Here are the main events that occurred in Politics this week:
1. Supreme Court Sets Stage For Release Of Trump Tax Returns
Former President Donald Trump suffered a major setback on February 22 in his long quest to conceal details of his finances as the US Supreme Court paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain the former president’s tax returns and other records as part of an accelerating criminal investigation. The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an October 7 lower court ruling directing Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat. “The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action. Trump issued a statement describing Vance’s investigation as part of “the greatest political witch hunt in the history of our country,” accusing New York Democrats of expending their energy on taking down a political opponent instead of tackling violent crimes. “That’s fascism, not justice – and that is exactly what they are trying to do with respect to me, except that the people of our Country won’t stand for it,” Trump added.
2. Supreme Court denies election appeal from Pennsylvania Republicans
The US Supreme Court on February 22 brought a formal end to eight lingering disputes pursued by former President Donald Trump and his allies related to the Presidential election including a Republican challenge to the extension of Pennsylvania’s deadline to receive mail-in ballots. The justices turned away appeals by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and Republican members of the state legislature of a ruling by Pennsylvania’s top court ordering officials to count mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Election Day and received up to three days later. Three of the nine-member court’s six conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, dissented from the decision not to hear the Pennsylvania case.
3. New Jersey Ratifies Legislation Legalizing Marijuana
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation on February 22 making New Jersey the latest state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, but it is expected to take up to a year before dispensaries will begin selling cannabis to the public. The Democratic governor signed a package of three bills after voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question in November to legalize adult use of the drug. The enactment came more than three years after Murphy campaigned for governor on the promise to make recreational use legal in the state. Legalization was delayed by political opposition within the state legislature, even though members of Murphy’s own party control both houses.“New Jersey’s broken & indefensible marijuana laws are no more,” Murphy said on Twitter.
4. President Joe Biden Draws A Sharp Contrast With Trump Era In Presidential Debut On World Stage
US President Joe Biden, on February 19, drew a sharp contrast with the foreign policy of his much-derided predecessor, Donald Trump, and urged democracies to work together to challenge abuses by autocratic states such as China and Russia. In his first big appearance as President on the global stage, an online “virtual visit” to Europe, President Biden sought to re-establish the US as a multilateral team player after four years of divisive “America First” policies under Trump. Speaking to the Munich Security Conference, the Democratic president distanced himself from the more transactional foreign policy of Republican Trump, who angered allies by breaking off global accords and threatening to end defense assistance unless they toed his line. “I know the past few years have strained and tested our transatlantic relationship, but the US is determined – determined – to re-engage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trusted leadership,” he said.