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The power – and limits – of abortion for Democrats in 2024: from the politics desk

Welcome to the online version of From the Political Bureauan evening newsletter featuring the latest reporting and analysis from the NBC News Politics team from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill.

In today’s edition, senior politics editor Mark Murray analyzes new polling that shows the limits of abortion as a political issue for Democrats. Additionally, national political reporter Bridget Bowman reports on how pro-Israel groups are infiltrating the Republican Party’s primaries. And the prosecution rests on the trial of Donald Trump.

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New polls show that the power of abortion – and its limits – is an issue for 2024

By Mark Murray

The issue of abortion remains a powerful force for Democrats in the election, with 60% of voters disapproving of overturning Roe v. Wade and supporting abortion rights in most cases.

But the issue also has limits – at least in the context of the confrontation between the two President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump.

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That’s evident from a pair of recent CBS News/YouGov polls in Arizona and Florida, where abortion has been a key dynamic since the demise of Roe v. Wade. A six-week abortion ban has gone into effect in Florida, while the state also has a measure on the November ballot to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. And in Arizona, the governor signed a law that repealed the 1864 abortion ban. The state is also expected to have an abortion rights amendment on the ballot.

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The positive news for Democrats: Nearly two-thirds of voters in both states believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and a slim majority say abortion will be an important factor in their voting behavior.

Additionally, six in 10 voters would support a state amendment that would establish a constitutional right to abortion in every state.

That is the clear power of abortion. But other findings in the polls point to the limits of that power.

While slim majorities in both states say abortion will be an important factor in their voting behavior, that is significantly lower than the 8 in 10 voters who say so about the economy and inflation, and the 7 in 10 who say so about the state of democracy. .

And this is perhaps the most significant set of abortion numbers in the poll: Half of voters say Trump deserves no credit or blame for overturning Roe v. Wade.

That compares to about 10% to 15% of voters giving Trump credit and about 35% to 40% blaming him in those states.

So while Democrats and the Biden campaign have attacked Trump for being personally responsible for the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe — with his three appointments to the court — a significant portion of voters in Arizona and Florida don’t buy that argument.

At least not yet.

Pro-Israel groups are ramping up spending against Republicans

By Bridget Bowman

Divisions over Israel have often drawn outside groups that support the country into contentious Democratic primaries. But this year, as Israel’s war with Hamas continues, these groups are increasingly targeting Republicans.

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United Democracy Project, a super PAC affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, did not participate in Republican Party primaries during the last election cycle. This time it focuses on three Republicans running for Congress.

The Republican Jewish Coalition has also intervened in two Republican Party primaries so far, and there may be more to come. The coalition has entered Republican contests in the past, but is entering more races this year.

Some Republicans are embracing a more isolationist foreign policy, echoing former President Donald Trump’s “America first” mantra and calling for a focus on issues at home rather than abroad. And others are against sending additional aid to Israel.

Kentucky’s 4th District: UDP is airing ads against Rep. Thomas Massie, who faces two primary challengers on Tuesday. But the group said it is more focused on denting Massie if he chooses to run for higher office in the future — such as Mitch McConnell’s Senate seat — than defeating him in the primaries in his conservative district.

Texas’s 23rd District: UDP and RJC are also targeting gun rights activist Brandon Herrera, who is challenging Rep. Tony Gonzales in next week’s Republican primary. The groups have highlighted Herrera’s past comments, making light of veteran suicides and Nazi Germany.

Virginia’s 5th District: RJC endorsed state Sen. John McGuire, who is challenging House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, but has not yet announced any spending ahead of the June 18 primary.

Indiana’s 8th District: The two groups spent a combined $3 million on former Rep. John Hostettler, who lost his GOP primary this month. Hostettler had opposed a resolution supporting Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians in October 2000.

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Read more →

Prosecutors lay out their case against Donald Trump during a dramatic day of testimony

By Adam Reiss, Jillian Frankel and Dareh Gregorian

Prosecutors dropped their case against Trump on Monday after another dramatic day of testimony from his former lawyer Michael Cohen, while the judge presiding over the trial criticized one of the former president’s witnesses for disrespectful behavior.

State Judge Juan Merchan briefly chased the crowd out of the New York City courtroom after berating attorney Robert Costello outside the jury’s presence. Costello had visibly and audibly responded to the prosecutor’s objections and Merchan’s statements.

Costello is a veteran New York criminal defense lawyer who represented Rudy Giuliani and had at one point discussed hiring Cohen. Cohen never kept him and the two have publicly trashed each other ever since.

Costello was the second defense witness called by Trump, following testimony from a paralegal in attorney Todd Blanche’s office about Cohen’s phone records. Despite Trump’s pretrial claim that he would “absolutely” testify in the case, it seems unlikely he will take this position.

Cohen also wrapped up his testimony in dramatic fashion – admitting that he had defrauded Trump and his company out of money, while also insisting that Trump had signed off on the hush money payment at the heart of the trial.

At the start of the court hearing Monday, Merchan announced that closing arguments, which he had tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, would be postponed a week because of the holiday weekend. They are now tentatively scheduled for May 28.

Read more from the Trump trial →

That’s all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have any feedback – like it or not – please email us at politicsnieuwsbrief@nbcuni.com

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This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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