside of the rally.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, more than 50% of the population in the district is Hispanic, 30% is Black or African American, and less than 10% is white.

"I'm going to make a play for New Yorkers," Trump told reporters outside the construction site of the new JP Morgan Chase Building in Midtown, Manhattan last month. "Normally, a Democrat will win New York. Biden is the worst president in history. We have some very bad people here, but we have the greatest people and they're right behind me. They all want us to run, and we're going to run very hard in New York."

President Joe Biden's campaign on Thursday launched a series of new TV and radio ads that challenge Trump's claims about his accomplishments for the Black community.

"Every halfhearted attempt by the Trump campaign to pander for Black and Latino votes is another reminder that the candidate who stepped into public life falsely accusing the Central Park 5, who stepped into political life by taking the racist birther movement mainstream, who consistently demonizes and dehumanizes Black and Latino communities has one true interest: regaining power so he can enact revenge on his enemies," said Jasmine Harris, the Biden campaign's Black media outreach director.

The New York Young Republicans are behind Trump's visit and organized outreach, billboards and flyers promoting his event. Members of the group said they distributed nearly 2,000 flyers around the city Wednesday.

"We're very excited because not only has this been well received, but it's been encouraged by local people and local constituents," said Adam Solis, chairman of the New York Young Republican Black Caucus and co-chairman of the New York Young Republican Hispanic Caucus.

Solis said he views Trump as a prominent New York fixture and that he hopes to galvanize several of his community members and neighbors.

"Every single human, warm-blooded American in this country, understood that he was the epitome of success," Solis said of Trump. "He was an incredible businessman. He was business savvy. And if there was something that needed to get done, he could get it done."

Crotona Park is located a few blocks away from Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's home district. Trump's visit was anticipated to be met with a counter-demonstration led by Bronx Democrats and liberal activists at the other end of Crotona Park.

Democratic Assemblywoman Amanda Septimo, who represents the Bronx, said people "will not stand by as Donald Trump tries to distort what our community and its residents represent. Instead, we will come together and tell our own story."

New York is a Democratic stronghold – joining California and Illinois – with the plurality of voters in New York State registered with the Democratic Party.

In another layer of drama to Thursday evening, thunderstorms are expected in New York while both events are taking place in the Bronx.

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Donald Trump responds to Nikki Haley saying she'll vote for him, suggests she'll be 'on our team'

Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally in the historical Democratic district of the South Bronx on May 23, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) -- Former President Donald Trump made his first public comments on former GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley finally breaking her silence and saying she would vote for him.

"I appreciated what she said," Trump told Long Island’s News 12 after his rally on Thursday when asked about her comments.

Trump then suggested there could be a place for Haley on his "team” and called her a "capable person."

"Is there room for her on your team or, better yet, your ticket?" the reporter asked.

"Well, I think she's gonna be on our team because we have a lot of the same ideas, the same thoughts," said Trump.

"You know, we had a nasty campaign; it was pretty nasty. But she's a very capable person, and I'm sure she's going to be on our team in some form. Absolutely."

His comments represent a departure from his usual rhetoric on the campaign trail when he often referred to Haley as "birdbrain" and criticized her intelligence. He spent months focusing his attention on Haley during the GOP primaries, ramping up his attacks on her as she insisted on staying in the race as other candidates dropped out.

On Wednesday, during her first public speaking event since exiting the presidential race, Haley said that despite her disappointments with Trump, she still feels like he is a better candidate than Biden.

“Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I've made that clear many, many times. But Biden has been a catastrophe. So I will be voting for Trump,” Haley said at the Hudson Institute in Washington.

Earlier this month, Trump dismissed the idea of Haley being his running mate, writing on his social media platform, “​Nikki Haley is not under consideration for the V.P. slot, but I wish her well!” in response to a news report alleging the Trump campaign is considering Haley as his vice presidential candidate.

During his interview with News 12 on Thursday night, Trump was also asked about vice president picks. He wouldn’t give his top three choices but did list some names he says he is considering: Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. JD Vance, and Rep. Elise Stefanik.

Trump then said he would make his final decision "sometime during the convention."

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Trump campaign accuses Secret Service of 'critical flaw' in RNC convention planning

In this Nov. 30, 2023, file photo, a sign promoting Milwaukee as the 2024 host of the Republican National Convention outside of the Fiserv Forum during the Republican National Convention (RNC) fall media walkthrough in Milwaukee, Wisc. -- Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE

(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump campaign on Thursday fired off a letter to U.S. Secret Service Director Kim Cheatle, demanding she fix a "critical flaw" in the security perimeter of this summer's Republican National Convention, claiming that attendees' safety is at risk as protesters plan to descend on the area.

The convention, slated for July 15-18 in Milwaukee, includes a perimeter that encompasses a nearby park, Pere Marquette.

As of now, pedestrians would have to walk through Pere Marquette, which is owned by the city, to reach the facilities. According to a person familiar with the security plan, the park serves as a natural congregation point and there's a heightened concern that attendees' safety may be at risk if the park is not secured.

The letter, obtained first by ABC News, comes following multiple attempts from GOP congressional lawmakers, including Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Ron Johnson and Sen. Rick Scott. They requested to meet with Secret Service and RNC leaders to discuss safety and security at the convention as protester make plans to demonstrate.

The crux of the request from the Trump campaign is they would like the Secret Service to create a cushion area -- a one-block adjustment -- between the RNC facilities and the designated protest areas.

In the letter, Todd Steggerda, counsel to the Republican National Committee, said that the Secret Service is ignoring their concerns and multiple attempts of outreach about adjusting the security perimeter.

"To date, the local USSS team has been unresponsive to the RNC's reasonable proposal, as set out in my April 26 letter, to alleviate these safety risks through a very modest alteration of the Perimeter -- namely, to expand a small portion of the Security Perimeter approximately one block to the East to encapsulate the Park," Steggerda wrote.

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said in a statement to ABC News that "demonstration zones for the convention are designated by the host city, not the Secret Service."

He noted that the agency has been in constant talks with Republican National Committee Chair Michael Whatley, RNC staff members in Milwaukee, and members of the U.S. Senate about the security plan for the convention, adding that "we take security planning for these events extremely seriously,"

"Our security perimeters are based on public safety metrics, including protective intelligence, risk, and threat assessments. Our model is designed to ensure the highest level of security while minimizing impacts on the public," Guglielmi said.

"Publicly disclosing security information, as done in this letter, undermines our ability to maintain the integrity of our security plan and keep the convention, attendees, and the public safe," Guglielmi added.

The city of Milwaukee has not identified "any critical flaws" and is coordinating with "multiple agencies" to ensure high-level security plans, said Jeff Fleming, Milwaukee’s director of communications.

The letter claims that someone with the Secret Service said it was "illegal" to adjust the security perimeter -- however, the Trump campaign insists that the agency has the final authority and discretion to adjust it.

The adjustment to the perimeter would create a balance of security and public safety, the letter says. The Trump campaign claims that moving the perimeter allows attendees, journalists and community members to walk safely, be treated with respect and dignity, and have their first-amendment rights protected. One of those rights includes ensuring the right to a peaceful protest and assembly within sight and sound of the convention. The proposed adjustments establish that this will still happen.

The RNC's demand comes as increased political protests against the war in Gaza are spreading across the country -- with many playing out on college campuses. Several of the protests have resulted in arrests.

More than 50,000 attendees and additional spectators are expected to attend the RNC. Thousands of protesters are expected as well.

The Trump campaign's urgency comes as the convention rapidly approaches.

"With less than two months before the Convention and even less time before the USSS finalizes the Plan, it is imperative you take personal and immediate steps to fix this unacceptable flaw in the design of the Security Perimeter," Steggerda writes in the letter.

-ABC News' Luke Barr contributed to this report. 

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Idaho 2024 Democratic caucus results: President Biden projected to win

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(NEW YORK) -- Idaho Democrats held their presidential caucuses on Thursday.

President Joe Biden is projected to win, ABC News reports.

He was the only major candidate running and he clinched the party's 2024 nomination earlier this year.

Voting took place across Idaho from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., according to the state party.

State significance

Idaho awards 23 Democratic delegates to Thursday's winner. The state's Republicans held their own caucuses in March; former President Donald Trump won.

In presidential races, the Republican stronghold hasn't chosen a Democrat since 1952. Trump won the state over Biden in the 2020 general election with 64% of the vote.

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Democrats go on offense as the GOP opens the door to birth control restrictions

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(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Donald Trump opened the door to restricting access to contraceptives earlier this week, less than a week after Virginia's Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed two bills that would have established the right to contraception in the state.

Now, Democrats are sounding the alarm over the fact that access to birth control methods are in question across the GOP ideological spectrum -- arguing that with Trump at its helm, the Republican Party is only further siphoning reproductive rights in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade in June 2002.

Trump and many states' leaders are scrambling to weigh in on access to contraception and abortion -- key issues in an election year.

Trump said on Tuesday that he was open to supporting contraceptive regulations during an interview with KDKA-TV, a CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh.

The former president later in the day insisted that he has "never, and will never advocate imposing restrictions on birth control, or other contraceptives," but not before President Joe Biden's campaign seized on his initial remarks, saying they reflected a larger "post-Roe nightmare" that includes not only the restriction of abortion but also in-vitro fertilization and contraception. Youngkin -- a more moderate conservative who endorsed Trump for president in March despite past criticism of the former president -- on Friday vetoed two pieces of legislation that would have protected Virginians' access to contraception such as condoms and IUDs in the event federal law protecting it were overturned.

Youngkin wrote in a statement after his actions last week that while he said he "supports contraception access," the two bills would too broadly address the issue without input from parents, healthcare providers or municipalities. He needed to "uphold the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning their children's upbringing and care," he said.

Illinois' Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker and founder of Think Big America, a PAC focused on abortion access, weighed in on Youngkin's veto.

"Glenn Youngkin's veto is shameful but predictable -- just like a former president who brags about ripping away abortion rights, a governor who promotes an abortion ban was never going to stop there," Pritzker said in a statement to ABC News.

Think Big America donated $250,000 to Virginia Democrats a week before high-stakes state legislative elections in November 2023 -- races that helped determine impending abortion policy in Virginia. Democrats ultimately won full control of the state's General Assembly and were therefore able to block Youngkin's proposed 15-week "limit" on abortion access.

"MAGA extremists like Youngkin and Donald Trump have made it clear -- they're coming after abortion, they're coming after contraception, they're coming after IVF, and they're coming after women," Pritzker told ABC News.

Youngkin's press secretary Christian Martinez said in a statement to ABC News that Virginia's governor supports access to contraception and IVF "without trampling on constitutional rights and religious liberties."

"The Youngkin administration’s historic efforts are supporting maternal health so Virginians can realize their dream of building a family," Martinez said. "Governor Pritzker should pay attention to his own state instead of using scaremongering tactics to distract from the number of people moving away from Illinois, placing them among other states run by progressive liberals like New York and California."

In Virginia, advocates of the contraception protections said the bills were introduced in the aftermath of Dobbs, when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas signaled that other settled cases regarding reproductive rights could be reassessed -- including Griswold v. Connecticut, a ruling on birth control access.

Democrats have claimed Youngkin's actions are a link to Trump's policy and the greater GOP agenda of rescinding reproductive rights for women.

"Veto of legislation to protect Virginians' right to contraception offers further evidence that Youngkin is still operating from Donald Trump's losing playbook as he doubles down on Trump's deeply unpopular, anti-freedom agenda. Trump, Glenn Youngkin, and MAGA extremists across the country seem as hellbent on ripping away women's reproductive rights as they are on losing elections," Democratic National Committee spokesperson Jackie Bush said after the governor's actions.

Fourteen states currently have legal or constitutional protections for the right to contraception, according to a paper by KFF, a nonprofit health policy organization. Those states are: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington and Washington, D.C.

California, Michigan, Ohio and Vermont have enacted constitutional rights to contraceptives, which is a more secure form of protection, while the rest of the states have safeguarded birth control through statutory methods.

About half of those states enacted these protections since the fall of Roe, according to a KFF. Those states are California, Michigan, Vermont, D.C., Minnesota, New Mexico and Ohio. Only Florida and Ohio are states among the group that are under Republican leadership.

Mabel Felix, a policy analyst with KFF, and Alina Salganicoff, the senior vice president and director for Women's Health Policy at KFF, authored the paper on state and federal actions surrounding contraception.

They said Virginia was the only state they tracked that had vetoed any birth control protections in the aftermath of Dobbs.

Abortion or reproductive rights-related ballot initiatives are confirmed on the general election ballots in four states (Maryland, Florida, South Dakota, Colorado), and overall could be on the November 2024 ballot in at least 12 states (including those four), according to ABC News analysis.

Nevada and Maryland are states where language surrounding contraceptive protections are included in the measures, according to Felix and Salganicoff.

"Before Dobbs, I think that most people thought that their right to contraception was guaranteed and protected," said Salganicoff in an interview with ABC News. "[Justice Thomas] raised a lot of red flags for people. That pushed some advocates and legislators to really start to do more work on the ground, to protect the right to contraception."

Salganicoff said Trump's comments on contraceptive access earlier this week "has even [more] greatly given this issue even more attention."

Separately, some states are taking additional means to make birth control access easier, including giving pharmacists the right to prescribe, not just dispense, hormonal contraception.

As recently as Monday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, announced the implementation of legislation that authorizes pharmacists to sell hormonal contraceptive birth control without a prescription.

"In New Jersey, we will continue to protect a woman's right to plan her future on her own terms," said Murphy in a statement.

"[This] marks an important step forward in our efforts to expand access to reproductive health care as we make birth control more accessible across the state. As we witness an attack on reproductive freedom across the country, New Jersey will continue to be a safe haven for women to access the care they need."

ABC News' Oren Oppenheim contributed to this report.

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Congressional Democrats slam oil executives over gas prices

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(WASHINGTON) -- Congressional Democrats on Thursday accused oil companies of inflating the cost of gasoline and vowed to investigate them, pushing back on who's to blame for rising prices hurting President Joe Biden's reelection chances.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other top Democrats were flanked by supporters in matching blue shirts holding signs that read, "Stop gouging us at the pump."

Schumer criticized recent billion-dollar oil company mergers, such as one between ExxonMobil and Pioneer Natural Resources, as potentially "disastrous for consumers."

He said previous mergers in the industry decreased competition and led to higher prices.

Schumer said he had already called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the mergers and would urge the Justice Department to look into possible collusion and price fixing.

"The federal government must use every tool at our disposal to investigate the oil industry," he said.

Schumer also claimed former President Donald Trump offered oil industry CEOs $1 billion in exchange for a reversal of President Joe Biden's climate policies if Trump were reelected, an accusation Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse repeated.

Trump told a group of oil executives and business leaders that they should donate $1 billion to his presidential campaign because if elected, he would reverse environmental policies of the Biden administration, sources familiar with the meeting told ABC News.

The conversation took place during a private dinner at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in April.

In a statement, the Trump campaign did not dispute the reporting.

Whitehouse said the Senate Budget and Finance Committees would be investigating Trump's statements, as would Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin.

The news conference comes days after the Biden administration announced it would release 1 million barrels of gasoline reserves in time for the summer travel season. Republicans attacked the move as an election-year ploy that hurts the nation's energy reserve.

The national average price of gas is about $3.61 per gallon, according to AAA, a seven-cent increase from the past year at the same time.

The American Petroleum Institute, an organization supporting the U.S. oil and natural gas industry, says on its website "Petroleum prices are determined by market forces of supply and demand, not individual companies."

ABC News has reached out for comment on Sen. Schumer's accusations.

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US Supreme Court says South Carolina election map doesn't impermissibly exclude Black voters

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(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a Republican-drawn South Carolina congressional district, reversing lower court rulings that had struck it down as a product of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering that excluded Black voters.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court in a 6-3 ruling from which the liberal justices dissented, said the lower court's decision that race was unconstitutionally used to diminish the influence of Black voters was "clearly erroneous" because it had not properly analyzed the facts.

"A party challenging a map's constitutionality must disentangle race and politics if it wishes to prove that the legislature was motivated by race as opposed to partisanship. Second, in assessing a legislature's work, we start with a presumption that the legislature acted in good faith," Alito wrote. "In this case...the three-judge District Court paid only lip service to these propositions."

At issue in the case was South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, which stretches from Savannah and Hilton Head up to Charleston and is represented by Republican Rep. Nancy Mace.

When the district was redrawn after the 2020 census, it moved several predominately Black neighborhoods to the neighboring 6th district. As a result, it was met with a challenge from the South Carolina NAACP and resident Taiwan Scott.

Scott, the only individual plaintiff and a member of the native Gullah community, told ABC News he believed how the new district was drawn was "deliberate" and was "taking our opportunity to elect a representative away from us."

But Justice Alito, writing for the conservative majority, said the "Challengers provided no direct evidence of a racial gerrymander and their circumstantial evidence is very weak."

The ruling ensures that the district will remain solidly Republican in the 2024 election. Under an earlier version of the map, the district had been more evenly divided; a Democrat held the seat as recently as 2018.

Justice Elena Kagan, in dissent, wrote that the Supreme Court showed little respect for the intensive fact-finding of the lower court and its conclusion that removing 30,000 black voters from the district amounted to "bleaching."

"What a message to send to state legislators and mapmakers about racial gerrymandering," Kagan wrote. "Those actors will often have an incentive to use race as a proxy to achieve partisan ends. And occasionally they might want to straight-up suppress the electoral influence of minority voters."

"This odious practice of sorting citizens, built on racial generalizations and exploiting racial divisions, will continue," she continued. "In the electoral sphere especially, where ugly patterns of pervasive racial discrimination have so long governed, we should demand better -- of ourselves, of our political representatives, and most of all of this Court. Respectfully, I dissent."

This was a heavily fact-intensive case, with the Court's conservatives not breaking new ground on racial gerrymandering by setting out a change in the law. Rather, the court was bolstering a "high bar" for challengers to meet in making a claim.

"The plaintiffs failed to meet the high bar for a racial-gerrymandering claim by failing to produce, among other things, an alternative map showing that a rational legislature sincerely driven by its professed, partisan goals would have drawn a different map with greater racial balance," Alito wrote.

The liberal justices warned that the Court was implicitly giving a green light to race discrimination in redistricting by overruling the lower court.

"The proper response to this case is not to throw up novel roadblocks enabling South Carolina to continue dividing citizens along racial lines," Kagan wrote. "It is to respect the plausible – no, the more than plausible – findings of the District Court that the State engaged in race-based districting. And to tell the State that it must redraw District 1, this time without targeting African Americans."

President Joe Biden also criticized the majority's ruling, saying it “undermines the basic principle that voting practices should not discriminate on account of race and that is wrong.”

“This decision threatens South Carolinians’ ability to have their voices heard at the ballot box, and the districting plan the Court upheld is part of a dangerous pattern of racial gerrymandering efforts from Republican elected officials to dilute the will of Black voters,” Biden said in a statement.

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Senate again fails to advance border security bill in election-year showdown vote

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(WASHINGTON) -- For the second time in three months, an immigration and border security measure negotiated earlier this year by a bipartisan group of lawmakers failed to advance in the Senate, drawing the issue to a political stalemate.

The legislation fell well short of the 60 votes needed -- the final tally was 43 to 50 -- as nearly all Republicans voted against it.

The showdown vote came as both parties try to establish themselves as tough on border security ahead of the 2024 election.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced over the weekend plans to bring the legislation back up for a stand-alone vote, after it had earlier been tied to aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Schumer said ahead of Thursday's vote that the bill presented his colleagues on both sides of the aisle with a chance to demonstrate whether they're serious about fixing the challenges on the southern border, though he pointedly criticized Republicans for previously blocking the legislation at the direction of former President Donald Trump.

"If Republicans were truly serious about calling the situation at the border an emergency, they shouldn't delay any longer. You can't call something an emergency one day and then suddenly kick the can down the road the next day," Schumer said in floor remarks.

"So, today, knowing that lesson, we need to try and work again together. We know our nation is stronger because of immigration. We know that the status quo with the southern border is unacceptable," he added. "So, to all those who have said for years we must act on the border, this is the chance to show you're serious about fixing the problem."

On the other side of the aisle, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the chamber, criticized Democrats for "suddenly chomping at the bit" to pass a comprehensive border security bill and said their renewed efforts amounted to "cynical Senate theater."

How did we get here?

Serious discussions about a bipartisan border security package first began in the late fall of 2023 after Senate Republicans, looking to capitalize on interest in securing additional foreign aid to Ukraine, said they would not support advancing a foreign aid package unless Congress passed serious legislation to regulate the Southern border.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Sen. James Lankford huddled behind the scenes for months before ultimately unveiling their $20 billion proposal for the border that increased immigration restrictions and enforcement and implemented new migrant policy.

That package was originally meant to be tied to a broader national security supplemental that included aid to foreign allies Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan in an effort to secure the necessary Republican votes to pass foreign aid.

Though bipartisan talks were initially championed by Republicans, things began to falter after Trump, flexing his grip on the party ahead of the 2024 election, urged Republicans to block the legislation if it was anything less than perfect.

During a campaign rally in January, Trump told senators to "blame it on me" if the bill failed. Republicans quickly fell in line with Trump, and by the time the bipartisan group unveiled their product, its fate was all but sealed.

During the first vote to try to advance the legislation back in February, all but four Republicans voted against moving forward with the combined border and foreign aid package.

Democrats fiercely accused Republicans of cow tailing to their presumptive presidential nominee who they alleged wanted to preserve the crisis at the border to use as a campaign issue. Republicans, meanwhile, said the bill did not go nearly far enough to address the border crisis.

The Senate did eventually rubber stamp billions in foreign aid to Ukraine and other foreign allies in the weeks that followed, but the painstakingly negotiated bipartisan border provisions languished.

That was until Thursday, though the bill lost support on both sides in the latest round of voting.

Two of the bill's three authors, Sens. Lankford and Sinema, were among those who previously supported the legislation who voted against it on Thursday.

And despite the push from Democratic leadership, the bill was rejected by even some in the Senate Democratic caucus, especially by some progressives. Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Laphonza Butler flipped their votes to no.

Political-finger pointing over who is to blame

Schumer's move to once again attempt passage of a border bill came in late May of an election year when immigration and border security are top issue for voters on both sides of the aisle.

The fraught political environment had done little to warm bipartisan negotiations over the border, and in both the lead up and fallout from Thursday's vote, each party has accused the other of playing politics.

The White House had been in communication with all four Congressional leaders, including McConnell and House Speaker Mike Johnson, ahead of the vote.

President Joe Biden on Thursday, after the vote failed, criticized Republicans for "partisan politics ahead of our country's national security" and said he will "not stop fighting to deliver the resources that border and immigration personnel need."

"Congressional Republicans do not care about securing the border or fixing America's broken immigration system," Biden said. "If they did, they would have voted for the toughest border enforcement in history. Instead, today, they put partisan politics ahead of our country's national security.

Speaker Johnson, in a statement after the measure failed to advance, accused Schumer of "wasting time" on a bill he said would never have a chance of passing the House.

"After more than three years of claiming the situation at our southern border was not a crisis while millions of illegals poured in, Congressional Democrats are attempting to throw an election year Hail Mary to cover for their embrace of President Biden's open border policies," Johnson said as he again called on Biden to take more aggressive executive action on the border.

ABC News' Arthur Jones II and Mariam Khan contributed to this report.

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How many games will the Cardinals win this year?